First announced at the Ubisoft Forward event at E3 2021, The Siege of Paris is Assassin's Creed Valhalla‘s second expansion. It will see Eivor travel to 9th century Francia, to protect the Raven Clan from a growing threat.
Eivor has tread through numerous different lands and kingdoms throughout their adventures in Assassin's Creed Valhalla. From raiding monasteries, to hosting great feasts, to slaying legendary beasts, they've done it all and then some. The Siege of Paris is more of the same things that are good and bad about Assassin's Creed Valhalla. However, this time it's all wrapped up in a beautifully atmospheric romp through the plague-ridden slums of Paris and the rolling vineyards of the surrounding countryside.
What is Assassin's Creed Valhalla The Siege of Paris?
Assassin's Creed Valhalla The Siege of Paris follows in the footsteps of the game's previous expansion – The Wrath of the Druids. It is a separate adventure from the game's main story, taking Eivor into Francia in the 9th century. It is a snapshot of a time rife with conflict.
Viking raiders have set their sights on Francia's crown jewel of a city. Beset by plague, raiders, and under the rule of a mad king, it paints a picture of Paris we are rarely able to see. The new DLC is accessible after the player finishes either Grantebridgescire or Ledecestrescire. A new NPC, Toka of the Elgring Clan, will arrive in Eivor's settlement and players can initiate the expansion from there.
Though there is no mandatory power level for the expansion, Ubisoft recommends a power level of 200. However, players with a higher power level need not worry. The game will automatically adjust to provide the most balanced experience possible.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla The Siege of Paris has everything you'd expect from the base game. My personal favorite addition, however, is the return of “black-box” assassinations. They are now called “infiltration missions.” These sandbox-style assassination quests allow the player to freely approach the execution on their own terms. The expansion has five of these, and they are the best part of the experience by far.
Other smaller new features, such as the new scythe weapon type, are sure to please heavy-weapon users. Its wide arc is very useful for fighting enemy groups, but its slow speed might give players trouble when facing more nimble opponents. There are also several new skills and abilities that can be acquired in the expansion. Two of these are new arrow types. One is particularly gruesome, as it summons a rat swarm to devour enemies. The other is a poisoned arrow. It causes the target to fall ill while surrounding enemies run away from them in fear. This one is particularly useful for isolating targets in stealth.
A new Rebel Missions system also operates somewhat similarly to older Assassin's brotherhood mechanics in the franchise. You can do missions to earn currency and upgrade your small band of rebels into seasoned veterans. However, the missions themselves weren't particularly captivating and did feel a little too much like typical open-world busywork.
Additionally, a new environmental mechanic, the rat swarm, is also introduced with this expansion. At first, I found that it really helped to set the atmosphere – perfect for a plague-ridden slum awaiting its doom by Viking siege. However, as I got further into the expansion, repelling the deadly swarms of rats by spamming attacks eventually felt more like a chore than a novelty.
One of the things that makes Assassin's Creed Valhalla The Siege of Paris stand out from the rest of the game is its atmosphere. The expansion's introduction as Eivor steps out from their longship onto a secluded dock, seeing the squalor of a city under siege really sets the tone well. Bodies burn along the riverbank, the air is filled with smoke and soot, and then you meet Sigfred, the current head of the Elgring clan. He is leading the Viking forces in Francia and has his sights set on the riches and plunder of the city of Paris. Alongside him is his niece, Toka, to whom Eivor becomes something of a mentor.
As Eivor makes their way through this new land, they will uncover the secret society of the Bellatores Dei, who have their hand in the inner workings of Francia's church and state. As expected, Eivor will be tasked to assassinate some of them. This will then lead the player to the major Frankish characters of the game – King Charles the Fat is a ruler mad with power. The pious Queen Richardis is the epitome of a noble holy woman. Count Odo, personally the most interesting of the bunch, is a man of both honor and staunch pride.
The expansion's story, in Assassin's Creed Valhalla fashion, will feature several opportunities for player choice. It continues the game's heavy focus on politics and will see Eivor step into the shoes of a kingmaker, a kingslayer – or both. There are some gripping moments throughout the tale, but they lack the main game's personal weight and longer-formed character attachments.
As a disclaimer, The Siege of Paris expansion was played on a PlayStation 4 for this review. Last-generation consoles truly are beginning to show their age here, with long loading times and frequent texture pop-in. I also encountered a couple of visual bugs in combat animations throughout my play time, but nothing overly glaring.
However, as previously mentioned, the expansion does truly shine in when it comes to building atmosphere. Soot, smoke, and a very competent lighting engine immerse the player into the Viking siege experience. The vast flower fields and vineyards of the countryside surrounding Paris are also nothing to scoff at. They are a welcome change of pace to contrast with England's rolling green hills.
Character models for the major characters are also heavily detailed, and the new weapons and armor sets do look quite distinct from the rest of the game.
Music and Sound Design
Assassin's Creed Valhalla The Siege of Paris will also release an official soundtrack to coincide with the DLC's launch. The new tracks veer off slightly from the main game's, featuring female vocal tracks, some medieval church music, and gregorian chanting.
Sound design-wise, it's not too different from the main experience. Shields, swords and spears clatter and clang convincingly enough. The sound of a shield breaking against your axe blade is still visceral, as is the sound of an assassination from the signature hidden blade. Additionally, the sound effect for slowing down time during a perfect dodge still excites. There were a few lip-sync issues and audio bugs during my playthrough, but they weren't a big deal.
The Siege of Paris offers the same extensive accessibility options as the base game. It features two different methods of menu navigation, and the ability to remap control buttons. There is also a wide array of alternatives for hold inputs, and different force trigger feedback types. Quick Time Events can also be set to one-time press, hold, or repeated button press settings – there is even an option to bypass them entirely.
Additionally, there are modular difficulty settings. Players can choose Fight, Stealth, and Exploration difficulty settings separately. The game also features a guaranteed assassinate option to bypass the timing-based mini-game for higher-levelled enemies.
There is also a plethora of options available for video and audio accessibility. Players can set icon sizes, customize the HUD, several colorblind modes, and the like. Menu narration text-to-speech options are also available.
Verdict – Is Assassin's Creed Valhalla The Siege of Paris worth your time and money?
Assassin's Creed Valhalla The Siege of Paris is more of the same. The same highs of a perfectly executed boss fight, or undetected fort clear. The same lows of a little too much open-world tedium. It is truly an expansion in essence. It's the same old gameplay loops we've grown accustomed to since the newest breed of Assassin's Creed arrived with Origins.
This time it's all wrapped up in a tale of intrigue and politics, of human motivations that decide the fate of many. The expansion aims to bring players to a time not often traveled when it comes to Paris. Here it is less a city of light and more a dichotomy – the rich and powerful while away their time drinking to their doom, while the poor suffer in the rat-infested squalor, praying for the Northmen to put an end to their suffering. There are plenty of decisions to be made, and rulers on both sides are too far into their own business to care about their people.
In bringing to life this particular snapshot of history, the expansion succeeds. The Siege of Paris is a worthy addition to the base experience of Assasin's Creed Valhalla. It doesn't offer anything particularly new – aside from the very welcome return of black box assassination missions. Hopefully, they continue on to become a series staple once again. The expansion will please those who already enjoy the game – but will probably not convert skeptics. Get it if you are itching for more Valhalla, or are particularly interested in this period of history.