Name: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Developer: Ubisoft Quebec, Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Pro
Acquired: A self-bought copy of this game
The next Assassin’s Creed game has arrived, and I’m impressed!
I wasn’t a huge fan of the series entering the RPG genre back in Origins. And one of the issues I had, was the uncertainty around what type of genre they aimed most for. And the biggest issue I had with Origins was the character models, voice acting and main storyline. So it’s easy to say that I had tons of expectations for Odyssey. After my preview with Odyssey at Gamescom this year, I left with two main questions, why the naval combat and how is the “Creed” implemented onto the storyline?.
Before I could head into the story, I had to choose between playing as Alexios or Kassandra, and if I wanted to play the game in “Guided Mode” or “Exploration mode”. Not that it matters who you choose, as skills, weapons, “speaking lines”, well pretty much everything is the same. (Even the bad voice acting, I will come back to this later on) But the choice of what type of game mode is crucial, and I highly recommend playing in the “Exploration mode”, as this is how Odyssey is intended to play. ( I will talk more about this under the gameplay section)
The story itself is simple, complex, intriguing and filled with mysteries. Our main protagonist comes from a harsh childhood, ending up all alone in Greece and becomes a misthios which is basically a mercenary. One day he decides to leave his home to explore what really happened to his/her family. Throughout our journey, we encounter interesting people, mythological monsters, we might even join an orgie or two and I can’t say I regret joining the elderly nymphomaniac either. The main story might take you approx 40-50 hours to complete, and that’s without all of the side quests and some of the level grinding needed. But overall, the story is surprisingly interesting and I love the whole new look in presenting the story. (cutscenes etc.)
I won’t say much more about the story, as I’m afraid to spoil the experience. So one of the main questions I had, will be unanswered here (but will be answered for you, if you play the game).
The voice acting, however, is still as bad as usual, sadly. But not in a familiar way as previous Assassin’s Creed games. Ubisoft hasn’t included the original spoken language in the game, this could have made the voicing better because the English version is corny and cringy a lot in the beginning. Mercifully, the voicing gets better, and it will grow on you as well. The writing is good, so that helps.
Character models and textures are pretty much the same as in Origins, there is a lot of similarities here when I compare it to Origins. So the question is, what is different?
Facial animations which were a disaster in Origins have been greatly improved in Odyssey.
The voice acting feels more synchronized to the facial animations, and the sound design as well has been greatly improved as well. It’s minor details, but that matter to give you an overall experience. The isn’t much difference between Origins and Odyssey when it comes to detailed lighting, but the overall picture is much better in Odyssey. One of the factors to give an overall better look might come from the improved environmental graphics. In Origins, bushes, grass etc looked “cartoonish”. The setting might also have a factor as well, in Origins we were in ancient Egypt, and now we’re in a whole different setting. Once you enter this huge open world, and I mean HUUUGE! You might find it hard to leave the controller behind because this world is massive, colorful, beautiful and filled with gorgeous mysteries I want to explore.
The downside to having such a huge massive world is that the touch of details much slips a bit. Some minor texture missing, some blurry textures, and some of the animations might have been given too much animation if that is something you can say?
Odyssey enters the RPG genre more greatly than before. If you have played games such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, you will see a lot of similarities. I felt that Origins struggled to find it’s own originality and lack of original ideas. This is not the case in Odyssey if you play in the exploration mode that is. By playing in this mode, you will get the exact same missions etc. But you’ll need to find the quests and story by yourself. By doing so, it gives you a more feel that you truly are on a journey exploring your own story and others. In guided mode, you will be shown where to go next to progress, and the option to explore is optional.
I played in the exploration mode, and it was in this mode I had the most fun experience. You are being forced to talk to people, explore cities, caves etc. And by adding a regular RPG conversation mechanic into an Assassin’s Creed game is interesting, and forces me to be more “involved” to the story. There is a lot to do in Odyssey, conquering forts, exploring caves, “cleaning” out bandit camps, hunting down animals and so on. But it is the naval combat and conquest battles that truly gives you an extra spark to the gameplay. The naval combat isn’t that complex as in Black Flag, but the adrenaline rush I get every single time I navigate my ship is exciting and fun. A conquest battle appears on your map when you have lowered the region’s statistics, by destroying war supplies, conquering forts etc. You can choose to either defend or attack the region, attacking is harder, and will reward you with better loot. This feature was always something I aimed for every time I entered a new region, not only because it was challenging and fun, but also because of all the XP I got. Climbing is much easier, same goes with the combat system, but this is something I will talk about under the controls section.
If you do a lot of things people don’t like, such as killing citizens, stealing stuff etc, other mercenaries begin to hunt you down to collect the bounty on your head. This feature is both annoying and fun at the same time in a good way. Say you have a bounty on your head, and you enter a fight with your target. Mercenaries don’t give a fuck, they will truly destroy your mission in the simple task to hunt you down. You can, of course, hunt them down first, but this might evolve into a bigger bounty on your head. Some similarities as in Middle-Earth: Shadow of War’s nemesis system, which means enemies will remember your actions. That’s not the only thing Odyssey have gotten their inspiration from, there are examples such as different abilities/skills that is pretty much the same, example; Throwing your spear at a distant enemy to “teleport” you to that location. I don’t mind games bringing in inspiration from other games, as long as they give it their own identity to it and it works. Overall, the gameplay is fun and challenging, and you can easily lose hundreds of hours into this game.
Previously, I’ve compared Origins control schematics to Dark Souls. And I thought Odyssey might do the exact same thing. Light attack, heavy attack, counter attacks and dodging away while in combat, with a touch of Assassin’s Creed stealth system (which works perfectly here by the way). In Dark Souls, you need to be extra careful landing precise strikes to do more damage and you also have to do a lot of dodging. In Odyssey, you might have to do a lot of dodging as well, but you also need a lot of stamina and patients. Your enemies are hard to kill, as they can manage to absorb a lot of damage. You need to find your own routine of special abilities in both short and long range, which is easily manageable by holding R1 or L1 and the assigned skill button. You can customize your own skills to your liking, one of my favorites is for instance;
Holding R1 + Square to throw the spear to teleport to that location (Stealth), R1 + Circle to heal 25% health, R1 + Triangle to burst forward, L1 + Square to shoot multiple arrows. This is just some of the skills available. One of the negative parts, is that I felt like the response time was struggling a bit sometimes, and the user interface movement is slow and there is no option to adjust that.
If there is one thing Odyssey isn’t missing, it’s replay value. There are a bunch of side missions, sometimes I was actually unsure if I did the main story. A lot of contracts and bounties to choose from. Some of them are actually time-limited as well. Even if you finish the main story, you have not yet discovered what this open world can offer. It is possible that you have some regions that are still unexplored. Mythological beasts to fight, caves to explore, you can even fight in the arena, really feel like a gladiator. Is there one thing I’m extremely sure of, there’s not exactly any lack of content and replay value in Odyssey.
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Replay Value 10
Assassins’ Creed Odyssey might be bit slow-pace in the beginning, but as almost every Ubisoft title. The game keeps bringing more and more content and provides a thrilling story and an open world worth exploring. There is a lot of things to do in Odyssey, which provides you tons of different experiences, and hundreds of hours of gameplay, even after you finish the main story. Odyssey also provides a stunning world presenting Greece in a spectacular Spartan setting. This might not be the very best Assassin’s Creed game in my opinion, but it is the best Assassin’s Creed game with the RPG element to it.
User Review( votes)
- Ambitious world map
- Great protagonists
- Combat is more fluid
- Beautiful presentation of Ancient Greece
- The voice acting is still something to get used to (English version), slightly improved.
- Some missions might feel a bit repetitive
- Some XP grinding to achieve a stabilized level for main missions