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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Test – Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök

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After a content-rich follow-up, including two major expansions, Ubisoft offers us a new chapter for the epic Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. This new adventure, called Dawn of Ragnarök, is not present in the game’s Season Pass and has already caused a bit of ink to flow, especially since the price was made official at 40,99 €. A fairly steep price, but Ubisoft wanted to reassure us by claiming to offer players the most ambitious extension in the series with a lifespan of around forty hours. But what is it really?

Search Havi

The main adventure of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla already had us allowed to explore the kingdom of Asgard thanks to the visions of Valka. By drinking certain potions, Eivor then finds himself immersed in a dream where he (she) embodied the great Odin (also called Havi in ​​the game). Dawn of Ragnarök uses exactly the same principle by extending the adventures of Odin. If access to the DLC does not require completing the main frame of the game, we advise you to complete at least all the content offered in Asgard, otherwise you will miss some elements. Similarly, although it is necessary to have a minimum power level of 340, it is possible to immediately embark on the adventure, the title then granting us a temporary increase in level.

This time, Odin travels to Svartalfheim to find his son Baldr, captured by the fire giant Surtr. The Allfather will quickly realize that single combat against Surtr will not help him, and he will have to explore the kingdom in search of allies in order to find a way to recover his son. This will lead him to meet dwarves, hidden in refuges following the invasion of muspels and jötuns.

Unfortunately, the screenplay is not sufficiently inspired. The rhythm never really takes off and it’s hard to really feel involved in Odin’s quest. Meetings with certain characters are sometimes missed, but above all often end in sudden disappearances without any consideration on the part of our hero. It takes about ten hours in a straight line to finish the main plot and find yourself almost surprised to watch the end credits, so badly it is.

We had already been disappointed with the narrative offered in the last two expansions (and to some extent for the main adventure), but the ‘Dawn of Ragnarök is indeed a new stab in our fan hearts.

It was almost announced with content entirely dedicated to mythology, Dawn of Ragnarök never does mention to the lore of the Assassin’s Creed license (Isus, Basim, Leila, and many other references).

Divided into four regions, the world of Svartalfheim offers us a playground quite vast, but still jam-packed with riches, mysteries, and artifacts to collect. We generally find the same activities as those present in the original game (with some variations) even if it means depriving ourselves of logic. Looting is indeed part of the game, but if the presence of our Viking crew made sense in England, we still wonder about their presence here.

However, the extension offers us some nice elements, such as the presence of an arena in which it is possible to choose a more or less difficult scenario and to then add different handicaps. The success of the fight allows us to obtain a precious resource (the number of penalties activated increasing the gains) which can then be exchanged for pieces of armor and legendary weapons. A few easter eggs (Lord of the Rings, Snow White, etc.) are also present in the adventure and may make some players smile.

Unfortunately, even with all this additional content, it took us less than h to finish everything . We are a long way from the 087 hours promised by Ubisoft for the 110 %.

On s ‘tear

The announced ambition not being on the side of the narration, we then turn to the gameplay. Unsurprisingly, Dawn of Ragnarök being a DLC and not a game in its own right, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla players will not be out of place. We are simply offered a few new skills to recover, as well as new sets of armor and a new type of weapon, the Atgeir. These are large polearms that offer fast-paced gameplay and can hit multiple enemies at once. Just like the other types of weapons, new finish animations are present to literally make opponents lose their heads.

On the other hand, Ubisoft still offers us a big novelty, called the Arrache-Hugr. Concretely, it is a new tool that allows Odin to seize the power of his enemies in order to then use them in combat or to solve certain puzzles in the open world. Five in number, for example, there is an ability to take on the appearance of a muspel and to be able to walk on lava. Without completely revolutionizing the adventure, this addition brings a little more to the gameplay, but does not go far enough. To use a power, it is necessary to have a full Hugr gauge. Unfortunately, it is too easy to fill it, as the proposed solutions are numerous. If the fountains of Hugr that we can unearth had the good idea to force us to give up part of Odin’s life, in exchange for a complete recharge of the Hugr, it was without counting the quantity plants for healing arranged right next to a fountain. Ubisoft wanted a way to make the choice to use these powers more impactful, it failed.

In the end, the only thing that saves the furniture is the visual quality of the world around us, mixed with a soundtrack that is always pleasant to listen to. The landscapes are pretty and some panoramas make you dream. We cannot deny the creative talent of Ubisoft studios to present us with beautiful postcards to walk around. We will still have some reservations about the design of the dwarves, which seem disproportionate.

Tested on Xbox Series X.

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