Assassins Creed: Valhalla – The Siege of Paris Review: An Unforgettable Expansion for the Franchise
The Siege of Paris is the latest expansion for Assassins Creed: Unity, which was released last year. It features a new narrative-driven campaign that takes place during the French Revolution and introduces a brand of multiplayer gameplay that allows players to be both assassins and templars.
Assassin’s Creed is a video game developed by Ubisoft. The Siege of Paris is Valhalla’s second post-launch addition, and although Wrath of the Druids was fantastic, Siege of Paris sets the bar even higher, and it may be my favorite narrative in the game so far. Siege of Paris, like Wrath of the Druids, takes you outside of England, this time sending Eivor to Paris to aid a fellow clan and, as a consequence, putting her in the midst of one of Viking history’s most audacious conflicts. Through a journey that is timed just about perfectly, you’ll encounter a fascinating cast of lovable but flawed people, and with a few new twists to the Creed gameplay thrown in for good measure, it makes for a memorable story.
Toka, an Elgring Clan representative, asks you to assist her uncle Sigfred in taking on the impregnable walls of Francia’s towering castle and putting a stop to King Charles’ conquests. It’s a basic concept, but it’s powerful, because once you get in Paris, you discover that not everything is as it seems, and the murkiness of motivations and intents applies to your friends as well as your adversaries.
(Photo courtesy of Ubisoft)
That is a huge element of the story’s appeal. Even the most selfless people in the game have their doubts, and you’ll have to trust your instincts to determine who to trust. Even if you have confidence in the proper allies, there is no clear answer as to how your choices will play out in the future, and even if you get the “happy ending,” you still have doubts about whether you made the correct option. It’s a testament to the narrative and depth of the connections formed during a shorter run time that these choices have such weight, and I was tempted to go back and repeat key parts simply to see how it turned out, even though I mostly stayed with my initial choice. Choices are important, so pay attention and make smart decisions.
Several personalities will surprise you along the road, and it was a pleasure to get to know the majority of them from the inside out. Richardis, Count Odo, Pierre, Sigfred, Toka, and King Charles all have their own prejudices and hopes, and they all make dubious decisions along the road, which helps to make this new part of the Valhalla universe seem real and alive. The characters and their tales are what really distinguish Siege of Paris, but there are a few additional aspects that help to sweeten the deal.
(Photo courtesy of Ubisoft)
The Rebel Missions will appeal to fans of the Hidden Ones’ history, while those seeking for fresh side missions will like the Hidden Ones’ History. These missions will enable you to increase your notoriety and improve the rebel troops sent with you by Sigfred. The greatest aspect about this system, however, is that you can purchase stuff from a store, and although the weapons and tattoos are nice, it’s the runes that truly stand out, so you’ll want to spend enough time in this system to unlock some of the new features.
The second new feature is rats, which you cannot kill and which will surround you and do you harm. The only method to get rid of them is to assault them, which will not harm them but will cause them to flee, and if there is a drain or grate nearby, they will go towards it, giving you some breathing room. You can also shoot barriers over grates and drains to release them on troops nearby, although I found that they were more of a pain to deal with than the soldiers themselves. When you tackle a big number of them, you may divide the group, forcing one half to rush towards a grate while the other just flees into a corner. Then they come after you again, and although they don’t deal a lot of damage, a horde may rapidly deplete your health. More significantly, when they continue to assault, they may prevent you from moving, so it was simply a nuisance. They didn’t really contribute anything to the game, so I tried to stay away from them as much as possible. The only other notable faults are some stuttering and screen tearing, which are only noticeable in one location and during a highly busy scene, and are likely to be fixed soon.
The Siege of Paris is an experience I couldn’t put down, keeping me enthralled until the last fight and beyond, and I’d return to this world in a heartbeat. While the game’s new mechanics don’t quite wow me as much as I’d anticipated, they do enough to support a compelling story of intrigue, tragedy, conflict, and redemption that I would recommend to anybody who enjoys the series.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Valhalla is an Assassin’s Creed game. Beginning August 12th, The Siege of Paris will be accessible.
Are you looking forward to playing Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla? Is it true that Paris was besieged? Let us know in the comments, and as usual, you can reach out to me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB to discuss all things Assassin’s Creed!
For the PS5, Ubisoft supplied a review copy.