Assassin's Creed Valhalla Wrath Of The Druids Review Preview Impressions

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids continues Eivor’s journey. When I reviewed the base game last year, I couldn’t help but marvel at this epic Viking saga set in Norway and England. Now, the new expansion takes you to the regions of Ireland.

Wrath of the Druids is the first of two expansions included in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla‘s season pass (The Siege of Paris will come at a later date). It has a decent-sized campaign and a huge world to explore. Rolling hills, dark swamps, and green farmlands await you in this realm. There are also lots of activities that are part of the core gameplay loop, as well as collectibles to gather.

 

Meeting the cast of characters

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids starts out when you meet Azar, a trader who tells you about Ireland. You’re informed that Barid, Eivor’s cousin, has been crowned King of Dublin. A couple of quests later, you’ll sail off to Ireland to meet with Barid himself. It’s also there where you’ll encounter Flann Sinna, a historical personage who’s the High King of Ireland at the time. Flann Sinna is supported by his bard, a former druid named Ciara.

To be clear, the high king doesn’t necessarily rule a politically unified state. Rather, he’s more of an overlord given tribute by the other minor kings or petty kings. You can bet that there are some political musings and power plays going on as part of the plot. This becomes evident the moment Barid takes Eivor to the Hill of Tara to witness Flann Sinna’s coronation. From there, you’ll face off against new threats.

Perhaps a good reason why it’s so easy to jump in and check out the expansion’s story is that it has a fairly low power level requirement. At best, Eivor is simply required to complete one of the early arcs upon reaching England. After that, you can head to Ireland without delving further into the base game’s campaign. Conversely, if you’ve progressed further ahead in the base game, then enemies will be scaled to your level to provide more of a challenge.

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The enemies in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids

Speaking of enemies, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids has your usual assortment of uncouth bandits and wayward knights. However, given the title of the expansion, you’re definitely going up against druids. These priests and priestesses of nature have been pushed towards the fringes of Irish society as pagan beliefs gave way to Christianity. As such, druids have banded together in direct opposition to Flann Sinna’s rule.

Similar to the Cult of Kosmos in Odyssey and the Order of the Ancients in Valhalla, Wrath of the Druids has its own evil group known as the Children of the Danu. You can expect to run into some of its members during the main story. Others, meanwhile, require you to investigate a few clues, and some are just hapless fools you’d stumble upon as you’re wandering in caverns.

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A key difference when it comes to these baddies is that they like to use powerful hallucinogenic concoctions, firebombs, and wild beasts. Some druids would coat their weapons in poison, while others might be flanked by boars or wolves. Heck, there are even moments when the expansion treads with the supernatural, such as a chase sequence where Eivor is after a werewolf-esque púca. All in all, you can expect to have several run-ins with these hostiles as you play through the story. There are even Trials of the Morrigan, multiple short encounters where you fight druids of different types.

Likewise, the expansion has some new skills and weapons for you to pick up. There are gear pieces with druidic and Celtic themes, as well as abilities that let you perform a crushing headbutt, throw a smoke bomb, or summon an Irish wolfhound to fight by your side.

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Trade with faraway lands

Another fixture in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids is foreign trade. The merchant Azar wants you to help Dublin prosper. To do that, you’ll need to capture trading posts all over Ireland. The process is a bit more convoluted, but it works well as part of the gameplay loop.

First, you’ll need to clear out a trading post. Then, you’ll have to find a deed to that trading post located in a specific part of the map. Upon gaining control of the trading post, you can use the supplies you’ve recovered from raids to rebuild its functions. In turn, you’ll amass goods such as clothing or jewelry. The goods you’ve collected can be handed over to Azar in exchange for rewards. These include cosmetic items such as ship designs, tattoos, and thematic gear pieces from various lands (i.e., Egypt, Iberia, and Constantinople).

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To give you more stuff to do, there are also Royal Demands. Think of these as akin to the Thousand Eyes contracts from Reda. In each region barring Dublin, you can grab up to three sidequests. Most of these are your standard “kill ‘X’ target” tasks. However, there are additional rewards that can be obtained if you follow pre-requisites such as avoiding detection or not taking damage. In a way, these secondary objectives aren’t mandatory, but trying to follow them can drastically alter your approach. The rewards you obtain might be crafting resources or trading post resources. As such, the whole side attraction lets you amass riches.

Apart from these, you’ll see the usual activities and collectibles such as drinking games, saga pieces, and treasure hoards. Oh, and there are special encounters against a couple of crazed Drengr, a gigantic Black Boar, and the Balor.

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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids – Ireland in the Viking Age

There’s a lot of stuff to do in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids. Unfortunately, there were a few minor mishaps that I experienced. For instance, there were a couple of buggy moments during the main quest that led me to restart from a previous autosave. Likewise, it seems that some rewards were missing (i.e., a couple of gear pieces once you’ve increased Dublin’s trading prosperity, as well as a unique reward after completing Azar’s tasks).

Furthermore, although you’re able to acquire resources passively, the amount that can be stored in your personal chest is rather limited. Forgetting to pick up your loot once the chest is full to the brim means losing the excess amount. You could find yourself logging on from time to time just to claim goods, no different from mobile games with annoying collection timers. Lastly, as with previous games in the franchise, this expansion will tend to feel formulaic to a degree.

Still, if you enjoyed the base game’s campaign and you wanted more out of Eivor’s story, then you can jump right in to explore Ireland. This time around, the story and encounters are steeped in mysticism and stories from Irish culture. Although it doesn’t touch on the modern-day narrative arc too much, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids gives you plenty of reasons to check out this unique depiction of the country set during the Viking Age.

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Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids

8

Though there are a few minor issues, Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids gives you a lot of reasons to continue Eivor's journey thanks to a lush and vibrant land to explore. Fighting the druidic cult is also a treat owing to their usage of wild animals, poisons, and flames. The additional activities you can do, such as building your trading posts and finding collectibles, add more hours to the experience.

Jason Rodriguez
Jason Rodriguez writes for various websites under the Enthusiast Gaming umbrella -- Destructoid, Flixist, Daily Esports, PlayStation Enthusiast, and PC Invasion. Jason's Steam library has 1,400+ games at the moment so he definitely has a lot of things to talk about. He's also one of only five games journalists from the Philippines. Just kidding. There are definitely more around, but he doesn't know anyone. Mabuhay!

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