The Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has been out for 3 weeks now and as someone who had completed various AC series games, I just can’t miss out this one. After clocking almost 30 hours of gameplay, here’s my review.
This review is completed with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Gold Edition on Windows 10 PC with Intel Core i5-3470, 16GB DDR3-1600 & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB.
Taking place in 431 B.C., the Odyssey’s story revolves around the Peloponnesian War between the Spartans and the Athenians. For the first time, players are given the choice to play as two different main characters – Alexios or Kassandra, and they are, in fact, siblings. While I was hoping the content would be different based on the chosen character, turns out the story is exactly identical except some minor differences to their dialogues. So, if you’re here to find out which character to choose, don’t worry, just choose the one you prefer and you’ll experience the same story.
Choices & Consequences
Also new in the AC Odyssey is the introduction of the decision dialogues. Well, it is not as complicated as some other games where it would change the course of the story and lead to a whole different ending. Nonetheless, your choice would still affect part of the game but not drastically changing the story course.
For instance, the first choice you have been given in the game is whether to kill the thugs or let them go. So, if you let them go, they will come back with 2 more allies and ambush you down the road.
There are some choices that would lead you to some rather unique side stories, such as unexpected romantic partners and weird interactions. Despite so, they don’t develop more than what we would’ve liked.
Missions & Tonnes of Grinding
Just like the Origins, the Odyssey employs a similar mission system & RPG gameplay that accompanied by tonnes of side stories and missions that would, hopefully, add some entertainment to the main story. The problem with the missions however requires a lot of grinding.
The levelling gameplay nature means that your low-level character will always lose out to enemies who are 2 levels or higher. Even if you stab the Spear of Leonidas into the back of your enemies’ head, he would just turn to you and proceed to cut you down in 1 swift hit. That means the game leaves you with no choice but to complete those side quests to gain experience and level up.
When you start doing the side quests, very quickly you’ll notice they are more or less the same missions – kill a person, kill a group of people, collect some treasures and so on. It gets boring real quick if grinding is not your cup of tea. On that side note, Ubisoft is actually selling 50% permanent EXP boost as an in-game purchase. So, yeah…
Ubisoft has revamped the gameplay mechanics from the AC Origins. While the controls largely remained the same, newly introduced is the active skill sets. For every successful strike on enemies, your energy meter would fill up and used to activate special abilities. Some of the previous skills that would be abused such as the Predator Arrow would now consume the energy meter.
The skill tree is now less complicated than the AC Origins one, but for some reason, I felt that my bow & arrow damage has been extremely lacking. I used to play the Origins where more than half of my kills are done at a distance. Probably Ubisoft is trying to balance the game where it is best to kill your target by stealth or melee. Or Perhaps I spent all my upgrade points in the Warrior and Assassin segment on the skill tree.
Besides, Odyssey also put a lot of emphasising on sea battles. Your warship can house a couple of dozen soldiers and several hired-lieutenants. Upgrading the ship means a tanker hull and more powerful arrow or lance strikes. Not to mention the ship can be customised as well, which reminds me a lot of AC IV: Black Flag.
Speaking of battles, there’s a new game mode called Conquest, where you lower the enemy control in a certain territory then proceed into a large scale battle which you will need to kill the enemies to gain control of the region and claim the rewards.
As you proceed through the game, you will notice that some sponsors are putting a bounty on your head. Your bounty goes up whenever you killed someone in open or someone notices you stealing stuff. What comes next is, up to 5 bounty hunters would be tracking for your head. Oh did I mention that they can be 2 or higher levels than you? If you ask me, this is probably the most challenging part of the whole game and it is also the reason why I’m so hooked with AC Odyssey.
So, either you pay off the bounty or kill the sponsor else you will need to avoid the mercenaries at all cost until the bounty expires. I mean, 1 vs 5 is not a good idea at all.
Before we wrap up the review, here’s our final verdict for the game. The Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is without a doubt the largest game in the AC franchise. The world is vast and filled with tonnes of interesting areas that would take up more time than you’ll have to explore. Undeniably, this is also the game’s biggest weakness where the side missions are mostly repeated contents.
While we never experienced any slow down or hiccup on the PC version, I can’t say the same for our friends who got the console variant and going through slow load times and occasional failed-loading 3D models. Of course, we can’t demand a game that is 100% flawless and to be honest, the Odyssey has way less bug than what we experienced in the Origins. So building a new game based on an existing wireframe has its benefits after all.
I would find it difficult to recommend this game to any newcomer because Assassin’s Creed is best experienced by learning the story behind the conflict between the Assassins and the Templars. Perhaps a good start would be the first Assassin’s Creed or Assassin’s Creed Origins.