How the Siege of Paris DLC Puts the Assassin Back in Assassin's Creed - VRGyani News and Media

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Thursday, August 12, 2021

How the Siege of Paris DLC Puts the Assassin Back in Assassin's Creed

Over the last few years, the Assassin’s Creed series has made a transition away from the stealth-action game realm and into the vast, loot-filled RPG landscape. What was introduced with Origins, improved upon with Odyssey, and continues with last year’s Valhalla has transformed the series into several historical playgrounds worth spending well over 100 hours in... but not without a cost.

The last three games have put the complexity of the stealth and assassin mechanics on the backburner, to the point where they may as well not even be in the kitchen. But with the new DLC for Valhalla, “The Siege of Paris,” a new feature on Eivor’s quest does the best job yet of helping put the “assassin” back in Assassin’s Creed. Players can once again do more than snipe targets from afar with a good bow by embracing their cunning, ingenuity, and desire to explore in order to get the big kill.

Spoilers AheadRELATED: 'Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Siege of Paris' DLC Trailer Reveals Epic Fights, and Lots of Rat Swarms

Following May’s “Wrath of the Druids,” the new DLC "The Siege of Paris" takes Eivor to France for a story that puts a spin on the historical attack on Paris from Viking forces in the years 885-886. This puts our hero in contact with a series of historical figures, who at some point ask them to do some killing because, obviously, that’s Eivor’s whole jam. But while the recent games have seemingly included the stealth feature Hidden Blade and high-priority targets to take down just to live up to the basics of the game’s namesake, developer Ubisoft Montreal has included new Infiltration Missions (described as a “modernized version of black box missions” from Assassin’s Creed Unity) for the story’s key targets that goes a very long way toward making any player feel like more of an assassin than the recent games have ever offered.

As part of these missions, Eivor discovers their target(s), and players are given options on how to take them down. Of course, you can just run in there with Mjolnir and start bashing away at guards or linger behind a corner and wait for them to come by for a quick kill. Alternatively, you’re given hints to investigate the surrounding areas for clues that can lead to a different route to your target. In one case, this means finding a man and getting them to give you a special cloak which you can use to disguise yourself to get in close. In another, a little investigating can cause a distraction, leading guards away and leaving the target all by their defenseless lonesome. Putting in that extra detective work means encountering an Assassination Event, which is a unique kill that triggers a bloody cutscene, a far cry from simply pouncing on your target or popping out of the bushes like a creep.

Not unlike the recent Hitman games, these Infiltration Missions offer a greater variety of ways to hunt down a target and incentive to investigate your surroundings and see where the people and the environment can lead you. Because it’s part of a shorter DLC and not the full game, the missions can definitely feel like a test run at times—perhaps to incorporate more completely into a future game—but that doesn’t hinder them from being a fantastic, very much welcome new feature. Having each new target offer up a new way to approach their demise—each of them being rewardingly brutal if you hunt down the Assassination Event—was the most fun I’ve had with the “assassination” part of the series in a long time. For once I felt driven to further explore my surroundings and was always on the lookout for new angles to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. At one point, I stumbled onto an underground tunnel that led underneath a certain location I needed to go to, which in turn circumnavigated another way of getting into that same building, which would’ve meant hunting down an item that would’ve let me past someone blocking the door... who perhaps could’ve also been taken down if it decided to just go weapon crazy.

Like many DLCs, my time with “Siege of Paris” was short (around 10 or so hours including exploring much of the map), and there are only a handful of these missions, as they tie into the main story. But if this is a feature Ubisoft is considering putting into the next main game of the series, then they need to go full steam ahead. It’s the inventive, player-friendly way to inject more prowess as an assassin into series entries that have, for better and worse, become insanely large in scope. With deeper exploration into its functions, these types of missions can embrace much of what makes these new games exceptional—open worlds, stunning architecture, variety of costumes, etc.—and weave in stealth mechanics and the grand storytelling to make each new target feel like a puzzle with multiple approaches and different outcomes.

For the first time in what feels like a long time, the assassinations actually felt like an important, unique aspect of the series. Now the future of Assassin’s Creed has the potential to live up to the first part of their namesake beyond making the Hidden Blade a shiny accessory.

Having trouble getting started in the new DLC? We've got you covered with this explainer. Here's the official synopsis for Assassin's Creed: Valhalla - The Siege of Paris:

Sail to the kingdom of Francia and engage the forces of Charles the Fat as you participate in the Vikings' most daring conquest. Infiltrate the city of Paris, forge new alliances within its walls, and strike a blow that will shatter an empire.

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla DLC 2 "The Siege of Paris" is available today for the owners of the Season Pass or as separate purchases on Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, PS4, PS5, PC, Stadia, and Amazon Luna.

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