Two children destined to either be enemies or allies when they grow up. A legacy that has been passed on to generations of legendary warriors. A story about a family that is destined to greatness. This is one family’s journey to find their place in the world. This is Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. This is Sparta!
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Developer: Ubisoft Quebec
Release Date: October 5, 2018
Review code provided by Ubisoft.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the latest installment in the long standing franchise of the Assassin’s Creed. The present day story takes place right after the events of Assassin’s Creed Origins. This time around, the past takes us to ancient Greece where you have the choice to be one of two siblings, Alexios or Kassandra.
They grew up to become a mercenary or misthios, paid to do anyone’s bidding. The story then takes us into a journey of discovery as the siblings try to figure out where their family is from which they got separated from. Twists and revelations are laid down in their journey and story and what’s unique about this particular game is that each playthrough can have their own unique side quests and stories. And they can even have different endings. It’s up to you how to shape the story.
Let’s talk about game mechanics. The mechanics are pretty similar to Origins. From the skill tree, to the fighting sequences. And even their moveset has some similarities from Origins. It’s basically Origins with a different skin. You also get experience points to level up and get ability points to use for the skill tree. What’s better here is that you can reset your skill points easily by spending coins. There are three main skills that you can spend your ability points on. The Hunter, the Warrior and the Assassin. Each of these skill trees offer unique passive and active abilities that you can mix and match and see which would be effective against your enemies and which will suit to your playstyle. Once you reach level 50, you then get access to passive abilities that are connected to certain aspects of your character, like weapon damage, or effectivity of fire and poison damage.
There are other unique mechanics that can’t be found in Origins. For example, the addition of the Mercenaries. Mercenaries are other hired men who will hunt you down once a bounty is out for your head. The higher the bounty is the more mercenaries will come and find you. Each mercenary has their own unique skills and traits and if you defeat them you can get some rare loots as well. This feature actually reminds me of the Nemesis system in Shadow of Mordor but once they die, they don’t get replaced. This feature is also tied up with the infamous notoriety system in Assassin’s Creed. Where in other versions of the game if you commit a crime, your notoriety level goes up and guards from all over town are coming down to hunt you. While in this game, when your notoriety level goes up you get a Bounty on your head and Mercenaries will come running to your position, the higher the notoriety level, the more Mercenaries will come rushing to your location. If you don’t like being swarmed by them though, you can always opt to pay the bounty to bring down the notoriety level back to zero, or kill a bounty sponsor or just kill all the Mercenaries coming your way to remove the bounty altogether. There will be places or moments in the game when the bounty will be at a fixed amount. This happens when the leader of that certain area decides to mark you as a threat to the nation.
Another feature that you can find in this game is the Conquest feature. Conquests are basically wars between two warring factions: The Spartans and the Athenians. Each region in the world of Odyssey is controlled by one of these two factions. In order to initiate the Conquest battle scenario, you need to lower down the power of the faction in control. To lower down the power, you need to do certain activities like conquering forts, and burning war supplies. The last step to initiate the Conquest is to defeat that region’s leader. Once all of this is done, then you can initiate the Conquest battle where you have to kill as much of the opposing faction in order to win the battle. You will also encounter mercenaries who gets hired by the opposing faction. Winning a conquest battle nets you rare loots as well.
Another feature that is unique to Odyssey is the Cultists. Although this is a bit similar to Assassin Targets in other installments of the game, the fun part about it is revealing the identity of each Cultist member. Some of them can be revealed by just progressing the story but some others can only be revealed if you meet certain conditions like doing sidequests in a certain area or visiting a certain place to get a clue. Although the Cultists are targets, the game still gives you the freedom to choose whether to kill or spare certain Cultist members. Though this choice is not available for everyone of them, they are usually presented in important parts of the story and some may only be available if you successfully did a certain quest in the past correctly.
The level of customization that this game provides is huge. You can customize everything from the armor your character wears, to the appearance of your ship crew. You can even customize the horse and have a unicorn as your transportation.
They have definitely improved on the naval battles from once we first saw them in AC Black Flag. The level of customization makes it better for you to figure out what kind of deadly naval ship you want it to be. The lieutenants is a feature of the ship that allows you to have unique characters who will join you in naval battles. They add certain passive abilities that can boost your fire power or arrow damage and so on. You can customize the ship by changing its appearance, adding a mast figurehead or changing the appearance of the entire crew. This makes your ship unique from all the other ships which makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
And because this is ancient Greece, what is ancient Greece without its infamous Coliseum. A no-holds barred fight to the death spectacle where you fight waves of enemies and become the last one standing. This will definitely test your fighting skills and lets you see if you can take on the best of the best that the game has to offer.
One other thing worth noting about this game, is how your character can romance certain NPCs in the game. You will discover when this can happen when you see a heart icon beside a dialog option. This reminds me a lot of the Witcher series or even Dragon Age as it seems that the characters can basically romance anyone they want may it be of the opposite sex or not. This is probably the first time that Assassin’s Creed opens its doors to the possibility of a same gender romance although this may have been hinted in previous games as well (remember Ezio and Da Vinci’s bromance?) I do think this is an appropriate representation of how Greece was back then where they are mostly liberated and free to express theirselves.
The only really thing that’s worth noting that may ruin the experience for some is the fact that there are still some glitches throughout the game, although they are minimal and they don’t usually become that much of a detriment when you play. Because of how huge the game is, there will be times that the game will freeze to load up another area, sometimes this can be annoying especially if you haven’t encountered it before and you were thinking that the game froze. There was this game breaking glitch I had when I encountered the Minotaur though where after I died and reloaded into the same area, my character is automatically dead. I hope they get this fixed in the upcoming patches so that it won’t happen to anyone else. I admire Ubisoft though for being on top of rolling out frequent patches to address certain issues of the game. Like in the most recent patch, they’ve added an appearance feature on top of the armor where you can change the appearance of the armor to any of the armors you’ve already looted. They have also added a fast travel option to the Coliseum.
Overall, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey continues what it did right in Syndicate and Origins. There are so many things to do in the world that can get your preoccupied or distracted that you won’t even realize you’ve been playing the game for so long. The beauty and finesse that this game provides makes it an enjoyable experience that you will likely remember and will make you that much excited for the next Assassin’s Creed game. I was definitely satisfied as to how the stories for Kassandra and Alexios has ended but they still need to improve on Layla’s story. I still have no idea what she’s doing in the present or why she even needs the spear, that ending for her leaves much to be desired. I wish they would have given us more time with her and her story to see where it’s all leading up to. I would still say this is a strong game to get into and for long standing fans of the game this is a game worth getting into and something that will definitely want you to come back to the world of Assassin’s Creed.