Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is easily one of the most anticipated titles from the franchise to date. The trailers and gameplay I’ve seen during E3 time highlighted this as being the developer’s most ambitious and grandest game to date. So when I got the chance to try it out for myself, I approached this with eagerness and a little bit of hype because believe it or not – this is my first exposure to the fan-beloved series. Here’s my review.
Again a short disclaimer before I start the review: I have never played any of the previous Assassin’s Creed games or watched the movie (don’t curse me for this), the closest that I’ve gotten to AC was the Assassin’s Creed Festival for Final Fantasy XV which I know doesn’t contribute much to the table… But nevertheless I hope you take this from someone with a fresh pair of eyes and gauge for yourself if this is the right game for you. So without further ado, let’s do a leap of faith and dive right in!
Our story kicks off right at the heart of the Peloponnesian War where two rivaling factions – Sparta and Athens fight for control of the land. From the start of the game we are immediately thrown out in the heat of battle with our boy Leonidas fighting off a massive army (awoo-awoo) which also serves as a tutorial to ease the players in.
After a few minutes of awesome, and equally gruesome battle sequences, the story is then fast-forward to present-day where a certain researcher found a vital peice of relic that is believed to be from said war and using it ala-inception or matrix style to jack-up and “virtually” experience that era. I found the transition weird at first but I was told not to be surprised as it wasn’t the first time they did a fluff like that.
So apparently, for the first time in Assassin’s Creed, you now have to option to choose between a male or a female protagonist (Alexios and Kassandra, respectively). Although for obvious reasons you can’t switch in-between genders as the game will progress to the character of your choosing, they felt effectively the same… Though for some reason I’m liking Kassandra just a little bit more. #TeamKassandra
What makes them distinct mainly depends on the decisions you make throughout the game – and they are a lot! The dialogue decisions you choose can really shape and affect the world you inhabit, with will have an impact both seen and unseen as the game states.
Like all open world games, if you are like me I really don’t shoot straight at the main story but go for the side-missions first (because come on who doesn’t do this?). If you dig your sweet time on these little nuggets of lore there is a treasure trove of content to be had. Whether it is running some simple tasks or eradicating some stuff of legend, it is definitely worth your time checking all of these out, more so after completing the game.
Combat in the game, to put it in a few words can be described as fluid, intuitive and creative. Let’s start first with the visceral ground bouts which can easily be described as a mix-up of light and heavy outings (with the occasional and satisfying parrying), all of which are really easy to learn thanks to the in-game tutorial at the very start. There are numerous weapons to choose from and all of them feels varied enough that I wanted to try them all and see what works in a given situation.
Additionally, the experimentation and discovery in close-quarters combat feels really rewarding especially when you have a plethora of gear to choose from, the numbers here are really staggering but definitely in a good way because it opens a lot in the customization side of things.
Fancy yourself a purist? Fixated on that shiny, pokey metal with a K-A name? Thankfully you can keep your old weapons at par with the newer models with the help of numerous mats that can be acquired in the game. But as you might expect, it can really be a grind which could be good or bad depending on how you look at it. And the in-game purchases definitely doesn’t help shine a good light in this aspect, but its not as in-your-face as you think.
So to be more specific about the grind you can go about the old fashioned way. For those who don’t have a lot of time in their hands, you can speed it up with real-world money. Now before you react on this I have to say that it is entirely optional that neglecting it didn’t retract me from all the fun the game provided, something that a lot of developers (I’m looking at you, mobile games!) should definitely be mindful of.
It might be a bit off-putting to some that it is there especially with all the issue blanketing it, but honestly you can do away with all that and still enjoy.
To further develop you character, the game presents you with 3 distinct skill trees namely the Hunter, Warrior and Assassin routes. From here you can fine-tune your build even further by mixing different skills or focusing on a specific path of mastery, all of which are viable. A small tip though: don’t ever underestimate and neglect the power of a Spartan kick! It will prove really useful for you in “heightened” situations 😉
A Pirate’s Life for me.
Adding another layer or enjoyment in Odyssey is the awesome naval warfare, just like the myriad of options in ground combat there is also a gem of customization to dive right into here for both the craft and crew. Adding to this, defeated foes can be recruited on-board which can prove very useful as they can further improve the ship. I did not try the first iteration of this from the previous game but I have to say that the system here feels solid and refined that it did not feel like just another layer sprinkled on to the already engaging combat.
– Deep customization
– Engaging world and story
– Fluid combat that rewards experimentation
– The Spartan kick
The not so good:
– Some delay in rendering texture. Full disclosure I played this on a regular PlayStation 4 so experiences may vary
– Minor bugs like character clipping on environmental objects, unreachable loot