Ghost of Tsushima releasing just three months ago has exposed a lot of the flaws found in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s stealth systems and gameplay.
There was some excitement from fans coming into Assassin’s Creed Valhalla that the series would be re-emphasizing stealth gameplay, but the release of Ghost of Tsushima earlier this year has exposed just how far Ubisoft has fallen behind. The recent overhaul of Assassin’s Creed‘s foundational systems, while resulting in much stronger overall gameplay, has done damage to the series’ stealth, and it isn’t getting better.
It’s not surprising why Ghost of Tsushima drew comparisons to Assassin’s Creed leading up to its release because the two games are very similar. In Ghost of Tsushima, players can opt to either play as an honorable samurai or a silent assassin. While the sword fighting was a lot of fun, the game’s stealth gameplay was eye-opening. Ghost of Tsushima’s stealth gameplay features a level of speed and fluidity that’s just not present in any other game like it. The combination of the game’s movement, tools and abilities make for terrific stealth gameplay and it’s glaring when compared to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla just a few months later.
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While Assassin’s Creed Valhalla did see the reintroduction of social stealth mechanics from the series’ earlier games and environmental tools, it doesn’t really enhance the stealth gameplay. All of the stealth sections, both combat areas and regular towns, feel like a tractor pull. In Ghost of Tsushima, players are able to chain together a series of stealth kills in quick succession by exploiting skills and using ghost weapons. In contrast, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s pacing is very plodding and deliberate, often making it difficult for players to take out more than one or two enemies at a time. Stealth gameplay, more often than not, just takes too much effort to be a worthwhile option in Valhalla.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Isn’t Stealth-Friendly
Part of this is because Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s gameplay is incredibly heavy by design. Valhalla features a brutal combat system that is what the game is built around and it’s very good, but it’s not stealthy. Many fans felt that Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was too big a departure from the game’s identity, but Valhalla is the clear offender of this. Sure, stealth is an option, but there’s almost never really an incentive to do it. And when players do opt for stealth, it doesn’t take much for guards to identify Eivor and immediately engage. The stealth in Valhalla is more of a complement used as an opening to an encounter, rather than the entire way to play the situation.
Having a game like Ghost of Tsushima, which features terrific stealth gameplay, release just three months ago has exposed the flaws in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s stealth systems. For players who really want to play this game as sneakily as possible, they certainly can, but it’s going to be a grind. The amount of effort it takes to be an assassin doesn’t make it feel like nearly as rewarding a playstyle as the viking who just barrels through everything. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a viking game that features some stealth elements, and it’s good at what it’s doing, but it’s going to take some work to get this series back to a point where stealth really feels like the core of the game’s design.
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