While Assassin’s Creed Valhalla might look like it’s very similar to the previous iteration of the franchise, AC Odyssey, or even AC Origins, the combat is actually not as identical as it looks, which is surprising considering how much better it’s selling than them.
Players have found a lot of trouble transitioning from Odyssey’s to Valhalla’s combat without really knowing why. So, let’s take a look at some of the biggest features of Valhalla’s intense action players are either missing or utilizing incorrectly.
All The Ways To Regenerate Stamina In Combat
Stamina management is more important in this AC game than it ever has been, yet the game only really introduces people to one way of regaining it during combat, which involves using Light Attacks. However, there are a couple of other ways to get stamina back quickly in a fight. For example:
- Landing Light Attacks against enemies who are blocking
- They get a chunk of stamina back after every successful parry
- And, most Abilities, when used, just straight-up refresh the stamina bar completely.
Stun Finishers Are A Fantastic Way To Heal
It’s so surprising how many players don’t know how useful Stun Finishers are. Not only is Eivor invincible while the animation for these plays out, but they also get a huge chunk of adrenaline and health. These attacks are also likely the reason why it’s so difficult to gather new rations mid-combat, as Ubisoft was assuredly trying to incentive players to heal by using Stun Finishers on nearby weaker enemies.
Heavy Attacks Can Stagger, Stunlock, And Stop Potential Counters
Heavy Attacks in Valhalla, with any weapon, have a much higher chance to stagger and stunlock the enemy than Light Attacks. They also do more damage and their combo has a bit of power armor on it. Quite frankly, Light Attacks should be used as sparingly as possible, as plenty of enemies (especially on the harder difficulties) can start their counter-attack in the middle of Eivor’s swing.
Abilities Have I-Frames On Them, But Stomp Doesn’t
Just like any Character Action or Souls-like series, Valhalla has a lot of different ways to abuse I-frames. For those unaware, I-frames are “Invincibility Frames” or frames of animation where the player quite literally can’t be hit by enemies.
There are I-frames during a roll in Dark Souls, during a somersault in Bayonetta, and also during most of the Abilities in Valhalla. Just be aware that this doesn’t apply to every single Ability, and it doesn’t work with Eivor’s Stomp.
Abuse The Weak Spot Mechanic
Weak Spots are an entirely new system added in Valhalla, and it allows Eivor to even the playing field quite quickly against tougher enemies like Legendary Animals or Zealots. Due to how poorly it’s explained early on, tons of players either missed this mechanic entirely or weren’t utilizing it as they should.
To put it simply, hitting an enemy’s weak point with an arrow eliminates a huge chunk or completely obliterates their stamina bar. With the Zealots & Legendary Animals mentioned earlier, there are actually multiple Weak Spots to hit. If Eivor manages to nab them all, they then get to capitalize on a free Stun Attack animation, which kills normal mobs and turns the tide in Zealot encounters. While it might seem like it at first, hitting every Weak Spot on an enemy is something Eivor should do while they are relatively close, in order to capitalize on their stunned state.
The Special Attack Each Weapon Has Is Situational At Best
Many players tend to underutilize their Special Attacks. Special Attacks are the varying moves Eivor can use by holding the block button depending on whatever weapon is in their offhand. With a 2-handed axe, it’s a spinning attack; with any one of the many greatswords, it’s a running charge. While the animations might be different, these moves all devour stamina like nothing else.
While this is a huge detriment, it doesn’t mean these moves are useless, just situational. Players should mess around with each of them and figure out the optimal situation to use them, such as using the 2-handed spin move when surrounded by enemies on all sides. Completely depleting Eivor’s stamina bar can be a death sentence during some fights, so it’s important not to rely heavily on moves that drain that meter quickly.
Rely On The Bow In Combat
It might seem counter-intuitive to switch back and forth between the bow and whatever primary weapon Eivor is using during combat, but it’s actually pretty useful. In fact, there are entire skills in the skill tree dedicated to this. But, why should players attempt this back-and-forth rather than simply swinging their flail a couple of times? Simply put, bows are more accurate.
While there are plenty of enemies that hide behind an annoying shield, their feet and head are usually sticking out, so popping either with an arrow is a great way to stagger them. Plus, hitting an enemy shield with a charged arrow usually breaks their guard as well.
Learn To Depend On Dodge-Canceling
While the animations in Valhalla certainly feel a bit more weighty than in previous games, once the player gets used to combat, they’ll realize how floaty it all is. The game doesn’t feel nearly as heavy as it appears to be, and no mechanic makes that more clear than Eivor’s ability to dodge-cancel out of any animation. No Heavy Attack, Light Attack, or even charge attack is uncancelable, which is preferable to the alternative.
In similar titles like Dark Souls, players had to commit to their swings, as they’d get stuck in an animation, but Eivor doesn’t need to worry about that. Enemy attacks come out insanely fast at times, and being able to bait these out with a Light Attack into a dodge-cancel can prove to be crucial.
Plunging Attacks Are More Useful They Appear
How many people use the plunging attack in Valhalla? Not a lot it seems, because no one’s talking about how versatile this attack is. Basically, when falling from any height (even a small wall), players can bring out the plunging attack. This attack seems to affect a small AOE area and does some pretty sizeable damage, but that’s not the important part.
What matters is that plunging attacks have what seems to be a 100% chance to knock enemies down, even Zealots. This can easily be exploited in towns and fenced-in areas to make easy work out of what seemed like an impossible enemy.
NEXT: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: 5 Best Things About A Light Build (& The 5 Worst)
- Assassin's Creed Valhalla
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