Assassin's Creed Valhalla's second expansion, The Siege of Paris, sees Eivor travel across the channel to Francia. As per usual, our intrepid Norse hero is eager to establish some new alliances — with both Viking raiders and King Charles the Fat on Eivor's list of potential allies. What follows is a much more gritty and grounded story than the previous DLC, Wrath of the Druids. Instead of focusing on mysticism and ill omens, The Siege of Paris is all about war and political intrigue, harkening back to older Assassin's Creed games.

And it's not just the narrative that has whispers of traditional Assassin's Creed about it. The expansion's main quests have Eivor assume the role of, you know, an actual assassin. The series' "black box" mission design returns, as you slowly work your way to the target through exploration, stealth, and deception. While you still have the option of carving a bloody path to your objective — this is Assassin's Creed Valhalla, after all — following specific assassination opportunities unlocks additional cutscenes and suitably brutal kills.

It's clear that all of this is a response to the notion that Assassin's Creed is no longer Assassin's Creed, and the result is a DLC that feels surprisingly fresh — especially when it's assessed as a part of Valhalla. There are some great missions here, and the slower pacing of said missions gives the storytelling some real tension. We'd go as far to say that The Siege of Paris probably has one of the best plotlines in the entire game, and it's carried by a solid cast of characters.

To be clear, though, this is still an open world excursion. The map isn't quite as big as Wrath of the Druids' Ireland, but the bustling city of Paris and its surrounding countryside make for a dense setting. The French capital is the closest thing Valhalla has to a classic Assassin's Creed map, full of tall, tightly packed buildings and subsequent parkour opportunities. We've certainly missed the sound of clattering across rooftop tiles.

Meanwhile, the countryside houses all of your typical side stuff: optional boss fights, enemy camps, and old ruins. Interestingly, most of these locations also play into the expansion's side quests, titled Rebel Missions. These procedurally generated tasks have Eivor join forces with French revolutionaries as they harass the king's army. Rebel Missions have their own unique rewards, and you get to fight alongside allies who are yours to develop, transforming them from simple farmers to elite fighters. It makes for an enjoyable distraction.

The Siege of Paris takes roughly ten hours to complete — a few hours longer if you want to track down every secret and unlock every Rebel Mission upgrade. It's worth doing whatever you can, though. There are some powerful new weapons (one handed swords! Two-handed scythes!), and a particularly effective set of armour to claim as your own. Oh, and those new abilities are savage.

Our only gripe with the expansion is its occasionally disappointing technical performance. Utilising the game's 60 frames-per-second performance mode on PlayStation 5, we stumbled across noticeable screen tearing and frame-rate dips in and around the busier districts of Paris. A real shame, since the city itself is wonderfully crafted. Hopefully a patch can remedy things.

Conclusion

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: The Siege of Paris is another great expansion that fans of the base game won't want to miss. However, unlike Wrath of the Druids, the second DLC's strength is rooted in its adaptation of the old Assassin's Creed formula. Black box assassination missions are the stars of the show, where stealth and deception are brought back into fashion. What's more, the story's darker tone makes for some memorable moments.