There are many beneficial things Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has done for the series, but its change to a new gear system isn’t one of them. As Assassin’s Creed has become an open-world RPG series, it has introduced a pretty solid loot system, but this brought with it a bloating problem that Valhalla doesn’t entirely fix.
In Assassin’s Creed Origins, and particularly in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, there was just way too much gear. Players could find pieces of gear anywhere and at any time, resulting in an inventory filled with an excessive amount of items. This then required players to filter through all of their loot to sell or dismantle pieces they didn’t want. The system was a good change to a series that had run stale, but at a certain point, looting gear at all became an encumbering process, and it was part of the reason Assassin’s Creed Odyssey felt so bloated.
This time around, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla took an interesting approach to solving the problem, almost entirely eliminating the gear looting system. Instead, there are designated pieces of gear spread around Valhalla‘s world in specific locations. Each piece of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s gear is unique and designed to be upgraded rather than replaced. The system eliminates the inventory problem, but each piece of gear has its own unique attribute, and there just aren’t enough of them. Many players will find themselves going long stretches of time without changing gear or even finding something new at all. It’s a much cleaner system that can work well, but it’s not expansive enough.
In Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Ubisoft added a transmogrification system after launch, as it was a highly requested feature, and it worked beautifully. Many players enjoyed the fashion element of Odyssey, and allowing them to freely customize the appearance of any piece of gear was a “no-brainer” kind of decision. But for some reason, that feature hasn’t returned in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which is especially weird considering the game does not feature nearly the amount of stat variety as the previous two games. If players want a certain stat, they’re forced to use whichever armor or weapon has it, whereas the previous games allowed players to customize the stats of any piece of gear. There’s no real good explanation for why the transmogrification system wasn’t carried over, and it should absolutely be added in an update.
At the end of the day, this is one of the areas Assassin’s Creed Valhalla did something well enough that it’s not bad, but it’s also not quite great. The series had a very real problem with bloated inventories, and a unique gear system like this did a fantastic job addressing that. But the limited amount of options and inability to customize the appearance of those items ultimately makes Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s gear system a step back for the series.