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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla for PC is the 12th instalment of the Assassin’s Creed games, and this one takes place in the 9th century (beginning in 873AD) carrying you across Europe as you move your clan from a seriously overcrowded and war torn Norway to England, a green land of peace, prosperity and fertile fields in which to raise your crops. The UK might have a reputation as being a chilly and rainy place, but compared to near arctic desolation, it is not too bad a substiture! It is an open world action adventure game.
Siblings Eivor and Sigurd are the leaders of their intrepid band of Vikings and you play as Eivor, who can be male or female, as you choose. Do not worry about your gender, though, as you can change it on the fly, even in the heat of battle if you suddenly fancy a change.
If combat is not your thing, there is still plenty to do in the game. Visit the stable to buy horses, pop into the fishing hut before hitting the streams and lakes, and keep your equipment up to date in the hunting hut. There is even an aviary where you can customise your ravens with such details as white flashes on their wings. As an added bonus, your fishing catch or hunting successes can be sold in exchange for various rewards or as in-game currency. Being a Viking, you will, of course, want to keep your access to the sea in good nick, and there is a shipyard where you can repair, maintain, build and replace your longboat.
You will be busy at first, learning skills and crafting new items, even as you plant and raise crops, and enjoy occasional battles as raiders try and take what you have got. Establishing a bakery, cattle farm and brewery ensures that you and your clan are all well-fed, while Gunnar, the blacksmith, forges you some quite amazing weapons!
The map-maker, or cartographer, is well worth keeping sweet as they can offer you special maps, from time to time, which can point you in profitable raiding directions – well worth the investment of a little friendship and a few gold coins.
When you do decide to go on a raid, you can hand-pick your warriors from a handful of presets – all of whom can be customised slightly into a cohesive team. But it is not all battling – you can attend weddings of tribesmen, get far too drink and end up with a terrible and well-deserved hangover after rap battles that your character will be very happy to consign to the dustbin of their memory!
Alongside mere living and survival, there are subplots in which the eternal battle between the Hidden Ones and the Order of Ancients imposes upon you the need to choose a side, usually the former. In between harvests, fishing, hunting and battling, you will find time to slip away, alone, with a companion or even with your entire band, to try and assassinate judiciously, aiming to restore the advantage to the Hidden Ones.
Boost your buffs, gear and skills as much as you can as you play through, even if you think it might be overkill: the bosses can be exceedingly challenging! As well as all the above, there are many side missions that go all over the world, including to mythical places. All that is left to say is to go see the Seer as soon as you can!
OS: Xbox One
SUBSCRIPTION: Online multiplayer on Xbox requires Xbox Live Gold (subscription sold separately).
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