Wrath of the Druids DLC Review
In the base game of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, players must go territory after territory completing quests to gain alliances. These saga compounds convey many stories in one, but they are not created equal. Stories involving the Ragnarssons, Oswald, and more fan-favorite characters make up some of the best story arcs, while other areas can best be described as filler. They don’t take away from the experience, but they don’t add to it either. Unfortunately, that’s where Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Wrath of the Druids DLC is located. It’s a nice experience, but not one that adds much to the overall game. In it, the players leave England and travel to Ireland where they get caught up in the politics of the region. Once again, players must help a king to his crown, but the familiar story isn’t the only thing that hurts the DLC’s narrative. At every moment where the story seems to be rising, it just falls apart. RELATED: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Shows New Enemy, Witcher Account Responds The Wrath of the Druids DLC tries to make players feel invested time and again, but for one reason or another, no one really connects. It introduces interesting new characters only to give them bad endings, and the same can be said for the main antagonists. Despite the Children of Danu being heavily featured in all the Wrath of the Druids trailers, art, and even the title, they play a relatively minor role. Sure, they can be caught and the players get a unique reward, but every mystery they introduce, their secret leader behind the scenes, and their role in the story is as wrong as another king who fighting for his crown. While the reaction to this may depend on who is playing it, there is also no advancement in the modern day story in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla with this DLC. In general, there is no lore-building or new development at all, effectively making this entire DLC self-contained, and most everything players see in the DLC is also seen in the main game. That’s not to say there’s no value, though, as Ireland itself is the DLC’s most redeeming quality. The beauties of Ireland stand out in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. There may be moments where it is very similar to England, but the unique feeling of traveling through the roaming hills of Ireland cannot be underestimated. This is only increased by the constant rainbows seen while traveling, the swamps where the cultists wait, and the camps of a world brought to life. Wrath of the Druids gives players plenty of time to stop and smell the roses, and the beauties of the world emerge in those moments. If the story compares to the main filler arcs of the main game, Ireland itself compares to some of the best set pieces of the base game. There aren’t many major changes in terms of gameplay, though new weapons and skills have been added in this AC Valhalla DLC. Ring Forts are just fortresses like the main game, and hunting the Sons of Danu is less taxing than hunting the Order of the Ancients. Two new additions stand out, though, if for different reasons. This DLC introduces a new resource management system, where players are expected to raise Dublin’s trade status. It’s different enough from the raised levels of Ravensthorpe that it’s both engaging and unique. Essentially, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla players must clear out trade posts across Ireland, improve them with specific loot obtained from raids and wealth caches, and use them to build resources to complete specific trades in Dublin. Completing these trades will unlock new armor and other useful items, while raising Dublin’s status as a trade hub. The gameplay loop here can be quite addictive, as resources are generated through play time. After an hour or so, players can return to Dublin, make some trades, return to the main story, or go and find new Trade Posts. Some posts only focus on specific sources, so finding them all is key here. At the same time, other additions came in the form of Royal Demands. They reward the aforementioned resources in small supply and can be played over and over to accumulate them, which is not as fun as building trading posts. Perhaps the biggest uniqueness of Royal Demands, however, is the fact that they are essentially stealth missions in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. King Pleas added modifiers to these, all of which emphasize some element of stealth. Players are tasked with going to one location and clearing it without being seen, another location for stealing something, another location for killing specific people there, and sometimes all of this without any unnecessary kills for extra rewards. It may not have been intended this way, but these missions can feel out of place, almost reductive compared to the stealth roots of the game. It doesn’t really help that Royal Demands are made available by Pigeon Coops, which delivered kill contracts (and the like) in the early games. It feels a lot like those, but as an attached mini-game rather than something substantial. For example, after sneaking out of a camp, we couldn’t grab the chest there without calling a raid, despite no enemies being there and thus putting the Royal Demand at odds with the main gameplay at times. It’s an attempt at bringing more classic mechanics to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, but far from perfect. Overall, Wrath of the Druids is not a bad addition to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. It’s even a good one for those who want any excuse to step into Eivor’s shoes again. But for those who have turned their attention elsewhere, it doesn’t do much to bring them back. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Wrath of the Druids DLC will be released on May 13. Today Technology was provided with an Xbox code for the purposes of this review. MORE: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla vs. Odyssey: Which is Better?