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Assassin's Creed Valhalla: The Siege of Paris expansion review — Laying waste to France

The rat swarms are a lot less terrifying than you'd expect.

Assassins Creed Valhalla Siege Of Paris Eivor And Sigfred
(Image: © Windows Central)

Following Wrath of the Druids, The Siege of Paris is the latest expansion to release for Assassin's Creed Valhalla. Where the previous DLC delved into the more mystical elements of Assassin's Creed, The Siege of Paris tries to stay more grounded in reality. I felt this was to its detriment as I became less interested in the story and its characters. Still, for being one of the best games on Xbox, it's a solid expansion that's built upon a strong foundation from the base game.

The Siege of Paris sees Eivor journeying to France in an effort to prevent King Charles the Fat from coming to the shores of England. As usual, you'll make enemies and allies along your path, culminating in the titular siege that lays waste to the city. Even with the ability to choose your actions and dialogue, the outcome — for the most part — appears to be predetermined.

And like Wrath of the Druids before it, there's only enough "fresh" material, so to speak, to entice the most devout Assassin's Creed fans. Most people who've already put in dozens of hours in Valhalla and have had enough won't be pulled back in with The Siege of Paris.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: The Siege of Paris — What's fun

Assassins Creed Valhalla Siege Of Paris Rot In The Slums

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
CategoryGameNameXXX
TitleAssassin's Creed Valhalla: The Siege of Paris
DeveloperUbisoft
PublisherUbisoft
GenreRPG
Minimum requirementsWindows 10
Intel i5-4460 @ 3.2GHz
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
8GB RAM
Game size10GB
Play time7 hours
PlayersSingleplayer
Launch price$40 (Season Pass)

When Eivor first set sail from Ravensthorpe to the shores of France, I was optimistic that this would be the change of scenery needed after the monotonous lands of England and Ireland. While gorgeous, the aforementioned regions were too similar, in my opinion. France, especially Paris, does offer a locale that feels fresh. Similar in some ways to previous locations, it still has its own atmosphere that separates it from the pack. You'll sail through murky waters among burning villages and bodies hanging from trees, immediately setting the tone for what's to come.

The slums surrounding Paris stood out as some of the best areas in the game for the general ambience they delivered. It really felt like walking through a plague-stricken city. Bodies littered the streets, rats swarmed the sewers — which I'll get into more later — and there was a disconcerting fog that never quite left, not even on the brightest day.

The slums surrounding Paris stood out as some of the best areas in the game.

My favorite part about the entire expansion was that it brought back black box assassinations, now known as Infiltration missions (apt that they're returning in Paris). Say what you will about Assassin's Creed Unity, but black box missions were a highlight from the reviled title. The modernized versions found in The Siege are Paris are fantastic, offering multiple ways for you to assassinate a target, often through scripted events that can be unlocked.

The expansion, according to Ubisoft, looks to provide around 15 hours of content, 10 of which come from the main campaign. I completed it in around seven, so your mileage may vary. That said, I appreciated that The Siege of Paris was on the shorter side, all things considered. It made for a tighter narrative focus and better pacing than Wrath of the Druids or even the base game had. Once you get to France, you know immediately what it is you're supposed to do. There may be some road bumps along the way — King Charles isn't a man to be easily reasoned with — but there weren't too many surprises.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: The Siege of Paris — What could be better

Assassins Creed Valhalla Siege Of Paris Charles The Fat

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Rat swarms, what I'm sure Ubisoft was hoping to be an interesting new gameplay mechanic, only end up being annoying drivel. As far as puzzle obstacle goes, rat swarms were extremely underwhelming. They only pop up in certain locations — usually the sewers or underground — and they only ever stay in a small, enclosed area. All you need to do is wave your weapons and they'll go scurrying away. They can't be damaged or killed, but they leave you alone long enough after they're scared away that they never pose a real threat. Dishonored and A Plague Tale did it much, much better.

Coming off of Wrath of the Druids, I also don't think that there was enough enemy variety. Wrath of the Druids had shapeshifters that mixed things up. The Siege of Paris has none of that, favoring your run of the mill armies that we've bested countless times before. And speaking of disappointing enemies, the mysterious Bellatores Dei order played a much smaller role than I had hoped. They feel less like puppet masters behind the curtains and more like vague entities that you remember exist every once in a while.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: The Siege of Paris — Should you play it?

Assassins Creed Valhalla Siege Of Paris Odo

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Like I've said before, whether or not you find The Siege of Paris worth its salt will depend on how much you already enjoyed Assassin's Creed Valhalla. I didn't find it all that exciting after nearly 80 hours, but I still had a lot of fun with it regardless. If you're looking for more Assassin's Creed but want a change of scenery from England and Ireland, this is it.

Though Valhalla is set to receive more DLC in the coming months, The Siege of Paris caps off its Season Pass rather quietly. It's not the sort of amazing adventure that some fans may have wanted from the second big expansion, but it's still good.

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life, and is very happy Xbox is growing a stronger first-party portfolio. You can find her obsessing over Star Wars and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.