My Assassin's Creed Valhalla journal

All right, how’s my PS4 these days? Lessee…Brothers, played end-to-end three times and got every trophy an eternity ago…Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, yeah, liked it, pretty good overall but way too much work to go through again, and I’m not sure that the Jack The Ripper stuff is worth the trouble…Project Diva, can barely even look at it now…aaaaaand, Atari Classics, of which there are maybe six titles I still want to play on a semi-regular basis. And that’s all the games I have left now that I got hopelessly lost in Submerged and never achieved anything other than motion sickness and my Stardew Valley experience consisted of constant, crippling time pressure, wandering aimlessly, not being able to get to places and never knowing why, not being able to refill my watering can (I know, “Read the guides!”. Filling a watering can should not require a damn guide.), and planting a parsnip and forgetting where it was. On top of that, the Blu-ray function stopped working for some reason. Videos? Already have a computer. Movies? Kinda handy, but hardly my only source, maybe not even my best.

And that’s when I heard some noise about Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. You may have heard about how I found Origins a big turnoff, so much so that I never even touched Odyssey. But one of the nice things about Ubisoft is that they learn from their mistakes and try really hard to do better the next time. (I’m aware of the company’s abysmal track record with employee relations…not this thread.) On top of that, this is going to be one of the last games for the PS4, and late-run titles are often some of the highest quality games for the console…think Mega Man 6, Castlevania 3, or Gran Turismo 4. And I’ll be honest, I’ve grown kind of attached to the plucky Rebecca Crane and Shaun Hastings and their eternal quest to keep the world from exploding for another year. The tipping point was discovering theRadBrad and his series of Valhalla gameplay videos (currently on the back burner while he’s engrossed in Cyberpunk 2077). From what I’ve seen, he’s not a wizard at Dark Souls-style games and has an unfortunate tendency to miss things, but he’s still been able to make steady progress…exactly the endorsement I needed.

And so here I am, just about completely done with console games, but not before writing one last chapter, and with what promises to be a, dare I say, mostly enjoyable and satisfying journey. Goddesses, it’s been too long. :grin:

So far I’ve just finished clearing out the bandits from the initial settlement, so I’ve barely scratched the surface. Next up storywise is getting my first raid under my belt, but exploring and finding stuff takes up so much time that it’ll have to wait. Anyway, here are my initial impressions.

(You might want to give this excellent essay a read as well.)

Control scheme: Eeeugh. This…will take some getting used to. The problem isn’t remembering the command for what I want to do so much as remembering the command for what I should be doing. Pulling out a bow when a torch would work better or vice versa, jumping off a high cliff instead of descending, raising my shield against an unblockable attack instead of dodging, and so on. It’s an unfortunate fact that the more options you have, the more ways you have to mess up, and Valhalla has them by the longboat-load. I’ll figure it out eventually, of course, just fair warning that if you’ve been away for a while, it’s going to be a very steep learning curve.

Female option: Let me just get this out of the way. I don’t give a damn what Ubisoft’s motives are, I don’t give a damn if it’s pandering, and I don’t give a damn if, hey, wait a minute, women don’t have sufficient red corpuscle count for high-altitude climbing or whatever crap. It’s a game. Games have options. This is one. Take it or leave it. You buy the game, you can play it however you like. I’m cool. I don’t care.

Personally, however, I think if you’re going to put a woman in a nontraditional role, either make it meaningful (breaking barriers, defying the patriarchy, refusing to be a victim, personal quest that everyone else thinks she’ll fail miserably, etc.) or make her beautiful. (And by “beautiful” I don’t mean “underdressed” or “sex symbol”; Chizuru Kagura from Art of Fighting and Alicia Winston from Time Crisis are quite beautiful, among many others.) And yes, I understand that in real life women are human beings and should not be objectified. Game women, however, are nothing but objects, and since the programmers can design them any way they want, it doesn’t make any sense to me to make Lady Eivor basically a man with a few superficial changes, and to have her femaleness in a historically completely male-dominated profession never be any kind of issue, ever. I just feel more comfortable picking the man and sticking with him, especially since Eivor’s divine analogue (you’ll know him when you get to him) is completely male.

Loading times: The only things I noticed that take a really long time are going through the shop/rewards menus (which I’ll probably never get anything from anyway) and starting up the game. Unless you have other stuff you want to use the PS4 for (and, if I haven’t made it clear yet, I don’t), it’s best to simply leave the disk in and put the machine into rest mode when you’re ready to quit. You only need to restart whenever there’s an update. Fast travel takes a little while but is still way faster than getting there manually, so I’m using it.

Graphics: Top-notch, as always…I always take the time to skygaze when climbing to a synchronization point, it’s just that beautiful. The only little caveat I have is that friends and enemies are no longer automatically tagged in fights (more on this in a bit). I’ve never seen the benefit of “immersion” and I’m dead-set against it when it results in a worse gameplay experience. I really like the fact that you can set the size of subtitles and set a black backing to them so text doesn’t get lost in the background.

Exploration/free running: This has the unique distinction of an activity that seems to take ages and take hardly any time at all at the same time. The thing is, it’s a long slog to pretty much anywhere, especially since the bulk of travel is over extremely rugged terrain, but Eivor’s such a freerunning superstar that even the most forbidding peaks are child’s play to him. It’s pretty amazing to see him, with no climbing gear or Assassin equipment, scale a steep mountainside with lots of outcrops and juts and weird angles as easily as a ladder. If he ever gets the luxury of a long journey on relatively level ground, the ability to call a horse anytime, anywhere is a real boon. Exploration has always been a criminally underrated facet of the AC saga, and I’m glad to have a great big land to romp around in. Enthusiastic thumbs-up! :+1: :slightly_smiling_face:

Inventory/upgrades: The things I noticed right away are that unlike Origins there aren’t a bazillion options and I’m not going to break the bank on arrows (which seem to have limited use anyway…see “stealth”). That’s a good sign. Selling junk is always easy money…not a LOT of easy money, but I’m grateful for what I can get. (If that stuff turns out to be absolutely critical for something, I’m confident than I can find another broken club or pile of pig entrails somewhere.) The one slight issue I have with upgrades is the risk of wasting resources upgrading something only to get a better weapon right away (or, as I call it, the Duck Life: Battle problem), and given that it’s going to take a long time to get the best weaponry, upgrading is a leap that I’m leery of taking. That plus my quiver and rations pouch are going to be eating up resources for upgrades, and believe you me, those are two things I do not want to skimp on. For now, fights aren’t too demanding, so I’m content to go by a need basis for now.

Dialogue choices: I remember all the screaming about how the response options in L.A. Noire didn’t produce the friggin’ exact wording they were expecting, and I found a bit of grumbling about this on GameFAQs as well. Eh. Plenty of my real-life conversations don’t go the way I intend or want to; I’m used to that nonsense. And much like L.A. Noire, it rarely makes any meaningful difference anyway. My advice, don’t sweat it, just pick what sounds good and let nature take its course. There are a few decisions which directly affect the game, but I don’t expect them to be a huge struggle. (From what TheRadBrad has shown me so far, always taking the lethal option regarding defeated enemies is generally a smart idea.) There’s what seems to be a fairly important decision near the beginning whether to take Kjotve’s treasure hoard to England and face censure or leave it for the great, glorious, honorable king whom Eivor is, ahem, about to turn his back on forever. (Oh, so damn wrenching. :roll_eyes:) I decided to take the money and run. The king rambled a bit about not leaving Eivor to the wolves while he had a chance, waah, waah. I don’t think I’m going to lose any sleep over this.

Extracurricular activities: Flyting…bleah. Hard pass. I have zero interest in “rap battle”, and the whole concept of “insult a man to his face in such a way that he’s somehow unable to take violent umbrage” (never mind that violent umbrage happens on a regular basis despite anyone’s honorable intentions) just makes me shudder. Furthermore, I’m absolutely petrified at the possibility that if I mess up, some smarmy little twerp Eivor could disembowel with his eyelashes is going to fire off a blistering final blast while Eivor has to trudge away red-faced, sent off by the searing laughter of the spectators who witnessed his humiliation, and be absolutely powerless to do anything about it. It was bad enough watching Connor get repeatedly cleaned out by Checkers or Six Men’s Morris or Fanorona players and be absolutely powerless to do anything about it even though realistically he could just beat them up and take the money back. I’m not taking that risk again. (“Extra dialogue choices”…feh, who needs them. :stuck_out_tongue:) Drinking contests…goofy fun, and not really that hard to win (get a good rhythm and keep your eyes open for the “L” prompt and you should win every time), but I’m just not seeing the point. Did one, and that’s plenty enough for now. Oorlog…ugh. No. No more games. The only thing I’ll try at this point is tic-tac-toe, and even then I’ll have to think about it. Which leaves heading into the countryside and finding what those white and yellow dots have and…let’s just say that hasn’t been very productive so far. Will work on it in the future, though!

Stealth: Gaaah. This one always seems to be either feast or famine for me, and right now I’m dining on grass and rocks. It seems like no matter what I do, I always get spotted. AL. WAYS. All I’ve been able to discover so far that I can’t hide and aim my bow at the same time. Well, how am I supposed to reduce a stronghold’s defenses (the primary purpose of stealth when it’s not tied to a specific mission) without a bow?? I remember how Shay and his multi-function rifle could take out practically an entire fortress sight unseen, and seeing Eivor get punked again and again is demoralizing. What am I missing? What’s the trick? It’s really too bad there aren’t in-game tutorials so I could really nail this part down. I usually don’t mind getting into a big fight, heck, I’ve triggered more than a few myself (“Filth! Harlot! Succubus!” “All right, scumbag, time to die!” :grin:), but being forced into it is never fun. I’ll see if there are any skills that can help me here, but for now, this is a big work in progress that I’m not sure will ever get finished.

Combat: Firstly, let’s get one thing quite clear…I freaking loathe Dark Souls. I loathe the degenerative influence it’s had on video game culture over the past several years, particularly this vile “git gud” filth, and I especially hate how SEEMINGLY EVERY FLIPPING GAME needed to copy-paste its combat system. Syndicate’s combat wasn’t original either, but at least it was fast paced, it looked spectacular, and I could see what was going on and GODDAM PROTECT MYSELF which is a lot more than I can say for the infinite pit of misery that’s Dark Souls. Apparently it was meant to follow the “Japanese” idea of slamming your head against a brick wall over and over and over and over and over until either the wall or your brain shatters, to which I’d like to rebut that games like Pop ‘n Music and Dance Dance Revolution were and are a thing, hell, they were pretty much the only reason I ever got an import PS2, so the idea that “Japan” will only tolerate freakishly difficult games is hokum.

So what is the Dark Souls method? Well, the thing that’s always stood out for me is that the tough enemies with all the special moves, which I’ll call “bosses” for the sake of simplicity, are handled completely differently from normal foes, or for that matter the entire rest of the game. Against regular enemies, you can take them out however you like. You can use stealth if that’s an option (and you manage to remain unseen!), you can face and cut down your foes one at a time, you can run from enemy to enemy and take a bite out of each at a time (the Batman/Syndicate method), you can target the biggest threat and take it down first, you can do a patient hit-and-run from the fringe, it’s all really up to your abilities and style. But once a boss steps into the fray, you get thrown into a special arena from which there’s no escape, and there are only two possibilities…win or die. They not only hit a lot harder than the mooks, they take a ton of damage, have nasty special abilities or attacks, and can often turn the fight around with just one big counterstrike. Defeating a boss is a real, major accomplishment. And that, I believe, is this game’s biggest betrayal from the core concept of AC, not that Eivor fights a lot (Every other Assassin fought a lot! Freaking Altair fought a lot, and he actually bought into that strike-from-the-shadows booshwah!), but that there’s a privileged class of enemy which cannot be slain quietly and must be engaged in a grueling, bloody, exhausting slugfest. From the very beginning it was implicit that the throat of a king and the throat of a peasant cut just as easily, and to see that abandoned is a tad disheartening.

So what is combat like in Valhalla? In a word…messy. Maybe it’ll get better against the English forces, but thus far I’ve found it tough to even distinguish my allies from my enemies. There are three primary attacks, light swing, heavy swing, and bow, and given the pace of combat, doing any real damage with anything but the first is a struggle. (There are apparently big upgrades associated with all three, but I haven’t gotten to them yet.) Blocking with the shield allows you to hold your ground, making counterstriking easier, but you can only block in one direction at a time and there are a lot of unblockable attacks. (There also seems to be a defense factor with the shield which dictates how effective it is; I’ll find out what I can.) Dodging and rolling work against all attacks; the problem is that you have to choose the exact direction to make your move. Unlike Ezio or Edward who always moved to a place where they could hit back, an even slightly errant dodge here will put you way out of position. This problem is compounded against bosses, who frequently have wide-sweeping attacks or who can adjust if you jump the gun. On top of that, all the running around and dodging means that the camera POV goes all over the place, making it very easy to lose sight of your foes. I cannot overstate the importance of choosing a difficulty level you can handle (something Ubisoft finally got the hang of). The bottom line is that if you are not an ace with the Dark Souls system, you are going to mess up a lot, you’re going to get disoriented a lot, and you’re going to get hurt a lot, and it probably will not be very satisfying.

All that said, IF you choose a reasonable difficulty level, winning a fight is not super-hard. In stark contrast to Unity, where Arno was pretty much a hopeless bum, and Origins…which was a neverending nightmare, let’s leave it at that…as long as you’re doing some things right in Valhalla, you will get the W in the end. Eivor may get beat up, tossed around, even run over, but he’ll live to tell about it. So in this respect it’s not a literal duplicate of Dark Souls; it’s a harsh system, but you don’t have to COMPLETELY master it just to get through Eivor’s story, something I definitely appreciate. (There do seem to be “Epic Ship”-style foes in the wilderness, and quite a lot, too, which I’ll get to when the time is right.)

And that’s all I got for now. Still haven’t done my first raid yet, and you’ll definitely hear all about it when it happens. Right now, though, I am liking this game. This is the first game in eternity that’s keeping me going despite the mishaps, and at my age and tolerance level, that’s saying a lot. I’m going to be updating this whenever I get the time.

All right, played a lot more. First off, here’s another item for my Why The Hell Didn’t Anyone Mention This Sooner File: Whenever you change options, be REALLY careful that they stick. What happened was that purely for research purposes I decided to put the game on the hardest difficulty to determine if it affected the recommended level ratings. I certainly never intended to play the game for a second on the hardest level, just glance at a few things on the map. The game said that it would have to reload to make the changes, I decided it wasn’t worth it, and I very distinctly called off the change, whereupon I absolutely did, in fact, see the difficulty switch back to what I originally set it as. Imagine my surprise when I go on a couple raids and that spearman is taking off 60% with a single hit. After getting killed several times in various locations, I went back to options, and lo and behold, it was on the goddam hardest difficulty. I switched it back, hit square to make it official, left the menu, and immediately went back to see if the change took hold (it did). I don’t know of the Dark Souls-ification meant that changing to an easier difficulty takes four times as much effort as changing to a harder one, but lesson learned. Confirm every change! Preferably twice! (I did find out that the difficulty level does not have any effect on how much experience you get, so I guess it wasn’t a total loss.)

Another, much more critical point of advice: No matter what difficulty you’re playing at, pay attention to the in-game level recommendations and follow them to the letter. In fact, I strongly consider completely cleaning out everything you can in the initial level 20 areas before tackling anything else. Bite off even a little more than you can chew, and the likely result is a lightning-fast death (and the unlikely result is a fairly quick death). You can travel abroad synchronizing points, but that’s it. Anything that requires any martial prowess whatsoever…and you are going to be doing a Whole. Damn. Lot. of fighting (even by the standards of previous games)…leave it alone and come back when you’re ready. Yes, this means that you’re going to be putting a bunch of fun stuff for a while and will knock off at most four religious strongholds before having to take a very long break from “going a-viking”. AC is a series where you cannot have a big hangup over what you’re “supposed to” be doing. Syncing points, engaging in silly little noncombat quests, and fighting battles that are within your abilities are how you earn experience, which in turn grants you skill points. YOU. NEED. SKILL. POINTS. Skill points are what keep you alive and progressing through the game. The time will come for all those Order of the Ancients bastards, all those greedy gear-hogging Saxons, all those rampaging beasts. Until then, walk before you try to run.

More on combat, since that’s what you’ll be doing for a large majority of the game. Much like boxing, if all you do swing like a maniac, unless your opponent is a complete bum, you’re going to get creamed. Also like boxing, excessive blocking is a bad idea, in this case because it drains your stamina, which takes a lot of steam out of your counterstrikes. The trick is to learn how each enemy responds to your attacks and use their tactics against them. For example, spearmen are defensive specialists; they counter your strikes very effectively and put their guard up if you start hitting them. What you need to do is to evade his initial thrust, counter with two light swings, and when he guards, fire a strong swing, which he can’t block and will put him in a stunned state. It’s pretty easy to finish him off from there. Of course, if you have allies (and you will most of the time), use them! Double-team that big shield-bearing brute from behind, finish him off, then do the same to the next, and the next, and the next, until none are left. The bottom line, however, is that becoming an effective fighter is something that comes only with practice. You are going to taste a lot of pain, and you are going to die very, very often. Learn from your mistakes and come back stronger and wiser than before. It’s the best way to succeed. (Oh, and save your arrows for the heavy hitters. Most of the time you’ll be glad you did.)

Had a blast with the battles, BTW…seeing my fellow axe-wielding marauders charge headlong into danger and fight like lions was not only incredibly cathartic, it really drove home that I was part of something truly grand, something that would irrevocably change the course of kingdoms.

And…that’s about all I have to add. This is an huge game, and I fully expect to be at it for the better part of ’21. If there are any big revelations, you’ll be the first to know! Er, after me, of course. :slightly_smiling_face:

(Really looking forward to seeing where the “Twit Saga” is going. I have the feeling it’s going to be awesome.)

The whole quest to pacify Grandbridgescire was a lot more involved than I anticipated, so I decided to finish that before posting again. It’s funny, really…I’m like maybe 4% through the story and already there have been so many frustrating spots, so many “Oh, come on!” moments, so many regrettable decisions (that little misunderstanding with the options menu certainly didn’t help either). I’ve thrown up my hands and given up games for good for much less. But with Valhalla, there’s always something in the back of my mind saying “It’s going to get better, just stick with it, you’ll be happy you did.” I never got this feeling of hope from Assassin’s Creed Origins, or Stardew Valley, or Rime, or Subnautica, or Carnival Games or Flower or Gorogoa or Shantae: Half Genie Hero or Little Big Planet 3 or…you get the idea. And it has gotten better, and I am happy that I stuck with it. What can I say but…all right. :slightly_smiling_face:

Before I continue, a word about Eivor. If you’ve played the other AC heroes, you quickly got a sense of where they were from and what their motivations were. Ezio is driven by powerful emotions and an unwavering sense of righteousness, Edward is self-serving but with the best interests of his wife, allies, and community in mind, Connor is an icy avenger prone to rash actions and respects no authority, etc. Eivor starts out a complete blank slate, and thus far I still don’t have a clear picture of why he does what he does. And that’s fine, heck, arguably necessary, since there are a ton of activities he gets involved with, and Ubisoft didn’t want a situation where someone would say “Hey, he’d never do that!” (She’d, whatever.) In my game thus far, he’s stolen a box of clothes to avenge a nudist unjustly cast out of his hypocritical nudist commune, took care of a rat infestation by negotiating with a self-proclaimed cat goddess, got into a fight with an old man who knocked him out with one punch and expressed no joy whatsoever at his victory, and retrieved a sunken trinket to curry favor with the “King of Northex”, a random nobody living alone on a tiny islet…and yes, in each case you most definitely had to be there. :grin:

So I guess it shouldn’t have come as too much of a shock that the big turning point in the Grandbridgescire campaign is when Soma is convinced that there’s a traitor in her ranks and Eivor has to go around collecting evidence. Cards on the table: I dread detective work. I’m completely atrocious at it. There’s what’s presumably a super-easy mystery in Syndicate where the suspects are Jake’s buddy, a Blighter brute, and Charles Dickens, and took me two attempts to nail the guilty party! Nonetheless, off I went, running around tither and yon and trying feebly to remember what Eivor said whenever he passed by some thing. Here’s the thing: It’s really easy to stick your neck out too far here. You can point the finger at any of the three suspects (I have no idea what this does and I’m not interested in finding out), or you can go to Soma and make your accusation…and hope like hell that you’re right. You can dodge the issue as long as you like, but the game isn’t proceeding until you get off the fence and name your perp. In my case, the key piece of evidence (what I figured was the “smoking gun”, as much as anything can be said to exist in this game) was a doctored longship, which the game helpfully informed me was “somewhere in the swamps” (:roll_eyes: and yes, be prepared for lots of unhelpful guides like this). I won’t spoil it for anyone, but once I found it and cleared out the nuisances that were camped around it, it did give me confidence that I knew who the traitor was. Mostly. I hope. Point is, this was the thing that used to have me screaming in frustrating and searching the Internet for days for the answer…but this game, this time, was different. I decided to stick to my convictions and hope for the best. (Okay, I did skim through theRadBrad’s videos again, but I didn’t find anything useful). And…as far as I can tell, nothing bad’s going to come from it! In fact, the later dialogue seems to hint that you would’ve been steered toward the culprit no matter what you chose. Anyway, lesson learned, and my advice to all of you: Don’t sweat decisions. It’s was like this in Odyssey. Follow your gut and let things shake out as they may, and the experience will be more enjoyable.

Oh, another unrelated bit of advice: Don’t delete the autosaves. They’re there for a reason, and that reason is “so you don’t get royally screwed”. Every AC game has had glitches, some worse than others, and although the quality control seems a little better here than in previous PS4/XBox One releases (again, end of the console cycle, past mistakes learned from), there game still does manage to completely crash on itself on occasion. Loading a prior autosave gets you out of that jam, and having multiple autosaves at various points in the past ensures that if the first save doesn’t get you out, one of the others will. Thus far I’ve used it to escape a freeze glitch and a difficult world-event battle I desperately wanted to get out of. Yeah, it’s a bit sad that this measure is necessary, but it is, so hold on to that safety net.

Well, back to the Yule Festival. Still getting the hang of combat, but I’m thinking the arena will help with that. Oh, and if you need help with that brewery mission, ask; there’s a really nasty bug you have to avoid in that one.

This is a great game. There are some annoyances but for the most part it’s really fun. Random comments:

  1. Graphics are beautiful. They did an awesome job on this one. I’ve been playing it on PC and the draw distance and textures are crazy.

  2. Combat #1: I’m not a terribly skilled gamer but I haven’t had any trouble playing on the default difficulty. I am a big fan of Dark Souls and understand where you’re coming from but I don’t think the combat is very Souls like to be honest. You don’t lose any stamina when using light attacks which makes it way easier. It’s also incredibly easy to just run like hell when you are getting hammered and the guards will just go back to what they are doing.

  3. Combat #2: I think they did a great job making all of the different weapons actually play differently. In that regard it’s like Dark Souls. You absolutely cannot mash the buttons with the spear to win the same way you can with a dagger. BTW, I’ve found the dagger to be OP since it attacks so damn fast and you don’t lose any stamina with light attacks so just grab a dagger, level it up and wail on the light attacks.

  4. Agree on the gender thing. It’s fucking dumb and feels SO forced and pointless. At least in Odyssey both the male and female existed in the world regardless of who you chose to be. Whichever gender you didn’t pick ends up being the big boss which was cool. Syndicate handled this really well too.

  5. I love Breath of the Wild, and Links crazy ability to scale sheer rock walls but Evior puts Link to shame. Some of the climbing looks so silly because the graphics are so good and realistic.

  6. Wearing berserker armor with 40% of your skin exposed in the snowy tundra is silly looking.

  7. The giant wolf mount is super cool. I didn’t even realize I had it until I looked by accident.

  8. The biggest, and I mean BIGGEST, annoyance in the game is how so many of the gold treasure indicators point to underground areas but the entrances are not obvious and I have to run around hoping to spot an in. This can take quite a while because the environment is so lush and real looking. I’ve abandoned several treasures because I got tired of looking for the way in.

  9. Climbing to collect viewpoints isn’t as satisfying as in previous AC games because they don’t really serve much of a purpose since they don’t reveal the map. I’m not complaining but it’s a fairly significant change.

  10. I wish they would have shoehorned in open seas pirating again. I know it doesn’t fit the time period but they shoehorned in a female Evior so just do it.

Anyway, this game has taken a bit of a beating because of all the technical issues on release but the game is outstanding.

I’ve just started playing this on PS4.

  1. Having just played Red Dead Redemption 2 and Horizon Zero Dawn, I’m finding the graphics to be a bit below par compared to those titles, particularly during conversations with NPCs.

  2. I’m not sure a female Viking warrior is as unrealistic as you two are suggesting.

  1. Having watched the Netflix show “Norseman” recently, I really feel like the developers could and should’ve got Norwegian voice actors.

  2. Despite the above, it’s excellent and I’m loving it. I like using the raven to scout the area.

Are there interesting things to climb in AC Valhalla?

I haven’t been playing it for long, but you seem to be able to climb everything other than sheer ice.

But are there interesting things to climb? E.g. tall buildings or monuments, as opposed to just cliffs, trees and generic houses.

Ah. Well so far the buildings have been low and the mountains high, so the only things with a view have been high mountain peaks. I think they’re interesting, but YMMV.

Thanks for the replies! :slightly_smiling_face: Wasn’t sure anyone else was playing this.

Cubsfan - I just got a dagger, and I have a feeling it’s going to play prominently in my conquest of Ledecestrescire. I’m not strictly a button masher, but combat is so demanding…have to read attacks, have to read types of attack, have to defend properly every time, have to be in just the right position to counter, don’t dodge too many times, keep an eye on your stamina, keep an eye on your adrenaline…that having one aspect where I can just go nuts will help a lot.

In my version (PS4) viewpoints absolutely do reveal the map. Where did you get the impression that they were useless? I’m not shelling out for any of the store or Ubisoft Connect items, BTW, so I may be missing out on a few goodies.

I’m pretty sure “find the entrance” is the whole challenge to treasure finding. There should be some good guides out in a couple months, so I wouldn’t get too frustrated.

Richard_Pearse - I don’t doubt for a second that there were extraordinary women who fought in viking raids (how important any of them were is a separate issue, one which I have no interest in delving into). And I don’t have the slightest problem with building a game around an extraordinary woman. I’d just prefer that she come across as extraordinary, and that those around her recognize her as such. It’s a little jarring to see her charging into battle, drinking it up, making important decisions that affect her settlement, and commiserating with jarls and kings and everyone’s like, no big deal…because it should be. Again, that’s just the problem when you take the male Eivor and chance effectively nothing. Evie was absolutely her own person. Rule I Forget Which Eivor isn’t.

Having a blast shooting targets at the Yule Festival, BTW. All of the limited-time cash, none of the stumbles!

I’d like to bring up an issue that’s seemingly minor but is potentially a bit worrisome, and, in a way, is reflective of the issues a lot of concerned players have with Ubisoft right now. The latest update, 1.10 (which actually happened shortly after I got the game) has instituted “Balancing”. What this means is that an enemy whose level is more than 51 below yours will get bumped up to 51 below. Such enemies will be highlighted in green, which apparently is the color of “Shame! Shame! Shaaaaaaaammmmmmme!” (:roll_eyes:! :roll_eyes:! :roll_eyes::roll_eyes::roll_eyes::roll_eyes::man_facepalming:!)

Now think about that for a bit. This game has been out for, what, two months, there are still plenty of technical issues such as the worryingly common “unknown errors” and fast travel occasionally getting Eivor hopelessly stuck, and Ubisoft’s priority is making sure the game does not get “cheap”. Like…seriously, holy crap. Look, power imbalances are nothing new in video games. I remember one Battle of Hu Lao Gate at Dynasty Warriors 3 session where the hapless Diao Chan came rushing out and the player slaughtered her in one second. And yes, I once rampaged across the easy foes in Castlevania 2 Simon’s Quest with a Fire Whip just because I could. In any game where the player becomes gains a tremendous amount of power and can, or in some cases has to, go back to earlier levels with weak enemies, there will be a certain number of curbstomps in the player’s favor. It happens, and any halfway competent company lets it happen. And Ubisoft can’t even claim that they’re pandering to the “hardcore” mindset, as this change affects all difficulty levels, and “hardcore” players aren’t going to switch to easier difficulties hoping for curbstomps, because they’re “hardcore”!

See, this is what completely wrenches me about the wholesale Dark Souls-ification of the genre, the idea that there cannot be anything easy for ANYBODY, EVER. That every inch must be torturous and painful and agonizing. Never mind that most open-world enemies like Zealots start at 90 and I’m not going to be 51 over that for ages, never mind that on the hardest level even the lowliest knife fighters can be amazingly deadly, Ubisoft must constantly give the impression of its hardcore credentials and pander to the most degenerate players in the world without actually pandering to them.

This… :woman_facepalming: Absolutely baffling decision. I just hope it’s the last.

Possible related issue: Could this have something to do with the purchasable upgrades? The store has a plethora of purchasable benefits, everything from skins to weapons to shields. There’s also an experience and silver booster (and options to buy only one of them) which increase all gains by 50%. A player that gets it will become more powerful and gain vital abilities like Stomp much faster and be able to both afford better gear and upgrade them more frequently. Of course, both skills and gear are capped, but for a while, at least, such a player should romp over the opposition. Kind of like me when I used codes to get the best possible equipment in the pre-PS3 era. :wink: So could this be yet another case of a shortsighted company patting itself on the back for fixing a problem it created in the first place? Definitely some unnerving implications there.

And speaking of Zealots: The first time I fought one, it wasn’t even close. Evior’s ax bounced off of her shield and he staggered drunkenly for a few seconds. Staggered. The second time, I had a bunch more levels, enough to make it a fight, and…phew. My advice, do not mess with those threshing machines until you are at least at the recommended level the game gives you (but not more than 51 over because, well, you know). If you’ve earned their enmity (which happens very early in the game), get on your horse and RUN LIKE HELL. At least on the difficulty I’m playing at, if you ride full-tilt from an open-world enemy, he won’t pursue, and you can deal with him again when you’re ready. Oh yeah, it goes without saying that you should set up your stable and get the stamina and swimming upgrades ASAP. I’d also like to reiterate that there is a big, big disconnect from the normal enemies and the bosses, even the relatively weak ones. I recently took on Leofrith, and he was a beast. All those unpredictable attacks, all those special powers, and he took damage like a tank. Keep those rations and arrows up! Later in the game, the gear you choose and the upgrades you make to them will make a major difference, and having the right weapon and armor can make the difference between gulping down all your rations but prevailing over the Zealot and gulping down all your rations and…not prevailing over the Zealot.

Ledecstre was pretty easy after Grandbridgescire (not surprising, as both are level 20). Finishing up both got a cutscene which opened up East Anglia (level 55), which hopefully, with my experience will go just as smoothly. There is a level 90 area available from the onset, but I can’t imagine who’d want to start with that. Once I’m done with East Anglia, I’m going to take some time exploring the world and finishing minor stuff I hadn’t before. I’d set it aside because I wanted to see more of the story and, well, was getting my butt kicked when the world event was a fight; now that I’ve gotten more of a hang on combat, I think it’s soon going to be time to focus on gaining power. Oh yeah, gotta remember to do that feast buff sometime. Once I’ve gotten some of those victories under my belt, I should be ready the first wave of toughies. Your time is coming… [looks up name] …Redwalda!

It’s been quite the learning experience cleaning up the level 20 areas. Some harmless stuff, a few surprises, and a couple of painful battles I’d rather forget. I actually got pretty close to winning one of them…it’s a “witch” that teleported all over the place, I don’t really know much more at this point…so it’s not hopeless. Found a whole bunch of stuff, but nothing really a lot better than what I already got from the Yule Festival.

A word about stuff, because you’ll be spending a long time collecting it. First, don’t ever worry about money. There’s no super-easy path to riches here, but that’s fine; as long you’re grabbing everything that isn’t nailed down and being sensible with your purchases, you’ll always have the cash when you need it. For fairly easy money, set up a fishing hut and catch fish. As long as you cast your line where fish actually are (Odin Sight will help you a lot here), you’ll always snag something, and even the most marginal river-beast is worth a fair amount of silver. If you need a big payoff, put a big bet on a drinking contest. For total confidence, do a manual save beforehand…yes, loading to reset your failures, or “taking reasonable precautions to prevent a greatsword from being shoved up your rectum” (I think there’s a more concise term for this, but I’m too busy to look it up right now. :wink:) is a thing in this game, and the wise drengir…or even a thrall, I’m not here to judge…should use it whenever called for. Leather and iron ore can be found in abundance all over the country, carbon blocks (to improve the potential of your gear) are far from uncommon, and you can always buy more as needed.

Gear…that’s another story. I honestly thought I’d have better armor and a more complete arsenal by now. There are clearly-marked areas with gear, but nearly all of it is fairly mundane…I don’t think I found three pieces of armor better than what I got from the Yule Festival. Weapon-wise, aside from the two axes I got early on and a flail (which is a bit too slow for my purposes), I’ve managed to pick up a greataxe, spear, and “longsword” (a two-handed weapon categorized as a greatsword, which I suppose makes it a longgreatsword). I’m definitely going to want range against the tough enemies, and I also can’t seem to parry them worth a damn (oh, word to the wise, get parrying down, you’ll be glad you did), so I built up the LGS, and it seems to be working okay so far. You have to make what you have work because this game is really stingy with not only weapons and armor, but the special components you’ll need for the bulk of your decent upgrades. I’ve been stuck on a level 3 quiver and ration bag for ages due to not being able to find any one scrap of fabric anywhere (yes, that’s what it’s called, “fabric”), and I’ve cleaned out a lot of chests. Part of me thinks this is Ubisoft enforcing the straight and narrow, i.e. you won’t have the hardware to take on the tougher areas until you’ve gotten the earlier missions under your belt, but the cynic in me thinks the real motive is encouraging players to spend their cash in the store. The store runs on Helix credits; these can be earned, but extremely slowly, and there are a lot of goodies for sale. I have no reason to believe that the cool stuff I see on YouTube was obtained by any means other than cold, hard cash. (If I haven’t made it clear, no, I am not wasting any of my money there. I have certain standards.) For the most part, you get better gear from the harder quests, so there’s no shortcut to success other than getting taken for a ride.

Buncha general tips:

  • USE ODIN SIGHT! It’s absolutely vital for locating lootable items, friends, enemies, quest objectives, chests, treasures, fish, everything. You’re blind without it.

  • If you use a fast travel point in the middle of a quest, manually save first. This is where I’ve found the really bad gamebreaking glitches happen the most often. If worst comes to worse, just get on a horse; it doesn’t take that long.

  • If you visit a world event (the fuzzy light-colored dots) and it turns into a helmet above a pair of crossed axes, stay the hell away. These are this game’s equivalent of Epic Ships, ridiculously powerful foes. I once face one with two spears and got completely waxed in three seconds…thrust, thrust, thrust, thrust, thrust, dead (and my shield had no effect on him). Get back to them when you’re at an extremely high level and an ace at combat.

  • Don’t worry about selling stuff that has no clear purpose, even if you think it might come in handy later. When you run into that weirdo who needs viper eggs or lichen, you can always find it somewhere in the vicinity. In many cases it’ll actually spawn for that specific person. Anything truly irreplaceable can’t be sold.

  • Anyone with a downward-pointing knife icon next to him is a member of the Order of the Ancients. When you see one, drop whatever you’re doing and take him out with extreme prejudice. They’re actually pretty easy kills if you get them before they get you. One time I saw someone slowly walk up to me after a completely unrelated battle (the suspicion meter was slowly building). I took him down with a headshot, boom, dead. One time I attacked a compound with a lootable chest and ended up confronting an Order member I had literally no information on whatsoever. Another one bites the dust! :slightly_smiling_face:

  • Once you build a Seer’s Hut, you gain access to Asgard. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful land with plenty of colorful deities, and, more importantly, it’s a level 90 area, giving you another opportunity to build up precious skill levels after East Anglia. Definitely spend some time here when you get the chance!

I’m going to leave this alone for a bit until the hubbub of the holidays dies down. When I get back, it’s on to East Anglia and more Fun With Wacky Brits. Oh, and another raid if I remember. I think it’s time.

I’ll probably wait until I can get a PS5 and/or Valhalla is significantly discounted to get it, but I’m disappointed to hear Ubisoft has chosen to inflict enemy level scaling on us once again. I don’t get it. In Origins it didn’t exist out-of-the-box but was added as an option in a later update; in Odyssey it was mandatory and could only be turned down to a 4-level difference rather than turned off entirely. I like going back to the starting areas as a level-99 God of War and being able to 1-shot kill all the enemies, or being able to do a bunch of side quests first and wind up overpowered for the next main story quest. Why does Ubisoft seem to want to cater exclusively to the “everything must be a ‘challenge’ all the time” crowd?

A note on this. When you buy the PS4 version you also get access to the PS5 version, so don’t hold off just because you’d rather play the PS5 version, you get both.

Ah, January 1st. A day when almost nowhere is open and there isn’t anything good on TV. What better time for an all-day AC binge? (Damn, this will literally be the last game in my life that can take up my whole day.)

I mentioned a variety of “extracurricular activities”. Since I went in completely blind and the only helped I looked up online was the Yule Festival alehouse mission bug (BTW, I’m ready for Yule Festival to be over; it’s causing startup problems and they never fixed the misplaced marker glitches), for the edification of all, here’s what I’ve been getting into:

World events: A variety of one-off missions involving ordinary folk. Usually it’s carry something from here to there, fire an arrow at something, find something, set something on fire, follow someone, or some combination thereof. Be warned that you will have to fight some of them, and sometimes very unpredictably (Who knew nuns were so bloodthirsty?), so I very strongly recommend getting those levels up.

Cursed symbols: You’ll definitely know it when you enter a cursed area. To remove the blight on the land, you need to find an evil symbol and smash it. One blow from any weapon or (in most cases) an arrow will do the trick. For the most part these aren’t too complicated…keep your eyes open and keep firing that Odin Sight…but I’ve encountered one so far that requires fetching a firebomb over a long stretch of water (see Roman artifacts). In all, cleansing the land is an easy and satisfying task…something I’d never thought I’d say about any PS4 game! :grin:

Offering altars: An altar which accepts a very specific sacrifice (e.g. 3 hare feet, 12 fish). Make the offering and you gain a skill point. Nothing special for the most part, but there is an occasional little surprise…

Treasures of Britain: A quick dungeon delve where you search for a lost relic of the old Empire. I’ve only seen one so far.

Fly agaric: You enter a surreal world where you need to solve some kind of puzzle. Other than the really obvious one, I don’t really know how to do these. Don’t be too proud to brute-force them if you have to. Nice graphics, though! :slightly_smiling_face:

Flying papers: A less aggravating version of the ever-maddening paper-chases in 3 and Black Flag. (Hold the phone, Ubisoft made something less aggravating? Why did I ever doubt them? :wink:) The document in question is surrounded by a small cloud of leaves at all times, so it’s easy to track, and you only have to keep it in sight until it comes to rest at the end of its flight. Worth the trouble! (They seem to be mostly tattoo designs.)

Roman artifacts: Archaeological digs taking the form of short puzzles, generally involving a wall or floor barrier that you need a firebomb to blast through. The barriers are either on a different level from the firebomb or separated by walls or water; since you can’t climb or swim while holding a firebomb, you must find a way to get from point A to point B using footwork only. I had to really work at a couple of these, but overall I’ve found it highly satisfying to figure out the path and see that barrier finally meet its match.

Cairns: Think of the games in 3, but without a god-tier opponent to squash you like a bug 99.99% of the time and relieve you of enormous sums of cash. (Incidentally, I’m not touching Orlog unless Eivor is forced to do it at Predator bow-point.) A nice cool-down activity, but I’m really more interested in hearing the philosophy behind children’s games and how they shaped Eivor’s early life. Reaching the “required” height shouldn’t be a struggle for anybody.

Standing stones: A visual puzzle where you have to get just the right view to complete the image. Another one of those tasks that can potentially get frustrating but always makes me feel happy when I nail it. How can I explain?

Treasure hunting: Much like the dread pirate Edward, the vast bulk of Eivor’s plunder has nothing to do with his primary profession. Be prepared to spend a lot of time delving into crypts, climbing towers, moving/smashing obstacles, and determining just which method you need to get past that stubborn door. (Hint: You can only free a barred door from the inside, but you don’t always have to get inside to do this.) Keep in mind, too, that treasure chests appear on the map as tiny yellow dots which appear only if you set the map to its closest zoom. Don’t assume that you’ve cleaned out an area until you’ve give it an up-close once-over! (This activity, incidentally, led to an unintentionally funny moment. I was at this tower where Odin Sight revealed a bunch of treasure, but I couldn’t figure out how to get to it. I eventually found a room with a movable shelf which revealed a door. Through the I found a study that had obviously been ransacked, a note on the floor mentioning a mysterious rune stone, and a young monk or scholar dead on the floor. There was no treasure, nothing marked by Odin Sight, and no way out other than the door by which I entered. Puzzled, and unable to find the treasure, I left. Later, while mopping up some stuff in Lunden, I stumbled across the tower again. I returned to the ransacked room, exactly the way as I left it. This time I was able to find the treasure. Well, during the Oxenfordscire campaign, Eivor got into a couple of big arguments with Sigurd over whether seeking the aid of Fulke (whom I will not spoil ANYTHING about) was worth the trouble. They eventually arrived at the ransacked room with the dead monk…whereupon Sigurd berated Eivor for letting it happen because he wasted so much time arguing! :man_facepalming::laughing: I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried…)

Animus anomalies: Layla takes over to tackle a jumping/climbing puzzle that takes place high in the sky (so far these have been the biggest sphincter-clinching moments of the game for me). As with most other tasks, I’ve had to do some work on occasion, but never to the point where it got maddening. Great view, great idea!

Just a slight caveat that I haven’t gotten very far into the game so far, and there might be some real crushers down the line…I remember Black Flag having a particularly murderous ball-spinning puzzle. But based on my current experience, I have to say that the side activities have been really good and they definitely give this the feel of a game that’s worth the money. And that’s…well, a good thing! :+1: What else can I call it?

Oh, side note on the Oxenfordscire campaign. I may have to reconsider flyting. Yes, that utter bullcrap time-waster that is a complete 180 from every single value I have had my entire life. See, when I found that it gave “additional dialogue choices”, I didn’t think anything of it at the time. So he doesn’t get to sweet-talk the theyn’s sister before sticking an ax in her throat, so what? But then…on three different occasions…my choices were pay up (doable, but unpleasant), fight (something that, to be brutally honest, you should keep to a minimum; more on this in a later post because it’s getting late), or…with a Charisma of at least 2…subtly persuade the person to give you what you want. Having done something flyting-related in the hazy past, I was able to take the third option each time. I was able to blow this off when it was just Mad Trash-Talking Skillz, but now that I’ve seen a tangible, material benefit to Charisma, I…ugh. I’m not going to beat myself up over this, but now I might not be able to blow this off completely. Hmph. Maybe after a couple more raids.

I was able to dispatch a few of the weaker Zealots. There are no tricks to them; they’re just really tough opponents. The soundest tactic seems to be to nail them in the head with a Hunter bow (I haven’t gotten a Predator yet), then rush up and hit them with something heavy while they’re staggered. You definitely want to keep the toe-to-toe-ing to a minimum as it’s really hard to read their attacks, much less get decent counters (I don’t even try to parry anymore, it’s virtually hopeless) The Daughters of Lerion (the “teleporting witches” I mentioned earlier) will definitely have to wait a bit.

All right! Highly productive day! Next on the agenda, that long-overdue field trip through Grantebridge, followed by some more quality time in Asgard. Oh yeah, combat. I’m nowhere near done talking about that.

Completed the tale of The Builder (which is actually just the first Asgard arc). It took a while mainly because it’s really tedious getting anywhere in Asgard, plus I wasted a lot of time trying to get to that viewpoint where it’s not actually possible to reach in the first arc. And that chest near the Well of Urdr…at least I think I’m not supposed to get it yet. Cleaning up Oxenfordscire, which has gone mostly smoothly, but…huh. It turns out that if you don’t do all the things, you’re going to miss out on some things that could be very useful later. I’ve mentioned how flyting directly benefits you, and it happened again, when I was trying to recover a statue for Octavius. Maximillian has it, and he’s not giving it up unless you use your charms, which requires a Charisma level of 5, or pay him 130 silver. That’s it. No other options. Granted money isn’t a concern, but I don’t like having to shell out that much just to do one of my settlement buddies a favor. Also, I recently discovered that Orlog is required to get a hint for one of the Order of the Ancients.

Anyway…goddammit, I never thought I’d be saying this, but at some point I’m going to have to start over, because, as utterly demented as this would have sounded a month ago, I want the full experience. Even if it could be painful, even if it could kick me in the teeth fifty times. A minute. I remember the horrific experience that was 3, which had the bizarre games “six men’s morris” and “fanorona”, plus a checkers player whose level was “intermediate”, in the same sense that Godzilla is “intermediate” between a grain of sand and Godzilla wearing a tall hat. And all I could think was: Why? Why put in something for the sole purpose of causing us pain and making us feel completely powerless?

But with flyting, it’s different, because even though it 1. makes no goddam sense whatsoever, and 2. is pretty much guaranteed to be aggravating as hell, I won’t be completely powerless. Whatshisname (don’t expect me to memorize all these names; it’s a hopeless cause) gave me an idea of what I was supposed to be doing, I actually adjudicated an impromptu flyting session as part of a story mission, and I think that once I actually take the time to figure out how to do it right, I might be able to make some real progress here. The best part is that once you beat the opponent, that’s it, he’s toast, gone, goodbye, no rematch, no second chance. I figure, worst case scenario, with manual saves it should take no more than, oh, conservative estimate, five attempts to beat any one foe. Of course for insurance I’ll have my spreadsheet out (having my computer next to my PS4 makes things really convenient! :slightly_smiling_face:) to mark down right and wrong answers to help expedite the process. Here’s what I’ve come to realize: My problem isn’t a ridiculous, completely out of place contest. My problem is a ridiculous, completely out of place contest that I lose 100% of the time. I don’t have to worry about that with flyting…and I’ll be honest, it’s going to be satisfying shoving some snotnose cretin’s words back down his throat. And who knows, maybe one of them will take violent umbrage and fight me to the death right then and there…and when he inevitably is bleeding out and breathing his last, I’ll hold his hand and say two simple words…“Thank you.” :slightly_smiling_face: Oh, uh, Orlog. The graphics look nice, so what the heck. Only have to beat each opponent once, so unless they’re like 20 of them or something, that shouldn’t be torture. Heck, it’s my last PS4 game, why not go out with a bang.

But that’s for another time. For now, I’ve taken the time to relieve Oxenfordscire of gear and treasure. I do want to speed things up a bit, mainly because I’m loaded with leather and iron ore so treasure hunting isn’t really profitable right now (Where the hell is all this “fabric” that was supposed to be in “chests”? :angry:), and I do want to see more of the story. For the rest of this run I’m going to focus on the XP-granting light dots, as I can always use more levels.

Oh yeah…combat. How do I put this. When Ubisoft initially lost their collective minds and decided to pattern the combat in Origins after Dark Souls (this after previously ripping off the Batman games in Syndicate, which, while also an iffy decision, was tempered by the fact that I COULD FREAKING WIN FIGHTS IN THAT ONE), the result was disastrous because the Dark Souls combat model is “an unpleasant experience overall and a neverending nightmare against the bosses, git gud hurr hurr hurr hurr hurr”. Seriously, my Origins experience boiled down to “every enemy blocked everything and killed me in ten seconds”. Valhalla has kept the basic model but refined it considerably. Now combat is still something you never want to rush into and probably should avoid if possible, but if you prepare for it properly, learn the techniques, learn which techniques to use and when, combat won’t be a horrible experience, and you can win. You’ll take your lumps, you’ll look stupid from time to time, but you will be the one standing in the end. I’ve actually been in a few big dustups which took me completely by surprise but managed to survive by keeping my head on and learning how I dealt with those bastards in the past. I can’t charge headlong into a mob of slavering foes like I did with Altair and Ezio and Edward, but I can thin their numbers with a bow, hit and run, assassinate, and hold my ground once the others catch my scent. (I’ve gotten heavy use out of parries and dodges, so don’t try to rely on just one or the other.) It hasn’t been the most pleasant learning experience, but getting thrown back 10 feet by a pikemen or tossed into the next county by a goliath taught me what doesn’t work, and by eventually isolating what does work, it helped make combat…if not fun or exciting, at least a job I’m willing to do well.

As for bosses, I could fill a book with the strategies of how to deal with them, but in brief, stay on the move, don’t get too aggressive (they have a nasty habit of counterattacking right as you’re pounding on them), and, most importantly, find what prevents them from attacking. Getting whatever free shots you can when you can is the key to overcoming their health and not getting ground to a pulp. In some cases, this can be as simple as targeting the weak points revealed by Odin Sight. No joke, I took out Horsa (a level 130 Zealot) by shooting him in the weird red glowy parts; once I got them all, he sunk to his knees, I did a stun attack, and that was that (he had over a third of his life remaining at the time, too). Other times you can take advantage of their aggressiveness to catch their backs, or you can charge up something powerful and knock them off balance. Just remember that whenever you find yourself getting flung around like a rag doll or stomped into the dirt, that’s not supposed to happen. Mix up your attacks, keep your guard up, find the right technique, and victory will arrive in due course. (I’ve found that Abilities, in particular Valkyrie Stomp, can really throw some bosses for a loop, so if all else fails, definitely bring out the big guns!)

Taking another short break for the Yule Festival to end, then it’s on to Lunden. What surprises are in store for our roving hero? (Hopefully a damn Predator Bow, for one. :wink:)

I’ve found an ability/weapon combo which can seriously screw you up:

There’s a skill feat you can pick up which spawns a toxic cloud whenever you kill a poisoned enemy. This cloud can then poison other enemies, who will then spawn their own clouds when the poison kills them. Basically, that ability starts a chain reaction- sort of a plague.

There are also several ways to poison your weapon. I’ve got a skill which will do so, but I’ve also got a nice hammer which poisons on a critical hit.

Do not use this combo in a town, or on a raid, or anywhere there might be civilians. When a poisoned enemy dies, he leaves behind a cloud… which then poisons anyone- including civilians- who walk into it. And then, when they wander off and die, they spawn a cloud. Eventually civilians are dropping dead left and right and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Once too many civilians die, the game says you’ve “desynced” and have to reload from your last save point. It’s very frustrating.

So far still early days, but I’m really enjoying this game. I like the raiding, though I’d prefer the music to be louder. I haven’t looked in the sound settings yet, a volume slider for that would be good. I’m finding, on the PS4, that the game can get a bit choppy with framerate slowdowns when fighting a lot of enemies but it hasn’t been too distracting yet.

Heh. That’s the main reason I haven’t gotten he game yet. See, I play AC for the climbable architecture porn - in my favorite games of the series, I’ve climbed St. Mark’s Cathedral, the Coliseum, the Hagia Sophia, Big Ben, the Great Pyramid of Khfu and the Parthenon. What is there to climb in Valhalla? Some dinky little church spires? Landscape? No thanks.

I think the least memorable of the AC games I’ve played so far is Black Flag. I guess you climb into some fortresses and some buildings I haven’t heard of in the Caribbean? I forget.

I remember when my wife and I were in Italy and we visited San Gimignano; the temptation to try climbing those towers was mighty powerful…