Star Rating:

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series XS, PS4, PS5, Google Stadia

Release Date: Thursday 13th May 2021

Play Modes: Single Player

Genre(s): Action, Adventure

'Assassin's Creed Valhalla' has never wanted for in-game content.

In fact, the level of detailed quests, side plots, treasures, and exploratory items in the game means you could quite happily get hundreds and hundreds of hours out of the vanilla game. Therefore, with a game this heavy on content, is downloadable content worth the price of admission? 'Wrath of the Druids' has a unique selling point for us - it's one of a handful of games set in Ireland, and one that actively embraces our early Viking heritage.

'Wrath of the Druids' sees Eivor exploring the lands of our ancestors, taking in four regions - Dublin, Meath, Connacht, and Ulster. Munster, it seems, isn't worth exploring in this world. Sorry about that, Munster. Each region in the map has a unique flavour to it. Meath is riddled with bogs and is the homeplace of the Children of Danu, a druidic cult with mystical shapeshifting abilities. Dublin is the smallest region, and features only a handful of locations, including Lambay, Rathdown, and the city itself. Mercifully, there's no hotels to be seen anywhere and there's plenty of places to sit and rest without being forced to pay for something.

The story of 'Wrath of the Druids' is an intriguing one, following a heavily fictionalised version of Flann Sinna's rule as High King, and marries together the Christian domination of Ireland over native paganism. More than that, the characters and voice actors give spirited performances and play with the idea of a nation that will soon no longer recognise itself in the face of changing times. The Children of Danu represent the old ways, while you and Flann Sinna are in direct combat with them. More than a few times, you'll question your reasons for what you're doing, and the story does actively embrace this ambiguous viewpoint.

As mentioned, the main quest is thick with all these political machinations and the map is detailed - to a point - with places you'll know, but often the scale is way off. Still, the textures and the topography are much more rugged and less conducive to boring journeys and you'll very often find yourself simply enjoying the process of getting lost in your own backyard than wandering around Norway and England. The game's mechanics allow for you to take in all of the map, and the conquest and exploration side-quests are as you'd expect from a game in the franchise.

Realistically, it doesn't make any attempt to rejig the core game or develop some new way of thinking about it. It's simply just a new map, a new main quest, some new piece of armour, a good story, and all of set it right here about a thousand years ago.