Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is one of the first major game releases to acknowledge the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. An email from one of the game’s modern day segments includes a message about the virus.
“I don’t have Covid, no,” writes Layla Hassan, Valhalla’s modern day player-controlled character. “And I’m well isolated. It’s just the three of us, traveling together, staying out of sight.”
The pandemic has continued to worsen amidst the 2020 election, with case numbers rising all over the United States. President-elect Joe Biden announced his COVID-19 task force, including 12 doctors and experts, earlier. The video game industry, including the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, has been impacted in major ways.
Other games have made references to the pandemic, including the recent Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. A message board in the remake’s first school level says schools are closed and that parents need to pick up their kids personal belongings. The pandemic isn’t mentioned outright in the skating platformer.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla has received praise from a variety of critics, including GameSpot’s own Jordan Ramée. It has a massive open world with a variety of environmental puzzles, funny moments, and a storyline that sets the franchise up for the future.
“There have been so many lingering threads since Desmond’s death, and only more have been created with the introduction of the Sages, new Pieces of Eden, the origins of the Assassin Brotherhood and Templar Order, and the now fairly convoluted modern-day storyline,” he wrote in GameSpot’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review. “Valhalla resolves all of this in an incredibly satisfying way. It does for the series what Assassin’s Creed III did back in 2012: It clears the board while also paving the way for something brand new.”
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