If you buy Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on the PS4 and move to the PS5, you will get the free next-gen upgrade. With as big as the game is, you may still be playing through it by the time you can find a PS5 in a store. So, when you finally get your hands on Sony’s magical white box of dreams, here is a quick comparison of what to expect.
Just a quick note, this is not a review. Chris gave a great review that covered the game in greater depth, and there will be a link to that in the infobox. I highly recommend you check it out, because my time with the game echoes some of his sentiments.
I initially played the game on the PS4 Pro, and I thought it ran fairly well. It’s a beautiful world with many areas off the beaten path for you to explore, even if your only motivation is to see what’s over the next ridge (assuming you forgot your raven). I love the exploration and looking for something to ogle.
Like all things, including your parent’s marriage, it’s not perfect. There is a noticeable visual pop-in here and there with the occasional bug or glitch. The PS4 Pro video clips here serve up a respectable 30FPS, and it looks fine. However, if that’s all we had, like black and white TV in the 50s, we’d probably be satisfied.
Now, as Chris mentioned in his Xbox Series S video on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, we are not Digital Foundry. Those frame counting sticklers are awesome, but that’s not something I’m qualified to do in any way.
As I’m hoping you can see with my unprofessional clip comparison, the PS5 is a noticeable change. The 60FPS from 30FPS makes the most immediate difference. It is 30 more frames after all. It’s just so much smoother, and it impacts every single part of the game. Whether I am awkwardly trying to climb to the top of the longhouse again, riding my horse across a grassy field trying to pretend I’m Atreyu from The Neverending Story, or playing sneak and stab with the guards in some small village, those extra frames are delightful.
Beyond that, there is a noticeable difference in detail. The PS5 fills out the world with more textures. For me, I noticed this in the foliage when I switched back and forth. Trees, bushes, and the ground never look completely realistic, but they look better. The dog in the village is more worthy of a pet that I can never give in the PS5 version. Its fur is much more defined. One of my favorite visuals, water, moves and appears better in the PS5 version. All of these details are subtle in some cases, but it all adds up to a better-looking game.
With the PS5, there is still the occasional pop in, but not as much. There are still some technical issues here and there, just like the PS4 version. We are hopefully only a patch or two away from ironing those out, but I’m able to explore, complete quests, and move the story forward just fine. My audio cuts out sometimes, but that could be my setup and not the game.
The load times are certainly improved. You’ll still see a load screen on the PS5, but they are shorter than the PS4 version which is great for fast travel. If you start to calculate up every time a game made you wait over a minute for fast travel, you might start to realize just how much of your life you’ve wasted, just like when you graduated with that art history degree and you woke up as a middle-aged man and no real career or direction in life.
Questionable life choices aside, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is one of the games that give you an upgrade to the next-gen version without any shenanigans. You just load the game onto your machine, transfer over your save file, and you’re off to the Viking races. It’s an Assassin’s Creed game that does many of the same things you already know while adding in some new ideas, and I like the Viking setting a lot.
It’s not a full next-gen experience with all the benefits, but it’s a welcome bridge spanning from last-gen to the future with a taste of all that entails including the chance to play the game on that sweet, new DualSense controller. If you like Assassin’s Creed, Valhalla (back girl) is a worthy entry, and the PS5 makes it that much better.