Kitchen Sink Is Here

A rather significant patch arrives today for AC: Valhalla. Hilarious timing of my prior post. I can identify quite a few items in that list that I’ve experienced. Fishing (which I think needs to be in every game) was always a weird one. Fish would haul into me, then swim all the way to the farm end of the water. And when I say far end, I mean out of draw distance. So when I cancelled the fishing action, it would take a solid 5-10s for me to reel in the line.

So fingers crossed here, but with this patch AND AC going on sale in a few places, heck of a time to pick it up.

In-game, I’ve been trying a few different bits out. Similar to Ghost of Tsushima, there comes a time where there’s little need for stealth. In AC, that’s focused on 2 skills from the tree, ironically both in assassination. One where you can parry arrows and launch them back, the other is where a last minute dodge causes time to slow down for everyone but you.

The former makes every ranged attack except crossbows a weapon for you to use. No need to climb to find an archer. Stand there, take the shot, and send it back. Often 1 hit kill.

The latter is pure gold in melee. A late dodge on a “red” attack slows down time for them, but not you. Slow swinging weapons can do some decent damage here. But.

AC’s combat is not balanced against speed. All heavy weapons deal similar damage, regardless of speed. And that’s minor increase on light weapons. In a “balanced” game, the ratio should be similar, so that the DPS is similar. Maybe a bit higher for slow weapons given the risk/reward factor. Not in AC!

Dual Daggers act as a chainsaw. You get the first one in Norway, the 2nd in the first city you visit in England. I had tried it, but had some issues as I was trying to figure out other bits. And really, to start a shield is much more useful to learn the Parry mechanics. When you do get that timing down… nothing and I mean nothing stands in your way. Add in poison/fire on the main hand, speed boosts/runes, and high crit chance (I’m ~80% now), it feels broken. In group combat, where the time to kill is already low, it’s not too crazy. Against named enemies, like Zealots, it’s effectively an “I Win” button. I don’t see anything in the patch notes about this.

So run in, hit a couple times to trigger a counter attack. Dodge to slow down time, get back in, pull a full-on shredder, then repeat.

I dunno how I feel about it really. It’s not like AC has strategic combat to start, or the refinement for twitch combat. This speeds up something that otherwise feels like padding. It does make clearing large camps pleasant, as you just run in and everyone comes to you. It’s a weird shift from AC: Odyssey, where 10v1 usually ended up with you dead.

Still a fun game in the larger context.

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