Game developer Ubisoft got a lot of things right with Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla but if it has one shortcoming, it’s the storytelling. The first expansion for Valhalla—Wrath Of The Druids—promises to take you through an intensive graphical tour of Ireland in the Dark Ages. Like the main game itself, Wrath Of The Druids also has its high points, but it’s a little tougher to recommend.
On the plus side, Ireland’s scenery lives up to Valhalla’s reputation as one of last year’s most beautiful games, especially if you are playing on the newer-generation consoles or hardware. The expansion adds a whole new map to explore—similar to the England we saw in Valhalla, yet different. It seems to rain more often in Ireland and rainbows pop up when you are perched atop a tall building. The Giant’s Causeway, a real World Heritage site, looks almost lifelike in the game.
According to Ubisoft, Wrath Of The Druids should add another 18 hours of gameplay time. And that’s great by average downloadable content (DLC) standards. We spent 25 hours on the DLC—half on finishing the main story, the rest exploring some of the key areas of Ireland, new mysteries, and some collectibles. The DLC also adds a new trading system, which is interesting initially but becomes repetitive.
These numbers should more than fulfil your requirements if you decide whether a DLC is worth buying based on gameplay times. Wrath Of The Druids is designed so that you don’t have to complete the main game in order to jump into this one, so if you are buying the whole thing today, you are easily looking at over 125-130 hours of gameplay.
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Though Wrath Of The Druids has its merits, it also feels like a half-hearted effort from Ubisoft, and a DLC that exists because it has to. It adds nothing to the Assassin’s Creed lore, has nothing to do with Valhalla’s current story, and while it does have Druids, their “wrath” is missing.
The game tells you that you will fight the Children of the Danu, an ancient and fictional Druidic cult formed by evil Druids. They will dose you with some hallucinogen every time you fight them because the drug is where their power comes from. The problem is that the Druids bring absolutely nothing new and are more side characters than a central element in the game.
Wrath Of The Druids doesn’t really let you interact with the Druids or learn about these legendary Irish religious figures—fictional or real. The DLC actually doesn’t have any characters that make a mark. The climax, designed to be an unforeseen twist, feels rushed, unearned and forced.
Assassin’s Creed has made a name out of weaving its own lore into real-world history and mythology—but Wrath Of The Druids disappoints. The main storyline is rushed and while there’s a definite call-out to Assassin’s Creed’s central lore at the end, it makes no sense, even if you have followed the whole story.
To Ubisoft’s credit, the company delayed the launch by a few weeks saying it wanted to “refine” the experience. There are no bugs worth complaining about. But after spending 25 hours on the DLC, we could think of only one reason to buy this—to complete your Assassin’s Creed collection.
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