Archives by Day

April 2024

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Stadia, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Ubisoft


As an Amazon Associate, we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

PS5 Review - 'Assassin's Creed: Valhalla' Dawn of Ragnarok DLC

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on March 9, 2022 @ 3:01 a.m. PST

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla throws players axe-first into ninth-century England, an age of warring kingdoms and Viking conquest. Wars will rage. Kingdoms will fall. This is the age of the Vikings.

Buy Assassin's Creed: Valhalla

From time to time, you get expansion packs that go wild with the idea of the main game. Far Cry: Blood Dragon took the grounded main game and transformed it into a laser-and-neon homage to 1980s movies and games. These are usually quite a treat, as they give developers a chance to go wild with mechanics. The last Assassin's Creed: Valhalla expansion, Dawn of Ragnarök, aims to provide the same sort of flavor by revisiting the Norse mythology segments of the game, this time with the greater might of Odin in your hands.

As in the Valhalla segments of the main game, Dawn of Ragnarök puts you back into the control of Eivor-as-Odin. The All-Father is on a quest to find his lost son, Baldur, tricked into the hands of the Fire Giant Surtr by the malicious demigod Loki. To rescue Baldur, he has to venture into the depths of the realms of the dwarves and giants and overcome the greatest trials of the age. Unless Baldur can be rescued, it may be the final days for the Norse pantheon.

At its heart, don't expect Ragnarök to significantly change the Assassin's Creed Valhalla formula. You can go directly into the game from your existing Eivor save and bring the same weapons and gear you were using. If you're below power level 350 or so, you can use a special boosted mode that gives everything a temporary power boost until you level up enough to match the expected level. You can also play the expansion stand-alone if you're only interested in the story and not the rest of Valhalla.

The biggest new feature in Ragnarök is the addition of overt supernatural powers — more overt than setting your blade on fire or sending shockwaves through the ground. This includes new abilities, runes and skills, such as shooting lightning bolt arrows. All armor can be upgraded to Divine status, which grants you the ability to use super-powerful Odin runes and unlock a Kassandra-style immune to fall damage if you have a full set of Divine gear. A lot of this is only usable inside the dream world, but some of the upgrades can be carried into reality.

The most significant supernatural power is the Hugr-Rip, which effectively turns you into Assassin's Creed Megaman by allowing you to steal powers from defeated foes. There are five powers in total: Jotunheim, Muspelheim, Raven, Rebirth and Winter. You can hold two powers at any given time and can swap by finding a defeated foe of the correct type. Powers can be activated by spending a special resource called Hugr, which you gain from defeating enemies or finding special items in the environment.

These powers are effectively super abilities because they grant special passive and active abilities, depending on what you already have. Muspelheim grants you total immunity to fire, the ability to approach Muspelheim-allied enemies unseen, and special fire damage attacks. Raven allows you to transform into a bird, which lets you take direct control of your scouting raven form, which means you can fly as the raven does toward your location of choice or even assassinate a foe from miles high. Rebirth lets you revive the dead to fight on your side, Winter lets you use ice-themed powers, and Jotunheim allows you to teleport to special World Knots.

The powers are neat, but they're somewhat limited. It isn't difficult to refill the Hugr resource, but it is enough of a process that it was tough to integrate the powers as naturally into combat as I did with the standard abilities. I often found myself holding onto it in case I needed it for a puzzle or a specific stage gimmick. The standout is Raven, which feels a bit like a cheat but doesn't last long enough to feel special. It probably doesn't help that when compared to other open-world games, the special powers don't feel special enough to justify their limitations. The powers are a lot of fun, but Kassandra from Odyssey could do naturally what Eivor needs a full set of magic armor to do, and that makes it feel less cool.

There are some other cool additions. For example, there are battle arenas where you can take on increasingly deadly (and often supernatural) opponents. You can collect Boasts, which add modifiers to the combat. It's a small thing, but it's a neat way to test your mastery of Valhalla's combat. There's also a new atgeir (polearm) weapon that allows for more complex combos than most of the other weapons. There are some cool hidden items and secrets scattered around, and there's also a bunch of awesome new cosmetic items. If you're looking for more ways to enjoy Valhalla's gameplay, Ragnarök offers it in spades.

The biggest flaw with Ragnarök is that it's just more Valhalla. The new powers and gimmicks are neat, and the aesthetic is cool, but nothing it does fundamentally changes how anything functions. It's a strong set piece and a nice way to expand on the mythic world from the original game. If you've already played through all of Valhalla's DLC and still want more, Ragnarök offers a nice way to revisit the game, but it is basically a larger and more expensive version of the existing expansion areas.

At the end of the day, Assassin's Creed: Valhalla - Dawn of Ragnarök is a nice but not particularly special expansion pack. The plot is fun enough visit into Norse mythology, but unfortunately, that's such a well-trodden area that it feels less special to dive into it. The new powers are a cool twist on the formula, but ultimately, you're still playing more Valhalla. If you enjoyed the game, then you'll enjoy the expansion, but if you've burned out on it, then being able to turn into a bird isn't going to refresh your Viking spirit.

Score: 7.5/10

More articles about Assassin's Creed Valhalla
blog comments powered by Disqus