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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: More stealth, less RPG


More stealth in gameplay, social stealth to hide from the king’s soldiers. New course system, settlement with playful value and the evolution of the battle of raids with your own family. How Assassin’s Creed Valhalla takes the series into the future on Xbox Series X, PS5 and PC.

Drums play, lightning flashes, the hidden blade of the new assassin shows itself in for the first time

                        
                                                                                                                                        Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
                                            . The Vikings set sail, their fast longboat is carried by the wind, Odin’s eagle follows them on their way to the kingdoms of England. During the day they land on the beach, Eivor blows into his horn – his troops storm the surf. The first English soldiers are surprised, with skill and speed the Vikings carry out the patrols, as assassins once did in the earlier parts. Because Assassin’s Creed Valhalla wants to return to the roots of the series: acrobatics, parcour jumps, stealth and no more pop-up numbers above the heads of our enemies, which disturbed the dense atmosphere in Origins and Odyssey.

No more levels that often forced you to grind in the last two offshoots, but rather skill-based action – in the gameplay we see how Eivor easily catapults a soldier with a jump kick including knee kick, robbing the stand, with ease done and fled his troops. It is a welcome return to old values, because Odyssey was a good, sometimes brilliant work, which was brutally protracted and sometimes forced us to waste a lot of time on repetitive quests. Just to finally reach the level that unlocked the next mission.

Ubisoft Montreal has recognized this problem and wants to bring the series back to stealth territory more strongly: “Eivor gets the hidden blade quite early in the game,” reveals creative director Ashraf Ismail on Twitter. “We use the core idea of ​​Assassin’s Creed – Eivor is also not a trained assassin, but must first grow into this role, learn to master his skills. But yes, Eivor will learn a technique that, with the right timing, kills practically every opponent with a stitch. ”Music in the ears of the veterans of this series, because stealth only worked to a limited extent in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. Often you failed at the high level of an officer who then raised the alarm and suddenly you had the whole base on your neck. In general, sneaking, hiding, smart tactics should play a bigger role in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla in preview – Build settlements with the Vikings

The 2020 Assassin’s Creed wants to make stealth big again

Eivor is supposed to bring Assassin's Creed back to its old strengths and enable more sneaking and insidious attacks.

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Eivor is supposed to bring Assassin’s Creed back to its old strengths and enable more sneaking and insidious attacks.

© Ubisoft

The hidden blade was once the legendary weapon of the assassins: a subtle instrument, a dagger with a wrist holster that could be used hidden. We went with the crowd, sometimes hiring even light women for camouflage. If we were close enough to a captain, bishop or other VIP, we stabbed and disappeared into the crowd again. It was a precision tool like the sound-dampened MK23 pistol from Sam Fisher in the Splinter Cell series, which will hopefully make a comeback again on Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X in the next few years. From this, Ubisoft developed a whole range of gameplay options that gave us a lot of playful freedom: for example, offensively, we could rush to a target from a great height – killing it with certainty, but alarming his bodyguard. Or subtly – hide in the hay, stab briefly, drag the security guard into the hay and go on. We can already see hay bales in the first gameplay material from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the chances of the hay mesh returning are good.

It was time for a comeback: According to the Creative Director, a stab with the hidden blade is now always fatal, so you can easily complete complete missions.

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It was time for a comeback: According to the Creative Director, a stab with the hidden blade is now always fatal, so you can easily complete complete missions.

© Ubisoft

However, Eivor is also a master of knife and ax throwing, stealth options could also arise here. The creative director shows scenes in which the Northmen use a battering ram to try to crush the gate of a fortress while Eivor climbs the wall in heavy rain and thunderstorms, probably to open the gates from the inside. As Ubisoft Montreal promises, Social Stealth will also be celebrating its return: “We are particularly looking forward to this because it is an iconic element of the Assassin’s Creed saga. Eivor’s coat and hood, which you can manually pull in the face, will play a major role in this, so that you can disappear undetected in the crowd or merge with it to explore targets. ”The disguise is said to have a major impact on how Eivor is visible – with a simple cowl he is much less noticeable than with a shiny armor, which in turn provides other defense values. Hiding and escaping via the parcours should again be more in the foreground, “for this we are building special cities and using certain areas that focus on precisely these skills,” says the creative director. For example, we will meet York Fortress or travel to London, one of the most magnificent metropolises of the 9th century.

No more pop-up numbers: the annoying RPG systems disappear

Valhalla reinterprets the role-playing game in the classic Assassin's Creed way.

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Valhalla reinterprets the role-playing game in the classic Assassin’s Creed way.

© Ubisoft

The RPG systems are the biggest weaknesses of Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyseey. The flashing numbers disturbed the excellent atmosphere and destroyed much of the magic of this perfectly captured world. “We have looked at Assassin’s Creed for the past 10 years and want to combine the best elements from all worlds – from the older and the new parts. We want to handle RPG a little differently. I think Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is less about levels, more about the feeling of power. Based on your skills, you gain strength. ”

Eivor can disappear inconspicuously in the crowd with a cowl drawn in the face or present itself in the glamorous, armored armor, which protects more but is also more noticeable.

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Eivor can disappear inconspicuously in the crowd with a cowl drawn in the face or present itself in the glamorous, armored armor, which protects more but is also more noticeable.

© Ubisoft

“This is how we see this mechanism in the world. Yes, there will be an assessment covering individual pieces of equipment. But it’s really about the skills you’ve learned and mastering them – that’s what the value stands for. So it’s more of a feeling of power than of levels. ”Central to this is also the opponent design:“ We have a lot more different classes that have unique abilities that should surprise the player. ”We have already seen a very muscular one , extremely heavily armored unit that didn’t even mind the blow with an ax. “We wanted to make sure that even after 10, 15, 20 hours of play, you are still surprised at what the AI ​​is capable of and how smartly they harmonize with each other.” That should also be historically justified: King Alfred was in the Able to weaken the Vikings decisively because he changed his strategy from large armies, fell back on guerrilla strategies and used the English broadswords, which were superior to the axes of the Northmen. The English also trained the best longbow protectors in the world.

The chief author explains the story: “Vikings were much smarter and more diplomatic than many think”

Throughout history, we should have many opportunities to find diplomatic solutions and avoid bloodshed.

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Throughout history, we should have many opportunities to find diplomatic solutions and avoid bloodshed.

© Ubisoft

“Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a 9th century game at the height of the Viking Age. In the era in which we begin, the 870s, there were many hostilities between the clans in Norway. They waged wars against each other, it was extremely cold, inhospitable, there was little food and they fought bitterly for territory. After a short while in Norway, this clan, led by Eivor, and other characters are eventually driven out of Norway to seek another life. Then most of the game will transport you to England. As Eivor, you have to find a place for your people, fight often, but also negotiate a lot – Vikings were smart, if they did not have to fight, they preferred to make alliances rather than shed blood. ”However, we will also see how more and more Northmen are join together to form a 3,000-strong army that overran England. “You have to build a thriving settlement that is a big part, the key I would say, the gaming experience. It is at the heart of motivation and a very important part of the story. Every building you place has a playful, but also narrative value. Every character that moves into your settlement is important to Eivor and the settlement. ”

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The long boats: less ship battle, more tactical advances

The long boats are used more for invasion and attack, the ship battle from Odyssey is reduced.

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The long boats are used more for invasion and attack, the ship battle from Odyssey is reduced.

© Ubisoft

Ubisoft Montreal does not yet reveal how the system works in detail. But already teasers that the smithy is important to make chain mail, armor, swords and axes. It is also exciting: According to the Creative Director, it will be about leading your people and managing your settlement – that is, dealing with the challenges that more and more people who are settling bring with them. We not only grow resources for this, we also steal them in raids. Overall, Ubisoft will significantly reduce ship battles, so the focus will not be on the duel on the open sea, but rather on the long boats, which will help to get around cities, villages and fortresses.

Are we going to France? The Vikings once conquered Paris and released it after paying a large sum of money.

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Are we going to France? The Vikings once conquered Paris and released it after paying a large sum of money.

© Ubisoft

Particularly exciting:

The Vikings went to war with their wives, so the crews of these long boats are not just men. Warriors were just as highly valued in the society of the Vikings, which meant that the peoples, who were often scrapped as wild Northmen, had a few centuries ahead of the noble English. This is important because we build an emotional relationship with our crew, we equip them, we design our ship individually, for example with the coat of arms of our people on the sail and numerous decorations on the bow. In addition to these raids, which are about timing the right time, striking quickly and, ideally, getting back on the boat when the enemy army approaches, there are great battles and sieges of majestic fortresses. We have already seen battering rams, the Vikings also used stable ladders that they built from felled trees. And even if Ubisoft has not yet revealed this, it is worth taking a look at the history books: The Vikings formed large fleets with which they invaded the ports of the big cities – taking Hamburg and even Paris. The story of Eivor may be continued in other games instead of creating a completely new universe for each title …

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