Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids under test

The first story DLC for Assassin's Creed Valhalla delivers Ireland as a new open world. In the test, we clarify what the green island has to offer.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids in the Test - For whom the first DLC is worthwhile

The Ireland of Wrath of the Druids sounds like a perfect vacation. We begin our tour in colorful flag-draped Dublin, where trade and life flourish. Then we snap a few photos of the waterfall, which thunders down next to a fortress at a dizzying height - oh look, a rainbow! And then we continue into the enchanted druid forest, which whispers eerie Celtic secrets in our ears.

Breathtaking experiences - at least until you read the fine print. Where in reality juicy prices, noisy tourists, or slack all-inclusive drinks cause frustration, the first DLC for Assassin's Creed Valhalla has a problem elsewhere. Ubisoft writes the story and the game world big, but rather ashamed banishes the playful variety on the back of the travel brochure.

What's in the first big DLC?

In terms of playing time, you tend to spend a weekend trip in Ireland rather than an extended annual vacation: Behind Dublin, the largest city, three areas in Ireland will keep you busy between 10 and 15 hours - depending on how extensively you devote yourself to side activities. Compared to the sprawling size of the main game, the expansion feels pleasantly focused. Also because the story picks up speed quickly and doesn't fray too much.

What is the story good for?

Zorn der Druiden tells its story separately from the rest of the game, so unlike the Odyssey DLCs, there are no references to contemporary history. Eivor's cousin Baröd is the ruler of Dublin and asks us to go to Ireland to set up a trading network there. This is how he wants to impress the aspiring Hochkönig Flann. In the competition for the crown, we quickly get between the fronts of the Irish leaders and take on the children of Danu - an order of druids who want to drive the Christians out of the country.

The story always touches on interesting topics: After an attack on the king, we quickly find ourselves in a web of intrigue and betrayal on the hunt for the guilty. In addition, the former druid Ciara gives us a glimpse of the country's Celtic roots - are we in the right in our fight for Ireland? It doesn't matter, says the game because we prefer to tread the well-trodden paths.

Motivation and members of the Druid Order remain largely in the dark as they line up one after the other for a rendezvous with our blade - we already know that from the Order of Elders. The conquest of Ireland also feels more routine than inspired: We perform generic kill X-person missions to increase Flann's influence and clear two measly castle courtyards with a few dozen defenders in the battle for the largest fortress on the island. Isolated decisions are already invalidated in the next sentence or do not affect at all.

Nevertheless, the story feels rounded in the end, because one or the other twist surprises us, and individual characters like Baröd or Ciara grow dear to our hearts. It would only have been more.

When should you play the DLC?

In our test version, Wrath of the Druids plagues a balancing problem: Actually, the DLC level should also be scaled - for an egg at level 372, the recommended level is then 321, for example, Ubisoft confirmed to us.

The add-on can already be started when you have completed the first two-story sections in England. If you start the DLC after completing the main storyline, the game experience should be far too easy for most, despite the scaling. The fact is that our test Eivors at levels 340 and 400 have sliced their way through entire armies more easily than a hot knife through Irish butter, even on the highest combat difficulty.

If Ubisoft no longer tweaks the balancing process here, the DLC will only offer a challenge if you either start it at a low level or if you have the ambition to remain completely undetected, if it is at all possible in the respective mission.