Assassin's Creed: Valhalla – DLC Review
Written by Sorrosyss, December 21st, 2021

Warning: Spoilers from the game and across the franchise

It has been two full years since the initial release of Assassin's Creed Valhalla, and the support for the game has only just recently ended. The extended live service model had a large amount of content in that time, with varying degrees of success for each.

Let us take a look at the major contents now then, and decide which elements we consider were a success, those that partially worked, and those that did not work well at all.



Out of all the DLC there was one piece of content that stood out on top for me, and that was the “Crossover Stories” - which is a direct crossover between Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Odyssey. We have often seen the likes of Marvel and DC running with crossovers between their entertainment titles, so it was a nice surprise to see Assassin's Creed attempting a similar approach, as it is not something we have seen very often (save for AC3 and Liberation) within the franchise. It was ultimately very well received by fans, with many loving the interactions between Eivor and Kassandra especially.

There was also a welcome content patch for fans who loved Odyssey, where two years after support for the game had been terminated, we suddenly found a new narrative DLC and a new map added to that title. Frankly I really enjoyed the story presented, with some strong dialogue throughout and several of the threads left open by Odyssey’s ending being wrapped up in a satisfying conclusion for The Eagle Bearer. The new maps were smaller in size, giving a much more concise use of map space, as opposed to the overwhelming size of the main world maps for both games. For a free piece of content though, one certainly cannot grumble at the five or so hours provided to us. It was very enjoyable, and could potentially open the door to further crossovers given the warm reception from the fanbase here.


This DLC really impressed me. I went into it not expecting much, but was intrigued at how Ubisoft had implemented the Roguelite mechanics into those of Valhalla. Honestly, it works pretty well. I had tremendous fun trying to push on towards the next area, deciding which route to take for what upgrades, and even when I did fail, I still felt like I was improving each time – not to mention that I was also able to purchase permanent upgrades that gradually aided my performance for the next attempt.

That being said, difficulty can be a subjective matter down to an individual's preference. Looking at the trophy data for PS5, at the time of writing I can see that 7.9% of the player base have attempted the mode, with only 1.0% having actually completed it. Whilst this is not an exact measurement form, it gives us a rough idea of player engagement numbers, ultimately suggesting that effectively only 1 in every 8 players who attempted the mode actually completed The Forgotten Saga. I think that's a bit of a shame, as the story that was presented had some interesting narrative revelations, which some players may now never have the pleasure of experiencing. In that regard, locking down the difficulty to a set value kind of deprived a portion of the player base here unnecessarily. I'd propose then to still allow the difficulty setting to be adjusted. Perhaps something to consider for the next time, should this style of mode return to the franchise.

I personally see a lot of potential for using these repetition mechanics alongside the Synchronization principles of the Animus. For example, you could certainly see something similar being used to allow players to see an increasingly more accurate depiction of a memory simulation, through repetition of determination. That's kind of where this particular DLC has only a minor disappointment, in that the fact that we were forced to play as Havi and within a mythological filter. Moving this back under the grounded Sci-Fi slant of the Animus simulation is definitely of interest to me. Overall though, this experiment was definitely a success in my book, and frankly I would not be surprised to see this gameplay style return for Assassin's Creed: Project Hexe.



As the final narrative DLC provided for Valhalla, hopes were high for a fitting epilogue for Eivor. To be fair, things started off well with a continuation of the Present Day plotline, as we got to see Basim further investigating Eivor's history within the Animus. However, the primary presentation of this content was all via cutscenes, leaving the player with very little gameplay interaction, which was a tad disappointing.

For my taste, Eivor's characterisation felt a little off too. Here was a character that had spent her time in England acting as a Kingmaker and establishing a settlement of her own, yet she seemed far too keen here to abandon all of her friends and responsibilities to head out west... “because Odin”. I was hoping for a true explanation as to why she travelled and evidently died in Vinland, but there was none. It makes even less sense when you consider her main reasoning was to be closer to understanding Odin and the Isu. To my mind, Valka's potions brought on intense visions of the Isu era, that would have helped Eivor to further investigate in a greater degree than speaking to an apparent hallucination in her head (a notion she’d previously rejected), brought on by Odin's latent DNA in her bloodline.

Still, whilst not technically part of The Last Chapter, the Shared History questline was released the same day, and surprised fans with an appearance from Roshan, who fans will know is a main character from the upcoming Assassin's Creed Mirage. Coupled with the revelation that Basim has donated his blood to William Miles for analysis, in turn evidently covering why we are seeing Basim's memories in Mirage, the epilogue therefore at least succeeded as a stepping stone and tease towards the next game.


Visiting Ireland within the franchise has certainly been on the wishlist for many a fan. As such, it was really nice to see quite a beautiful depiction here of the rolling hills of the country, as created by Ubisoft's Bordeaux studio. I was also impressed by the introduction of the trade system, which gave us some new resources to manage, alongside trade posts which doubled as useful quick travel locations.

Story wise, it was an average affair. As we have seen quite frequently, the narrative was self-contained and didn't really further Eivor's story from the main game, other than her frequent role as Kingmaker extraordinaire. Given that there were teases of Irish Isu in the main game (Morrigan, Lugh etc), it was somewhat disappointing not to find any of that potential realised here. The Isu content in general took on a more magical tone in this expansion, which I'm not sure many fans were particularly keen on. Still, fully completing the map of content took me around 17 hours, so at least there was a fair amount to do here for your money's worth.


Comparatively shorter than the Druids expansion, The Siege of Paris was developed by Ubisoft Singapore. They were the studio behind the ill regarded Legacy of the First Blade expansion to Assassin's Creed Odyssey, the lore contents of which required a formal apology by Ubisoft. It was somewhat disappointing to therefore see further lore and date consistency issues presented in Siege of Paris, with references to characters who had already died in the main story, yet still supposedly present and alive at the time of this content piece.

Rebel Missions were a new addition to this map, which were reminiscent of Assassin contracts from older titles, giving players short quests to eliminate certain targets. I did find it a little frustrating though that only one of these missions could be taken at a time, leaving the player in an annoying “back and forth” loop. In the same AC nostalgic fashion, Siege of Paris brought back the concept of the Black Box missions, which required players to take on an assassination however they liked, with some additional special kills involved. Another new mechanic was the addition of rat swarms, which the squeamish amongst the fanbase found utterly terrifying. Fortunately, they could be blocked away by certain objects in the environment, but in turn they could also be used as an ability to attack enemies with. I for one would be pleased not to see the rats return through.

At around 13 hours to complete all of the content, it wasn't too bad overall. France and indeed Paris were pretty well realised, with the fields of flowers a very beautiful sight. Paris specifically was probably the most dense and parkour-apt location in all of the DLCs, as such it was a shame that the central section of the city is locked away from players after finishing the main story. As with the Druids story though, this was again an Eivor tale that had no real bearing on the wider meta narrative, and could easily be skipped sadly. On a more positive note though, it was nice to see an overlap to Assassin's Creed Unity's DLC “Dead Kings”, with the Isu site at Saint-Denis. Here fans were able to find some Isu writing, which provided some fun translation opportunities for us all, and ultimately lead to the creation of the Isu Language Hub of our own site.


The Discovery Tour mode has been a staple since 2017's Assassin's Creed Origins, therefore it was unsurprising to see its return. As always, it gives players an amazing historical insight to the lives and times of the Viking era that the Valhalla game is set within. That in itself is brilliant for educational purposes, and it quite rightly gives some positive news headlines for Ubisoft to see a number of schools using the mode as part of their curricular activities to teach students.

Special mention should be made of the fact that there was an attempt to add a storyline this time. I thought it was quite well done, how certain activities that formed the day-to-day lives of the characters were incorporated to the overall narrative. As ever though, this mode has no real bearing on Eivor's story, or indeed the main Assassin's Creed meta narrative. Whether that causes the mode to lose some overall value to the DLC on offer is a personal preference of course, still it was nice to hear Danny Wallace voicing over the content. If anyone was ever going to read us database entries, there is no-one better than Shaun Hastings himself.


This piece of content was essentially trying to recreate the secret tomb sites, as we experienced them in the original “Ezio era” games. To a degree, they were successful, as the player delved into these locations to try and solve various puzzles that evoked a similar sense of investigation and exploration. On the other hand though, part of the charm of the earliest games was that we also had parkour and climbing challenges melded into these tomb raids. The present parkour system kind of makes that a little impossible, due to its freer movement, but I can at least applaud the attempt to bring back some nostalgic elements.

Whilst the Tombs of the Fallen were fine as they are, they really did feel like content that should have been in from launch. The excitement of coming across these whilst doing our initial searching of the world map would have been far more rewarding, I feel.


The various seasonal festivals were server-side events that ran for several weeks at a time within the base game. At first, I thought this was a quite a fun addition, as players were able to partake in various activities (arena, archery, drinking etc) to unlock some interesting cosmetics – very much reminding me of the reputation farming you find in MMOs. However, that initial enthusiasm ran until the next season rolled around, and I realised the same activities were rolled out again. In short, it kind of felt like a colour palette swap for each season, with minimal creative effort put into each.

Still, it was free content. There were at least some vaguely entertaining quests away from Ravensthorpe, with some nice humour thrown in. In the grand scheme of things though, I do feel that there was no real need for these festivals, given that they were essentially being used as nothing more than a retention tool for player engagement.



My distaste for naval mechanics is pretty well known at this point, therefore to place an entire content piece around that was never going to fill me with enthusiasm. To my mind though, the River Raids was one of the worst pieces of content ever put out by Ubisoft.

The actual raiding locations were quite often identical, with the same model assets repeatedly used over and over again in an apparently lazy “copy and paste” fashion across each of the maps. Repeating the same raid mechanics, effectively resulted in players being forced into the melee “hack and slash” mindset, with no apparent consideration for playstyles that focus on range or stealth here. The result was a very repetitive and tedious activity, that bored me so quickly I actually could only handle playing it in small bursts. Yes, it was that bad that I couldn't handle it in one sitting. Frankly I was so pleased to wrap up the quests, and truly hope this weak kind of content does not return to the franchise any time soon.


This particular expansion had an uphill struggle with the fanbase from the start. When it was initially announced, fans were dismayed to learn that it was not actually part of the Season Pass that they had already purchased. Furthermore, this content was to be a full Recommended Retail Price release akin to a brand new game. In short, it was grossly overcharged, and the contents of the expansion did it no favours on this aspect either. Our team members cleared the entirety of the content in around twenty hours, which was essentially comparable with the Wrath of the Druids expansion. Collectibles were bloated to the extreme, with 148 of them evidently squeezed onto a map that was really no bigger than the other expansions, essentially signalling an attempt to artificially extend the playtime with lots of dreary wealth items to pick up.

The overall fan response was thus appreciably lukewarm. Many were not enthused to play as Havi at all, especially with his previous antagonist depiction within the main game essentially coming across as a bit of a spiteful despot. Players were understandably left with no real attachment to this character, and left missing their personalised Eivor for this expansion playthrough. Fundamentally though, the heavily steeped mythological slant to story matters left a bitter taste for the majority of the hardcore fans, where much of the new lore content was sadly left blatantly open to interpretation, leaving many gamers frustrated over canonicity. For those who made it through to the end, there was some vaguely interesting developments surrounding the Salakar device and the “Elves”, but whether any of that comes to mean anything going forwards we sadly do not know. History tells us that many of these narrative threads never get picked up again alas, or perhaps shuffled off to a comic book...

All in all, there's no escaping the shameful fact that this was a glorified expansion repackaged as a separate release to try and legitimise its steep price point. Sadly, it failed to convince most of the fanbase on both its relative monetary value, and its significance in lore.


On the face of it, this seemed like a fun addition. After all, we have had similar short challenge modes in the earlier AC games. However, actually playing these revealed a very rigid way to complete them, often requiring me to consult Youtube videos to see how on earth one could obtain a gold ranking. In all honestly, I probably wouldn't have bothered with this mode, save for the fact that the completionist in me could not let the achievements go uncompleted. It was painful therefore, to often spend ten or so minutes on a particular challenge, only to frustratingly fail right near the end and having to repeat it all multiple times.

This was further complicated by the fact that the difficulty was artificially locked at a set value. Those of us who normally play on an easier setting found ourselves rapidly outside of our comfort zones. Indeed, looking at the PS5 trophy data at time of writing, only 0.1% of players actually managed to fully complete the mode with all gold ratings. As with the Forgotten Saga, this is a mode that arguably needs the full suite of difficulty options to cater to all player skill levels (Or just don't add achievements atop these modes, to let us completionists sleep well at night). Ultimately I found it was more of a frustrating affair overall than fun, but at least there was a few narrative quests tied into it for a modicum of interest.


To Ubisoft's credit, there were actually some very useful items added to the game in terms of game options. A lot of the complaints about the base game had centred around stealth, therefore it was nice to see a slew of new settings for us to change and customise our experience in this area – and yes, guaranteed assassination from a hidden blade should always be on, in my mind. That being said, I cannot help but think that most of these options should have been there from the very start of the game, and certainly would have been more widely utilised around launch for sure. Still, at least we had some fairly useful new features such as loadouts and the armory to fool around with when we logged on for expansions. Bizarrely though, we only got the “Hood always up” option that was frequently requested by fans right at the very end of the DLC cycle, by which point it really felt pretty inconsequential.

One of my biggest complaints about the main game was the overall stability of Valhalla. It crashed so many times, I had honestly lost count at around 20. This continued until well into the second year of content, until it finally seemed to be somewhat stable. This was across both my PC and my PS5, just to confirm it wasn't really a hardware issue, more the software itself. Indeed, looking at the technical forums also reveals the scale of the problems that Valhalla has had. Hopefully future versions of the Anvil engine will focus on this area, as in my experience this really is the most unstable Assassin's Creed release by far.

As a completionist, my biggest peeve though was with the Ubisoft Connect platform. I had to raise five(!) support tickets as so many of my achievements or challenges had evidently glitched and not marked as completed. Despite providing screenshots and videos as evidence, the support teams were understandably keen to push people to wait for patches, but with each release these issues kept re-appearing – to the extent that incredibly at one point some of the challenges even “un-completed” themselves.

As Ubisoft's flagship franchise, the games should not be released in this state. Whilst we can have some sympathies for pandemic disruptions, these too were faced by other big releases in the industry, and I certainly did not get as many issues as I had with Valhalla from any other game in the past two years. Even Cyberpunk 2077 ran flawlessly for me, despite its apparently poor technical reputation. As competition in the open world arena steadily increases, I hope that Ubisoft gives this area particular attention for the next Assassin's Creed release.


Ah, here we are again. Microtransactions get mentioned in all of my reviews, namely as a critique. Every time I state how bad it has got, and every release it seems to get worse. Here's a pretty incredible statistic for you; at time of writing there are 137 available cosmetic packs on the store. By that I mean combined tattoo sets, settlement packs, armor/weapon combinations etc. Individually, there is probably easily over 1000 individual items present. Sheesh.

So yes, they are completely optional. I understand that, and have said the same previously. But at the same time, this is a single player game triple AAA release. When I log on, I do not expect to be presented with a store that looks more akin to a mobile game, or perhaps a free-to-play MMO, with menus upon menus of boosters and legions of shop items. In the ordinary course of the games industry, you either charge full retail cost, or use microtransactions to support your free game model. This kind of “double dipping” into both models really is not a good look for Ubisoft, especially when we see other major games toning down their levels of microtransactions due to the distaste level of the average gamer. Look at Elden Ring – the most critically and commercially successful open world RPG of 2022 – it has no microtransactions whatsoever. Reputedly, Assassin's Creed Mirage will apparently contain far less items on its store, and if this turns out to be true I would welcome this change in direction. As things stand presently, logging into the game is getting embarrassing, when we have often had new items added with regularity week after week. If Valhalla was a persistent multiplayer space, and we were supporting its content development, then that would be fine. Yet evidently, we're still being charged full retail cost for content too, as seen with both the Season Pass and Dawn of Ragnarok. This needs to change.


So ends the two year DLC cycle of Assassin's Creed Valhalla. This was the largest and longest live service model attempted in the franchise thus far. But what can we conclude from these two years of content? Here's my view.

Firstly, it dragged on for far too long. I honestly wanted to be done with the game back in 2020, but the constant slew of content meant that I had to keep the game installed for the entire two years. This was Ubisoft's plan after all, to maintain engagement and keep people purchasing off the in-game store. It kind of backfired on myself though, as it lead to burnout. I was repeatedly finding myself a bit tired of both the game setting and the franchise, not to mention with the supporting pieces of transmedia keeping Valhalla front and centre throughout the two years. My initial enthusiasm for the base game's storyline started to evaporate, as more and more of the above mentioned sub-standard live service content releases followed. I firmly believe that nothing released in the DLC period is on a par with the quality of the main game.

As such, all things considered there has simply been too much content. I distinctly remember logging on to do a River Raid earlier this year, a piece of content I didn't really enjoy, in a game that I was ready to uninstall over a year previously. It felt like I could never really close this chapter of the series until I wrote this review - and that's a pretty damning revelation for a series I have spent countless hours engaged on producing content for in the past decade.

In short, Assassin's Creed currently has a bloat problem. As I said in the main review, Valhalla is too big for its own good. The map is so big, the questlines so long, that the very thought of even attempting a New Game + fills me with dread. And it shouldn't. But I'm kind of relieved it was cancelled in that regard. I played many of the earlier games multiple times, willingly. The two-year live model has really sapped my love for the Valhalla title, purely out of an overabundance of content that really adds little to the overall narrative.

Thankfully, Ubisoft have made suggestions that the upcoming Assassin's Creed Mirage will be a shorter affair. I hope that to be the case. But where does that leave things with the further future? Where exactly do we stand with the much rumored Infinity project? For example, will the confirmed RPG modelled Assassin's Creed: Project Red end up another 300 hour affair?

I'll say this much. I am glad that Infinity has a persistent multiplayer space. Many of the items covered in this review, such as the Mastery Challenge and Festivals, would fit so much better in a persistent place where players can utilise their own character and obtain armor sets with a real long term time investment. A single player game simply does not support that. However, if we had some system that allowed us to create our own assassin and jump between time zones at our whim – THAT would be pretty interesting to me. Heck, it's the basis of the multiplayer proposal I suggested a few years ago.

If we can get away from these massive maps, and instead offer multiple different and shorter experiences, then Infinity could be exactly what many long-term fans yearn to return to. By putting our own character in the Modern Day setting too, we could also get away from the string of protagonists that have disappointed since the demise of Desmond. Basim, sadly, suffers the same issue as Havi – he's an antagonist and not someone that the majority of fans are ever going to appreciate or want to play as.

In conclusion, I really do not want to see a two-year service model for a single player game as big as Valhalla ever again. Part of me misses the days when we just had a single solid narrative DLC release, and that was that. But if Infinity can open up the multiplayer potential, then yes absolutely, this Valhalla live service model could work longer term. After all, the multiplayer to the franchise has basically vanished for nearly a decade now. With so many large franchises offering persistent online modes for players to socialise and play together with friends, my hope is that Infinity can finally do the same for Assassin's Creed. It would be amazing to return to playing missions in co-op with friends, like we once did in Unity. If nothing else though, should Mirage and Infinity just give us smaller and more concise single player experiences, it will at least be a step in the right direction for the future of the franchise.

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