Assassin’s Creed Valhalla sure is one many gamers’ wish lists for this holiday season. After all, Ubisoft impressed in late 2018 with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (see here for a review), and fans of the Assassin’s Creed series must be expecting Valhalla to reach the same heights as the earlier Assassin’s Creed game.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, though, is set hundreds of years after Odyssey (which had an ancient Greece setting), and takes place at the time of the Vikings in the 9th century. In the game, Norse warriors are leaving their homes on longboats and setting a course for England in order to begin their bloodthirsty invasion of the British Isles, as can be seen in Ubisoft’s trailer below.
What’s different this time around compared to previous games, is that the Assassin order actually exists when Valhalla kicks off in 873. In the two previous games of the series (Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey) the order had not actually come to be yet. And while it’s not clear how Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s protagonist Eivor becomes an Assassin or whether he starts out the game already being a member of the mysterious hooded order, we know he gets to wield the iconic hidden blade as seen in Valhalla’s spectacular cinematic trailer.
Only this time the hidden blade won’t be as hidden, as Eivor will wear it on the top of his wrist instead of his inner forearm. Ubisoft recently explained the reasons for this via narrative director Darby McDevitt, who said on Twitter (via GameSpot) that this had to do with the Viking’s sense of honor.
“It’s something that Eivor feels very strongly about. When he or she gets a hold of this hidden blade, it occurs to Eivor that it would be much more interesting to let people see this weapon, to be conspicuous about it. Vikings were known as having a sense of honor and it was very important that when you killed somebody, that you let people know that you killed them”, said McDevitt.
Taking McDevitt’s words into account, then maybe we shouldn’t be calling this Assassin weapon a “hidden blade” anymore? But aside from the way Eivor wears the blade (in a way that it is visible to his enemies), it will work like it did in previous Assassin’s Creed games. More importantly, it will be just as powerful as in the early Assassin’s Creed games, letting you kill your foes in a one hit stealth attack.
This is actually a significant change in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, as both in Origins and Odyssey the hidden blade would have to be upgraded before you could assassinate targets in one hit, otherwise some of the more powerful enemies would be able to resist the attack.
Making the hidden blade “instakill” right off the bat again was a decision by Ubisoft in order to bring back “an identity and uniqueness” to the series, as the game’s creative director Ashraf Ismail said in an interview.
It’s a relief to know, then, that the iconic hidden blade will be just as powerful here as in the first Assassin’s Creed games, even if it won’t actually be a “hidden” weapon anymore. But it will surely be great if Assassin’s Creed Valhalla turns out to be another great entry in the series when it hits shelves later this year.