Not everybody likes slow plays. But they're my bread and butter. My review of Assassin's Creed Valhalla is still a work in progress. I blame learning how to build a new PC over the weekend. But I want to give you a two-hour snippet of being in the Norwegian climes, basking in the Northern Lights, fighting off polar bears, climbing snowy, knifelike peaks, and taking long walks under a Nordic moon. I do it with my mic muted so that you can enjoy female Eivor's smoker's voice, and the ringing soundtrack of composer Jesper Kyd.
Sure, I could sprint everywhere. I could run my horse ragged. But as I've been getting older and slower, I've come to appreciate the exploratory aspects of Assassin's Creed gameplay as much (if not more) than the combative aspects. I don't care for mining and crafting to the extent of a Minecraft-style game, but Assassin's Creed keeps it lite, letting you hunt the occasional arctic fox for a strap of leather, but not forcing you to arrange 30 ingredients on an arts and crafts table just to get a +1 on your breastplate. Besides, it's got the kind of snow that makes little trenches everywhere you walk, like in God of War and Red Dead Redemption II.
And I think it's fair to say that Assassin's Creed Valhalla is rubbing elbows with those two contemporary greats. Nah, I wouldn't go so far as to say the worldbuilding feels as authentic as Red Dead's, and the characters aren't as emotive as God of War's. But there's a shared DNA in all three that begins to emerge during a walkthrough. Not the kind of walkthrough with spoilers and step-by-step instructions. But my kind of walkthrough, where you're literally walking through the land and walking through the dialogue, walking up to enormous vistas and walking your horse up and down the fjords.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla launches on November 10 on Windows, PS4, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S, and then on November 12 with the launch of the PS5. Our review is coming along nicely. Just as a snail's pace.