The first major expansion of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has arrived, taking Eivor to Ireland to destroy an ancient druidic cult while influencing Gaelic kings of auld in Wrath of the Druids. Set sail from Ravensthorpe to Dublin and explore mystical forests and one of the most amazing coastlines of any Assassin’s Creed game, build trading posts and get powerful new weapons and armour while you drink your way through early medieval Irish towns and make some new friends along the way. With a second year of content announced at E3 2021, let’s take a look at the first post-launch story.
The map of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Ireland is split up into four territories: Dublin, Meath, Connacht and Ulster. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cover Ireland in its entirety, leaving out the mid-western coast, and a fair chunk of the south (sorry Cork!). All the big loughs are there such as Neagh, Erne and Eske, and we can’t fault Ubisoft’s re-creation of early-medieval-age towns like Dublin and Durrow. Though some of the high-points have beautiful vistas, the Giant’s Causeway is undoubtedly the best geographical location in the expansion – and you even get to (sort of) fight a giant there!
Wrath of the Druids introduces trade posts which for the first time allow Eivor a way to make a steady income while putting their feet up. By completing the various raids around Ireland you can use the trade goods to purchase buildings in each of the seven trade posts, which in turn will produce different goods that you can then use to acquire unique items such as weapons, armour, and ship decals. While some of the trade posts simply need to be cleared and claimed, others require you to go searching for the title to claim ownership. This is a great new feature to Valhalla which really gave a sense that you’re actually building something you can appreciate, unlike Ravensthorpe where everyone just seems to live rent-free.
There’s plenty more to discover around Ireland. Drinking games are back, though unfortunately our much-loved dice game Orlog isn’t. There are a few shrines, books of knowledge, several mysteries to unravel, and trials similar to the mushroom mysteries in the base game, though there aren’t any hidden side quests. New abilities to acquire from the books of knowledge include useful explosive smoke bomb arrows, a big Irish headbutt, and an awesomely fierce Irish Wolfhound which can be used in unison with your existing best friend wolf! Along with the new smoke arrows, there’s also new runes and items that create smoke clouds in combat, allowing you to use the same kind of mystical trickery that’s used against you throughout the expansion.
The new Order that must be eradicated in Wrath of the Druids is known as the Children of Danu, a druid cult that have intertwined themselves with the bubbling Irish society. While it’s significantly smaller than the Order of the Ancients in the base Valhalla game, the story of the Children ties in well with the main story of the expansion. Speaking of which, the main story felt a lot like one we’d already experienced in Valhalla. A prince disagreeing with his father, the king, only to… well, we’ll let you experience it for yourself. Even the Irish songster Ciara, though memorable, felt strangely familiar, though we will say that she does have a unique story to tell.
Other than the mystic fog which let you know druids are probably nearby and new weapons and armour, the only new graphical feature you’ll see in Wrath of the Druids is ‘tuar ceathas’ – rainbows. Yep, that’s right, and they’re a lot more common than we thought they’d be, though we did enjoy including them in photo mode. In fact, when it came to gameplay to photo ratio, we found ourselves in the photo editor mode a lot more regularly than in the base game. This is probably because you’re never terribly far from a water feature or a cliff with a beautiful vista.
There are only nine achievements worth just 210 gamerscore points in this expansion and while most of them will unlock as you complete all of the content, there are a couple that you might need to look up to unlock. The Irish Legend achievement for completing all of the territories is not as difficult as it may sound, but there is a Trial of Morrigan which is currently bugged, not allowing some players (us included!) to complete it. You’ll know if you’ve got this completion-breaking bug if you beat the trial only for it to allow you to repeat it… forever. Another game-breaking bug we experienced a couple of times throughout our playthrough involved Eivor randomly launching into the sky, sometimes traveling across the entire map before dying… presumably of acrophobia. While this might not cause you too many issues, it can happen at the end of story missions, sending you back to the start of the mission. While frustrating, it was also comical and nothing outside of the ordinary for a Ubisoft game.
Overall, Wrath of the Druids takes around 15 hours to 100%. It’s not the longest expansion story content, and doesn’t add too much to the overall Assassin’s Creed lore, but the map of Ireland is one that explorers and completionists alike will treasure (provided the trial bug gets fixed). We like to judge Assassin’s Creed expansions based on how useful the gear will be in follow-up content, and given this is just the first major expansion in Valhalla, the ancient weapons, sickles, Celtic, druid, and many other armour sets you can acquire make Wrath of the Druids a must-play for anyone looking to play future Assassin’s Creed Valhalla content.
Rocket Chainsaw reviewed Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Wrath of the Druids on Xbox Series X. It is also available on PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and older platforms. For more information, head to the official website.
- A huge map of Ireland to explore - Actually feels like you’re building something - Lots of new items to acquire.
- Couple of weird bugs - Story already happened in the main game - No Orlog.