Spoiler-Free Tips For Starting Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
The recent entries in Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series have grown into massive open-world RPGs that can take upwards of 60 hours to complete, and the latest entry, Valhalla, is no exception. We wouldn’t blame you if you got lost in some of its systems and mechanics. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Here are 11 spoiler-free tips to keep in mind as you explore Anglo-Saxon England with your fellow Viking settlers.
Upgrade Your Weapons & Gear Twice
You have two ways to improve weapons: One is at weaponsmiths, where you exchange ingots to upgrade your gear’s overall quality. The other is through your inventory menu, where you can use various collectible resources to boost your gear's stats. Each time you upgrade an item at a smith it unlocks more upgrade opportunities from the inventory menu, so don’t forget to take advantage of both upgrade routes when you find gear you really love. Also, when you upgrade your inventory at a smith you unlock the chance to equip runes, which offer additional boosts to your stealth, attacks, health, etc.
Keep An Eye On Set Bonuses
You might be tempted to simply equip the most powerful gear in your inventory, but some gear items are part of larger sets. If you equip several items that are a part of a set, you gain additional bonuses that boost your attack speed, offer health buffs, or increase your armor when wounded. If you have a set bonus you like, then you’re probably better off focusing on upgrading that armor set rather than breaking the set to equip a single stronger item.
One-hit Assassinations Are Possible
Assassinations are literally the name of the game here, and Ubisoft Montreal has made it easier to take down most enemies with a single blade to the back. However, like Origins and Odyssey, you occasionally encounter enemies who won’t go down that easy. You can buy the Advanced Assassination skill to take out stronger enemies, which involves a brief minigame to ensure you line up your killing blow properly. But if you prefer a sure thing, you can turn on guaranteed assassinations from the gameplay options menu, so even the sturdiest enemies will fear your blade.
Explore The Options Menu Fully
While we’re on the subject of the options menu, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla's features are incredibly customizable. Within the various options menus, you’ll find ways to make the icons on your map bigger, turn off individual HUD elements, adjust the types of inputs needed for quick-time events, and even modify the length of time you need to press a button during long holds. Explore your options fully to create the experience that’s right for you.
Don’t Forget About Your Mount
The opening area in Valhalla is incredibly mountainous, and it's actually easier to hoof it from place to place in some areas. But once you arrive in England, don’t forget about your horse, as it’s still the fastest way to get around. You can call your mount by tapping left on the d-pad, but if you hold that button you’ll automatically mount your horse when it arrives, which is extra handy.
Don’t Dismiss Flyting
As you explore, you’ll encounter several NPCs who challenge you to a Flyt, which is based on the actual ancient art of exchanging insults in rhyme. These sequences ask you to pick between several dialogue options that not only insult your opponent, but match the rhythm and verse of the conversation. I think they’re fun, but even if you don’t, you might find them valuable as they improve your character's charisma, which in turn provides you with additional dialogue options in other conversations.
The raids on Valhalla’s map correspond to the recommended power level of their region, so if there’s a monastery in an area that is power level 90, you should raid it when you’re around that level. Raids are the best way to gain materials for upgrading the buildings in your settlement. If you’re struggling with any particular raid, try sneaking into the area solo and assassinating a few of the guards before calling in the rest of your Viking party to finish the job.
Settle Into Your Settlement
Your settlement is an important part of the journey. Return to it regularly and use materials to upgrade your buildings. As you build your town, your renown grows, which opens up new building opportunities. Most of the buildings in your settlement have a purpose as well. For example, the cartographer sells maps that make it easy to hunt down valuable goods in the world.
Don’t Wander Far For Wealth Items
Wealth items are marked on your map with a gold icon, but finding them in the world can be tricky, since they might be buried underground or locked behind a door. Thankfully, you don’t need to travel far to find your way inside. Use your Odin’s Sight (R3) to reveal interactive spots in the world. Sometimes you might need to smash a barrier blocking a window, shoot a lock through a hole in the wall, or find a key, but you shouldn’t need to wander too far from the spot marked on the map. Nearby notes sometimes offer clues about how to get the wealth if it’s not easily apparent, and secret entrances are often marked on your compass.
Keep An Eye On Your Stamina
Most attacks can be parried if you block at the last second, opening enemies up to quick finishers. On the other hand, enemy attacks with a red aura can’t be blocked, so you’ll want to dodge them. Both parrying and dodging require stamina, so if you’re struggling to defend yourself during battles, it might be because you’re spamming the heavy attack button or dashing around needlessly, draining your stamina too quickly. Aim to reserve a little stamina at all times just in case a heavy attack comes your way.
Dual-Wielding Isn’t Always Better
Dual-wielding two of the same weapons is fun and opens up additional combos, but leaving one hand unarmed actually makes your attacks a bit stronger. Neither option is necessarily better, but experiment with both; you might find a new playstyle you really like. For example, dual-wielding shields is an absurd kind of fun.