After a slight delay, the first expansion for Assassin's Creed Valhalla is almost here. Set to take Eivor to the Emerald Isle, Wrath of the Druids brings Ireland to the epic Viking title, in a DLC that is essentially what we all had hoped for, more Assassin's Creed Valhalla (you can check out our review of the main game here).
Wrath of the Druids' storyline sees Eivor heading to Ireland to meet up with long-lost cousin Barid, who has now become a king and the ruler of Dublin. Upon making it to Ireland, Eivor discovers that Barid is attempting to place himself in the good books of Flann Sinna, the new High-King of Ireland who is looking to unify the country despite facing opposition. It falls to Eivor to help the other kings of Ireland so that they will side with Sinna, so that in turn the High-King will see Barid as a strong and loyal ally, eliminating the tensions between the Danes and the Irish.
Unlike the main game, Wrath of the Druids will not take you an eternity to explore and conquer all that is set before you. It's a more concise adventure set across an open world that is much smaller in comparison to England. Similar to Valhalla's England, Wrath of the Druids' Ireland is not all of Ireland, but instead a portion, and if we had to estimate, would probably be around the same size, if not smaller than the Norway location.
For the most part, Wrath of the Druids doesn't deviate from the formula we have to come to see as the norm in Valhalla. The map, while showcasing the lush green lands of Ireland, looks very similar to England, both of which are incredibly beautiful. And, as for the activities you will find and the enemies you will face, they are in general similar. Don't get us wrong, there is a whole range of new content to occupy your time with, but if you're expecting something entirely different to Valhalla, you'll be disappointed.
The largest new addition in Wrath of the Druid is the trading system. This basically sees you increase the renown of Dublin by completing trading contracts by generating and sending exotic resources to distant locations for rewards. You get these resources by travelling around Ireland and looting chests, or alternatively by finding resource trading posts and using supplies earnt during raids to build them up to passively generate exotic resources in real-time. Essentially it's the Wrath of the Druids' equivalent of building up Ravensthorpe, albeit with a few extra mechanics.
On top of this, as mentioned earlier, Eivor will also have to complete various tasks for the other kings of Ireland to put Flann Sinna in good faith with them. These tasks are found in pigeon coops around the map and are side quest sort of length. Each asks you to steal back some jewellery, kill a target, or eliminate a camp, for example, but the catch is that each comes with side objectives that will increase the reward if you complete them. Surprisingly, these drastically change how you approach the task-at-hand, as some might require you to only kill the necessary targets, whilst others might require you to remain anonymous or even take zero damage during the task. While the rewards may not always be worth the effort, they do at least give you a reason to shake up the usual method of diving into combat headfirst, axe at hand.
Looking to the world, you will once again have to complete raids, loot chests packed with wealth, destroy cursed symbols, build cairn stone towers, find books of knowledge bringing new abilities, and complete altars, but there are no world events to discover. Instead what we get are new activities, for example; Trials of the Morrigan, which are essentially small hallucinogenic combat scenarios for Eivor to survive; Uí Néill masks to find that will unlock a special chest; and a couple of new powerful Drengrs to fight. There is also a Legendary Creature to test your mettle against that is directly tied to Celtic lore, as are a lot of the activities located around Ireland.
In terms of the new enemy types, as the name suggests, Druids are the biggest addition. These blighters are similar to bandits, except often wielding strange abilities or weapons, such as poison swords or even the ability to turn into werewolves - although this is more of an illusion thanks to the strange fog that fills certain parts of Ireland. Druids for the most part are elite enemies that resemble bandits and will challenge Eivor in combat, some of which will even have animal companions (i.e. boars or Irish Wolfhound dogs), and they are largely connected to the Wrath of the Druids equivalent of the Order of the Ancients, the Children of Danu.
This new organisation is an ancient druid cult that is looking to rid Ireland of those who don't follow their pagan beliefs, including High-King Flann Sinna and the Danes led by Barin. While there aren't as many targets as in base Valhalla, the Children of Danu will require you to hunt for clues to learn the members' identities.
Wrath of the Druids is a similar take on Assassin's Creed Valhalla that is bolstered with some exciting new activities and content. With the base game being as incredible as it is, an expansion that delivers more of what we come to love, except with a Celtic twist makes for a very enjoyable experience. Even though this DLC is much smaller than Valhalla, the more concise map keeps it from feeling bloated, and creates a miniature adventure that is much easier to digest.