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Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey review

I haven’t touched an Assassin’s Creed game since the very first one. Maybe the repetitive nature of the first game, or over-saturation of the series over the years, is what put me off buying them annually. But I decided to bite the bullet and finally give Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey a go. Boy was I not disappointed!

assassins creed odyssey

An Epic Odyssey

The main thing that drew me to get into this Assassin’s Creed in particular was the fact it had become more RPG than ever before. To me, this meant that the storyline was going to be an epic one. Not that the AC games weren’t like that before, but RPG’s tend to tell stories on a grand scale. Ultimately this game does tell quite a huge story of epic proportions, but for me it actually took a while before I started to feel this way about it.

The story starts off in dramatic fashion, with the baby of the family (whoever you don’t choose out of Kassandra or Alexios) is set to be sacrificed by being thrown off a cliff. The character you choose tries to save the baby, but you both end up plummeting to your expected deaths.

Fast forward many years later and of course your chosen character has survived. Without getting into too many details, as I’m trying to be sparse with spoilers, what follows for a good portion of the story is a journey for a family reunion. While this might be ok with this type of storyline in most other games, there’s particular reason I wasn’t fully getting into it here.

assassins creed odyssey

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is set in a time where Sparta and Athens are at war with each other. The game’s world is a huge sprawling one where every region has been conquered by one of the two factions. Knowing this, your character’s search for their family just seems kind of small, especially in relation to the world and events around you.

Even as I was halfway through the game, I still had no idea where the story was actually heading, whereas by then everything should be established. Yes there were moments here and there of Cultists being mentioned, but the main story hardly focused on them.

Now there may be some minor spoilers in the following paragraphs. As I progressed even further I came to a realisation that Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey doesn’t contain one main storyline, but three! There’s a storyline involving Cultists that are trying to take control of the world, but for a while it feels like just an optional side quest.

assassins creed odyssey

As you progress in the ‘family reunion’ story, the Cultist one starts to take centre stage and realise just how important it is. As for the third storyline, I won’t say anything about it, but it does tie in to the other two.

The majority of games out there focus on one main story, but I think the way Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey handles three is done so well. They’re still three separate quests that you go on, but are very intertwined with each other, and that’s what I think is so brilliant about it.

The family reunion quest is the more narratively driven one, whereas the other two are more objective based, but all have their own endings. I still think your character’s main quest could have been told a bit better though. I was starting to lose interest as too much focus was placed on finding certain people that I was always left wondering what the game was really about.

Luckily I pushed through and when things started to come together, it almost became a totally different game, and the game also became deserving of its ‘Odyssey’ title.

assassins creed odyssey

The World of Ancient Greece

The Assassin’s Creed game have been set all over the world and in different time periods. In this latest adventure, the game is set in Greece 431 BC. The developers have done a great job in recreating this world, featuring all the specific region names, monuments, and even some well-known historical figures! Sokrates makes an appearance and obviously has that philosophical nature about him.

The sheer amount of effort and research that Ubisoft went into this world is extremely impressive. It also looks gorgeous with some truly jaw-dropping views. The game is bright and colourful, the architecture is how you would imagine it, and it’s absolutely massive!

One of my favourite aspects of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is how each region is conquered and ruled by either Spartans or Athenians. Because they are at war with each other, you can tip the scales and help the other faction take over.

assassins creed odyssey

The whole process behind this is very fun, as you’ll need to weaken the nation first as much as possible in order to weaken its leader. Once achieved, you’ll have an easier time killing off the leader to then start a war. After you’ve chosen a side, you help them win, and the region is there’s!

As much as I loved the whole process behind it, I was very disappointed to find out none of it actually matters, as you’ll only really do it for better gear and XP. You’ll have to help take down regions a couple of times throughout the story, but I couldn’t believe how quickly it was thrown to the side and not touched upon again.

There’s a huge amount of regions and they are all at war, so I figured the majority of the story would be about helping one side dominate over the other. While a story like this would be repetitive, I just felt more importance should have been placed on it. It just felt like a wasted opportunity to me.

assassins creed odyssey

Another part of this game I need to mention are the sheer amount of activities you can do. Usually I’m a little tired of these open world games having a ridiculous amount of things to do, as they normally feel like chores, but I’ll admit here I really enjoyed them.

Scattered all around each region are those mysterious question marks that usually reveals itself to be a new location. What I really love about these are the fact that each location has their own objectives to complete. You’ll be killing off the captains, looting, free prisoners, etc., and once you complete the objectives, you’ll be rewarded with drachmae (the game’s currency), gear and XP.

Not only are these fun to complete, but they’re extremely satisfying as well. Like I said before, there is a crazy amount of these activities, so you may be quite fatigued if you tried to complete them all. Even still, as I passed a new location, I just felt compelled to complete it, and that really adds to the already huge replay value.

assassins creed odyssey

I found it a little annoying though that if I wanted a region to be occupied by Spartans, for example, I had to stay away and not complete any location objectives because a lot of them weaken the nation. Any completionist might find this infuriating to have to leave them behind, as I’m sure there could have been a way around it.

Another annoyance is the fact that a lot of these locations are considered off-limits and you’ll be attacked if you trespass. This is fine outside of towns/cities, but it’s too easy to accidentally stumble inside one when you’re making your way through a town/city, then have to run away because you don’t want to cause trouble. This happened a few times and because I’m always moving very quickly, it’s easy for it to happen.

assassins creed odyssey

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey Gameplay

In a massive game like this, it’s expected to contain lots of gameplay elements, and there’s a bit to talk about here.

In terms of movement and animations, I found them to be quite unpolished. You don’t expect this with big AAA releases, so I was a little surprised by it. It didn’t detract much at all from the fun, so it can be forgiven.

There’s some really useful features that helps minimise frustration and impatience. You can use your eagle to scout ahead and tag things like enemies, loot boxes, and any other things that help complete objectives. It did get annoying searching everywhere for that one last crate until I found out I could just tag it with my eagle.

assassins creed odyssey

Like many open world games, you can use your horse to get around faster when fast travel isn’t helpful. One amazing feature was the fact that you can get your horse to run automatically along the road AND go straight to a location marker. This needs to be implemented for us lazy people who don’t want to be hold buttons and analogue sticks down the whole time. It is hilarious how your horse doesn’t care if it runs over everyone on its way!

To help make the game even more fun, you have the option at the start of the game to set it to Exploration Mode, which gives you hints to where you need to go rather than location markers. While it’s still easy to work out where you need to go, it’s just adds yet another element of fun, and I commend Ubisoft for implementing all these fun ideas.

assassins creed odyssey

One main feature that felt a little out of place was the Mercenaries screen. You play as a mercenary and you seem to be in contention with all the other mercenaries of the world. If you kill anyone ranked above you, you’ll move up a rank, and eventually into higher tiers. While it did feel like an unnecessary feature, the rewards you get for reaching each tier were well worth it. I just love it when a game rewards you well for doing basically anything.

One major criticism I have on the gameplay are the glitches. There were quite a few moments (during combat mostly) where the game severely slows down and gets very laggy. I had to exit out of the game a few times and redo things which was very frustrating. Thankfully you can still pause it, then save the game, and you won’t lose too much progress.

Assassin’s Creed Combat

There’s quite a lot that this game get right, and while it may not be the absolute best combat out there, it sure was a lot of fun. As expected with this series, you have the option of being stealthy, or going in all-melee weapons blazing!

Both of these styles are handled well. I will admit though that the controls were a little weird at the start and had the change them. Also why do I need to press both shoulder buttons to parry? It’s bizarre but I got used to it. Speaking of parrying, it was also frustrating when I was successful with it and the enemy was still able to attack me when they should’ve been stunned for longer! Why bother?

The ship combat makes its return, and while it’s my first time with it, I had a lot of fun! Boarding your enemies ship afterwards and stealing their treasure just added to the already huge amounts of satisfaction you get in this game. You can also upgrade your ship to become stronger, giving you even more options as to where you should spend your drachmae and materials.

assassins creed odyssey

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey Review Summary

Going from never wanting to get into the Assassin’s Creed series, to then saying Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is one the best games of the year, is quite a turnaround for me. I enjoyed almost every aspect, even if I didn’t initially.

There’s just so many different systems and mechanics (waging war, defeating mercenaries, hunting down Cultists, completing location objectives, etc), they all intertwine with each other in some way,  and I enjoyed them all. If there’s one thing I love about them (and other games that do the same), it’s that you’re rewarded well for completing any task, and it always feels worth it.

assassins creed odyssey

Even the menus and interfaces are presented well. I’ve been a big fan of the Destiny-style equipment screen, and of course it’s done well here too.

I know rewarding players properly is 101 game design, but it’s surprising how many games don’t do it. I still have a ton of things to do in this game, and I’m more than happy to keep sticking with it.

I know there are legit criticisms that prevent it from being perfect, but the pros greatly outweigh the cons, and even if you’re not an Assassin’s Creed fan, I still highly recommend this game.

Score: 9.4

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