REVIEW – Assassin’s Creed is back once again, this time in the land of myths and prophecies Ancient Greece, during the war between Sparta and Greece. Meanwhile, a conspiracy is afoot, and it is up to the player to uncover the mysteries of Ancient Greece. As a lone mercenary, you are thrown into this world of constant war, epic choices, millions of loot and quests.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey might be one of the biggest adventures in the history of video games, but whether this will be a great road trip or a tour de slog? Find out here!
THIS IS GREECE!
The story of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey opens up with a bit a cliché, The Battle of 300 where you control Leonidas with all the skills unlocked, and you get to murder Persians. After that brief intro, we then have the option to choose between two main characters Kassandra or Alexios. All of their interactions are fully voiced, which is quite a feat for such a gigantic game.
Our main character (whichever you choose) begins their adventure on a small island which serves as a tutorial. We start off with a small scale story, that starts to bloom into something much more epic. That epicness though feels like something out of Netflix or Amazon TV series rather than a Zack Synder’s 300. As there is the mainland of Greece, and then the surrounding Islands. Each island feels like its own episode for the main character with different „Story of the week” situations. Ubisoft allows the player to tackle the story as quickly as they want, but they can just ignore it for the most part to trek around the islands, and pick their own Adventure.
An epic tale
Odyssey is not for those people who just want to sit down and play through a quick campaign in 15-20 hours, or to beat it in one weekend. In fact, the game opens up entirely at around 15-20 hours, if you do all the sidequests, and story beats, as the game keeps opening up new gameplay mechanics, quest types, and enemies. We also get three skill trees (Hunter, Warrior, Assassin) instead of one compared to Origins, and the game ditches the shield in favour of more fast-paced combat. Activities in Odyssey are plenty, and just to name a few: Assassinations, Ship battles, Conquest battles, Arena fights, and a whole slew of sidequests around the map of Ancient Greece. It feels a bit of a mixed bag, as while the map is huge, and looking at it will make you think how will this ever be completed. It might end up for some like a chore to beat the game. Most of the game is simple fetch this, kill that, and after 15-20 hours I noticed how mediocre the sidequest script is. There are a few hidden gems, and those are good, but far and few. Personally, I had to take the game in small doses, as there is so much to do that you get exhausted by the end of a play session.
The combat and loot loop for the game is a bit of an enigma for me. You can assassinate with one hit (depending on loot). However, the loot itself feels like out of an MMO game, where you have to keep parting with your cool looking gear for the newer higher level gear. There is an option to keep upgrading your gear with resources, but the cost/time sunk into these are not worth it unless there is one or two very specific gear you like to carry over. It also best to upgrade them as soon as you level up, as two or three level differences between character and weapon/ armour can cost boatloads.
Beautiful vistas, and bloody battlefields
Assassins Creed Odyssey is a spectacularly looking game, with dynamic day/night and weather to elevate the player’s experience. The weather even affects the waves in the sea and makes battles more difficult. At night if you have the right skills, you will do more damage when assassinating. The textures are high in the big cities, and the sea water looks unbelievably detailed. The main character and the main NPCs are also high quality, and even the mercenaries have their unique designs. The game is stunning to look at, most of the times. However, there are situations where the ugliness of the game appears, it is far, and few between, but textures of outdoors (mountains, long distances not covered by buildings) can look ugly. The animation, and texture work for some of the side characters are just average, and the lip synching can be horrible.
There’s also a bit of repetition regarding specific events. Especially the conquest battles where the main location always seems to be the same (unless you are near the seaside, cause then it will be a sea battle near the island). It is a bit disappointing cause the dynamic weather, and day/night cycle beauty gets thrown out the window in these cases. The fortifications also look a bit samey, and there are not too many visual differences between them (other than flags being different depending on who controls the territory). Animal variety is also lacking, and rather dull to fight against them. The sound design is a bit weightless, and lack the real punch to it. The music is excellent, and matches the tone of the action, or stealth gameplay for the player, and is well made.
A mixed bag of deadly traps
Odyssey is a fun game to play, but there is so much content, and information for a player to take in that you end up wishing it was actually a bit less, and more focused. Sure, you can hop around the entire Greek islands, but doing the same thing over and over (even with the amount of content) does not make it fun for everyone.
In the end, it feels like a mixed bag, it is not a bad game, but a bloated one. It puts a lot of different things for the player to do, only to stretch out that content from 10-20 hours to 60-70 hours. However, that content is easily accessible and fun to play, it’s just that if you try and rush through the game, or do everything as quick as possible, the player will be overwhelmed. Each island needs to be treated like a season-long arc of a TV show. Sometimes a break between seasons is required to enjoy the game entirely.
+ Deep combat, with lots of skills
+ Gameplay is varied, and lots of activities to do
+ Graphics are good…
– Except in long distances
– Grindy, and too bloated at times
– AI is a bit weak…
Developer: Ubisoft Quebec
Genre: Action Role-Playing
Release date: October 5, 2018