Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is almost 2-years old, and yes, it’s still getting content added to it. The latest DLC, Dawn of Ragnarok, goes all-in on the Norse mythology, and it’s fun but isn’t the godly divine time we hoped it would be.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was the first next-gen game we played on our new Xbox Series X in 2020. At the time, we called the game another solid entry into Ubisoft’s now polarizing Assassin’s Creed video game franchise. What gave the game its legs after launch was its well-thought-out post-game DLC content that took Eivor to France and Ireland, continuing Eivor’s journey. We were most intrigued about Ubisoft Sofia’s Dawn of Ragnarok, which promised to give us a much different Assassin’s Creed experience, and to some extent, it does.
For those playing Valhalla for a year and a half, you have been hearing about Ragnarok through Eivor’s drug-induced journeys that have players reliving Havi’s (Odin) memories. At the time, they only served as side quests for players to enjoy in the massive sandbox game, teasing that the two chapters were setting up something with more enormous implications, and that’s where Dawn of Ragnarok comes in.
Players once again take control of Havi, but unlike the initial side quests, you get to use the High One’s powerful abilities on top of the typical Assassin’s Creed action we have all come accustomed to using in the games. Havi is on a quest to save his kidnapped son Baldr from the unkillable god, Surtr, the leader of fire-wielding demons called Muspels. Oh, and Sutr’s wife is also in on the fun too.
On top of that, Havi’s quest is smack dab in the middle of an invasion of the dwarven realm of Svartalfheim, which sees the Jotnar (those giant blue ice dwarves you met in the side quests) duke it out with fiery counterparts. Oh, of course, there is the whole “end of the world” (Ragnarok) that he has to worry about too.
While this sounds like a grand time, Ragnarok didn’t slap like we would hope it would. But there we’re some new features we did enjoy. Let’s break it all down.
New Way To Issue Fades
Havi is a god, but he’s not opposed to getting some help on his quest. Right off the bat, he is blessed by two dwarves you encounter early in the game with a mythical bracer called the Hugr-Rip. Once equipped, it gives Havi the ability to take the fire and ice abilities of downed Muspel and Jutnar soldiers you encounter in the game to aid you in your quest. For example, throughout Svartalfheim, you will encounter large pools of lava flowing. If you activate a Muspel ability, Havi will look like a Muspel, gain the ability to walk on the liquid magma without taking damage, and also gives you the ability to sneak up on Muspel enemies.
The Hugr-Rip also makes traveling the vast land of Svartalfheim and traversing its insanely high peaks a tad bit easier. Havi gains the ability to turn into a bird giving him the gift of flight, so gone are the days where you spend entirely too long climbing a mountain to reach a synchronization point. This is a feature the base game definitely could have used.
Havi can also teleport thanks to the Hugr-Rip, another great ability to help him quickly get from one point to another, yes another feature we wished Eivor could do. Still, we understand the character is not a god. Players can upgrade Havi’s new abilities by acquiring essential items that are thankfully in abundance that can be acquired by doing raids and killing particular foes that are never short in demand.
Havi also gets a new weapon type, the Viking atgeir, a long-bladed polearm that allows you to execute combo techniques, and yes, it’s also fully upgradeable and can be equipped with runes located in the dwarven sanctuaries scattered across the map. If you don’t want to rush straight through the more linear story arc, players can go search for divine armor scattered across the land that will further Havi’s god-like abilities. Thankfully all of the gear you acquire in the DLC will transfer over to Eivor and help you if you still haven’t finished the main game.
A Whole New World
The Dwarven realm of Svartalfheim is absolutely beautiful and stands out from the excessively dreary locations in the base game and previous DLC content. You can’t help but marvel at the giant mountains made of gold, tall statues, shattered pieces of Musphelheim objects hanging in the sky, or pools of lava located all over the map.
We appreciated the addition of Dwarves to the story, who add new life to the game on top of the deep dive into Norse mythology. Players can find locations throughout the math that will give you a brief history lesson on important events like how Thor’s mighty hammer was made, for example. Of course, the new villains and gods to encounter is also a breath of fresh air.
It’s the same dog, new tricks regarding Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök.
Dawn of Ragnarök is doesn’t do much to move the needle in terms of giving players something totally new to enjoy. Despite new game mechanics, it’s still the same formula, explore the land, go to different points on the map to investigate the glowing icons, or you can just breeze throughout the story that honestly lands with a thud despite the whole end of the world implications.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök will definitely keep hardcore fans of the franchise happy with its 35 (20 for the story arc,15 side quests) hours of new content. It’s a beautiful undertaking that brings us back to a world we got a small glimpse in Valhalla when we visited Asgard and Jotunheim. The new skills and game mechanics are fun to use and easy to master, the characters are rich, but the story is lacking, especially for the arrival of the end of the world. Still, we found Dawn of Ragnarök to be enjoyable, and when it hits, IT HITS.
If you’re dead set on completing the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, then you should, without a doubt, embark on Havi’s journey. You won’t be majorly disappointed.
Dawn of Ragnarök arrives March 10,
*Xbox Series X review key for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök provided by Ubisoft*
Photo: Ubisoft / Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Dawn of Ragnarök