Ubisoft are renowned for supporting their releases with some meaty and meaningful downloadable content post-launch, with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla proving no different. Whilst free content has come in the way of various festivals and river raids so far, the first premium story-based content has now officially landed. Available as part of the Season Pass or to purchase separately if you prefer, ‘Wrath of the Druids’ sees Eivor heading off to Ireland to try and forge new friendships and take down the mysterious (and somewhat eerie) cult of Druids.
We’ve seen previous downloadable content releases for the Assassin’s Creed series venture into some unusual and somewhat mystical spaces, with ‘Wrath of the Druids’ proving no different. Whilst Eivor’s purpose of being in Ireland is to help shape the crowning of a new King, he soon finds himself facing off against Druids and monstrous creatures. I don’t remember learning about monsters in history lessons, but hey, the series has proven to be relatively accurate with its portrayal of historic events so far…
It’s definitely a lot more macabre than the main adventure in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (and that’s coming from someone who faced off against all of the Daughters of Lerion) but it helps ‘Wrath of the Druids’ establish its own vibe. Sure, you’ll see plenty of wonderful picturesque sights during your journey and the iconic rainbows of Ireland (which I can neither confirm nor deny have a pot of gold at the end of them), but you’ll also venture across murky fog-filled swamps and explore the eerie homes of the Druids. It makes the whole journey all the more unusual, but in turn more fascinating – it definitely stood out as a distinct voyage for Eivor to embark on.
“It’s definitely a lot more macabre than the main adventure in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla but it helps ‘Wrath of the Druids’ establish its own vibe.”
You only need to be Power Level 55 to initiate ‘Wrath of the Druids’, so even those who’ve barely scratched the surface of Eivor’s adventure will be able to head over to the explore the beautiful vistas of the Emerald Isle. It means that it doesn’t tie into the England narrative directly, though the influence you have in Ireland (as well as the loot you grab) can certainly prove beneficial. Those who do tackle the missions at a higher level might find that the challenge isn’t so tough and that the gear earned isn’t as valuable as some of the legendary pieces they might have already collected, but it doesn’t mean it’s any less of a fun or worthwhile of an endeavour.
Gameplay-wise, the core elements of ‘Wrath of the Druids’ will feel familiar to those that have already spent plenty of hours with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. There’s still plenty of exploration to do across a wide-open landscape (which is nowhere near as big as the entirety of England, but still feels like it manages to squeeze in two or three of its larger regions), a ton of enemies to kill in face-to-face or stealthy combat, and areas to explore that’ll demand quick reactions and a keen eye. ‘Wrath of the Druids’ doesn’t try to re-invent the formula nor does it go out of the way to refine it; it’s more of the same.
“Each ability can also be improved by finding the relevant upgrade, because come on, who DOESN’T want to make their headbutt stronger?!”
That’s not a complaint by any stretch of the imagination though (especially since I thought Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was bloody brilliant anyway), and ‘Wrath of the Druids’ does introduce some new ideas to flesh out the experience. For one, there are Trade Posts to find that, when captured, allow Eivor to collect resources that help build renown in Ireland or unlock all-new gear. It’s a neat system that keeps working in the background, so it’s not as if you have to go out of your way to reap the rewards.
There are also new abilities to use in ‘Wrath of the Druids’, such as the Smoke Bomb Arrow that allows you to launch a pouch of blinding smoke at your enemies, or the Vikingr Salute that allows you to unleash a devastating headbutt to a foe. Each ability can also be improved by finding the relevant upgrade, because come on, who DOESN’T want to make their headbutt stronger?!
There’s a lot to like about ‘Wrath of the Druids’ but one of the things I appreciated the most was how streamlined it felt. I spent close to one-hundred hours completely clearing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and whilst I loved it, it did get to a point where I felt a little burnt out. ‘Wrath of the Druids’ on the other hand can easily be cleared in around fifteen-hours, and that’s including tackling the vast majority of the side-tasks included. It helps make for more of a refreshing re-visit for returning gamers, with the journey feeling meaty enough to feel like worthwhile content but not so long that you’ll feel like you’re doing a lot of the same things all over again.
‘Wrath of the Druids’ marks a triumphant return for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, with the luscious landscapes but eerie vibe making for a unique and enjoyable adventure. It definitely takes a much darker turn than what players faced in the base game, especially when it comes to dealing with the titular Druids themselves…
With its more streamlined approach, its wonderful world, and the enjoyable missions, ‘Wrath of the Druids’ is a fantastic piece of content. It sends Eivor on a journey that feels unlike anything experienced in England, and it makes for a damn good time.
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC
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