I love history. Always have, always will. So when someone introduced me to the Assassin’s Creed franchise, I was immediately hooked. The path has not always been the smoothest, but over the past 11 years, Ubisoft has iterated and revamped the system, mechanisms, and engines. I mention all this because, with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Ubisoft has made the next leap in the franchise.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is set in Ancient Greece. You start by choosing to play as one of two siblings: Alexios or Kassandra. That isn’t the only choice you’ll make throughout the game. There are dialogue trees in the game as you encounter historical figures or just random quest givers along the way. It isn’t just choosing A, B, or C and all answers get you to the same conclusion. There is some of that, but there are just as many times that it will have a lasting impact throughout the game. It also isn’t obvious what path you ought to take. Sometimes, the best bet is to fight, and sometimes, lying is the only way to save your hide. Whatever you choose, you will have to wear it like a badge going forward, though there is ample time usually to save and go back to make a different choice, if you wish.
There was something bothering me as I sat down to write this review, so I went back and looked at my Assassin’s Creed Origins review and there it was, under the ‘Cons’ section of the review – RPG elements. It made me remember how it was not fully integrated into Assassin’s Creed Origins, as if they wanted to fully implement but did not, and it felt clumsy. Odyssey fixes that and goes all-in on being a Role-Playing Game. Everything is measured in quantifiable amounts. Damage done by your assassin’s attack, how much damage your armor absorbs, how much damage your enemy takes are all numbers spinning off in glorious RPG goodness. Your level now matters. For example, there was a mercenary hunting me at the beginning of the game. He was level 5, I was level 2. In my hubris, I attacked and was quickly dispatched. I stealth attacked (aka I tried to assassinate him, but didn’t have enough damage) and took off 50% of his health. I eventually lost the battle. I leveled up to 6, and took off 90% in my stealth attack and won the day. By fully embracing the game as an RPG, Ubisoft made it easy for me to transition to playing the game as an RPG.
One feature I really appreciated was the ability to play what is called “Exploration Mode”. This is where the game gives you hints as to where to find a location/event/quest item rather than a bright shining arrow pointing on the map as if to say, “Don’t think, just walk here”. It’s a welcome addition to keep the game feeling more open. They’ve also cut down on the collecting objects simply for the sake of collecting objects. Clearing out locations are done so for loot and for experience, not to make sure you pick up a feather, or pamphlet, or whatever secret object that is nothing but a blip on your map. They’ve removed almost all of that. There are those objects that give you a hint you need to hunt down, but that’s pretty much it. Now, it’s all about the loot pickup.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Review Final Thoughts:
Overall, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the culmination of heredity and lessons learned from the past 11 years by Ubisoft. Instead of being a fairly linear, action, collection fest, it has finalized itself as an open-world RPG. The massive map, the ability of choice, and number-driven combat have made this one of the best, if not the best one to date. I absolutely recommend you giving Assassin’s Creed Odyssey a chance, especially if you felt burned out from the past iterations. But be warned, this is an RPG through and through, with dozens of hours of content and quests to experience.