Assassin's Creed: Valhalla - Wrath of the Druids – Non-Spoiler Review
Written by Sorrosyss, May 12, 2021

Wrath of the Druids is the first major narrative expansion for Assassin's Creed Valhalla, and indeed the first offering in the purchasable Season Pass. This is also actually the first major content created for the franchise by the Ubisoft Bordeaux studio. Within
this new narrative, Eivor travels to Ireland and becomes embroiled in the politics of the Irish Kings, as well as the establishment of local trade routes, all whilst exposing a plot of major importance involving a secretive new druid cult known as the Children of Danu.

Ireland is pretty well realised here, and its famous rolling hills are quite the splendour to behold. Rather than the entirety of the isle, you are treated to four specific regions, these being Dublin, Meath, Connacht, and Ulster. As is expected, there is some re-use of graphical assets from England, but for the most part it does have its own unique feel, and hearing irish accents around you certainly adds to your immersion as well. Unfortunately there are no story World Events in Ireland, with map mysteries mostly left as cairns, altars, or hallucination battles – here termed as Trials of Morrigan. There are several artifacts to collect though, which detail some Irish history and mythology.

A new feature added purely for Ireland is that of the trade system. This utilises a variety of resources that can be found across Ireland, as well as by raiding specific locations. You can actually find and reclaim trade posts across the world map, which in turn help generate new resources. Within Dublin you can then trade these resources with other nations, and this offers the player a good selection of weapons and armor to collect as rewards. Fortunately these are pretty swiftly obtained, and do not feel as “grindy” as these kind of systems can often feel.

In terms of major characters, Eivor initially meets Flann Sinna, the newly crowned High King of Ireland. Eivor assists the King with his
plans for the wider irish nation, and in turn meets Ciara ingen Medba, his court poetess. Finally, there is also Deidre Na Linni, a friendly Druid who assists the protagonists. The characters are regularly pitted against their major foes, the aforementioned Children of Danu and much like the Order of the Ancients in the main game, you are once more assigned the task of tracking down the Druid leaders, and bringing an end to this mysterious and deadly cult that threatens the future of a unified Ireland. Before you ask, yes there are werewolves amongst the creatures the Children of Danu can control, but these only visually appear to Eivor due to the use of hallucinogenics by the Druids.

Naturally this is a non-spoiler review so I won't go into any great detail (especially as we will cover the narrative analysis in a future article), but the majority of the storyline revolves around Eivor's Kingmaker activities. In terms of a historical story, it is pretty strong, with a lot of memorable and likeable characters. It easily rivals the general quality of those you can find in England. In
terms of overall playtime, you are probably looking at around 13 hours to complete all of the major storylines. Indeed, it took me a grand total of 17 hours to completely finish all activities on the entire map. In that regard, for a first expansion it certainly offers a solid amount of content and good value for your money.

With all that said though, the expansion does bring some slight disappointment. The expansion maintains the same general instability as the main game alas, and I suffered three crashes to desktop during my expansion playthrough. In terms of narrative, sadly the teases left in Valhalla itself for the Isu of Morrigan and Lugh amounted to little more than the mythological versions which are mentioned in text here, with neither making a visual appearance at all. This did feel like a bit of a missed opportunity, and the Isu content in general is heavily steeped on a fantastical spin that takes away from the experience somewhat. The depiction of magic here is pretty heavy honestly, and whilst it fits the theme of the expansion, it does feel that we are drifting further and further away from the core narrative of the Assassin/Templar war and the Sci-Fi themed Isu casting their shadow over humanity.

If you are going into this expansion expecting a continuation of Eivor's story after the ending of Valhalla, you will be disheartened to hear that the events of Ireland take part prior to the conclusion of the game. There is also sadly no Modern Day content whatsoever, I am sorry to say to all the “Baesim” fans. However, you can easily appreciate that Ubisoft probably did this deliberately to offer a piece of content that is self-contained, and does not impact on the wider storyline. The issue there is whether players will feel the same level of interest and investment, especially as the Assassin's Creed Odyssey DLCs pushed the main game storyline forwards. There is therefore almost a level of expectation from what came before, that Wrath of the Druids sadly falls short on here. All in all, it is a solid and enjoyable experience for an expansion, but its own self-containment also means that fans can quite easily bypass this content with no real impact to their main Eivor story. If you have always wanted to experience Ireland as a setting though, picking this up should be a no brainer for you.

Wrath of the Druids is available May 13th on all valid gaming platforms. It is purchasable individually, or forms part of the available Season Pass. Our sincere thanks to Ubisoft for the early access opportunity.

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