Assassin’s Creed Valhalla turned out to be a high mark in the franchise’s history. There were oodles of exploration points, fluid combat, and a decent story. The Wrath of the Druid expansion reproduces many of the same tricks from that book but refines the story much more than the vanilla experience could.
Wrath of the Druids gives you a change of scenery by taking you to the rolling fields of Ireland, and the expansion wastes no time in showing you the country’s legendary beauty. Similar to England, you can choose to focus on the primary story or wander around to explore to your heart’s content, fulfilling side activities and finding new landmarks to explore.
At the heart of the expansion is the story. Eivor is invited by his cousin, Bárid, to join him in Dublin as he’s become the city’s king. Bárid wishes to gain the new High King Flann’s favor, and Eivor returns to the tried-and-true method of assisting kings to assert their authority and power among the masses, gaining support for Flann to gather a strong enough army to unite all of Ireland. You’ll also be tasked with increasing the trade value of Dublin by obtaining exotic Irish resources and trading them in the hub city.
But there’s trouble brewing amongst the religious populations. High King Flann takes a Christian approach to his leadership, and while stressing that will never happen to the old ways, many can see the writing on the wall. Flann’s introduction of spreading Christianity to Ireland is a story many can relate to and understand. The old ways don’t want to go, and they’re in direct conflict with what’s new, making everyone uneasy, until a spark flies to light the powder keg.
That spark is the Children of Danu, the titular druids who are similar to the Order of the Ancients in England, and Eivor will be tasked with hunting them all down to learn the identity of the leader. The story interweaves the Children of Danu content much more than it did the Order of the Ancients.
Battling the Druids of Ireland can be quite enjoyable as it shakes things up in Valhalla’s standard gameplay. They use a hallucinogenic fog that makes combating them difficult, making it appear as if they’re using mystical powers in combat. It can make these encounters troubling, but for veterans of the game, they become small obstacles in the road that you can easily bypass with a little practice.
Wrath of the Druids’ 10-hour is fun, and it feels better than the overarching story than the base game, likely because of the heightened focus on a single location. It gives players a chance to invest in this smaller story, reach a desired conclusion, and then return to England to continue the much larger narrative. It’s a testament to what the original Valhalla wanted to do, but it took much too long to get there. Wrath of the Druids is short, sweet, and to the point.