Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Review15/10/2018
It’s been almost two weeks since the release of Ubisoft’s latest instalment of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, bringing with it some changes, the largest map we have seen to date and some features from previous title entries.
The story seems to be less focused on the assassins this time around and instead you will be picking one of the grandchildren of Leonidas, either Alexios or Kassandra to play as (don’t worry though the story will be relatively the same as whichever you don’t choose will be part of the storyline as an NPC).
Whichever you choice you make the game will see you take on the role of a mercenary exploring a beautiful rendition of the Ancient Greece islands, to explore it all is no small undertaking either. The game is unbelievably large, so large in fact that it took me 10 hours to realize the map zoomed out further and what I was seeing at the start wasn’t everything in the game.
While exploring you will undertake an assortment of a quest from the deeply personal story related ones, hunting animals to protect the villagers, rescuing fair maidens from bandits right up to finding the ingredients for home-brewed viagra for a randy old lady. The quests are where one of the most notable changes come in to the game as Ubisoft has brought in features from the popular RPG franchise Mass Effect and now allows players to direct the flow of conversation and the outcome of situations to fit the story that the player wants to see unfold, an interesting choice by Ubisoft and brings the game forward more in to the roleplay realm, combining this with the character choice at the start of the game it adds sense of replayability for those who want to see the different outcomes play out.
To further the feel of the game being an RPG we also see the return of perks and gear that can be swapped in and out depending on your style of play, this gives the player a freedom of choice in the way they play. As say that you enjoy playing around with a bow you can spec out your perks in to the bow tree and fit yourself out with gear that compliments that style of play and begin to rain down arrows upon your foes, this is still in the early stages of what an RPG can so don’t expect the ability to customise every aspect of your character just yet, however I can see this being expanded upon further in future releases.
Exploring the map is a lengthy project with literally hundreds of points of interest to explore, thankfully you have multiple modes of transport to navigate this world, fast travelling to viewpoints you have unlocked is the quickest for long distant, on foot is a good way to explore smaller areas, the horse is another good way to travel around landmass especially with the auto-drive/trot feature and the much-loved return of ship to navigate the sea is a huge deal for those that loved Black Flag, the naval combat is incredibly similar to its predecessor and is an absolute blast yet again, I hope it becomes a staple return to the series as a whole.
Speaking on combat, Odyssey is in mine and many others opinion the most challenging so far in the series as far as combat is involved, this is primarily towards the beginning of the game when you don’t have much in the way of perks and gear, this mixed with no longer being able to one hit assassinate targets without investing in to the stealth tree has made it tricky for some players, however this only last for the first 10 or so levels and if you’re still struggling the game has the option to drop the difficulty level.
One of the things that make the combat more challenging is the bounty system, essentially if you’re seen committing a crime, stealing, killing a guard/civilian you gain a bounty, this will send other mercenaries after you the higher your bounty the more begin to hunt you down, these can be absolute power house’s to take down early on, the plus side to taking these down is that they quite frequently drop good gear, don’t worry though the bounty on your head doesn’t last forever and will deplete over time on its own or you can take matters in to your own hands and hunt down the bounty holders people who appear in your world with red symbols above their heads, upon killing them your bounty will drop and if you really don’t want to deal with it you can just pay your bounty off in the menu.
I’m really liking the changes that we are seeing in the newest instalments of the series, the RPG elements implemented are creating an interesting blueprint for future releases to build upon, it was also great to see the return of naval combat as Black Flag was a series favourite of mine. I enjoyed the combat being more challenging than previous releases it feels more rewarding to level up and get more powerful as you play. The game isn’t without its problems through the combat camera angle has been an issue for me on quite a few occasions and the free running, as usual, can play up at times as it has caused me to dive head first into lava on two separate occasions. Having said all that the game is visually stunning with enough gameplay mechanics to change up the way the game feels, but no so many that it doesn’t hold the Assassins Creed name. I think if you enjoyed Origins then Odyssey will be another game you will love to play.