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Assassin's Creed Valhalla's new Nightmare difficulty is as hard as it sounds

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Siege of Paris
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Assassin's Creed Valhalla title update 1.3.1 is out today, headlined by a new Nightmare difficulty mode which makes combat substantially more punishing. 

As Ubisoft explained in the full update patch notes, Nightmare mode triples the damage you receive, reduces the healing of your rations by 40%, and shrinks the parry timing window by 38%, making it much tougher than the previous peak of Very Hard mode. If you're at all under-leveled or under-geared, damn near anything is going to one-shot you, and it's going to be much harder to bounce back from the hits that generously leave you with a sliver of health. Valhalla itself is known as the hall of slain warriors, and I reckon the addition of Nightmare mode will fill the halls quite quickly. 

Update 1.3.1 has done more than make it easier to die, though – as you'd expect from an update averaging 26GB (but varying between platforms). It's also loosened the rules on customizing Eivor's loadout by letting you apply unique rune effects to each of your weapons and stack runes and perks in wild ways. The short version is that runes will now only affect the weapon they're socketed in, and runes and perks no longer have caps on their combined effects, meaning the sky's the limit on build synergy. 

There are new rewards to chase in this update, too. The River Raids mode has added three new rivers, two River Champions, and Champions of the Faith to vanquish. These bosses will yield unique weapons, and there are five other weapons, a new armor set, and three new abilities in the River Raids pool too. 

The chunky update is rounded out by a laundry list of bug fixes which have delivered some spectacularly weird patch notes for the collection. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Players didn't take damage from fire after destroying a boat.
  • Numerous issues with the Barn bull fight.
  • Bed in Dublin was no longer accessible.
  • No stones around to complete the Stoneman mystery.
  • NPCs fell from their stations occasionally and died in Mastery Challenge.

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Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.