Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok shows the series is better without the animus

What I like least about Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the Assassin’s Creed part. I’m over 140 hours and at this point I’m too scared to ask what Basim was doing, why the golden magic staff is so central to the plot of Assassin’s Creed, or why Layla wanted to study Eivor. Imagine my joy, then, when I visited Asgard and Jotunheim for the first time in Valhalla. No weird subplots, no modern science stuff, just silly fantasy fun about vikings with barely a Marvel Cinematic Universe comparison in sight.

Valhalla is at its best when it ignores the hallmark characteristics of Assassin’s Creed games, namely the animus and the confusion of everything that happens next. Dawn of Ragnarok is proof that the series needs to embrace the mythology of the cultures it explores, which Ubisoft has done well here. Sometimes games don’t need any other stratagems – good dialogue, fantasy lands, hard-hitting weapons and a bit of polytheism are what make Valhalla so special.

Dawn of Ragnarok, Valhalla’s latest expansion, is a more serious, yet fun fantasy experience. It’s the largest of the three expansions to date, but the only one where you play almost exclusively as Havi. While playing Kingmaker in England, Ireland and France was cool, as was Ubisoft’s experience of actual historical events, I’d much rather play as the High One before gouging out one of my eyes to the knowledge.

(Image credit: Lauren A/Ubisoft)

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