Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s New River Raid Mode Is a Great Idea, But It Wears Out Its Welcome Really Fast

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

When I first started playing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, all I wanted to do was mess with the game’s river raid feature. So you’d think that an entire game mode built around this feature would be great — an excuse to sink at least another 20 hours or so into this already-massive open-world game.

Ubisoft put this very idea to the test with the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla River Raid update, released February 16, 2021. This update turns the game’s river raids feature into its own game mode in which you ride up a river and see how much loot you can grab before your entire crew is wiped out or your boat is full of loot and you have to return. It also gives players a second customizable longship, and an entire new area of Ravensthorpe.

All of this sounds awesome. And it is — at least for a little while. But after about five raids, I was pretty ready to hang up my raiding hat. I persisted, though, because the limited-time Jackdaw longship cosmetics (which require you to play ten raids by February 23) were calling my name. I did manage to complete ten raids, but I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to this mode now. It’s just obnoxiously repetitive, and the rewards are spread out too thin. At most, a single raid can only ever get you two of the new armor pieces and some supplies for your freshly constructed Ravensthorpe addition.

There are two things that I think would have really made this a killer game mode: randomly generated rivers to raid, and an enormous variety of loot. As is, you’ll be sticking with the same few river sections (and the outposts you raid will eventually rebuild so you can raid them over again), and there’s only one six-piece armor set to collect. It feels like a whole lot of busywork for a single armor set.

River Raids was a free update, so I really shouldn’t complain. It’s just astonishing how fast its repetitive gameplay goes from amazing to amazingly tiresome. It has potential though, so I’m crossing my fingers and hoping we’ll see this get fleshed out a bit more in upcoming updates. Until then, I’m probably good leaving River Raids alone for a while.

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