Published on May 20th, 2021 | by John Werner
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids Xbox Series DLC Review
Summary: Take down a dark cult of Druids and help secure a peaceful future for Northern Ireland
A beautiful and mysterious adventure waits Eivor in Northern Ireland in the first DLC expansion, “Assassins Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids”. A dark cult of Druids set on revenge is working from the shadows to bring down the newly crowned High King of Ireland and segregate his allies. Travel across the breathtaking Irish countryside as you expand trade routes and strengthen ties between kings as you play your part in shaping the future for the Emerald Isles.
If you thought that England was beautiful, wait until you travel to Celtic Northern Ireland in “Wrath of the Druids”, the first DLC expansion for “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla”. Eivor’s journey to the Emerald Isle begins when a mysterious merchant arrives on your settlement’s dock with a letter from one of the Irish Kings who wishes to develop new trade routes across England and the rest of the world. Intrigued by the King’s offer, Eivor agrees to travel to Dublin and meet with the King and discuss setting up trade between the two settlements. However, it doesn’t take long before Eivor is caught up in an even bigger series of events that require a particular set of skills. The King of Dublin wants to develop a new trade route in an effort to gain favour with the newly crowned High King of Ireland, and help him bring peace to Ireland through conquest. Unfortunately, there are many forces at work trying to stop the new High King, including a dark cult of Druids working from the shadows. It’s up to Eivor and their new allies to stop the cultist before all is lost.
As I sailed the cost of Ireland, making my way into the Viking city of Dublin, the rolling green hills and lush forests dotting the landscape capture my eyes and I’m lost in a bewildering trance of awe and mystery. Here before me lies a whole new world to explore and it is breathtaking. The map for “Wrath of the Druids” takes place in Northern Ireland, spanning from Dublin to Galway at the bottom, all the way up to the north cost of Ulster. In direct comparison, this makes the DLC map about 1/5th the size of the England map from the main campaign. It may not seem like much but considering that the new DLC gives you half of Ireland to explore, you might be surprised by just how much there is to see and do. Without a doubt, the Irish countryside is something to behold and easily a step up from that of England.
“Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids” has much to offer players aside from a stunning view. Starting your adventure in Dublin, Eivor is tasked with helping the King of Dublin re-establish the regions abandoned artisan camps to produce items to expand international trade routes. Before a camp can be reclaimed, Eivor must “evict” the bandits and wild animals that are currently residing within and then proceed to track down the deed to the location. This requires players to locate a note left behind by the previous owner that provides clues as to where the deed can be found. Most of the time, the deed has found its way into a bandit camp and can either be reclaimed using stealth or a more aggressive method of persuasion. With the deed reclaimed, players can now reopen the camp and start collecting trade goods. Each camp will provide you with one of four different types of trade goods; Clothing, Texts, Delicacies, and Luxuries. These will be added to a chest in Dublin periodically for players to collect and then trade for rewards including new tattoos, longship cosmetics, weapons, and armour. Rewards require different amounts of each resource to complete, just as you would hand in fishing requests back in Ravensthorpe. As players complete more trade requests, Dublin’s renown will increase, unlocking new exotic countries to trade with. Several new armor sets can be unlocked this way, and once established, doesn’t require constant supervision.
Whilst establishing the trade might be the reason Eivor travels to Ireland, it’s not the only reason they decide to hang around. The King of Dublin is eager to gain favour with the new High King of Ireland and support his campaign to unite all of Ireland through conquest. However, an extremely dangerous cult of renegade druids has begun working from the shadows to bring down the High King. In order to protect the alliance between the two kings, Eivor must search for clues to discover the true identities of the cultists who have infiltrated the major cities and eliminate them. The cult operates in a similar manner as The Order of the Ancients, with each member going by a code name, and being part of an inner hierarchy. Whilst there are only a handful of senior cult members that need to be dealt with, players can still encounter the druids whilst exploring Ireland. Unlike the bandits and soldiers that Eivor is used to encountering in England, the Irish Druids do battel with poisonous gases, wild animals, and an array of new warrior archetypes who also use special abilities. Even on the default difficulty, seasoned players are in for a real challenge when it comes to defeating the Druids in a head on battle.
If there is one standout quality of “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids”, it’s the long-awaited return of encouraging players to use stealth. If you’ve played “Origins”, “Odyssey”, or “Valhalla”, you’ll know that there hasn’t been the same emphasis on using stealth as the original games. While stealth is always an option, there hasn’t been much reason to use it other than avoid an all-out brawl. Once players have progressed further into the DLC campaign, they will unlock access to the Royal Demands side quests and be able to perform tasks for the other Lords of Ireland. Missions require Eivor to perform various tasks for rewards, with bonuses given for completing optional objectives. Missions can include assassinations, clearing out locations, and recovering stolen jewels. But if players wish to receive the bonuses, then they might be required to do it without taking damage, been detected, or killing anyone. This can be extremely difficult when required to take out elite enemies or highly populated areas. Players will most likely need to re-evaluate their loadouts in order to become better equipped to remain hidden and strike from the shadows like a true Assassin.
“Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids” is an incredible DLC and brings an enormous amount of new items, abilities, cosmetic items, and locations for players to discover. Ireland makes for the perfect location to expand the Valhalla experience, keeping true to the region’s history, culture and beliefs. I’m especially fond of how much replay value has been encapsulated into Northern Ireland thanks to an endless supply of challenging side quests. In addition to the new raid locations, “Wrath of the Druids” takes the nice elements of the main game such as stealth and poison and brings out their full potential in amazing ways. “Wrath of the Druids” has pushed the bar even higher for the Assassin’s Creed series and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone who has “Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla”.