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No, Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla is Not Free Forever – But Here‘s How to Play for Free

As an avid gamer and Assassin’s Creed superfan, I’m constantly getting asked by fellow players if the latest entry in the iconic franchise – Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – is free forever.

The short answer is no, Ubisoft’s acclaimed open world Viking epic is not free to play indefinitely in its entirety. However, thanks to limited-time promotions like the recent Free Weekend event, you can get a good chunk of gameplay under your belt without spending a single cent.

In this in-depth guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about scoring free access to Valhalla, whether the massive RPG is worth buying, and how it stacks up to past AC titles. Skål!

An Iconic Franchise Spanning 15 Years and 12 Main Entries

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 15 years since the first Assassin’s Creed vaulted onto the scene in 2007 and revolutionized the open world genre.

Since then, the franchise has evolved from its stealth-focused roots into a full-fledged RPG packed with choices, loot, and special abilities. Valhalla represents the culmination of this transformation.

Here’s a quick trip through history showing the growth of the iconic AC series over the years:

GameRelease YearNotable Features
Assassin‘s Creed2007Introduced parkour navigation and open world structure
AC II2009Refined gameplay formula and fleshed out core mechanics
Brotherhood2010Multiplayer mode and recruitable assassins
Revelations2011Enhanced movement and bomb crafting
AC III2012New engine allowed free-running in trees
Black Flag2013Naval combat and seamless open world at sea
Unity2014Co-op multiplayer and dense crowds using new engine
Syndicate2015Grappling hook traversal and two playable characters
Origins2017Complete overhaul into action RPG formula
Odyssey2018Dialog choices, romance options, and mythical beasts
Valhalla2020Viking setting and settlement building

After over a decade of annual releases, Valhalla represents the peak of Ubisoft’s efforts perfecting the AC formula. Let’s take a deeper look under the hood.

Valhalla Breaks Series Records with Massive Scope and Sales

With development spanning over 4 years and a team of over 430 developers, Valhalla immediately stood out for its sheer size and ambition within the cherished franchise.

The map encompasses 4 unique regions covering large swaths of England and Norway, making it one of the biggest open worlds Ubisoft has ever created.

Live services and frequent content updates have added everything from new story arcs and gear to entirely different realms based on Norse mythology. Nearly two years after launch, Valhalla keeps growing.

All of that hard work has paid off in spades based on the game’s sales performance:

  • Over 10 million copies sold worldwide as of 2021 across all platforms
  • The 2nd best-selling entry in AC history behind only 2018’s Odyssey
  • Generated over $1 billion in revenue faster than any previous AC title

It’s clear Vikings resonated strongly with gamers, allowing Valhalla to stand tall as one of Ubisoft’s most successful new IP launches ever.

Innovative Open World Gameplay Loop Evolves the AC Formula

While the core pillars of combat, stealth, and parkour remain, Valhalla remixes the classic AC formula in some clever ways.

Your Viking raider Eivor can lead brutal raid missions against England’s kingdoms to gather supplies and loot. Back at your settlement, resources can be invested to construct new buildings, customize decor, and unlock gameplay perks.

A full-blown RPG gear system with hundreds of weapons and armor pieces to collect lets you fine-tune Eivor to match your playstyle. And the revamped combat switches up the pace with the addition of visceral finishing moves, dual-wielding options, and a rage mode to overwhelm foes.

Ubisoft also introduced more fantastical elements like glowing gold gear artifacts imbued with buffs from Norse gods along with mystical realms to explore.

While not as massive a departure as Origins, the smart evolutions make Valhalla feel distinctly Viking yet still identifiably AC.

An Epic Viking Saga Over 100 Hours Long

Valhalla is an absolute beast of an adventure, clocking in at over 100 hours for a completionist run through all the content:

  • 60+ hours for the main story to conquer England
  • 30+ hours of side quests with full story arcs of their own
  • 40+ hours for collectibles, mini-games, and other activities
  • 10+ hours of seasonal updates and DLC

The excellent writing and performances bring 9th century England to life while also subtly connecting Valhalla to the wider AC universe.

You’ll meet figures like Alfred the Great and Ivarr the Boneless while influencing the invasion of England. Characters from earlier games also make appearances that longtime fans will appreciate.

For a true completionist run, we’re talking over 140 hours of gameplay – easily among the longest AC games ever made.

Post-Launch Support Keeps Valhalla Fresh 2+ Years Later

Ubisoft’s live service approach means the content keeps on coming. So far we’ve seen:

  • Seasonal game modes like Yule Festival, Ostara Festival, and Sigrblot Festival with new activities and rewards

  • Major story expansions like Wrath of the Druids and Siege of Paris adding new territories to explore

  • Mythical realms like Asgard and Jotunheim with magical enemies and gear

  • Crossover stories featuring legacy AC heroes like Kassandra from Odyssey

  • Next-gen console upgrades to leverage new hardware with 4K visuals and faster load times

This steady stream of free updates ensures there’s always something new on the horizon. And Ubisoft shows no signs of letting up with Ragnarok still to come.

Worth Playing in 2023? Absolutely.

Even now in 2023, Valhalla remains one of the most compelling and content-rich entries in the storied AC franchise.

Here’s why it’s absolutely still worth playing or replaying today:

  • The Viking fantasy has broad appeal and the world oozes atmosphere

  • Satisfying combat and gear collection mechanics keep gameplay addictive

  • The story successfully ties together past AC games through characters like Layla and Basim

  • Stunning visuals and art design that look incredible on new hardware

  • Continued support and new content keep things feeling fresh

  • Frequent discounts make it very affordable given the sheer amount of content

If you enjoy open world action RPGs, Vikings, or Assassin’s Creed in general, Valhalla is arguably a must-play.

Take Advantage of Free Weekend Promotions

Now that you know what an incredible game Valhalla is, let’s get to the big question: is it free forever?

Unfortunately no, you can’t just download and play the entire game free indefinitely. But here are some of the ways you can score legitimate free access:

  • Limited-time demos: Ubisoft runs Free Weekend promotions that unlock full games for a few days.

  • Monthly subscription: It’s included free via Xbox Game Pass (for now) and Amazon Luna+

  • Epic giveaways: Epic Games Store gave Valhalla away free for keeps during its holiday sale.

  • Individual platform trials: Sony and Microsoft sometimes offer free trials for select games.

If you don’t want to wait and hope Valhalla goes free again down the road, your best bet is watching for one of Ubisoft’s Free Weekends.

Keep an eye on the official site and your gaming news sites of choice to jump on the next one as early as possible. While you can’t completely finish Valhalla in 4-5 days, you can experience the incredible opening chapters and get hooked.

Any progress also carries over if you decide to buy. Think of it as a risk-free demo – don’t miss out!

Verdict: An Absolute Must-Play for AC and RPG Fans

Well there you have it. While ongoing games like Fortnite may offer permanently free gameplay, blockbusters like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are major productions with hundreds of devs and years of work.

Big budget games of this scope and quality can’t realistically be free indefinitely. But periodic promotions do give you the chance to play for free over a limited window.

As someone who has sunk over 200 hours into Valhalla, I can confidently say it’s one of the top Assassin’s Creed games ever made. The team at Ubisoft poured their heart and soul into creating an utterly engrossing Viking epic packed with brilliant storytelling, addictive gameplay, and stunning recreations of Dark Ages England.

This is an easy recommendation to RPG fans, history buffs, AC devotees, and anyone that loves sprawling open world adventures. Just make sure to set aside 100+ hours on your schedule before embarking on this unforgettable journey!

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Michael

Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.