Assassin's Creed Valhalla
Courtesy of Ubisoft

Four hours prior to writing this article, a 30-minute-long gameplay video of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was leaked. We know it was intentional but not for what reasons. When these leaks happen, there are always multiple reasons. But soon enough, the video was taken down. And as you know, once something’s on the internet, it’s impossible to take it back. The 30-minute gameplay leak features the open-world, naval combat, upgrades, cinematics, and more.

The footage is from an older build and it is a work-in-progress. So, we can’t judge the final game from what we saw in the leak. A lot of things we see, however, gives us an idea of what the final product would be like.

Note: The video has been taken down but there are re-uploads of it everywhere on the internet. We won’t present any screenshot or visual material from the video. We can, however, still discuss what we saw and clearly express how we felt about the game based on the leak.

And by the way, there are story spoilers ahead. So, proceed at your own discretion.

Here’s everything we know from the 30-minute-long Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Gameplay Leak

Riding To Mission

The video starts with you playing as a female Eivor, riding your horse to a mission. A Fury from the Sea – Travel to the Forward Camp. A white line on the road helps you navigate and reach your mission. I believe this works when you have a mission on your radar, or when you’ve set a waypoint. It’s sunset, everything’s red and orange, there are settlements, and people are walking down the street. In one frame, you can see another Viking warrior just standing across the street with his family. We also, move past a settlement we can enter-a tiny white dot indicates it. And like every game, people just freak out for no reason when you ride past them. The entire Viking village is huge and non-linear.

From the very first moment, the environment reminded me of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Refreshed my memories. But the game does have that Assassin’s Creed-magic.

Next, we ride under a bridge and the player starts to sprint. On the way, you can collect flowers and plants. Now, we’re marching towards some wolves. Oh, by the way, the open-world is gorgeous. The enemy indicator is back. A wolf attacks you that throws you off your horse, the other kills your horse. Their attacks are weird and the AI is terrible. They charge before their attacks which gives you a moment to dodge and counter. Soon, your Viking members come to rescue. For each fallen wolf, you get leather. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Eagle Vision renamed Raven Vision, allows you to see enemies highlighted in red. Now, the wolves’ mouths were highlighted, which could mean two things. One, the parts which attack you are highlighted, or the parts where the enemy’s the most vulnerable.

When we reach Finnr, the person we have to talk to, we get a glimpse of the beautiful sunset.

Initiating the mission

You reach Finnr, your captain…? (I’m not sure) and you exchange a few dialogues. You prepare for a battle with Rued’s clan, and you have a few Anglo-Saxon men on your side. Once the exchanges are over, we get an isometric view of the hill and it was a good view. A sequence plays where all the Anglo-Saxon men are preparing for the battle while Eivor prays to win the battle. Next, another dialogue exchange with Finnr, and we go sailing. Eivor is at the tempos. Interestingly, no one was rowing the longship.

It’s dark, and it’s raining. A few droplets fall on our camera and produce a great effect. There are flashes of lightning as well. More than five longships are sailing with us together. Now, Rued’s clan blows the horn and spots our longships. The sky bleeds fire as arrows come blazing towards us in full force, in waves. You brace. The arrows are unstoppable now.

A deadly bolt of lighting adds to the beauty of the scene. To be honest, if that many arrows hit any longship, it’d have drowned. But, it’s a game, so we’ll let it go. After a couple of such waves, we reach the seashore, the game loads (annoying), and we see Eivor marching forward with a torch. Eivor jumps into the water, dives underwater, and the boat crashes, destroying the Brugh Castle shipyard gate. When the gate dissolves into pieces, the visuals are so bad it reminded me of some game I played ten years back. Moving on.

The whole castle is on fire, burning, and damaged. Now, we’re moving forward to destroy Rued from the core. You can use light rams to destroy obstacles like wooden gates. You interact to help your soldiers push the Light Ram, and you break the first wooden gate. You move forward towards the second gate, and although there are numerous enemies roaming around, none attacks you when you’re handling the Light Ram. Ethics. Arrows from the castle walls, however, hit you and your body turns red (highlight) to indicate any upcoming attack.

Now, Eivor and her allies try to break through the main gate but fail. So, there’s more combat. Some animations are good, and there’s one enemy who holds the round shield with his two hands and hits you hard on the head. That was really funny and interesting.

So, the player keeps on trying to break the gate and realizes they can just climb up the wall. Easy. Then Eivor says she can break the gate from the behind. The entire scene reminded me of Assassin’s Creed Unity’s opening. And in my opinion, that was better.

Eivor climbs walls faster than she runs on the ground. Just a small observation.

Combat

The combat is pretty much from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Well, at least that’s how I felt. It’s enemies charge and attack, you dodge and counter. I don’t know why these attack sound effects feel so rushed (even in Odyssey). I’ve heard great sword clash sound effects or any sound effects in video game combat for that matter. But these, they just put me off from the combat completely. Once you finish an enemy, you get XPs and silver coins. You can carry dead bodies as well.

There’s one special ability that, once the game allows you to finish off an enemy, plays an animation where Eivor slashes the enemy’s head and it goes flying in the air. Another one enables the charged kick. There’s also a stun attack. There’s another animation in which Eivor shoves her sword into the enemy’s guts and doesn’t care to pull it back. She leaves it where it is. Once you clear the enemies, a Nordic song plays in the background.

There are armored enemies, who can be easily killed off if you shoot fire arrows at them. Fire arrows directly drain their base health and not the armor.

Just like the sound effects, the arrows, when they go past you, that animation is so bad it makes the game look childish. And yes, I had the same problem with Odyssey.

There’s a lot of spilling blood and if you slay more enemies in closed-quarters, your entire clothes turn red, smeared with dead blood.

There’s this particular ability on RT that throws axes rapidly. I liked it. The disadvantage? You can unknowingly hit your own men and they’ll…not stand on their feet again. (They will, of course)

And by the way, the move where the enemy hits you with their shield is a common one. Everyone does that. You can do it too, in an animation.

Parries break enemies’ armor and they’re stunned for a few seconds. So, that’s when you hit them. Also, if you get the chance to stomp enemies, please do. That has the highest damage from what I’ve seen so far. Even in boss-fights.

There’s a mini-boss enemy type called the Slayer. Which, our player defeated quite easily. Although if you can’t get out of their sight on time, they’ll charge and kick you and your health drains rapidly.

Also, your attacks actually break shields. If you continuously hit the shield, they’ll break down into pieces. That’s a nice detail.

After the Final Gate

There’s another cinematic where we see the merchants and farmers slay down some enemies. Eivor’s eyes catch sight of Oswald, being held, hostage. There’s an exchange between Rued and Eivor and Rued challenges Eivor to come and get Oswald as a trophy if she wins the battle. Rued is another Viking and this isn’t a fight with the British. Not until now, at least.

We also regroup with Valdis, another female Viking warrior, and continue the fight. You know, the customary fights before you reach the boss? Yeah, that fight. During the fight, some NPCs (both allies and enemies) were just standing, doing nothing. Well, it’s an early build, so I won’t complain, but in the middle of a battle, that was funny.

The blood on your clothes was gone since there was a cinematic in between, I believe.

Now, we’re done with the underlings and we’re ready to battle our boss for the evening, Rued.

Boss-fight – Rued

As soon as you climb up and reach Rued, his wolf “Hunting Wolf” charges on you. Now Rued starts hitting you while you’re fighting the wolf, and must I remind you, the wolf’s strong. Rued throws this fire-arrow-kinda thing at you, and also wields a huge sword. And he can flame up his sword.

Rued bends the knee once you defeat him. His fight is against Eivor treating Oswald of East Anglia as equals and trying to give him back his crown. Eivor tries to kill Rued when Oswald stops her from doing so and says that he should be put on trial. Eivor agrees and Rued is taken away.

Speak to Oswald

Before you speak to Oswald, you gotta steal that quiver of arrows to the left of him. You know, loot’s necessary. You initiate the conversation, Finnr and Valdis joins in, and turns out, Oswald is to marry Valdis. Valdis is a Viking. Interesting. And they kiss? Now, that all are done, we know we have a wedding to attend soon.

Free-Roam

The player dresses up Eivor by removing shields and the bow to look more like a civilian, prepared for Oswald’s wedding. Eivor then frees some trapped people. And that’s your game.

Solving the Plot

During Rued’s boss-fight, Rued says, “They should be ruled, Wolf-Kissed! Made thralls (slaves), not treated as equals. We are better than this! Than all of them!” This indicates Eivor is friends with Oswald and was helping him take his throne back while Rued, as he rightfully should, was against it.

Oswald here is Oswald of East Anglia, and a Viking is helping him take his kingdom back? Well, Oswald was the successor of Edmund the Martyr, who was the king of East Anglia until his death by the Vikings. The kingdom of East Anglia was “devastated” by the Vikings.

Rued here warns Eivor that they should fight Oswald, not for him. According to Wikipedia

Evidence suggests that during the period between the death of Edmund the Martyr and the return of Guthrum to East Anglia in 880, Oswald and Æthelred II of East Anglia (not the “Unready”) ruled the East Angles as client kings. It is possible that the East Anglian aristocracy had been almost, but not entirely, extinguished by the Viking attacks that resulted in Edmund’s death, and that in the years when Oswald, Æthelred and Guthrum successively ruled the kingdom, there was a period of opposition or defiance against the Danish leadership.

Æthelred I was the brother of Alfred the Great who we saw in Valhalla’s cinematic trailer. But Oswald ruled East Anglia with Æthelred II. So, it could very well be a betrayal story where Eivor helps Oswald take back his crown by fighting all odds and their own people, but in the end, gets betrayed by Oswald.

An excerpt from Alred The Great’s Wikipedia page

This is also the period in which almost all chroniclers agree that the Saxon people of pre-unification England submitted to Alfred. In 888, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Æthelred, also died. One year later Guthrum, or Athelstan by his baptismal name, Alfred’s former enemy and king of East Anglia, died and was buried in Hadleigh, Suffolk. Guthrum’s death changed the political landscape for Alfred. The resulting power vacuum stirred up other power-hungry warlords eager to take his place in the following years. The quiet years of Alfred’s life were coming to a close.

Another detail is that Oswald and Æthelred II were sub-kings, known only from numismatic evidence under Norse suzerainty. So, we don’t know what’s the actual story, just yet.

In-Game Menu

The in-game menu screen shows the following tabs –

  • Abilities
  • Skills
  • Inventory
  • World
  • Quests

In East Anglia, our suggested power is 55, wealth is 6/15, mysteries 8/15, and secrets found 3/15.

The Skill Tab

Node types – Equipping earned skill points on nodes will enhance fight-related stats.

Stat nodes improve base fighting stats.

Main skills unlock new passive fighting moves.

Global Power – Active skill nodes will also increase your overall power. This will increase your base stats and so your ability to survive the world.

Wolf Power – Blue nodes increase your wolf power and provide bonus to all wolf-aligned gear.

Bear Power – Red nodes increase your bear power and provide bonus to all bear-aligned gear.

Raven Power – Yellow nodes increase your raven power and provide bonus to all raven-aligned gear.

Different path names –

  • WOLF POWER
    • A New Beginning
    • Bow to Melee Link – Alternating between the bow and melee attacks deal extra damage for a short time.
    • Melee Attack Training – Increase your Melee Attack (You can acquire)
    • Range Attack Training – Increase your Range Attack
    • Vitality Training – Increase your Maximum Health
    • Range Resistance Training – Increase bonus armor against all Ranged Attacks.
    • Abilities Training – Augments the damage of all abilities
    • Stealth Training – Increase your Stealth Attack (all attacks from stealth, including Ranged and Melee)
    • Hunter Bow Combo – Release your arrow as you finish drawing it to make the next one draw faster.
  • BEAR POWER
    • Stealth Training – Increase your Stealth Attack (all attacks from stealth, including Ranged and Melee)

In terms of equipment customization in the Inventory tab, you have your Quiver, Rations, hood, bow, different weapons for either hand, torso, helmet, shoulder pads, boots, and your bag. Your bag includes materials like leather and three others.

The Inventory Tab

The axe Eivor uses in the video is called Drengr’s Axe – Refined Bearded Axe (Bear Power).

It yields –

  • Attack – 69
  • Speed – 49
  • Impact – 79
  • Crit-PRC – 83
  • Rating – 4/10

You can upgrade it. It requires 83 carbon ingot and 47 leather. The level-five upgrade increases Attack to 76 (+7),  Impact to 88 (+9), and Crit-PRC changes from 83 to 88.

Raven Clan Torso (Superior Torso) yields –

  • Armour – 9
  • Evasion – 15
  • Weight – 7
  • Level – 3/10

Upgrade requires 16 carbon ingot and 48 leather. Level-four upgrade increases Armour to 10 and Evasion to 16.

Raven Clan Helmet (Superior Helmet) yields –

  • Armour – 9
  • Evasion – 15
  • Weight – 7
  • Level – 3/10

Same upgrade stats as Raven Clan Torso.

Raven Clan Bracers (Superior Bracers) yields –

  • Armour – 9
  • Evasion – 15
  • Weight – 7
  • Level – 3/10

Same upgrade stats as the above two.

Same for Raven Clan Pants (Superior Pants).

Places

  • Northwich
  • Forward Camp
  • East Anglia
  • Elmenham
  • Saxon
  • Dane
  • Helheim
  • Burgh Castle
  • Niflheim
  • Wensum River
  • Yare River

People

  • Eivor
  • Finnr
  • Valdis
  • Theotford
  • Oswald
  • Rued

Objectives

  • A FURY FROM THE SEA
    • Travel to the Forward Camp
    • Speak to Finnr
    • Crash into Burgh Castle
    • Break through the shipyard gate
    • Break through the final gate
    • Defeat Rued
    • Speak to Oswald
  • WEDDING HORNS
    • Travel to Elmenham

Collectibles

  • Leather
  • Carbon Ingot

The HUD

We have a primary health-bar, another for your horse, two slots for your special attack, instant health recharge if you have the items (activate with right D-Pad), four abilities on your LT, and four on RT.

  • “Hold Left D-Pad To Call Mount”
  • Press “Y” to mount
  • Hold “X” to follow the road
  • Hold “B” to dismount
  • Press “B” to crouch
  • Once you’re on your horse, press “Y” to go to the Quest Objective
  • You can enable the Cinematic Camera mode while riding
  • Hold “R” to exit cinematic mode
  • Press “Y” to talk
  • On a ship, Hold “LB” to protect yourself (dodge arrows)
  • Press “Y” to Eat Winter Chantrelle
  • Press “Y” to interact with objects (like handling the Light Ram)
  • While handling the Light Ram, “LB” to Brace, “RT” to Charge
  • Hold “R” to stomp and finish off fallen enemies
  • Press “Y” to throw weapon (during combat)
  • Press “R” to focus during combat
  • Mash “RB” to get rid of “Hunting Wolf” (during Rued’s boss-fight)
  • Hold “X” to upgrade equipment
  • “A” is pretty much “cancel” for everything
  • Hold “Y” to move objects (some objects will block your path)
  • Hold “Y” to loot chests

Horse Riding

The horse-riding, when looked up close, is clanky. Instead of riding a horse, it feels as if Eivor’s a piece of lego, placed over the horse where she doesn’t belong. And yeah, if you’re on cinematic mode, you’ll hit a lot of your own fellow-mates, unintentionally, but you’ll.

Faces

Horrible.

Dialogues

(While on your way to the Forward Camp)

Anglo-Saxon Man: Let me go, heathens! Have you not taken enough from us already?

Norse Warrior: Shut your hole, shit-stain.


(Just while entering Forward Camp)

Eivor: Those men most have heard the horn’s call. The people of East Anglia have more courage than I imagined.

Eivor: That horn came from Elmenham. Valdis must have got to them.

Eivor: The brothers’ fleet, gathered and ready.


(Interaction)

Finnr: Men are pouring in from across East Anglia. And our ships stand ready.

Eivor: Theotford’s reeve is with us. His men will be here soon.

Finnr: More than his. The King’s Bury horn has inspired men all across this kingdom. We will have the army we need.

Finnr: It seems Oswald got what he wanted in the end. Saxon and Dane, united in common cause.

Eivor: A pity he is not here to see it.

Finnr: The forces will be ready soon.

Finnr: Are you ready to start the assault?
(To this, you can choose “I am ready” or “Give me some time”)

Eivor: I am.

Finnr: Our target is Burgh Castle, said to be impenetrable.

Eivor: Good. Let them have their false confidence.

Finnr: By cover of night, Valdis will lead the fyrd at the front gates. With Rued’s men distracted, our forces move on the sea gate from the black waters at their backs.

Eivor: And once we’re in, we’ll leave no gate closed in that castle. Rued’s men cannot be allowed to dig in further.

Eivor: Your longship. Is she ready?

Finnr: She awaits her own special glory.

Finnr: They need your words, Eivor.
(Three options, “Remember Oswald’s sacrifice”, “This is a battle for freedom”, and “East Anglia needs you”)

Eivor: For a long time you lived in fear. Your houses razed, your field scorched. Now your chance has come.

Eivor: Fight to be free of this pain. Fight to be free of fear.

Anglo-Saxon Man: Freedom!

Eivor: Now is the time. Today we rid East Anglia of Rued’s clan, once and for all.


(Start of the naval journey)

Finnr: You remember the dream I spoke of?

Eivor: You sailed through Helheim on a ship of fire.

Finnr: Here it may come to pass.

Eivor: Dreams. Life. It may be they are one and the same.


(While approaching the objective, naval)

Eivor: Tonight I ride the flaming sea-steed, rushing for the spear-din. A watcher alight on water’s wake, another glory I will keep.

(a few moments later)

Eivor: Ready yourselves! Rued’s shit-stains will see us coming!


(Rued blows the horn)

Finnr: We’ve been spotted.

Eivor: Steady! Hold course!

Finnr: Ready yourself to brace, men! We bring Helheim to our enemies!

(The sky bleeds fire as arrows are released by Rued’s clan)

Finnr: How nice, they greet us with some of their own from the air!

Finnr: Arrows!

Norse Warrior: Brace!

Finnr: Odin’s hand!

Finnr: May his sword-maidens take them swiftly.

(dodging the arrows)

Norse Warrior: Close one, that was!

Finnr: Keep your shield arms limber!

Finnr: Harden yourselves, men!

Eivor: Steady your hands! Hold for impact!

Eivor: Hold! (voice feels weak)


(As she dives underwater)

Eivor: Now!


(Ready for the ambush)

Eivor: Forward! Get that ram in place! We need to open these gates!

Norse Warrior: Charge!

Norse Warrior: For Oswald!

Finnr: Put that glorious ram to use! Rued’s dogs are all bark! Prepare to cut them down!


(Once you’ve destroyed the first wooden gate)

Eivor: The ram could push through.


(Once the player realizes they can climb up the wall)

Eivor: I could break the gate from behind.


(Quest updated, break through the final gate)

Eivor: Get the ram to the gate and push! And keep pushing! East Anglia depends on it!

Eivor: The fyrd broken through. These merchants and farmers can fight.


(In preparation of breaking through the final gate)

Eivor: I need help with this gate!

(After breaching through the final gate, Eivor sees Oswald being held hostage)

Eivor: Oswald… He lives.

Eivor (cheering): Oswald lives! (the acting is bad, really bad)

Oswald: Eivor, is that you?

Rued: Shut your arse, twig-spine!

Eivor: Stand fast! This will be over soon.

Oswald: Worry not for me! You must stop–

Rued: Silence, fool!

Rued: So this is what it comes to, Wolf-Kissed? Two Danes fighting over a filthy Saxone whoreson?

Rued: Rued: If this swine is your prize, come and get him!

Eivor: Valdis, well met!

Valdis: Onward everyone! Onward!


(Boss fight with Rued)

Rued: The Saxon-lover comes to fight!

Eivor: A miserable clan you lead, Rued.

Rued: Yes, and one that has bled this country dry for two summers!

Eivor: Flee Rued, while pity restrains my blade.

Oswald: You are finished here, Rued!

Eivor: Your battle is not yet won, Oswald.

Eivor: East Anglia will have its king, and it will not be you!

Rued: That groveling worm in a cage? You must be blind to stand with such a man.

Rued: They should be ruled, Wolf-Kissed! Made thralls (slaves), not treated as equals. We are better than this! Than all of them!

Eivor: Do not drag me down to the sewage you wallow in.

Eivor: For all your efforts, only the cold dark of Niflheim awaits you.

Rued: Valhalla is my destiny. But that fate will not be met today.


(Rued’s defeated, Oswald’s being freed)

Oswald: Thank you.

Rued: You’d throw in with these wastrels, these argr (cowardly) swine? For what, a scrap of land and a promise of peace?


(Unclear but maybe Eivor tried to kill Rued)

Oswald: Eivor! No! He should be tried before God. A lawful assembly.

Rued laughs.

Oswald: I won’t have my reign begin with more blood spilt than is needed.

(Now you can choose between “Rued will die” and “Rued will live”)

Eivor: The rightful King of East Anglia has spared your life today. And so it will be.

Oswald: Compassion is a virtue suited for anyone, Eivor. Including you. Thank you.


(“Assault Complete – Burgh Castle”)

Eivor: I should speak with Oswald…see if he is well.

Norse Soldier: Rued’s finished.

Norse Soldier: To the ship.

Norse Soldier: Praise the All-Father. Oswald lives!

Anglo-Saxon Soldier: You fight well, heathen.

Norse Soldier: Not bad yourself, Saxon.

Anglo-Saxon Soldier: We did it! I can’t believe we did it!

Anglo-Saxon Soldier: And Oswald yet lives! God is truly merciful!


(Talk to Oswald)

Oswald: Thank you for heeding me, Eivor. I know the worth of such a gesture.

Oswald: All this is…is like a dream.

Eivor: But you’re not asleep.

Finnr: Well fought, well fought! The both of you!

Oswald: You came as well, old friend?

Finnr: If I had known you were still alive, I would have stayed in Northwic.

Eivor: Look around you. A happy occasion. And a glorious victory.

Oswald: And soon, something more grand to take place. Our wedding, my love…if you will still have me, that is.

Valdis: And why would I not?

Oswald: I fought poorly. I melted under the heat and anger of that brute. And I never–

Oswald: Oswald, stop. You fought. With all your heart and soul. That is all you need ever do.

Oswald: Come, then. We have much to prepare for.


(After Oswald and Valdis leaves)

Finnr: A bride to wed and a kingdom to lead. What some men wouldn’t give for such things.

Eivor: Countless men have died for them. And you, Finnr? Are you jealous of such things?

Finnr: Hardly. My heart is afire, but my body aches. I desire only…a long nap.

Eivor: I saw a bale of hay back there.

Finnr: Later, Eivor. For now, I must see to the wounded.

Eivor: Then I will see you at the wedding.

Finnr: Aye, of course, you will.


(After the quest is done)

Eivor: I should return to Elmenham. Oswald’s wedding will soon begin.


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