Assassin's Creed Valhalla

I’m about to hit 190 hours of playtime in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. This means I’m getting close to the end of the story, and I’ve done a vast majority of the side activities. But one thing I’ve noticed is that the game just keeps getting weirder. Part of this is the bugs, which seem to be getting worse (and more hilarious) as I get deeper into the game, but part of this is just that the game is straight-up weird.

For instance, I was exploring the Isle of Wiht, which is south of Hamtunscire, when I stumbled into yet another bandit camp (seriously, there are so many of them). as soon as I arrived, a Goliath picked up a pig and threw it at me. He then shouted, “Do something useful, pig!”

Don’t believe me? I got a video:

This is the only time I’ve ever seen this happen in almost 200 hours of game time. I don’t know if this is something that can only happen in this particular part of the game world, or if it can happen anywhere and is just super rare, but this created an unexpected moment in a game in which I’d thought I’d seen mostly everything there was to see.

Clearly, this was designed that way. But I’ve been running into some other things that are definitely glitches.

For example, I was riding into Hemthorpe, when a donkey on the side of the road just passed out to the left of me. I wouldn’t have thought too much of it, except right after it happened, some guy shouts, “Lay off the mushrooms!” I know he was shouting it at me for riding my horse too fast into town, but the timing of it really did make it seem like he was shouting at the poor, inebriated donkey.

Yes, I got a video of this as well:

Shortly after this happened, I ran into Sunniva, whose character model was having texture loading issues. This made her appear as a faceless ghost creature, which was honestly kind of startling.

Check this out:

Oh, and don’t forget about this kid who somehow managed to acquire a magic sword:

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is not a bug-free experience, even toward the beginning. There’s the weird horse duplication glitch (which I spent like an hour experimenting with), as well as the infamous drunkenness bug (which seems to have been a side effect of the Yule Festival). But as I get deeper into the game, it really does seem like the glitches are getting more frequent. I guess that’s just the nature of open-world games?

Even so, I’ve not encountered anything game-breaking yet. My quiver size is permanently borked (because of a glitch that’s caused by travelling to Vinland and back), but I can still use arrows. I never encountered the glitch that halts story advancement (which I believe was patched out pretty early). Honestly, that makes this a better overall experience than The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which is still a mess almost ten years after launch. I’ve been permanently locked me out of entire quest lines in Skyrim due to the unfortunate accumulation of bugs that tends to happen in that game.

I claimed that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was one of the best video games of 2020. I still stand behind that statement. However, it’s definitely not perfect. Thankfully, in my experience, the rough edges have created moments of comedy rather than moments of anguish. I’m crossing my fingers that this will continue to be the case until I finish this thing. So far, the gods have been on my side.

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