Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Dawn of Ragnarök Review – Ushering in a 2nd Year of Content
Title: Assassin's Creed Valhalla Dawn of Ragnarok
Release Date: March 10, 2022
Reviewed On: PS5
Genre: Action Adventure
We have entered another year of support for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and I’m here for it. This entry has rejuvenated my love for the series, and each post-launch expansion has provided a focus on what makes this series so fun while introducing new features. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Dawn of Ragnarök blows all that out of the water, though. Heading back to Asgard in this new chapter, players can explore a more fantasy-driven adventure, which creates some enjoyable moments.
Dawn of Ragnarök is accessed in the England camp as Eivor witnesses an invasion of Svartalfheim. To dive deeper into this, players must assume the role of Odin once more on a quest to save his son, Baldr, who has been taken captive by Surtr. It’s a story of revenge that becomes a bit grander as Odin learns of sheltered Dwarves enslaved by the invading enemies. On a quest to find his son, he must seek out hidden shelters, retrieve new powers, and solve a few mysteries on the way.
The story campaign has a great 3rd act, but the opening is full of open-world exploration that weakens the weight of the revenge quest. After that, it becomes more focused, but this quest does little handholding. For example, you aren’t explicitly told where these Dwarf shelters are, but you can follow clues that will lead you to them. This mission structure of gathering information and figuring out where to go plays into many of the quests. It forced me to use my Raven more often than I ever have to quickly find points of interest.
The most significant new feature in Dawn of Ragnarök is the Hugr-Rip which allows players to take on the powers of fallen enemies. There are several powers to acquire throughout the campaign that are needed to complete quests and get through some puzzles. While this piece of tech may not translate well into Eivor’s world, it fits right in here. Further, there are just so many ways to play around with it. You can use it to disguise yourself in enemy territory, get to places faster, or even teleport. I often found myself using the Raven form to get to places quicker during exploration. This expansion has a sense of verticality, so climbing large mountains isn’t a problem when you can just fly up them.
This artifact also ties into the main quest of finding the Dwarf shelters. Here, players can upgrade the powers using materials gained through Raids found across Svartalfheim. It creates a tight gameloop of completing events to progress the campaign and flows naturally with the pacing. This makes the first half of the expansion a little more bearable because your main goal will be Synchronization and collecting every point of interest you come across in typical Assassin’s Creed fashion. Luckily, the caves you stumble across are ripe with interesting puzzles that involve utilizing enemy powers.
While the quests and new features were fun, I can’t really say that I found the enemies all that interesting. I just felt like I was fighting the same mobs from before. I mean, this time, I’m packed with too many skills to keep track of, so every encounter is cinematic, but it doesn’t come without repetition. That’s not to say the combat isn’t fun; I just found that I was more afraid of accidentally stepping in lava than facing off against seven enemies in front of me. Further, the bosses leading up to the final boss had some clever buffs, but again, the battles themselves didn’t leave as much of an impact. Still, my skills were put to the test all the same as the fights can be difficult.
There’s a lot of ground to cover in Dawn of Ragnarök, and the environment is full of ways to dumb hours of your time into. The campaign took me around 22 hours to complete, but I spent a lot of that time exploring. Regardless, it’s a sizeable amount of content for a game heading into its 2nd year of support. It’s turned into comfort food in a way for me as I return to this game across every expansion. Nothing of significance changes in terms of funny AI or a brief freeze every now and then, but I’m having fun all the same. Thankfully, anyone can enjoy this game even if they were under-leveled as the game will increase your power level for the expansion; however, you will be using loaned gear.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Dawn of Ragnarök brings us a huge dose of Norse Mythology and a much-needed fantasy element to the expansions of the base game. The campaign is intense with a strong conclusion, and the added powers provide new ways to approach combat. So even with some of the typical growing pains of a new open world to explore, if you were waiting for a good time to jump back into Valhalla, this is it.
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