After two years’ worth of content and expansions, support for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is finally coming to an end. Ubisoft released the appropriately titled “The Last Chapter” which aimed to give closure to some of the game’s narrative threads. At the same time, a cross-over mission named “Shared History” will see Eivor assist with an aging Roshan – Basim’s mentor from the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Mirage, which serves as a small teaser for the next game.
Unlike its major expansions Wrath of Druids, Siege of Paris, and Dawn of Ragnarok, The Last Chapter is a very short, narrative-focused epilogue that aimed to provide Eivor with a narrative closure. It doesn’t have any battles, and by using Fast Travel, the whole thing can be completed in about an hour.
In fact, the whole chapter can be summarized into this paragraph: Eivor decides that she has to deal with the fact that Odin – though suppressed – is still inside her and could come out at any moment. Given that she has given Ravensthorpe everything she could, she visits the people she fought with and against: Guthrum, now a Christian named Athelstan; Harald Fairhar, King of Norway; King Alfred, now with his Kingdom back and has reformed the Order of the Ancients into the Templars; and Hytham now training Hidden Ones recruits in Ravensthorpe. All of them made last ditch efforts to have her join them, all of whom she turned down said goodbye. Eivor then goes to Vinland to have a long conversation with Odin about the Great Catastrophe that wiped out the Isu, and how his kind reincarnated themselves throughout the ages. The Last Chapter ends with William Miles talking to Basim in the Animus. In return for working with him, William requests to have his genetic material which then sets the stage for Assassin’s Creed Mirage that will feature Basim’s youth and journey as an Assassin.
For DLC chapter that was promoted decently, The Last Chapter is thin on both story and activities. I appreciated the fact that this was a free DLC, because this kind of content can never (and should never) be justified as a purchase. Narratively, there simply isn’t any build up to Eivor’s decision to leave. We know she has to, but we did not go there. We simply are there. Even considering its potential place in the lore, The Last Chapter only teases, but not satisfies, hence undermining itself.
Considering we just witnessed King Alfred back on his throne and extending to Eivor an invitation to join the Templars, it was disappointing that we were not treated to a peek into this fledgling replacement to the Order of the Ancients. Considering Eivor quite violently killed the members of the Order, it should have been much better narratively for Alfred to show how different his Templars are to the old one.
Eivor’s turning down Hytham’s offer to join the Hidden Ones at least made sense, even though she has treated the Hidden Ones as important allies throughout the game and was generally sympathetic to their cause, we know she just doesn’t have the heart in her to take on a cause that is bigger than Ravensthorpe. This is the part of The Last Chapter that had the most emotional impact on me after seeing Basim’s reaction to Hytham talking about how the Hidden Ones treated him as a son. Was Basim feeling guilt for abandoning the youth given to his care by allowing Loki to take full control?
The rest of the storylines in The Last Chapter felt thin, and almost devoid of any sentimental closures. Did Eivor really have to return to Norway just to say goodbye to King Harald Fairhair? It feels an awful lot of trouble for a man who is neither ally nor foe, and the only connection she has was that her adoptive father, Styrbjorn, swore his lands and titles to Harald (thus starting the Raven Clan’s journey to England). I could at least understand Eivor visiting Guthrum, though that too felt abrupt. I guess it was added because Guthrum was a major ally in the last few sequences of the main game, and possibly to demonstrate the changing political realities of England now that Alfred is back in power. The Last Chapter ends with Eivor and Odin having a conversation in Vinland, perhaps to “complete the circle” since Eivor will eventually die there, but again the ending felt abrupt even though it managed to properly tease Mirage.
The cross-over mission “Shared History” was a much better distraction. Eivor encounters Saxons masquerading as the Raven Clan. As she investigates, she runs into a Hidden One: Roshan. The two decides to work together against a common enemy. The mission involved infiltrating a fortress and assassinating the Saxon Leader (whose name I already forgot) to draw out Roshan’s true target. Much has been said of how broken stealth is in Valhalla, but it felt really nice to have a proper Assassin’s Creed style mission. It was short, and it felt interesting only because Roshan was in it, but it was thin on narrative details. I don’t think Eivor ever realized she was working with Basim’s own mentor, not that it actually mattered, but it would have been a nice touch if Ubisoft added some Basim dialogue in it, because, you know, Basim’s the one in the Animus.
It is hard to give out a verdict on The Last Chapter, because as a DLC mission, it is weak on both activity and story. It just abruptly ties loose threads via a simple dialogue exchange, without showing the implications of these threads in the future. Surely, the founding of the Templars should have had a much bigger impact than that, and there should have been a build up to something. Surely, Hytham teaching new Hidden Ones should have bigger implications. Surely, Eivor spending her days in Vinland near the location that Connor Kenway’s tribe will be located centuries later would have some implications? But there wasn’t any. The Last Chapter merely tried to end narrative threads in about the laziest way possible, and that is disappointing.
Perhaps I am being too hard on Ubisoft. This is a free DLC after all. But for a company that built one of the most lore-extensive video game franchises ever, I feel that there are certain standards that should be met when it comes to a story DLC that was meant to close one of the longest (and most bloated) Assassin’s Creed games ever. I am not saying that the effort was wasted, but merely pointing out to Ubisoft that they used to produce more for much less. Perhaps Mirage will bring them back on the right track. Perhaps not, but as a fan of this series, I know I will always give them the chance again and again.