ASSASSIN’S Creed Valhalla has been a massive success for Ubisoft – it’s the second largest profit generating game in Ubisoft’s 35 year history (we’re still trying to find out which game has the number one slot) – and in an unprecedented move, the developers have announced they are continuing to create DLC for the game for a second year in a row.
While the main focus of that content is on Ragnarok and events in Asgard, the developers also have something very special available now – entitled Crossover Stories, and available free to anyone who owns the base game.
The Crossover Stories are not one but two separate free DLCs, one for Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and one for Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. The Valhalla one is the focus of this piece.
Before we go any further, it’s impossible to discuss the Crossover Stories without some pretty significant spoilers, so please take note of the SPOILER WARNING before reading the rest of this piece.
Right, so if you’re still reading that means you’ve finished Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, know how it ends, or aren’t worried about spoilers, yes? Great. On we go.
Those of you who finished Assassin’s Creed Odyssey may recall that as part of the game’s events, Kassandra acquired the Staff of Hermes at the end of The Fate Of Atlantis DLC and ended up becoming immortal as a result – until meeting up with Layla Hassan in the present day and passing the Staff to her, then dying of extreme old age.
If you looked around the cabin at the start of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, you would have seen the Staff Of Hermes there, along with a note that it belonged to Kassandra – which would have been the first clue that Kassandra was, in fact, the canonical main character choice for Odyssey. The second is the fact she’s here as a key character in this DLC and not Alexios.
Given Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey takes place in 431 BC and Kassandra lives until about 2018 AD, she’s spent nearly two and a half millennia wandering the world so clearly has a lot of adventures to account for in that time.
We also know that in about 878 AD she and Eivor cross paths in the events of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla as part of the Crossover Story A Fated Encounter – the (free!) DLC that is the subject of this review.
The story arc begins when Eivor is visited at Ravensthorpe (having unlocked Valka the Seer and reached Settlement Level 4) by a woman from the Isle of Skye, who says the island’s residents are being plagued by nightmares and visions and being driven mad by lack of sleep; she implores Eivor to help and notes one of the island’s seers believes Randvi (Eivor’s settlement manager and 2IC) to be involved.
Travelling to the island, Eivor discovers an ancient artefact is causing the trouble and the woman responsible is not Randvi, but rather Kassandra, who has come looking for the artefact on the island as part of her wanderings and may have accidentally awakened something in the artefact – forcing her and Eivor to team up in an effort to deal with it.
From a gameplay perspective there’s about five hours of main quest here plus a couple of side-quests/explorations to undertake – not bad for a free DLC, and especially not one that works at a standalone experience.
The real highlight is getting see and interact with Kassandra again (although she is purely an NPC this time around), although the island itself is beautiful too, managing to have several biomes and capture the “Off the Scottish Coast” setting nicely.
Despite it’s relatively small size, there’s still quite a lot to do on Skye, although none of it (outside the main story arc) is anything new – the usual “Go here, find this thing, clear out that camp, look for this key” stuff – but the DLC is short enough that it doesn’t get tedious or grindy (unless you’re already burnt out on the base game).
I really enjoyed seeing Kassandra again, but was disappointed by how Eivor is a complete dick to her for much of the story arc, until towards the end when suddenly they’re friends and forming a bond. The enemies you encounter are nearly all island residents driven mad by lack of sleep or somehow twisted by the artefact into attacking Eivor, and there wasn’t really a “main” enemy to deal with.
Still, it’s free, it’s more Assassin’s Creed, and it’s the return of a great character with an interesting story – so it’s very much an enjoyable and worthwhile experience, and doubly so if you played Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.
Speaking of Odyssey; there’s another Crossover Story there too – also free – entitled “Those Who Are Treasured” and, according to Ubisoft, deals with Kassandra struggling to find a new purpose in life after acquiring the Staff of Hermes and becoming immortal – and having some familiar faces point her towards Isu Artefact hunting as a way to pass the time. Players can use whichever of the two characters (Alexios or Kassandra) they played as in the main game for the DLC
Both stories are out now, but I haven’t had a chance to play the Odyssey one since that would involved downloading and installing the game again, which would probably take longer than actually playing the DLC. If you’re still playing Odyssey (and apparently a lot of people are!) then it’s available in-game after players finish Chapter 1 and reach Megaris, although for spoiler reasons it’d be a good idea to finish the main game first.