Having put a substantial amount of time into Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, I figured now would be the proper time to tell of my experiences with the game. As someone who admittedly has sung high praise of Assassin’s Creed Origins, over the past year I can say that it’s follow-up was one that I had highly been anticipating. Though I can say I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey itself and what I have to say is mostly positive, I do have a few complaints that I’ll get to. This is a massive game with loads of content, so I’ll try to hit on some points with detail wherever possible.
Getting into the story of the game, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is technically a prequel to Assassin’s Creed: Origins. With returning character Layla Hassan’s segments taking place after Origins in present day, the bulk of the game being spent inside of the animus 400 years prior to Assassin’s Creed: Origins, during the Peloponnesian War. Starting off, you have the choice of playing as either a male or a female character, Alexios being the male, with Kassandra as the female. I feel as though I should add that I’m not really how much, if any, of the story differentiates based on which character you choose, I personally went with Alexios so if anything here seems different that’s why. After some events on Kephallonia, you eventually meet a man named Elpenor who tasks you with assassinating a General whom is known as the Wolf of Sparta. After meeting with the Wolf of Sparta, a man named Nikolaos, you then return to Elpenor, coming find out that he is a part of the cult of Kosmos and they are hunting down your entire bloodline. For the most part I felt that while the plot doesn’t seem like it’s going to be all that memorable, I did find much enjoyment, whether it be from main or side quests, coming from the character interactions. The dialogue, combined with the mostly great voice acting, at times comes off as supremely awkward and cringe-worthy but has overall been a delight and makes going through the story a lot more fun with the amount of dialogue choices and options at your disposal.
Moving on with exploration, in typical Ubisoft fashion, you have a massive open world with loads and loads of things to do. If you’ve played Assassin’s Creed: Origins, you should mostly know what to expect. Areas on the map are signified by a question mark on your HUD, upon coming to that area you’ll discover a new location which has set objectives. At times it can feel very overwhelming with the amount of locations set to be discovered, sometimes over small areas of land. Just discovering them isn’t enough however, each location usually has set objectives to clear a location to completion; from opening a certain amount of chests, to burning supplies, hunting animals or killing guards. You generally want to be exploring and clearing these areas, as they provide experience points and gear upgrades, after about 40 hours though it did start to feel a little ridiculous at times to the point where I would unlock a location just to be able to see it on the map, and then just continue onward with what I was previously doing, as to not get completely side tracked, though when not completely distracted on clearing the hundreds of locations combined with the amount of quests, from either NPCs or the message board, you could find yourself doing at times, it’s hard to not be impressed at how expansive the world can feel. I can’t say everything on the exploration front is completely bad, there is an option of having a guided or exploration mode to help make sure you get to your destinations and having your bird Ikaros fly around and highlight marks on the map definitely helps as well. Overall I absolutely love Odyssey’s world and do enjoy the exploration for the most part, I’d have a tough time saying I like it more than Origins, but it’s still one I feel strongly about, even if at times I can’t help but get distracted by exploring all the areas in any given region on the map.
Outside of the exploration side of the games content you also have the ability to hunt down both mercenaries and cultists. The mercenaries are usually tough enemies which will come after wreaking havoc and signified by a bounty meter, upon killing a certain number of mercenaries you’ll rank up in the tier system on your menu. Each rank will provide you with better services and upgrades. As for the cultists, to be able to even find them, you’ll need to explore and kill enemies, looting certain enemies will provide clues to the whereabouts of any cultist. After finding 5 clues you will be able to unmask a cultist and their location will be marked on your map. You’ll want to kill both mercenaries and cultists as they provide powerful gear upon looting.
Getting into some of the combat aspects, it seems to be mostly the same as Origins again with the more action RPG oriented style. There are 3 different skill trees: Hunter, which is basically your skill tree that focuses on ranged attack skills, and the damage of your bow. Warrior, mainly your more direct combat approach abilities and your melee weapon damage, along with the damage you can take. Assassin, which is mostly self-explanatory on name alone, basically is your ability to do extra damage with sneak attacks, as well as an ability to reveal secrets, poison your weapons, and a few other extra perks. I’ve mostly found myself mixing up skills between the Warrior and Assassin skill trees, as I found it easier to be able to sneak around and take out enemies but also be durable enough to take out enemies if I get caught.
Also making a return in Odyssey in a bigger form, verse the brief sections included in Origins, is the inclusion of the ship. Starting with the ship’s menu you have the option to upgrade your arsenal, weapons damage, and ship & crew endurance. All of the upgrades can be obtained by harvesting materials by going out and gathering them, or by purchasing the materials from merchants. The ship battles themselves generally consist of launching arrows and javelins with bouts of trying to ram other ships, after which you can board them to beat up on the enemies crew, after which you’ll sink their ship as well as restore your own ships health. Getting a little bit into another aspect of the ships are the Lieutenants, these special characters for hire give your ship boosted stats. There is a few ways you can recruit new Lieutenants, either by doing side quests or knocking out enemy guards and telling them to join your crew, which admittedly I’ve only done once. I personally have been relying on recruiting new Lieutenants by doing side quests for the most part, as I have a tendency to forget you can even recruit them via knocking them out in the first place.. I don’t really mind this part of the game, it’s alright. I don’t really feel as strongly about it now as I did when I played something like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Still, I don’t really mind being able to sail around at all.
In closing, I absolutely adore Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. I love the open-ended nature of the game and the amount of freedom along with the interactions and dialogue exchanges between characters. As much as I can say I enjoyed Odyssey however, I have a hard time placing it above Origins. Both are solid games and I’m still happy with the route Ubisoft took turning the Assassin’s Creed games into RPGs. Though before closing out I wanted to make a brief mention of the micro transactions. I haven’t personally purchased any of the time savers, which are probably the most nefarious, but I’ve seen mention that the game becomes more enjoyable if you do buy the XP booster. I can honestly say without purchasing any of them I’ve still enjoyed the game just as much, though the sheer amount of locations to clear out does become absolutely ridiculous at times to where I can see something like purchasing Helix Credits to buy the maps would help a ton. I won’t be doing that however, a game like this is ripe for exploration and I feel like I’d be ruining the experience for myself by going through with that, but to each his or her own. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is a good enough game otherwise, and one I can probably see myself putting a lot more time into, with or without time savers.