REVIEW: ‘Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour: Viking Age’ Is Cool but Clumsy (PC)

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Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour Viking Age

Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour: Viking Age is a free update for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, as well as a standalone PC release and a console port next year. Developed and published by Ubisoft, the mode follows a similar model released for Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey. Discovery Tour gives players a way to see the worlds of the Assassin’s Creed series in a new, more educational way.

Viking Age, in particular, gives players a new way to experience the mode with eight quests to play through that follow a small number of characters based on real people’s historical records. These include a Viking family of merchants, an Anglo-Saxon monk, and even a King. Across the quests, players experience and learn about various aspects of life in the middle ages. 

There is a decent amount of variety across the missions, despite no combat, with objectives like helping build a longboat and prepare a healing poultice after assembling a handful of ingredients. While running through the missions, players can also interact with two different types of nodes scattered throughout the game’s world. 

The first of these nodes offer players tidbits of information about the time’s cultures, history, and practices. The size of these insights varies quite a lot throughout Discovery Tour, and these nodes have been created through a partnership between Ubisoft and several museums and historical societies. They make up the majority of the concrete information that players can gather throughout the update, and they work as a great addition to the slice-of-life stories that the missions tell. 

Other nodes provide a peek behind the curtain of how Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla was made. These nodes are also interesting, but they do interrupt the pacing and flow of the update’s story and historical immersion more often than not. 

However, these interruptions are more minor as the main detraction from Discovery Tour: Viking Age’s experience is the more clumsy aspects of its presentation. The actions that players take part in are often interrupted by shoddy animations or visual glitches that happen often enough to be distracting. The bugs were frequent throughout the update, including rats walking three feet above the ground, characters clipping through the floor, and objects jittering around from bugged physics. 

Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour Viking Age

Clumsy execution also carries over to some of the writing and voice acting throughout the experience. The writing can be a bit heavy fisted to get its educational points across, but the voice acting feels particularly robotic and stilted on many occasions. These instances are particularly frequent in the Anglo-Saxon missions. 

Other awkward presentation issues arise when players have to approach crowds, and they are already standing there reacting to the cutscene’s events before they happen. There are also other smaller frustrations like how much of the content is spent walking behind NPCs that walk at a terrible pace that is too fast for the player’s walking speed but far too slow for their running speed.

Completing the missions also rewards players with several different in-game rewards in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, including unique armor, a horse, and a unique sword. After finishing the missions, players can also select from various characters to continue exploring the areas and collecting the multiple nodes. While exploring likely will not add very much to the experience for most players, it is a nice option for those who want to learn as much information as possible. 

All in all, the new approach to the Discovery Tour formula is a welcome one, with the narratives it shows helping contextualize the information it shows players very well. However, it does seem as though there are points where it could still be improved. Some of the tasks in the missions feel more like busywork to try and stretch the game out rather than playing much of a role, and some points would have been perfect for the game to insert a minigame or give the player more information, but it simply doesn’t. 

This leaves Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour: Viking Age as a pretty solid update that players who enjoyed the setting of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla should definitely check out. However, it doesn’t quite justify its asking price as a standalone title, except maybe for history buffs who want to see a faithful recreation of the period that isn’t bogged down by RPG systems or combat mechanics. 

Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour: Viking Age is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4 and 5, and PC.


Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour: Viking Age
  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10
6/10

TL;DR

This leaves Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour: Viking Age as a pretty solid update that players who enjoyed the setting of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla should definitely check out. However, it doesn’t quite justify its asking price as a standalone title, except maybe for history buffs who want to see a faithful recreation of the period that isn’t bogged down by RPG systems or combat mechanics.