It’s been almost a year since the release of Ubisoft’s most recent historical epic, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. The game was met mostly with praise; however, the game was also acknowledged to be a rather buggy experience. Being released during the pandemic, it was launched during a difficult time for game developers. Released not too long before the disastrous launch of the glitchy Cyberpunk 2077, Ubisoft’s title flew slightly under the radar. That doesn’t mean it didn’t sell record-breaking numbers, but rather its poor state at launch was merely overshadowed. Cyberpunk 2077 came under fire while the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla bugs sailed quietly towards riches.
Ubisoft has continued to add to the game since, giving it the live service treatment. While many updates have tackled existing bugs, has the developer’s efforts paid off? Here is the state of the game’s bugs one year later, as encountered during my recent playthrough.
The first section of my analysis is fairly positive, at least compared to my first playthrough in November 2020. I recall the game being particularly buggy with its quests. While I didn’t encounter this too often in my main quest playthrough, it was common for various side activities. Reports suggest it was more severe for some players, completely preventing them from finishing the main story. Given that the game is exceedingly long, it’s almost expected that some bugs will appear in the quests.
However, my most recent playthrough in October 2021 rarely presented any such bugs. I was able to progress through the entirety of the main story and two DLC without issue. Quests appeared where and when they should. This is not to suggest everything within those quests ran smoothly, with NPCs sometimes behaving senselessly. However, it was never anything I would deem unusual for a game of this scale. At the very least it was consistent.
The only notable exceptions are particularly worth mentioning because they are glitches I similarly encountered last year. The first is the settlement quest involving the baker. His side quest causes the baker to freeze during an escort. Having left a house, you need to escort the baker home, but he refuses to move. It’s not a huge issue, merely requiring a return to the title screen to fix. The other involves various bugs during the boss battle with Fenrir in Asgard. It required four hard resets during my first playthrough, and one during my recent. The boss sometimes disappears in combat, making it impossible to finish the fight. I felt these needed mentioning because it’s proof that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla bugs from a year ago are still present.
This is the section in which the still buggy state of the game will be made abundantly apparent. Sound design was already a major issue at launch. The sound mixing process just seemed to have gone horribly wrong. It was a near-constant that character dialogue would fluctuate wildly in volume. Sometimes one character was much louder than others, while some characters spoke as if wearing a helmet. Additionally, sailing around in your longship was where the sound was most inconsistent. The game for some reason treated volume as though it should be dependant on distance from the camera. While that might work on foot, sailing in your longship made dialogue almost incomprehensible.
During my recent playthrough, I found the longship dialogue issue was not as severe, yet still present. However, that proved to be the least of my concerns. One reoccurring issue was Ravensthorpe, the player’s home settlement. This location, particularly in the second half of the game, was plagued with sound bugs. Noise would just cut out when in Ravensthorpe, often removing ambient music and sound effects. This also caused some dialogue scenes to become soundless. I had to reset the game three times to rewatch cutscenes that were entirely silent.
Another frustrating issue was music looping. This usually involved intense high-alert music that involved ominous drums. It would play on repeat in an endless loop no matter where I fast traveled to or what cutscene played. These Assassin’s Creed Valhalla bugs were most certainly present during my playthrough, and yet were more frequent this time. It was a much complained about problem with the game at launch, and yet time has only enhanced the issue. For me, it was a frustratingly common reason for hard resets.
Now we come to the moment-to-moment gameplay. I simply never knew when a bug would spring. Some were only minor annoyances, like a new gear change glitch caused by a DLC skill, Idunn’s Heart. There seemed to be a 50% chance every time that I changed gear that a healing golden aura would appear. This could be undone by removing and reequipping any piece of gear, but it was annoying nonetheless.
Returning Assassin’s Creed Valhalla bugs from launch also put a dampener on my experience. Large objects that could be pushed or pulled still have a random chance of complying. Sometimes the object would move, and sometimes it would be immovable. I know for certain this was not due to a blockage, because merely cancelling and trying again often worked. Raiding crews also still have a frustratingly high chance of refusing to help Eivor open chests or doors.
Another new glitch occurs solely in Francia, where Eivor and their horse refuse to sprint, even in open fields. This turns the DLC into a nightmarishly slow journey across the countryside. But the biggest issue of all is fairly new, yet has persisted for over a month. Online Avenge Quests get accepted automatically when Eivor is in their proximity. This then causes quest accepted notifications to appear on screen every time Eivor loots or interacts with items. This will not cease until they complete the quest. However, sometimes its glitches further, as the quest disappears but the looting notification bug persists, requiring a hard reset. This was a near-constant issue that forced me to turn off my console’s internet connection. The game does not provide an in-game setting to disable the quests, meaning I had to forfeit internet access entirely.
Is It Acceptable?
The real question to ask regarding Assassin’s Creed Valhalla bugs is are they acceptable? I’m not someone who expects a pristine bug-free experience, especially not with large open-world games. Yet even so I found myself at my wit’s end when it came to these bugs. The issue is that it’s a buggy experience throughout, with major bugs being an issue once an hour or so. Combine that with the game’s excessive length and you are in for a slog. I played for 120 hours and lost track of the number of times I had to hard reset. It frustrates me that the infamous spotlight shone on Cyberpunk 2077 allowed Ubisoft to dodge a lot of warranted heat. The game is arguably in a buggier state now than at launch. This, I feel, is extremely unacceptable for a game that has added significantly more microtransactions and expensive DLC since release.