Assassin’s Creed has been stepping through fantasy territory for a full five years. Bayek battled the spirit of Tutankhamun, Alexios or Kassandra ran through the fields of Elysium, and Eivor visited the famous Asgard through the memory of his ancestor.
All of these adventures were fantasy, but they were played as part of the gameplay that Assassin’s Creed had for the rest of the adventure. When we played the role of Odin in Valhalla, it wasn’t much different from Viking gameplay in the rest of the game. There was a certain "brake" that kept the gameplay more or less grounded.
Well, that brake is disappearing for the first time in the Dawn of Ragnarök expansion, which will be available to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla players from March 10. In this big extension of 35 extra hours of gameplay, we take on the role of Havi, Odin, the supreme deity of Norse mythology. This time controlling Odin will be different than controlling a Viking / Assassin.
Odin will be able to perform what the human characters in Assassin’s Creed have not been able to do so far. He will steal special skills from his opponents when he kills them, and eliminations and fights will be more creative thanks to those skills. Here are examples of some of the skills/powers that Ubisoft has demonstrated to us:
- Power of the Raven - Odin turns into a raven and can escape battle or kill enemies from the air. This is an interesting extension of the current mechanics of eagle/raven control - in Dawn of Ragnarök, the raven is no longer a drone used to scan the area but used for map travel. Instead of climbing - you can take off. The transition to ravens is very fluid, and aerial killings seem powerful.
- Power of Rebirth - the enemies you kill come to life and become your comrades while the power is active. In this way, Odin can gather a real small army of comrades. There were group fights in Valhalla - but mostly in raids, and this is a much greater power than "poisoning" enemies to fight against each other. But it should be borne in mind that some enemies (the so-called Flamekeepers) also have this power to revive their comrades, and we come to it by stealing it from them.
- Power of Muspelheim - this power has several effects: it can allow you to walk on lava, as well as bring the power of turning into opponents. The latter is a particularly handy thing as it brings a bit of Hitman’s gameplay so you can get around some fights by turning into an opponent. Of course, this conversion has a limited duration, so you need to be careful not to run out of power near your opponent.
These are just some of Odin's powers we've seen. The energy to activate these powers is called Hugr, and we will collect it from the enemy. Of course, the classic combat system will still be present, with some new weapons. One of these requires the player to do combo moves by mixing fast and harder attacks, to get a third attack (a kind of finisher).
All of this will be able to be witnessed in the optional Valkyrie arenas that should bring wave fights. Odin’s adventure will take place in nine Nordic worlds, and we saw Svartelheim during the presentation. It is the home of the dwarves where Odin will look for Glod, the son of the fire giant Surtur. Surtur has captured Odin's son Baldr, so Odin is on a rescue mission in this game.
The recommended power level for this expansion will be set to 340, and if you are not at that level you will get the option to switch if you just want to play the expansion. Pre-playing Valhalla will not be a condition for playing Dawn of Ragnarök, and this will be a stand-alone expansion that can be purchased separately from Valhalla for $ 40.