Ever since the series made its debut in 2007, Assassin’s Creed has gone through a lot of iterations. The most major evolution thus far came in Assassin’s Creed: Origins, which introduced a heavier reliance on RPG mechanics and has been further expanded in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and now Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
Ubisoft’s lauded Viking epic will see you stabbing, slashing, and rampaging your way across England, with only your skill and levels limiting you. The skill system doesn’t look anything like it did in the previous games, and with so many paths and abilities to choose from, it can be hard to know which are worth spending your precious skill points on. Here are the best skills to invest in first to make yourself the most deadly Viking possible.
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Origins and Odyssey had very traditional skill tree systems where you would invest points in a branching — but still linear — path of skills. Valhalla ditches that for a more open-ended grid system. This is great in terms of giving you more freedom to choose how you want to invest your points but can also be very overwhelming when you’re just starting out. Thankfully, each path has a color-coding system to help you navigate, with red being melee-focused, yellow stealth-focused, and blue ranged-focused.
Below, we breakdown the best skills for each path.
Stomp is an ability you can access almost instantly, and you should, no matter what type of player you are. If the name didn’t give it away, Stomp allows you to perform a brutal attack on an enemy once you knock them to the ground.
Most foes can be toppled with just a few heavy attacks, allowing you to follow up with this high-damage maneuver. Once you add this move to your arsenal, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. It will cost you six skill points to purchase.
A little further in the melee section is Adrenaline Fiend. You’ll want to pick this one up if you plan on jumping into the fray and going berserk on your enemies. With this skill, you gain a damage and speed buff, as long as you have at least one Adrenaline Point stocked up. Since you will be able to increase the amount of Adrenaline Points you earn throughout the game, as long as you make sure to keep one point in the bank, you’ll always be ready to cut down any foe who stands before you.
Parry Damage is another fantastic skill that gives you a nice edge to your defensive options. As you might have guessed from the name, this skill allows your parries to not only block incoming damage but also hurt foes who try and attack you. You’ll be parrying plenty during larger battles anyway, so why not get more bang for your buck and turn your attacker’s offense back on them?
Stealth skills are far and away the most interesting and useful of the three skill types. If you enjoy the assassination aspect of Assassin’s Creed, there’s a lot here you’ll want to unlock, starting with Advanced Assassination. See, the problem many people had with AC turning into an RPG was that enemies gained levels and health bars, meaning stealth assassinations were no longer a guaranteed kill. It looked and felt odd to leap off a roof and plunge your blade into someone’s neck only for them to get up with a chunk of their health bar missing. Thankfully, this skill makes instant assassinations possible again (for a price).
If you attempt to stealth kill on a high-level target after unlocking Advanced Assassination, the game will begin a QTE you need to complete in order for the attack to be deemed lethal. While it will take a bit more investment to reach — it requires eight points in total — the ability to instantly take down any target makes stealth way more viable as a whole.
Chain Assassination is another essential skill for stealth-focused players. If you find yourself in a situation with two enemies you want to take out quietly, this ability will prompt you to throw an ax at the nearest target after performing a stealth kill. Not only is the skill efficient for taking out enemies quickly, but it also keeps you from being detected. You’ll come across this skill on the same path you find Advanced Assassination.
Brush With Death
The final stealth skill you want to pick up early on in the game is Brush With Death. If you’re a fan of character action titles, specifically Bayonetta, then you’ll love how this skill transforms combat. With this ability, you’ll be able to slow down time for a few moments following a perfect dodge. You can use this time to counter your enemy or retreat if you’re being overwhelmed. Even though this is in the stealth section, this skill makes open combat more satisfying.
Last Chance Healing
Typically, ranged combat doesn’t last long in Valhalla unless you specifically go out of your way to ensure it does. Thankfully, however, the ranged skills offer more than just bow upgrades. Last Chance Healing, for instance, is perfect for anyone who feels the game’s difficulty is slightly too challenging or can be a little too aggressive. It functions a lot like Brush With Death, only instead of triggering when you time a perfect dodge, time slows when you’re about to bite the dust. This provides you with valuable time, which you can then use to heal before someone lands a lethal blow.
Grit is another survival ability you’ll want to get, but it will come later than most others. Taking a cue from titles like Bloodborne, Grit works just like the Regain system. Whenever you take a hit — and you’ll be taking a ton of them over the course of the game — the section of health you’re about to lose will flash red in your health bar. If you manage to deal some damage to your foe before it drains away, you will recover that entire portion of health.
Last up is Stealth Recon, which also sounds and performs more like a stealth ability than a dedicated ranged attack. Once unlocked, nearby enemies will be highlighted in red, as long as you’re in stealth and crouched. This makes sneaking through enemy camps and forts more manageable and prevents any unwanted surprises when sneaking around a corner.
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