Ubisoft’s latest entry to the Assassin’s Creed franchise is huge, even by the standards that the series has set to date. There is so much to do in the game within just the opening hours, and there’s even more with every hour you spend in it. Most open-world RPGs begin to feel smaller as you explore the world. Once you’ve got an idea of where everything is, it doesn’t all feel quite so spaced apart. This just isn’t true of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and I’m already overwhelmed with the prospect of exploring Norway alone. Still, I wouldn’t change a thing.
The game succeeds in presenting this colossal world slowly, introducing you to it piece by piece. This was something that Ubisoft also managed to get right in both Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey. They kept everything small and tiny in the beginning, leaving the giant open world for the main chunk of the game. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Norway still dwarfs those older opening areas though. It feels like the starting map of a game that is just about to open up. That’s both right and wrong, but it’s also just a magical place to learn to be Eivor. That’s what it’s all really about.
I’ve not left Norway yet, but I don’t feel any pressure to either. I know that the bulk of the game is waiting out there for me to explore, but I just don’t want to leave this place just yet. I want to spend time enjoying the scenery and finding everything that lies hidden around this part of the world. The game’s story isn’t going anywhere after all.
I think this is what makes these later Assassin’s Creed entries so enticing. They’re like a TV series that you can watch one episode of and be happy leaving for a month or so. There’s so much more out there to explore, and it’s well telegraphed, but the game isn’t going to stop you from being who you want to be, and doing what you want to do. If you’re still on the fence about this game, just dive in. You may enjoy the opening area about as much as I do.