Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Review 2021

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Going by the title, I expect to see a game set during the Viking Age, with historical characters. I also hope to see weapons, armor, and architecture that is more historically accurate than fiction, except the Assassin character wearing something a bit more “fantasy.” Going by the title “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla,” I assume we’ll be pre-Christian time. I’m not sure when the Danish and Swedish became Christian, but in Norway, we count the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030 to be the defining point when Christianity defeated the old Norse religion. The Viking age is considered to have started in 793AD with the attack on Lindisfarne in modern-day England. It’s considered to have ended in 1066 with the Battle of Stamford Bridge. But since we are talking Norse gods here, I assume a good time before 1030 for the setting. So maybe 800–900AD?

So let’s go through the cinematic trailer and have a look shall we.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

We open with this nice scenic picture of what I assume is supposed to be in Norway, going by the tall mountains. It’s winter because it has to be winter. We Scandinavians live in perpetual winter. (Although the early middle ages were considered to be a warm period) Going by the mountains, it seems to be Western Norway. There also appears to be a town here. While we have the emergence of “Market places” and cities during the 800s, the buildings here look a tad too modern, with too many windows. (Keep in mind glass windows weren’t commonplace at the time.) I do feel the buildings are too close also, but I’m no expert on Norse city planning of the 800s.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – Church

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla_2

There aren’t any sources I know of from the Viking period of Norsemen living in big palaces. They would most likely have big farmsteads of many buildings. So I will not accept that the big building there is a “palace,” it’s a Church. Why they have a huge church in Norway during the Viking Age? You tell me.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla_3

We hear the first words in the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla trailer: “They are heartless.” But we see a man hugging his children and people walking about. There are many things to dissect here, though:

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Attire
  • So the kids aren’t too badly dressed. They are wearing long woolen tunics with a belt and some form of boots.
  • The Men are wearing bearskins. Urgh. This is one of those modern stereotypes of Vikings that came from the contemporary “barbarian trope.” Norsemen were great craftsmen. Why do modern-day media think that doesn’t translate to their ability to transform animal pelts into clothing.
  • The men should be wearing something similar to the kids—a long tunic and maybe a wool cape with a cloak pin holding it in place.
  • The woman would most likely be wearing a woolen dress.
  • While there is the myth of the Berserker wearing a bearskin cape, it’s not likely that every single man in the village is a Berserker.
The grooming
  • The men are depicted with the modern view of the Viking, beards, shaved sides, braids, oh so many braids.
  • The Vikings were known to have good hygiene and were well-groomed. We have found many come from the period.
    • Vikings were also described as having hair that was “long in the front, short in the back.” Couple that with the fact that the first king of Norway, Harald Hårfagre. “Hårfagre” means fair of hair, something you’d say about a pretty woman. He was so-called because he had vowed not to cut his hair until he had conquered all of Norway. We at least have indications that Vikings most likely had short hair. (Long hair is also hard to keep clean of lice and a liability on the battlefield)
      • The “eye shadow” is another modernization. We don’t have any good indication that the Vikings painted their faces that I know of.
The weapons we see in this scene
  • First of all, there is a “Dane Ax” or “Great ax” that’s seemingly used to cut wood? What? No, that’s a lethal weapon. You’d want to keep the edge sharp! It’s also very nicely decorated, which isn’t something we see on historical finds. Remove the ornamentation, and the overall shape of it isn’t too bad.
  • The Ax the person picks up has a decent shape, but it’s way too massive. Again this modernization of the Viking Barbarian with his massive weapons. War axes tend to be thinner and lighter than that.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – The one-woman we see
  • The Norsemen had distinct gender roles. There are some accounts of women defending a homestead, but that was out of desperation, not because they lived in this gender-neutral society. There have been some historical finds that indicate women getting a “warrior’s burial.” Still, there isn’t a lot of mention of female fighters in the sagas or other historical accounts.
    • The women ruled the homestead. The Vikings were away for long periods, so the women ran the day to the house.

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