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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok review

In this review we will discover and analyze the new Assassin’s Creed Valhalla DLC: Dawn of Ragnarok

The Assassin’s Creed saga, especially in recent years, has often been the focus of long and articulate discussions. Among those who argue that the last chapters have represented a necessary and healthy change of direction and who, on the other hand (especially the purists of the saga) did not particularly digest this change. In this review we will go to discover and analyze Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarokthe new DLC of the latest title of the saga which, on balance, deviates even more from that direction to which we alluded previously.

Mythologically …

Thoughts and anxieties disturb the serenity of Eivor who, under a tree in the Ravensthorpe settlement, tries to find peace. The sleep he falls into, however, is anything but refreshing. Those sensations that accompanied it were actually heralds of a vision, through which our protagonist is transported to another world. In the premonitory dream, Eivor he then finds himself taking on the role of Havi again. After having explored Asgard and Jotunheim, now it is the turn of Svartalfheim, here presented as the kingdom of the dwarves, to which we are introduced by a new character: Frigg.

Partner of the Havi and mother of their son BaldrFrigg explains to Eivor-Odin that the very fruit of their love was kidnapped by Surtr, tyrant of Muspelheim, who in the meantime has reduced the dwarven world to a state of almost complete slavery. In rushing to the despot’s palace to find our son, we see with our eyes how the fiery hand of Muspelheim, the realm of fire in Norse mythology, has disfigured the icy plains that until recently dominated the landscape of Svartalfheim. Having already conquered Alfheim and caused the extinction of the Elves, Surtr now appears to have effectively settled the eye on the dwarves and their dominion.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok review

The plan also seems to include the kidnapping of Baldr who, having arrived on the spot to prevent his fall, was taken prisoner of the Muspel, perhaps with the help of the ever present – and never for good things – Loki. After a short search, in which we come into contact for the first time with the new type of enemies, the Muspel in fact, we finally reach the tyrant’s abode. In a huge bubbling room of steaming lava we find Baldr hanging from a rope, dying, and Surtr waiting for us.. While Frigg is challenged by the latter’s consort, Sinmara, the Havi engages in a duel with the tyrant, from which he is defeated, but not killed. While in a semi-unconscious state, he manages to see Sinmara stab her old companion to death. But soon after she is thrown out of the building and left to rot among the corpses.

This is how the vision ends and, upon awakening, Eivor is aware that it was more than a dream. She immediately goes to Valka, the seer of the settlement, bringing her the sprig of mistletoe she found on her body, a clear reference to the legend of Baldr and her alleged immortality. Valka then suggests to our character to perform a specific ritual, through which she can follow up on the vision she had under the tree. This is how Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok and our review officially begins.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok review

A World at War – Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Rise of Ragnarok review

Upon completion of the ritual, Eivor will again be transported to Svartalfheim. In doing so, he will be able to benefit from a Booster (In Italian Fortifier …), which will also allow players who want to access additional missions, but who had not yet reached the maximum level, to be able to take advantage of a full upgrade, from skills to gearable to make him face the challenges that will come with the right preparation.

The realm into which Eivor-Odin will be catapulted is a world at war, or rather, under conquest. Surtr and his Muspel have in fact invaded the kingdom of the dwarves, reducing the latter to a state of slavery. This trait is immediate and tends to characterize the entire setting. The peaceful lands of Svartalfheim, once dominated by verdant plains, snow-capped peaks and swift streams, are now covered with the wounds of Muspelheim and his army. Fire becomes the cornerstone of this expansion, creating a fort break with the cold and glacial setting overlooking Valhalla.

The Havi will in fact have to make its way through a trickle of bubbling lava, an incinerated mylna or a land ravaged by fires, continually colliding with the conflict that once thriving and peaceful land is forced to experience during the invasion of Surtr. From the first minutes of the game we come into contact with the novelties of the setting.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok review

Specifically, we discover how in a world under siege the few outposts of dwarves who resist or flee the muspel invasion are forced to hide from the oppressors. For the first time, therefore, the protagonist will have to look for clues scattered in the surrounding environment to find – quite easily to tell the truth – the shelters located in the various regions.

Within the latter, obtained in the hollows of rock formations, the Havi will find those services that otherwise, unlike what happens in the main game, it would not cross anywhere else on the map. We are talking about the blacksmith, the general store, the tattoo shop and everything else that we have already learned about during the experience of the base game. By exploring the map it will then be possible to encounter other special places. In particular, the Havi will be able to come across six places that will unlock a mythical memory linked to the creation of a dwarven artifact.

Finally, one last place to report is the Arena of the Valkyries, special place where Kara, the one called to manage the area, will give us the opportunity to relive some epic fights, in order to instruct, through the direct example of the Havi, her future soldiers in the clash of Ragnarok. In return, of course, rich rewards. The last, big, novelty of this DLC consists in the range of new possibilities that Eivor-Odin has at its disposal in interacting with the surrounding environment. To understand this point better, however, we need to get to the heart of the gameplay.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok review

Skills and Powers – Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Rise of Ragnarok Review

The wind of greatest freshness in this expansion is in fact given by new skills on which our protagonist can count, all defined by the great gift of which the Havi is honored at the beginning of the game by the two dwarves who recover it from the pile of corpses. The latter explain what is happening in Svartalfheim, making her understand that Surtr is actually a common enemy both to them and to him. After a short search, therefore, the character will acquire l’Hugr-RipHugr’s Predator bracelet, a magical artifact that allows you to channel well five different powers and use them throughout the story. To use these skills it is necessary to fill the hugr bar, rechargeable by absorbing the fruit of large flowers (of hugr, precisely) present in the map, or by sacrificing health at special altars.

The powers, as we said, are five and can be acquired through the corpses of some Muspel that possess the characteristics. It is possible to store two powers at a time, depending on what you find and the challenges that the setting offers us. The first skill we come into contact with is the Power of Muspelheima fundamental enhancement as it makes us immune to lava and fire, allowing us to walk on incendiary streams.

Furthermore, this power transforms our appearance into that of a Muspel, at least to the point of direct provocation. Muspelheim’s Power can be upgraded both in duration and by adding Muspelheim’s Fury, which grants a blast with air damage to heavy attacks. Another enhancement is the Power of the Raven, which allows the Havi to identify with its guiding spirit and therefore to be able to fly itself, thus reaching previously unthinkable heights. In addition to enhancing its duration, this ability can be complemented by Raven Assassination, which allows you to carry out aerial assassinations directly in the flying form.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok review

Allies of the Muspels, the Jotunheims also grant a power accessible via the bracelet. In particular, the Power of Jotunheim it allows, by hitting it with the bow, to teleport the character to a World Node, particular targets strategically scattered in various points of the map. This power also disguises our appearance, making us similar to Jotuns. With a dedicated upgrade, each stealth assassination in this form increases the duration of the Power by another 15 seconds, while another allows for teleportation even by hitting enemies directly with the bow. Again, the Power of Winter deals 30% more damage to Muspels, which progressively freeze. After freezing, enemies can be shattered.

With Winter’s Wrath, the shattering of Muspels causes a glacial explosion, while Biting Cold increases damage and freezing speed. The Power of RebirthFinally, in addition to granting fire damage to your attacks, resurrects slain enemies to temporarily fight alongside you. With Instant Horde, corpses within a 10m radius are instantly revived, while the Draugr’s Shield reduces damage by 20% and eliminates movement impediment.

To get each of the two upgrades listed for each power, you need to use a new mineral, the Solar Flint, obtainable in the raids that we will find also available in Svartalfheim. Once the right amount has been reached, it will therefore be possible to change the bracelet at the blacksmith’s shop in the dwarf base camps. The powers of the hugr will give the Havi access to a whole host of new dynamics, both in its interaction with the external environment and in dealing with enemies.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok review

New Enemies to Face – Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Rise of Ragnarok Review

The last great chapter concerns precisely the antagonists of this DLC. To be honest, this section has no big news. The enemy classes remain the same that meet in the main game, but change their characteristics, as we have seen. In addition to Jotun and wild animals, the fighting will take place for the most part against the Muspel, subjects of Surtr and invaders of Svartalfheim. Being composed of living fire, the Muspels make flame their main force, using it in different ways and moving freely in the fiery rivulets.

In general, however, the Havi will face simple soldiers, archers, berserkers, tanks, launchers and all the other types already known. Some bosses will use the lava even more to their advantage, regenerating within it. Finally, it should be noted the presence of the Chosen of Sinmara, …