Assassins Creed Valhalla (PS4)

I was sucked into the world of Assassins Creed initially through my love of the sea, and the old sailing vessels of yore. Following my obsession with the Amazon Prime series Black Sails (expertly led by the fantastic Toby Stephens), i was over the moon when Assassins Creed IV “Black Flag” was released on the Nintendo Switch. I snapped it up along with its follow up Rogue and devoured them both during the first lockdown in 2020.

My devotion to Nintendo still remains but fate found me with a PS4, and soon after purchase i had Assassins Creed Origins. An expansive, open world adventure that redefined gaming for me. Naturally i followed that swiftly with Odyssey, and then Valhalla.

I confess the earlier iterations of the franchise have eluded my interest; far less open than the later games, and far more frustrating. So condemn me for that – much like my adoration for later Status Quo rather than the acclaimed early years, it is the latter set of Assassins Creed that i have enjoyed in my gaming hours.

I could fill pages with previous games – this is my Valhalla review.

As the title suggests, this is an epic Viking saga, which introduces us to Eivor (male or female, its your choice) and her half brother Sigurd, in their mission to invade England and take the land as their own. Of course, we are given a much more relatable story of Vikings and violence; there is no raping and pillaging from the old books. Instead we have honourable warriors wishing for peace.

The story progresses through betrayal and heartache but i won’t give away all the details here. Thats for you to explore for yourselves.

The game allows you to do whatever you want, within reason. I myself left all the real story elements to the end, instead seeking out all the pieces of gear and weapons and artefacts and events until the game required me to head to the next major checkpoint.

Because of this, i ended up massively overpowered when it came to the wandering Zealots and monsters; but this is good – it meant that i could enjoy the game rather than get frustrated and angry when i get my ass handed to me by a mangy lynx.

There is a fair element of wandering unfortunately, and the wide variety of mounts available never quite seemed to enliven the long slog between the warp points and destinations. My most memorable moments were taking out whole fortresses of soldiers with my arrows, or assassin diving off monasteries.

And very early i’d exchanged my stupid raven for a Puffin named Puffy.

Its sumptuous to look at, but by its very nature glum and a bit Skyrim-y. Hey, this is the UK, after all. Odyssey by comparison is sunny and beautiful.

But overall, its a phenomenal game. Massive, possibly overlong and the chasing of artefacts across rooftops got a royal fuck-off (the only area i didn’t achieve 100%).

Hey though; its a worthy sister to the previous two ACs – and it has three paid expansions …. will i venture to Ireland, Paris and Ragnarock in the future? Well. Time will tell. I’m a bit Valhalla’d out, having dedicated well over 200 hours to this saga.

The big question is…what open world game will envelop me now? Tears of the Kingdom isn’t until May at least…shall i venture out west and wield a pair of Colt.45s? Or battle mechanical dinosaurs?

The Game is afoot. And mine hurts.

I woke on sunday morning to neck spasm and agony. Literally three hours of intense neck pain and frenzied inability to sleep. It was horrendous. I was so close to phoning an ambulance, or at least someone to run me to the hospital. In my hallucinating sleep-deprived pain state i checked webmd for my symptoms and discovered i had acute somethingsomething neuralgia. OH NO i declared, only to read on and find it means pinched nerve. Clearly i slept funny, and there was no ha ha this time.

Anyway, that was my productive sunday down the drain; instead of looking up writing jobs and trying to finish my various projects – like “Running Out of Space”, “Dr Who: The Crystals of Time”, “The Pandora Men: It Begins”, my novel “The Adventurations of Finchely Chase” or any of my innummerable short stories in progress like “Humanity Extraction”, “Death to the Twitterverse” or even any of my narrative memoirs “Duck Food / Cinemonkeys / The Intervineous Line / Wealth and Hellfire / Pink Shampoo” – i decided to lie and wallow on my couch and play Assassins Creed: Valhalla.

I’ve just found all the synchronisation points in Kent, thanks for asking. Think i’m venturing to Jorvik next. Either there or Winchester. My favourite pastime is eviscerating Zealots.

My Monday morning it had cleared up and i dutifully went to work.

Morning afternoon i was limping. I must have jiggered my pre-broken foot at some point jumping in and out of the blasted forklift. So whilst watching Wednesday (on Monday) i was in mild pain. Fortunately, gammon steak and chips distracted me.

Then Tuesday morning comes about and lo! Put weight on my foot i could not; not without lightening agony striking through my body like…well, electricity. So after sleep until 12 (clearly needing it, considering i haven’t slept well in about a week) – i migrated (on my knees) to…you’ve guessed it…the couch. And i started playing … you guessed it … valhalla. By dinner time i had climbed the Dover Cliffs, finished the Cave of Trials and killed another fucking zealot or two. I’d even assassinated two of the Order. Praying that my foot would have healed enough by the morning, i then finished the day with tempura pollock and chips and four episodes of the awesome Doc Martin. I may fancy Caroline Catz. In fact i’m sure of it.

Wednesdays here now and i am in pain at work. No Assassins, just backstabbing maniacs and f’tons of trout. Yippee kai ay, Milovaig’er!

Tonight i need to buy Fizzy Drinks. I have an addiction to both them and Assassins Creed. Neither of these addictions are good, but they’re getting me through life right now.

Oh and top it all of, I have Haemorrhoids. Conversation killer.