For better or for worse, this piece is most probably unique in more ways than one. For one, I have only ever written similarly extensive articles for new consoles, for which it’s very, very easy to have a lot to tell. It is definitely a first for me then to have written more than 20 thousand words on a single game, foregoing all review conventions in favour of wide-ranging analysis. Open-world games are —by definition— enormous, complicated beasts and that holds true of the modern form Assassin’s Creed games have taken.
Moreover, though I cannot be certain, I feel pretty confident no one in their right mind has written as comprehensively about Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, certainly not with the goal of laying out all the systems that matter the ones that pretend to matter in order to highlight the state of the franchise, the game itself and then look to the future not so much with wishful thinking but mostly hope. Hope for the series and the genre alike.
This is the first truly long-form piece I have produced specifically for my blog and exactly the kind of article, the first such article I haven’t written in my mother tongue. This is an experiment in more way than one, an experiment that required more than 150 hours playing the game and dozens more gathering notes, ideas, organising everything and writing enough to keep you occupied for roughly two hours.
Whether you have played the game or not, if by the end of this articles you have grasped where Ubisoft stands, what makes the series unique but also backwards and why, against all odds, hope for the future of the franchise just refuses to die, my labour will not have been in vain.
I specifically wanted to make this piece friendly in ways only the web allows, without getting too fancy though. So there is a table of contents so you can easily jump to any sections of my analysis using anchor links. I wanted to keep everything in one page after the jump but make navigating between topics as friendly as possible. I’m sure I could have done better still but this is also my first go at writing so long a piece in markdown, so, please, bear with me as I learn. I’m not in the business of counting page views so there is no reason to break everything in to pages or play with the way such pages may load in order to hit a number. I vastly prefer hitting a nerve than a number.
All in all, the process was a joy and a burden —such is the way of things— yet I loved every minute of it and I can’t wait for some feedback.