Sharpen those axes, comb out your beards and grab a coat, because we’re heading to the Viking age with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

The new Assassin’s Creed is here – and now on the shiny new Xbox Series X and S – to educate us all yet again on obscure historical events; this time we’re in the Viking age. Our main character Eivor guides us through the frozen tundras of Norway and open fields of England as he finds a home for his people to settle down in.

Being a huge Assassin’s Creed fan myself, I couldn’t pull myself away from this latest entry in the series! It builds on everything I loved from the newly reinvigorated and reinvented Assassin’s Creedtrilogy arc of the series that Ubisoft started back in 2017. In Valhalla, Ubisoft has brought life to one of the most fan-requested time periods, and it was a blast to explore.

Whether I found myself scaling the cliffs of Rygjafylke or galloping through the countryside of Oxenefordscire on horseback, there’s always so much to see and explore and Valhalla does an incredible job at making you want to explore. Some games tie your character’s in-game progress to how much of the map you’ve explored – that’s thankfully not present in this game. The exploration comes both naturally and innately, which makes the story progression flow nicely – it feels like you’re the one changing history (and all from the comfort of your couch)!

The combat, too, was really refreshing! The developers have both managed to make it feel like Odysseyand Origins, earlier entries in the series, while still adding new features to distinguish it from them. Features like dual-wielding return, which I haven’t seen in Assassin’s since Origins back in 2017. The ability to wield two weapons is great on its own, but they’ve expanded it even further, allowing you to pick how you dual wield – shield in one hand and mace in the other, two axes, or even two shields?! The possibilities are endless and very fluid; the combat doesn’t feel like you’re mashing the same buttons to get the same moves, and all weapons perform differently in their own right.

One of the most interesting and enjoyable elements that I found in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was your town. As you play through the game, you’ll have to start your town anew, constructing new buildings and upgrading existing ones. But, of course, if you’re gonna build, you need supplies – and the only way you’re going to get them is through raiding towns and cities throughout England. So grab your axe and board your longship – there’s building to be done.

I really found myself staring off into the distance with this title. Valhalla has beautifully rendered the gorgeous English countryside, and equally beautiful yet gruesome Viking culture on the other side of the Channel that I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. Grab it today and play it on the Xbox Series X for a gaming experience that tops all others in my book!