Video games are a fantastic means of escapism where viewers can lose themselves in endless worlds for hours. During this time, players can explore and unlock secrets, make full use of a range of skills and weapons, and fight against enemies of great size and strength.
Tying these elements together (in most cases, at least) is the plot line that moves the action forward. It’s within these stories that games can expand on the world, the characters, and perhaps teach some valuable lessons along the way. But unlike movies, where stories can be resolved in about two hours, video games must expand their plots to include campaigns that can last twenty, thirty, or even fifty hours.
While there are plenty of long games out there that keep their stories at an intense pace (The Witcher 3 being a prime example), not all titles are quite as successful.
Whether it’s the over-ambitious story that starts to weigh down the action, or the abundance of content that gets in the way. These are the games that start to get a little old before you get to the end credits.
With the release of Assassins Creed Origins, Ubisoft has turned the stealth action series into a massive RPG experience. There were plenty of side quests, collectibles, and areas to explore on top of a big revenge plot set in well-understood Ancient Egypt. The later Odyssey was bigger than Origins; but even this Ancient Greek epic was dwarfed by Valhalla.
Set in ninth-century England, Valhalla sees Viking hero Eivor make a new home for his clan while working to forge alliances with kingdoms across the country. These meaty epics take up the bulk of Valhalla’s campaign.
Meanwhile, alongside Eivor’s main adventure, a subplot revolving around the Hidden Ones, the Order of the Ancients, and the Norse gods continues. Although it starts slowly, this plot becomes the main focus by the end of the game.
As great as Valhalla is, the issue of effectively balancing these plot lines is less successful.
As the plot reaches its final act and reveals potentially game-changing revelations, the narrative shifts to Eivor’s quest to secure power in England, and the pace takes a major hit. The quest that resolves the long-running hunt for the Order of the Ancients is a larger anti-climax that ends Valhalla on a disappointing note.