Title: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: The Siege of Paris
Release Date: August 12, 2021
Reviewed On: PS4
Genre: Action Adventure
Since its launch, it seems Ubisoft is adamant about supporting its release of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla with numerous updated and added missions. After a short break, players who return to the game are often greeted with optional missions and more ways to explore, but the added story content is where it’s at. Compared to the publisher’s Watch Dogs Legion, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is treated to new regions introducing additional characters and features. The latest content, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: The Siege of Paris, continues this approach by offering what I feel is one of the best expansions of any in the series to date.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: The Siege of Paris finds Eivor leaving England once again to handle a growing threat in Francia. Players will then meet Sigfred, who is preparing a siege on Paris, but Eivor would like to see this taken care of with as little bloodshed as possible. This side of Eivor shows growth of character in their role as a leader. Players have agency over the approach through dialogue choices, but having negotiations on the table is far different from the battle-hungry Viking that we’re used to.
In this new expansion, players are given several options on how they’d like to approach situations. The choices are numerous and carry weight to them as you consider the outcome of specific options. It really sells the idea that you play a hand in this version of history, and it works incredibly well. Each interaction moves the plot forward, whether, in a primary or side mission, you’re constantly gaining useful intel about this region and the people that live in it.
Francia is a gorgeous environment to explore. The developers created a more condensed region this time around but included many cities and villages to explore along with vast countryside fields to admire. It really puts the previous expansion Wrath of the Druids to shame in terms of overall content, as the environments really fit the tone of the settings. The plague of rats and burnt villages can be found scattered about as some kingdoms flourish with gorgeous architecture and villas.
What’s impressive about this expansion is the sense of scale. A lot of the missions give you the option to go underground. Still, there a many tunnels that lead to treasure and resources as well. Exploration is almost overwhelming with optional tasks that aren’t required. This also ties into some additional underground puzzles that sell the Assassin’s Creed series. However, I will say that Eivor is not as nimble as the previous characters, but I think they’re fine additions to pour some time into for quality equipment.
One of the most stand-out features of the expansion is the infiltration missions, where you have several options on how you’d like to approach an assassination. I tried multiple ways, including simply rushing in swords swinging, and each path you take is fun. I will say that collecting intel on the situation offers better cinematics, but I can see how some people just want to flex their skills. These missions are tied to the main quest are add that layer of detective style exploration found in Wrath of the Druids but doesn’t weigh too heavily on elements such as following tracks.
One added enemy is rats that will test your patience as you swing your weapon to avoid getting devoured by them. However, an obtainable skill allows you to summon them onto enemies that I highly recommend. Further, added Rebel Missions are available that give players agency over the development of the camp. These missions find rebels at your side while you charge into enemy territory to retrieve items or take over a post. The coins received from the missions can then be invested into the camp to fund the rebels and improve the chances of success in battle.
As entertaining as this expansion is, I still encountered AI bugs while playing. In an experience like this, it really removes you from the action as you do your best to deal with random enemy actions. Further, my game suffered screen tearing on PS5 if I played for too long, causing me to restart my console, which fixed the issue. I believe the bugs present are ones that I’ve seen ever since the base game. Thankfully, they didn’t affect gameplay too much, but they are present.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: The Siege of Paris is an awesome expansion featuring gorgeous environments to explore and dozens of ways to progress through the campaign. There’s around 15 hours of content to dive into, packed with choice-driven events and distracting treasures. The added infiltration missions make the expansion feel like a true Assassin’s Creed title, but that also includes the limited enemy AI and random glitches fans of the series are used to by now.
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