Ubisoft’s final Assassin’s Creed Valhalla update is here and post-launch support for this gargantuan action-RPG is ending. In November 2022, when Ubisoft announced the aptly named Last Chapter update and its decision to end this support, it revealed that New Game Plus would not be coming. Ubisoft has explained that “the depth of the game” and its “limited options to make replayability unique and rewarding” are the cause of this, but I feel as though this is leaving Assassin’s Creed Valhalla unfinished. The depth of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is exactly what makes it the perfect candidate for a New Game Plus mode and here’s why.
Unlike its predecessor, players jumping into Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are met with a progression system that wonderfully balances player agency with an ability system that encourages exploration and experimentation. This isn’t a major factor contributing to it’s place on our list of the best Assassin’s Creed games ranked, but it was certainly something considered.
Valhalla presents players with a complex skill tree that interweaves new gameplay abilities with a series of buffs and improvements into a web-like skill point system that gives you complete control of how you want to approach your upgrades. If you want to go gung-ho and charge into every battle, which I can imagine is Eivor’s preferred strategy, you can make sure you’re prioritising melee attack damage and the abilities most-useful in open combat. If you would rather lean on Hytham’s teachings and take a quieter approach, you can focus your skill points into assassination damage upgrades and stealth bonuses.
When you compare this to the somewhat rudimentary skill tree upgrade systems you’re met with in Origins and Odyssey, it’s clear that Ubisoft has really raised the bar when it comes to Valhalla. However, despite the positives, this is a flawed system – and the lack of New Game Plus really isn’t helping the situation.
Now, I know a completionist playthrough of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla might be pushing you into 150 hours of gameplay, and it does take quite a bit of that to unlock every upgrade available, but it’s all too easy to become overleveled in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. It’s a major problem with the combat you’re presented with; what starts off as a decent hack and slash with solid stealth mechanics soon becomes a chore where each combat encounter is a breeze. In these instances, Valhalla really does miss the counter-based combat system older Assassin’s Creed games are known for.
Interestingly, though, there is some enemy level scaling in play – which does alleviate this issue somewhat. However, this still only does so much and you can find yourself flattening the toughest opponents by the time you reach the end of the main story – let alone if you’re spending the time to explore everything England and Valhalla’s other territories have to offer. Oh, and let’s not forget all the post-launch DLC content – which you can jump into and get through in the mid-game to further inflate your level before you reach the latter stages of the main narrative. There’s quite a bit of that, too.
But, you still might be sitting there wondering why a game like this really needs a New Game Plus mode? There is, after all, a lot of content to play through. Well, to put it plainly, Ubisoft is grossly wasting this game’s potential.
When you look at the three RPG-based Assassin’s Creed games available right now (Valhalla, Odyssey, and Origins), Valhalla has so much more potential to facilitate a worthwhile New Game Plus mode; yet, it’s the only one of these three without one. In Origins and Odyssey, your non-story progression – including your unlocked abilities, gear levels, and inventory – is the only thing that carries over. However, lacking the depth in Valhalla’s system, it’s all too easy to go into New Game Plus in either of these games – even on a higher difficulty level – ready and overleveled.
Of course, I am aware that there’s more than one reason for playing a New Game Plus in any game – the harder challenge isn’t just what it provides. However, it is a core part of the experience and something Valhalla players deserve.
The one thing that would make a New Game Plus mode in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla really tick is a refreshed skill tree – allowing Eivor to reach new levels of power – and an increase in difficulty when it comes to the game’s enemies and your toughest opponents. That’s really all there is to it. The story of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is worth experiencing again, but Ubisoft shouldn’t punish players who have spent their time playing already by making them start again to do that.
Not only this, but I can’t help but think that a New Game Plus mode would be easy to introduce to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – at least, in concept – given this broad progression system and the gameplay structures, like the Order of the Ancients, in play. Ubisoft wouldn’t really need to introduce anything new beyond – perhaps – more Mythical rarity loot items to unlock; when you look at what the microtransaction-stuffed in-game store offers, there’s more than enough additional content for Ubisoft to sprinkle as rewards throughout a New Game Plus experience. Even just offering Opals, the Reda shop currency, would be enough.
With the Assassin’s Creed Mirage release date on the way, of which you can check out the trailer down below, it makes sense that this day had to arrive at some point. But, that doesn’t mean New Game Plus should have taken the hit. We know we expressed why an Aztec Assassin’s Creed game makes perfect sense here, but so does Valhalla having New Game Plus.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s lack of New Game Plus mode has ultimately left me feeling cheated, to be honest. This is one of the best RPG games out there, and it can take hundreds of hours to fully explore everything this game has to offer – and quite a lot of that can be spent sourcing the best weapons and armour in the game while unlocking all the upgrades and skills available. To not then be offered a New Game Plus mode to really challenge your skills – and the build you’ve taken time perfecting – is a shame.