Gaming Omnivore Art Gallery – Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla

It was about this time last year that I came up with the idea to showcase just a few of the many, many screenshots I had saved on my PS4 at the time, it’s also (quite)likely I had little else to post for the week(same excuse today?).

As I’ve mentioned frequently since starting this blog, I’m usually playing multiple games at any given time. The past few months I’ve tried to organize this into two or so games into three different categories – blogging, streaming, or personal. The two….well, ok…three games that have been occupying the latter category are Hades(yes, still), Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity and finally, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla – which I’ve spent the majority of my time playing when not either streaming or catching up on WordPress projects.

I included AC: Valhalla in my list of favorite games of 2020 a couple weeks ago and mentioned that it took me just a little longer to get invested in than the two previous Assassin’s Creed games – Origins and Odyssey, but since then I have come to really enjoy the game. I’m not sure where I’d place it on my list of favorite Assassin’s Creed games(that I’ve played), though one thing I greatly appreciate is the way Valhalla features a variety of objectives and activities that aren’t simply “take out this enemy” or fetch quests. In fact, I’d wager to say my favorite part of Valhalla has simply been roaming 10th Century England and discovering areas along with the various side quests. I was as surprised as anyone when I started legitimately enjoying the Animus anomalies(which remind me a lot of the 3d puzzles from Mario Sunshine) or stacking rocks for the cairns. Of course, in addition to all of this I’ve spent a very significant amount of time in photo mode taking screenshots of the gorgeous environments featured in the game, which brings us back to today’s post…let’s take a stroll through some of my favorite screenshots I’ve managed to take while playing Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. Skäl!

The world in Valhalla, like Origins and Odyssey before it, is epic in both sight and scale.
The game begins in snowy Norway before crossing the North Sea into England.
Some of the recurring themes throughout Valhalla are weightier things like death, faith, and the often cruelties and frivolities of life, making the game quite dark at times..
From vast expanses of marshlands and mountain ranges to settlements along the rivers and seaside cliffs, the England of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is stunningly beautiful. The lighting effects in the game are excellent as well…

At this time, I’ve invested just short of 80 hours into Valhalla and I still haven’t quite reached the halfway point of the main story, which makes it an even longer game than AC: Odyssey. As mentioned above, a big portion of my play time has been spent in photo mode or simply exploring the many shires and villages of England, so I’m not sure what my final amount of hours played will be. I do know the story takes some big twists and turns moving forward so I’m curious to see where it winds up.

Have you played Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla? What are other games you’ve played that you’ve found yourself simply soaking up the world more than anything else in them? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Gaming Vibes Playlist #3

It’s been two weeks since my last blog post. As much as I’d like to say there’s a particular reason I haven’t posted anything recently, I’ve quite simply hit a bit of a drought regarding WordPress posts. I have a handful of loose ideas I would like to write up something for, but most of them require me to finish playing the specific game…which I have not. Whenever I have trouble coming up with ideas or generally concentrating on writing, I usually spend extended periods of time listening through video game music as I find that often times provide some sort of inspiration to write. I have been playing through a fairly ecclectic group of games at the moment, so I decided for today’s post to simply include some of the music I’ve been listening to as of late…

Cyberpunk 2077 – Hyper-Spoiler

We’ll start things off with a track from Cyberpunk 2077. After 8 years and an insurmountable level of hype around this game, it was finally released this past week. The game’s reception has been…..less than stellar as countless bugs and glitches – sometimes game-breaking, sometimes just plain funny, have very negatively affected CD Projekt Red’s mega-hyped release. Say what you will about the game and it’s littany of issues, it does have a pretty killer soundtrack. I’ve played the game for about 4 and a half hours without any catastrophic crashes or glitches – a few minor graphical hiccups here and there, and will be playing this at perhaps a more leisurely pace while the unfortunate dev team at CDPR scrambles to salvage this train wreck of a game launch. I do have a bit to say about the game and the events surrounding its release(yikes!), which I may write about in a follow-up post in the future, but for now I’ll stick with the awesome soundtrack…

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – Overlooking Hyrule

I bought Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity a few weeks ago after really enjoying the game demo on my Switch. I hadn’t ever played any of the Warriors/Musou games before, but have had a lot of fun in the 8 or so hours I’ve invested. I’ve seen others stating online that they were satisfied with the game overall, but were a little disappointed in some of the story beats as it was presented originally as essentially, a prequel to Breath of the Wild. I love the dramatic grandeur to the track – Overlooking Hyrule as you hear the spirited strings and piano, but can also notice the march of the drums underneath as you envision the Hyrule Army preparing for the onslaught of Calamity Ganon.

GoldenEye – Dam(Tweaklab Synthwave Version)

I recently went back to bask in the nostalgia of playing GoldenEye on my N64 a couple weeks ago as part of a random Twitch stream. The game certainly shows its age in the visual department, but still manages to remain entertaining after 23 years. It also has an iconic soundtrack that instantly conjures all those warm, fuzzy feelings of nostalgia. So, naturally, I’ve spent a fair amount of time recently going through and listening to random OST remixes on YouTube. Here’s one of my favorites that sounds more or less like a meeting of 007 and Stranger Things…

Yakuza 0 – Heartbreak Mermaid

I’ve recently been playing the Yakuza games after knowing OF them for many years, but having never played them. I’m really, really loving the cocktail of seriousness and absurdity in both the characters and storylines. One of my favorite activities within the Yakuza games has been the karaoke mini-games. Here’s one of my favorite songs that has been stuck in my head almost endlessly since playing…

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla – The First Departure

I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla here and there for the past month, and I’d say overall I’m really enjoying the game, but feel like it doesn’t quite have me “hooked” just yet. One aspect of the game I absolutely love is the soundtrack, which finds longtime AC composer Jesper Kyd returning to the series along with Sarah Schachner, who was responsible for AC: Origin’s wonderful instrumentation. I love the solemn tone of the stringed instruments, and the spacious sound that’s created within the track. Sometimes, the most impactful pieces of music aren’t ones that fill every second with sounds, but rather allow the space for the selected notes to resonate.

Hades – God of the Dead

Well…I wasn’t going to write a list of video game music I’ve been listening to lately and NOT include something from Hades – my Game of the Year pick for 2020. I absolutely love the Hades soundtrack and the range of instruments and styles showcased within. Supergiant Games composer Darren Korb(also the voice of Zagreus and Skelly in the game) described the music featured in Hades as “Mediterranean prog rock”. Take a listen to this epic battle music…

That’s really all I have for now, gonna go play some more video games. Thanks for reading!