10 Best Things in Our Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Hands-on Preview

Credit: Ubisoft

Ubisoft has been taking more time when it comes to releasing its latest Assassin’s Creed games. The last time we had one was Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which came out in 2018 and was set in Ancient Greece. And before Assassin’s Creed Origins in 2017 was 2015’s Assassin’s Creed Syndicate set in Victorian London. Next month fans will get to become Vikings in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla as they settle in England. We’ve had the chance to play 6 hours of the game in a new preview, and the story focused on two warring kingdoms. We have compiled a list of 10 things that have us excited about the upcoming game.

1. Jesper Kyd Is Back

Jesper Kyd composed the first few Assassin’s Creed games, but he has been MIA in the recent games. Fans of his contribution to the franchise should be happy to know that he is returning to the Ubisoft property. For the early games, he combined his dramatic, haunting and melodic styles and added a bit of a modern twist, which is a perfect fit for a game set in the past and present. He is joined by Sarah Schachner, who has composed music for Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Unity. Each composer has signature styles, and fans of the Assassin’s Creed music will instantly pinpoint who scored which track.

2. Foxes Galore

After playing Ghost of Tsushima, every time we see a fox during our gameplay session of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, we instantly get excited as it runs across us while we’re on horseback. Will it lead us to a secret shrine that offers upgrades? Nope, it didn’t stop us from enjoying the gekkering sound it makes as it pops up out of nowhere. With Ghost of Tsushima, killing a fox will bring dishonor to your character. Here in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, you get loot.

3. The Return of the Assassin

As much as we enjoyed Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey, it didn’t feel like a proper Assassin’s Creed game since it was before the time of the Assassin Order. We don’t know too much of Valhalla’s story, but it looks like we’ll be seeing the Assassin Order once again with the hooded cloak. The protagonist, Eivor, will have a hidden blade and a cloak to remain hidden from enemies.

4. Odin Sight

As an assassin, Eivor can use Odin Sight to locate enemies. This is similar to Eagle Vision from the earlier games where you can see the location of enemies through walls. This skill is inherent in you, and you no longer have to use your eagle in the sky to tag the enemies one by one. With Odin Sight, simply press the button and it will locate all the enemies in a certain radius.

5. NPCs No Longer Have Numbers Above Their Head

The Assassin’s Creed series started out really immersive with its combat, and it felt like you were in an action film. Part of the immersion was gone once Ubisoft introduced leveled enemies, where you can actually see the number above their head to signal to you whether it’ll be a tough fight. There are still health bars shown for enemies here, but the icon will be simplified with either a red skull (it’s going to be one tough fight) or a white diamond (you can beat them up).

6. Drunks Will Help You

There will be NPC allies to help you, which is a return to form. The earlier games had people you can gather to help you out by jumping in on a fight. We’re hoping that there will be many NPCs to help out our Viking, but we did encounter one in our hands-on demo. You can call for the aid of a drunk, who will cause a distraction.

7. Blending

Blending makes a return, and it’s nice to see the way of the Assassin in a new Assassin’s Creed game. One example includes sitting next to a random NPC on a bench. Who would expect Eivor to be a threat when the character is relaxing with the crossing of the arms and legs?

8. Fishing

Aside from drinking games and dice games, there will be plenty of other activities outside of fighting and helping out factions. An open-world game isn’t an open-world game without fishing, and you’ll get to fish by the river. Fish aren’t the only things you can catch since we were able to reel in an eel.

Potential Spoilers Ahead.

9. Odin

We’re suckers for the game’s mystery, and one of them is the appearance of Odin. He can be seen in the cinematic trailer, watching a battle from afar. In the demo, there was a scene that had us deciding the fate of a fallen soldier. Do we kill him or let him live? Odin pops up and gives Eivor some advice during this critical moment. What makes this weirder is that he’s talking to the Viking in those Eagle vision type settings, similar to when other Assassins talk to their target after they kill them. Who is Odin? Is he a Precursor? Or is Eivor just seeing things.

10. Animus Anomaly

Layla is back, and this time you can play as her in the historical setting. We encountered an Animus Anomaly side mission that looks like something out of Tron and a 3D platformer, and by finishing the mission, it unlocks a quick scene of something from the future. Remember those quick scenes of Adam and Eve trying to get the Apple? This reminds us of that, and if the previous games are any indication, finishing these Animus Anomalies will unlock the full hidden video.

Final Reaction

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla still has the core parkour, fighting mechanics and leveling system of Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey, but the more we have played Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the more it feels like it’s returning to its roots with Odin Sight, blending, wearing a hood, and more.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla releases on November 10th for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Stadia and PC. The PlayStation 5 version will be available on November 12th, the same day the next-gen console launches.

Check out our 20-minute gameplay video below:

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