Yesterday, Ubisoft released Dawn of Ragnarok, the latest and biggest DLC expansion for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. And as has become tradition, it includes a new, unrealistic animal mount for players to ride. This time, it’s a huge armored boar. But unlike before, on this occasion I broke. I gave up. I rode that big pig.
Some quick history: Back in 2020, Ubisoft tempted me with an impossibly giant wolf to ride when Assassin’s Creed Valhalla first launched. Because of my strongly-held determination for realism, I declined. The first DLC released last May added a new fantastical animal mount, this time a big cat. Again, I declined. Then, in August of last year, Ubisoft seduced me once more, with a giant bear. Readers, I almost broke. But I held firm in my (admittedly silly) belief that my character shouldn’t ride these wild mounts.
I had planned on this blog following the same format as before. You see, I had my reasons for not wanting to ride those strange and exotic mounts. As usual, I’ll let younger (probably sexier) Zack explain it. Take it away, me!
This might seem like a weird line in the sand, but hear me out. The thing is, even as the franchise has added more mystical and fantastical bits and bobs, I’ve always been able to figure out a way to make it work in my head. Sure, in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey you can fight a minotaur. But maybe that was just a story that was told so much it became a memory. Remember, the way these games work is through the Animus, itself a bizarre piece of science that is more magical than logical. The Animus uses DNA from past people to present users with their DNA memories. (It doesn’t really make sense.) Memories aren’t perfect. In fact, in this latest game, you can choose between a male or female Eivor because the Animus doesn’t actually know the historical Eivor’s sex. So a myth someone heard their whole lives, something that might have appeared in their dreams even, could contaminate their DNA memory.
But a big wolf or bear that someone rode for years, using it to help fight wars and save people, something thousands of other people saw, seems too much of a stretch. The Animus might not be perfect, but it’s not that bad at getting the facts right.
As always, younger Zack nails it. But this time, things are different.
This new DLC is set in the fantasy setting of Norse Mythology. There are actual lore reasons for this, and you can read more about that in this other blog, but the important thing to keep in mind is that Ragnarok isn’t set in reality. It’s set in a fantasy world built from the memories of an ancient species of super-beings filtered through the memories of a Viking and animated by modern technology via the Animus. Or to put it another way: None of this is real. At least, not in the way the other DLCs and main campaign adventures were. (Wait, are you saying ancient super-beings are real, Zack? – Ed)
So, this time, Ubisoft has won. I rode the giant boar. It wasn’t easy. Unlike the previous mounts, I had to find this big ol’ hog out in the world. (If you want to find it too, here’s a short video showing its location. Just prepare to fight and kill the boar’s owner first.)
Now, after riding him for a bit, I love my big pig. He can hop majestically and looks adorable while swimming. And unlike the previous mounts, he fits in perfectly. The world of Ragnarok is one filled with ice giants and magical creatures. He’s a happy pig and y’know what? I’m happy too. I finally get to ride the big, exotic animal in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla like all you cool kids have been doing for years now. Is this what it feels like to…have fun? I’m into it.