While I’ve been too time-poor to even think about jumping into the second paid expansion, The Siege of Paris, I was fortunate enough to get a first look at Dawn of Ragnarök, the third expansion for Valhalla. For the first time in the franchise, Ubisoft has supported one of the games for much more than the typical year. And similarly, for Dawn of Ragnarök, it’s one of the most extensive expansions ever seen in the franchise.
It’s clear that Dawn of Ragnarök is going for something entirely different – so here are the five things that I’ve come to notice about the game after seeing a few quests play out.
THERE’S ANOTHER REGION TO EXPLORE WITH A NEW STORY
Dawn of Ragnarök has you playing as Odin, who is searching Svartalfheim for his son who has been presumably kidnapped somehow by Surtr, a fire giant who acts as the main villain of Dawn of Ragnarök’s story. While we will get to interact with Surtr and his family throughout the quest, only one of them appeared in the footage I saw. Still, the story seems compelling enough as a backdrop to see Odin pushing through yet another world realm with ease.
What is pretty awesome about Dawn of Ragnarök is the world of Svartalfheim itself. While its hard to determine just how big it is, it’s easily one of the more impressive-looking maps featured in Valhalla thus far. Just seeing the Yggdrasil, or the world tree extending its roots throughout the land peppered with dwarven architecture really gives Dawn of Ragnarök an otherworldly feel.
ODIN CAN WIELD POWERS AND STEAL THEM TOO
Easily the newest and coolest thing about Dawn of Ragnarök, Odin can use a new piece of gear called the Hugr-Rip to steal powers from enemies. A majority of enemies you’ll find in Svartalfheim will be naturally carrying these powers and upon successfully assassinating them, you’ll be able to steal their power. Each power has a specific slot that it can fit into, so you can’t just steal all the powers and use them forever.
A cooler aspect of this new system is that each of the powers has use both inside and outside of combat. Some of them let you shapeshift into animals to assassinate your enemies. Others let you raise the dead to fight alongside you. One grants you resistance to fire but also allows you to shapeshift into an enemy, allowing you to play the game more stealthily.
They’re a cool addition that feels similar to the more fantasy-based abilities in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and the need to slot them in and out on the fly will be sure to lead to some tough choices during gameplay.
THE NEW ENEMIES ARE THE MUSPEL AND THEY’RE A FIERY BUNCH
Mixing Assassin’s Creed lore with Norse mythology, the Muspels are a splinter group of forces led by Surtr who are actually a faction of the Isu, the first civilisation who created the Pieces of Eden seen in previous games in the franchise. As you might expect, the Muspels are from Muspelheim and their fiery appearance led many humans to later “remember” them as fire giants in Norse mythology.
From a gameplay point of view, it looks as if they’ll work together to make combat in Dawn of Ragnarök much more challenging. In the short demo I was shown, we saw two new types of Muspel – the Flamekeeper and Surtr’s Fury – who could use deadly blasts of fire to not only damage Odin but also buff any nearby enemies. I’m always a sucker for enemy variety and it’s encouraging to see Dawn of Ragnarök bring more to the table.
NOT ONLY IS THERE NEW GEAR, YOU CAN IMPROVE YOUR EXISTING GEAR TOO
While there’s bound to be hundreds of pieces of new gear in Dawn of Ragnarök, there’s also a brand-new weapon type being introduced. Inspired by a type of polearm used in Viking Age Scandinavia and Norse colonies, the Atgeir is a new weapon type that allows for devastating one-on-one attacks as well as less powerful but more useful area-of-effect attacks. It’s a killer new weapon for Odin to wield that’s basically a polearm with an intricate blade attached to its end.
What I liked even more about Dawn of Ragnarök is that it will also allow you to upgrade all your gear and weapons to “Divine” quality. Not only does this improve the stats of your gear but it also adds an upgraded rune slot which can be filled with a new type of rune called Odin Runes. Odin Runes will be collectible throughout the world of Dawn of Ragnarök and offer customisations to both Odin and their powers.
A NEW MODE IS INCLUDED WHICH PITS YOU AGAINST OTHER CHARACTERS
A little bit less expected is that Dawn of Ragnarök will include a brand-new game mode called the Valkyrie Arena. In this arena, we’re told that both new and familiar faces from Dawn of Ragnarök and the original Valhalla will make appearances to challenge the player in combat. The idea is to add a playground that lets players mess around with their builds to create what I can only assume will eventually be the ultimate warrior.
Additionally, in the arena, you’ll be able to activate certain conditions or parameters that might force you to play a different way from how you usually play in combat. Activating each of these will increase the rewards you’ll get but will also encourage you to experiment a little with the combat system outside of the way you’d normally play.
While I am fairly vocal about just how big Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has been getting in recent months, the new aspects being introduced by Dawn of Ragnarök might just be enough to tempt me to jump in. It’s certainly showing promise, at least.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök releases on March 10th 2022 as a paid expansion for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
It will be released on all platforms where Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is available.
If you’re after a copy of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, you can pick it up for $39.95 from Amazon