In the base game of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, players must travel from realm to realm to complete quests to earn the Alliance. Together, these sagas combine multiple stories into one, but they are not created in the same way. Stories involving the Ragnarssons, Oswald, and more fan-favorite characters make up some of the best storylines, while other areas are best described as filler. They don’t tend to take away from experience, but they don’t add to it either.
Unfortunately, that’s where the Druid’s Wrath DLC for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla finds itself. It’s a nice experience, but doesn’t add much to the overall game. In the game, players leave England for Ireland, where they become involved in the politics of the region. Again, players must help the king claim the crown, but it’s not just the familiar story that’s hurting the DLC’s narrative. Every moment the story seemed to be on the rise, it just fell flat.
The Wrath of the Druids DLC tries time and time again to make players feel engaged, but for some reason, nothing really connects. It introduces interesting new characters only to give them a lackluster ending, and so does the main antagonist. While the Sons of Danu feature prominently in all of Wrath of the Druid’s trailers, artwork, and even the title, they play a relatively minor role. Sure, they can be hunted down and players can earn unique rewards, but every mystery they introduce, their secret leader behind the scenes, and their role in the story feel as bland as another king struggling for his crown strange.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s modern day story also hasn’t evolved with this DLC, although the reaction to this may depend on who’s playing it. Overall, there isn’t a ton of lore builds or new developments, effectively making the entire DLC stand alone, with most of what players see in the DLC also seeing in the main game. That’s not to say there’s no value, though, as Ireland itself is the DLC’s most redeeming quality.
Irish beauties stand out in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. There may be times when it feels very similar to England, but the unique feeling of traveling in Ireland’s roaming hills cannot be underestimated. Complicating the situation are constant rainbows in the travels, swamps where cultists lie in ambush, and world camps that come to life. Wrath of the Druids gives players plenty of time to stop and smell the roses, and in these cases, the beauty of the world will reveal itself. If the story can rival the base game’s basic filler arc, Ireland itself rivals some of the main game’s best scenes.
Despite the addition of new weapons and skills in this AC Valhalla DLC, there aren’t many major changes in terms of gameplay. Ringfort is just a fortress like the main game, and it’s easier to hunt down the Sons of Danu than the Order of the Ancients. Two additions do stand out, though, if for different reasons. The DLC introduces a new resource management system through which players are expected to increase Dublin’s trade status. It’s nothing like raising Ravensthorpe’s level, and it’s engaging and unique.
Essentially, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla players must scavenge trading posts across Ireland, improve them with specific loot gained from raids and treasure caches, and use them to generate resources to complete specific deals in Dublin. Completing these deals unlocks new armor and other beneficial items, while boosting Dublin’s status as a center of trade. The game loop here can be quite addictive because resources are generated by playtime. After about an hour, the player can return to Dublin, make some trades, return to the main storyline, or go find a new trading post. Some posts are only for specific resources, so finding them here is key.
Meanwhile, another addition came in the form of a royal request. These reward the aforementioned resources in small supplies, and can be played over and over to accumulate them, which isn’t as fun as building a trading post. Perhaps the biggest oddity among the royal requests, however, is that they are essentially secret missions in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. King Pleas added modifiers to these, all of which emphasized some element of stealth. Players are tasked with going to one location and clearing it without being detected, another location to steal something, another location to kill specific people there, and sometimes all without any unnecessary kills for extra rewards.
It might not have been designed that way, but the missions can feel odd, all but minimized compared to the game’s stealth roots. It doesn’t help at all that Pigeon Coops offers Royal Demands, which offer assassination contracts (etc.) in the early game. It feels a lot like those, but as additional mini-games rather than anything substantial. For example, after sneak clearing a camp, we couldn’t loot the chests there without invoking a raid, even though there were no enemies there, thus sometimes putting the royal requirement in conflict with the core gameplay. It’s an attempt to bring more classic mechanics into Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, but it’s far from perfect.
Overall, Druid’s Wrath is a nice addition to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. That’s even a good thing for those who want to stand at Eivor’s feet again. But for those who have already turned their attention elsewhere, bringing them back doesn’t do much.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Wrath of the Druids DLC launches on May 13. For the purposes of this review, Game Rant obtained an Xbox code.