Game Review: Assassins Creed Valhalla

Age range: 18+

Rating: M

Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Action/Adventure, Open World

Platforms: Stadia, PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X

Review: In the latest entry into the long-running Assassin’s Creed franchise the player explores regions of 9th Century Norway, England, and Canada as a Viking raider carving out their place in the world. The primary focus of the game is establishing a settlement in England and working through relationships and conflicts with the other peoples and cultures in those places including multiple different clans or groups of Danes/Norse, Anglo-Saxons, and Picts as well as the fictional secret Order of Ancients.

The game features brutal combat, complex adult situations (such as the opening where a village in Norway is attacked by a rival clan and the leader is asked to surrender and be executed to save the rest of his clan who are being raped and killed all around them), and realistically coarse language inappropriate for children. There are options in the settings to make the game somewhat less gory, but this is not the default and even with those options chosen this game is clearly meant for adults and libraries considering this game for their collections should take this into consideration. That said, the controls are not overly complex, and the difficulty settings are such that adults unskilled with controllers who just want to enjoy this as an interactive story rather than a difficult challenge may enjoy this game.

Verdict: This would be a good choice for libraries hosting a video game collection that includes selections specifically for adults, but there might be particular interest for college or university libraries with video game collections as the fictionalized account of the game may prompt curiosity to research the actual history of the times and places represented in the game. This game may be of interest to people interested in history and Norse mythology as well as those who enjoy large open world adventure games generally. The clearest play-alikes are, naturally, other games in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, of which it is most like Origins and Odyssey though elements do recall Assassin’s Creed III and Rogue.  Another game that I find myself being reminded of while playing is Horizon: Zero Dawn (Rated T) which is also an open world game that features climbing, spears, and archery.

Joshua Newport is a Math and Science Librarian at Illinois State University. He is an avid video-gamer and Magic the Gathering player and longtime GameRT member. He is currently serving on GameRT’s Membership & Promotion Committee.

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