Assassin’s Creed Valhalla just got bigger, which rules

Eivor gazes into the distance before Yggdrasil in Assassin's Creed Valhalla.

screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku

Just when you thought Assassin’s Creed Valhalla couldn’t get any bigger, it does. Last week Ubisoft released a free roguelike mode called “The Forgotten Saga‘, which is basically the size of an entire game unto itself. Worse, it’s actually very good. hell again!

I say damn because I’m now dedicating a solid tenth of my Xbox Series X’s storage space to a game I thought I was really done with. First published in 2020, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the latest entry in Ubisoft’s open-world series of historical murder sims. Settled largely in Scandinavia and Britain around the 9th century, Valhalla is a lot of Wild (too much, some would say). I thought I felt full after sinking into it for 90 hours – and that without even having touched any of the expansions: the Wrath of the Druidsthe Siege of Parisor the Dawn of Ragnarok.

About the…

Few genres grab me as much as roguelikes, be it the moody action of return or the compulsive dungeon crawling of Hades or the brain-stumping strategy of into the breach. Of course, I couldn’t make The Forgotten Saga forget.

How to start The Forgotten Saga

The Forgotten Saga is part of a free Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Update rolled out to all platforms last week. You have been told that there is a new quest, “A Gift from the Otherworld” in Ravensthorpe, your main hub in Ravensthorpe. Valhalla Once you reach England. What you’re not told, however, is that you must at least start the Asgard arc – something I didn’t do on my first playthrough. (Again, Valhalla is a lot of game!) This requires completing a quest for a Seer named Velka, who is on the north side of town. It’s very simple: you only find five flowers, all on the lake shore by her house.

Once you complete this quest, Velka will brew you a potion that will blow your mind. You wake up in an ethereal realm and start the Asgard arc. Typically inside Valhalla, once you start an arc you are locked into it until you complete all associated missions, but you don’t have to finish Asgards before tackling other tasks. If you go back to the entrance you can “wake up”. (Yes, that raises all sorts of animus-within-animus questions, but that’s a topic for another day.)

Back in Ravensthorpe, you can start A Gift from the Otherworld by speaking to a bearded craftsman named Everold; It’s on the east side of the village. Make your way through a cutscene – in which Everold gives you another potion that knocks you unconscious and sends you to the divine plane – and you’ll gain access to ‘The Forgotten Saga’.

Eivor fights enemies in Assassin's Creed Valhalla.

picture: Ubisoft

And why you should download it from scratch Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Therefore

Narratively, The Forgotten Saga takes place after the events of the Asgard arc and the Dawn of Ragnarok Extension. Despite looking like the main character, Eivor, you’re actually playing the Norse deity Odin (in a twist that’s so wacky knocked my brain out of my skull once before). Her son Baldr was kidnapped by the goddess Hel. You venture to Niflheim to save him and blah blah blah.

The narrative, to me at least, is secondary to what makes The Forgotten Saga such a welcome addition to one of the greatest games of this generation of consoles: it fundamentally strips Assassin’s Creed‘s gameplay reduced to the essentials.

The Forgotten Saga follows a typical roguelike structure, in which you make your way through a series of small arenas that throw more and more – and tougher – enemies as you progress. If you eliminate all the enemies in one go, a treasure chest will open with a prize. At every fork you have to make a choice. You might want to go right and earn a new weapon; That means you’re prevented from going left, which could include a health upgrade, stat-boosting accessory, or new combat ability. Along the way, you can earn “Memories,” which serve as in-game currency that you use to unlock permanent stat upgrades that will help you on later runs.

The second area introduces a time constraint. Instead of branching paths, each new segment of the map starts a countdown clock. Each segment has a handful of individual arenas. If you manage to eliminate all enemies within the given time, you can get all the rewards. But as you move through the area, the enemies get tougher and take longer to defeat, so you usually only have time to clear one arena (and thus only get one reward).

Eivor stands between inventory nodes in a menu for Assassin's Creed Valhalla.

screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku

I…didn’t make it past the second area because, like any good roguelike, The Forgotten Saga kicks my ass. But the mode reminded me of what attracted me Assassin’s Creed Valhalla first of all.

Each run starts with a random set of low-level gear: a bow, a weapon, and a shield. During my first playthrough of Valhalla, I found a sword so big it would make Cloud Strife jealous. It worked great for me, and I never really messed up my gear throughout the main campaign. But The Forgotten Saga forces me to play with weapons I would otherwise never have looked at twice. Like the daggers that never bothered me; They are now one of my favorite weapons. I skipped the main game blocking tutorial; I’m starting to learn how to use a shield now (well, sort of). In the first area, where the enemy’s health is low, I – you understand – even resorted to treating it like old school Assassin’s Creed Game: by secretly planning a series of instant-kill assassinations without being noticed.

The Forgotten Saga has got its claws into me and I’m once again finding new things to love about an older game. (It’s certainly miles before River Raids the free loot hunt mode released last year.) But seriously, after that it’s enough Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Please, Ubisoft, no more. We can only take so much. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla just got bigger, which rules

Curtis Crabtree

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