Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök is just another expansion pack, isn’t it? We’ll get to that in a minute. At first glance, it just seems like a dull, boring expansion pack, but once you start playing the game – sorry, expansion – you realize you are really having fun. Dawn of Ragnarök is the third expansion for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and while I haven’t played the base game, the expansion didn’t seem all that appealing to me at first, until it did.
Dawn of Ragnarök is essentially a story about a father – Havi or Odin – who tries to rescue one of his sons, Baldr, from the clutches of the evil Surtr, the leader of the fire demons. Sounds like a cliche, right? Fortunately, only this part of the story of the new DLC felt uninspiring. The rest of the expansion pack looks quintessentially Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, but that’s pretty obvious.
I’m not going to talk about the storyline of Dawn of Ragnarök as many have already covered it in their reviews. What I’m talking about here is can you play the game with no previous experience with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla? A short answer would be: Yes, you can. Read on for the longer version. To be fair, it wouldn’t make sense to introduce a DLC if new players can’t enjoy it.
As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t played Assassin’s Creed Valhalla before, so I thought about giving someone who hasn’t played the base game some perspective and decided to dive right into the DLC. Ubisoft advises that this expansion pack is aimed at players who have somewhat completed the original story, but don’t worry, newbies like me can still enjoy the expansion pack.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök review – Story
Dawn of Ragnarök begins with a lot of back and forth between Havi and Frigg as they try to find and rescue their son Baldr. There is a lot of walking and talking, and I have to admit that the non-player characters (NPCs) in the game do need a turbo mode because they are extremely slow. Many times I found myself way ahead of the NPCs and eventually had to roll back because the game couldn’t handle me any faster.
Things get better, though, when you’re greeted with a boss fight quickly. After killing some Sparrows, Havi and Frigg reach the palace where Surtr has imprisoned Baldr. To free his son, Havi must fight Surtr. Keep in mind that if you’re not used to playing Assassin’s Creed or aren’t good at fighting games in general, fighting Surtr can make you furious more than once.
According to my Xbox app, I played the game for almost 20 hours – I know it’s almost not enough, but be patient – and almost half of that went in an attempt to kill Surtr. I initially thought fighting in the Vikingr (default) setting would give me a good perspective on the game. And I was partly right, because it just gave me perspective on how to improve my one-on-one combat skills.
Once you get through the first boss fight, take care of yourself and find your son Baldr while Surtr kills Frigg after the fight. Havi roams Svarfenheim trying to complete missions and amass wealth. It honestly feels a bit funny that Havi, as the greatest god in Norse mythology, has to traverse the entire map to loot his enemies, along with random pots and chests.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök review – Gameplay, new powers
Dawn of Ragnarök gives Havi a Hugr-Rip bracer that allows players to draw power from the fallen enemies. Oh, you can also turn into a raven and zip around the map seamlessly, which was quite memorable. The only caveat is that you only have 30 seconds before transforming back, which was also a fun challenge trying to see how far you can reach as a raven before time runs out.
Alternatively, you can also extract the power of a Muspel and temporarily become a fire demon yourself. It kind of works if you’re too lazy to kill the Muspels and can just wander around incognito to get to your destination. Ubisoft has also hidden important items like keys, chests and other loot items near lava, so the Muspel power really comes in handy here.
With a different power, you can temporarily revive dead enemies and let them fight alongside you. Honestly, this seems like the worst power to have as you can’t use this on the bosses. I didn’t find it very useful because by the time I had defeated enough enemies to use this power, I had killed almost everyone else around me. The one time I used it, the Muspel on my team was so confused about who to fight, the power was useless.
Among all these powers of the Hugr-Rip, the Muspel fire demon power was constant in my arsenal, because honestly, you can’t play the game without it. Dawn of Ragnarök also gives you plenty of chances to regain these powers as you take out more enemies. The Hugr-Rip is designed so that players can only store two powers at a time. So players will have to kill the respective enemy – the one carrying the said power – to get it, but will have to replace the one of the two already saved.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök review – Final Verdict
Dawn of Ragnarök is more than just an expansion pack. Many would argue, and rightly so, that you should at least play the base game before diving in, but I disagree. I’ve barely played Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and here I tell you, it’s not required.
The map is relatively large for an expansion – I’ve yet to fully explore it with my 20 hours of gameplay – and there are so many side missions that it looks like it could be its own game. I rarely felt like I should have played Assassin’s Creed Valhalla because it kept me in the story. Yes, I agree that players starting their Valhalla journey may need some training to master the controls, and for that particular reason I think Dawn of Ragnarök deserved its own title.
- Extended map
- Using Hugr-Rip Powers
- Boss fights can be hard
- Saving Hugr-Rip Powers
- Exists as an expansion pack and not as a separate title
Rating (out of 10): 7