Thursday, July 25, 2024

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Its Skill Tree Are Worth Revisiting.

( There are a few games I’ve recently checked out that came out in the last few years but I didn’t get to play when they were out. As I’ve mentioned before, I love open world and roleplaying games. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla came out in 2020 and it’s been a journey already.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Its Skill Tree Are Worth Revisiting.

I’m certain that I’m not even halfway through the main storyline but I tend to get into all of the side adventures and random clashes as opposed to focusing on the main story. That is until I hit some sort of progress wall that requires me to advance the main story.

So, the more recent AC titles released since AC III really catch my attention. They’re similar to the Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises in that you’ve got a lot of freedom to explore the world without there being this linear narrative that either keeps you on track or pulls you back to the story.

Mind you, when I first played these two—two of the four AC games I’ve actually finished—I was all in on the freedom of the open world. Mind you, this was late 2000s open world. Fallout 3 and Elder Scrolls III offered a lot to do outside of the main tasks although FO3 would eventually reel you in unless you had the DLC.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla takes place during the Viking invasion of England in the late 9th century. It’s surprising that there wasn’t a deluge of titles inspired by Scandinavian folklore and history following the success of Skyrim. Sure, there were a couple of titles but I figured it would be like the zombie wave in games where there was either a zombie survival game or a zombie horde mode deal.

The Assassin’s Creed franchise really did its thing with Valhalla and the invasion setting featuring a great period story that advances the overall story of the Brotherhood vs Templars. However, the story wasn’t the thing that kept me playing.

The Skill Tree and Abilities Are Where Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Really Shines

I’m a sucker for a skill tree. This feature in addition to some good crafting and an interesting open world will have me lost in a game for days and maybe weeks. A game with all three in abundance tends to become my go-to game when I just want to explore and get into some combat or side quests. I’d say AC Valhalla makes a good attempt at that title.

The crafting is decent enough, you have to provide ingots to advance gear to the next tier at the blacksmith but upgrades are left to you and generally require that you have the materials on hand. AC Valhalla is very much a stealth-action title which leans heavily into the RPG elements but not to the extent of featuring a crafting or blacksmith skill tree.

No, the skill tree in this game is based around combat, stealth, and survivability. It’s a simple enough focus but it stretches in multiple directions among the Raven, Bear, and Wolf constellations. These constellations are linked to your gear which—aside from your starting gear—bears the emblem of one of these animals.

Points spent on any of the constellations improve gear worn by the main character Eivor. However, the Bear skill tree only impacts gear with the Bear on it and not all gear and so on. I’ve been going a Raven-Wolf route after initially spreading the points out and I’m enjoying my adventures in Viking-torn England a ton.

The boosts to stealth damage, weapon damage as well as the skills that can be unlocked in these skill trees really make how I like to attack situations—a mix of up close brute force and ranged stealth—exciting. It also pushes me to respec points and try something different or try out different weapon types. You start with the bearded axe and I’ve gotten very comfortable with it but there are a lot of other weapons in the world and even some mythical ones.

Again, this is an open world game with a lot to do. I’m not even getting into raiding or how Ubisoft really embraced sea combat being a part of the franchise that players love. The developers handling this franchise just get better with navigation and varied combat with each title.

Of course, I still have to check out AC Mirage which I’ve heard is a return to core AC but as it stands with Valhalla—on just the skill tree alone and what can be done with it—I’d say check it out if you haven’t yet or give it a revisit when you’re browsing your backlog.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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