Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids expansion review — More of the same

Maybe Ireland isn't so different from England after all.

Assassins Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids Eivor and Barid
(Image: © Windows Central)

Being the resident Assassin's Creed fan here at Windows Central, I was excited to dive into Wrath of the Druids, the first major expansion for Assassin's Creed Valhalla (what I think is easily one of the best games on Xbox right now). Though I had complaints about the base game, pacing being a prominent issue, I felt that the expansion wouldn't have as big of a problem with it, coming in at roughly 10 hours (for the main story). I was right in that regard, but then it left other issues to come to the forefront. If you're looking to play more of Valhalla, you're definitely getting it with Wrath of the Druids. It takes all of the gameplay mechanics from England and moves them over to Ireland, which looks exactly like England, if I'm honest.

Despite the "sameness," there's still a lot of fun to be had in Wrath of the Druids. There are new enemy types that put up a hell of a fight, new skills to mix up your playstyle, and a new cast of characters to interact with, some of which I felt were much more compelling than those in the base game.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids — What's good

Assassins Creed Valhalla Wrath Of Druids Eivor And Ciara

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
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TitleAssassin's Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids
GenreAction/adventure RPG
Xbox VersionXbox Series X
Game Size12.6GB
Play Time9 hours
Xbox Game PassNo
Launch Price$40 (Season Pass)

If you had a blast with Assassin's Creed Valhalla and only wanted more after putting in 60+ hours, Wrath of the Druids is for you. No matter whether you've finished the game or not, Eivor's called to Ireland by her cousin Barid, who serves as the King of Dublin. Much like the base game, you'll need to conquer strongholds and forge alliances with a few regions to unite under the High King Flann. While this is all going on, the druidic cult the Children of Danu are plotting ways to sow distrust in Flann's army and hope to take over Ireland themselves.

I've always felt Assassin's Creed was at its best when it leaned into its sci-fi aspects, and that rings true here. The opening hours before we got into the good stuff, so to speak, were a bit dry. Druids are often depicted in relation to the occult, which Ubisoft certainly played with in the confines of the Assassin's Creed universe. Though "normal" druids were seen as healers and religious people (or even outcasts), the Children of Danu were darker in nature.

The Children of Danu employ a hallucinogenic green fog that disorients your view — which I'll get more into later — and this adds some flavor to combat. Not only that, these druids often use poison and projectiles to beat you down, making them much more formidable than your typical soldier. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the werewolves and Puka (an Irish shapeshifter) that can easily throw Eivor around like a ragdoll. Where fights with soldiers were often run of the mill, fights with the Children of Danu were exciting.

This extends to the final boss fight. Not to spoil who it is, but there are some mystical elements involved that make it similar to the Daughters of Lerion fights. It didn't end up being too difficult because there were healing herbs scattered throughout the area, but that fight was the most engaging and fun out of the entire expansion.

On top of all that, Wrath of the Druids offers around 10 hours of main story content (I completed it in 9) and 3 or so hours of side content. There are also new skills and abilities to unlock, one of which is an Irish wolfhound that you can call into battle to fight by your side. As far as I'm concerned, any excuse to add a dog to a game is fine by me.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids — What's not good

Assassins Creed Valhalla Wrath Of Druids Werewolves

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

As I mentioned earlier, Wrath of the Druids is more of the same. If you got tired of the stronghold conquests and alliance forging, you might not care to put time into Wrath of the Druids. Even Ireland's design isn't all that different from what you know. If I didn't have my map to look at that told me I was in Ireland, I'd still believe I was back in England. There are some gorgeous vistas and locales to visit still, but they don't stand out.

The hallucinogenic fog used by the Children of Danu, which did make fights more interesting, was also a bit too much. The disorienting effect it had was enough to strain my eyes, and it was so irritating that I sometimes actively avoided areas where I'd see it. Think of it like if you played the entire game as drunk Eivor. I wouldn't say the visual effects of the fog are quite as harsh, but that's the best thing I can compare it to.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids — Should you play it?

Assassins Creed Valhalla Wrath Of Druids Combat

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

If you're wondering whether or not you should buy Wrath of the Druids, you need to ask yourself how much you enjoyed Valhalla and how much more you want from it. I know plenty of people who put in 60+ hours and said that was enough, but I also know some who are well over 80 hours in and are eager for more. For those in the former category, I don't think Wrath of the Druids will be enough to draw you back in. Having more of the same isn't necessarily a problem in a game that's 20 or 30 hours long, but in a 50+ hour game like Valhalla, an expansion needs to do differentiate itself better.

That said, I personally had a lot of fun with it, even if the opening hour or two was too slow for my liking. The Children of Danu were an interesting cult I looked forward to fighting, and Ireland is just as gorgeous and full of wonder as England.

Jennifer Locke

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.