Ancient Greece and the Peloponnesian War are officially mainstream. Assassin’s Creed is an interesting franchise – with twelve entries to date – the series is on the brink of major changes. The series once muddled in iteration is now trailblazing. 2017’s Origin introduced a Dark Soul’s esque risk / reward gameplay and sought to help usher in a new era of storytelling. So the big question to ask is: one year later, can Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey deliver the goods?
Spoiler alert: Yes. Yes it can.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is all about choice. Mass Effect, KOTOR, and dare I say- Bioware-esque choices are littered throughout the game. You start off with a choice of either a male (Alexios) or female (Cassandra) character and are given an almost blank slate to go. From there dialogue trees give player’s options to play a hand in crafting their narrative.
During mission briefings, Cassandra is given options to influence her impact on the world. This manifests in multiple repercussions (which I will avoid for spoiler reasons) that can have profound impacts on the endings. Did I just say Endings? Yes – this game has multiple endings and it all depends on how you, the player choose to approach the NPC’s, mission objectives, and pivotal plot point choices.
This is all tied into a very strong RPG system. Leveling up requires players to play through the multiple missions and side missions. While generous with experience points, the game does hit moments where you will be under-leveled for the next main stage. While you can attempt a stage where may be lower then the recommended level, it is not recommended since even one level higher can absolutely wreck you. The skill tree and the quest menus felt similar to Assassin’s Creed Origins.
The levels tie in also to the weapon system. Weapons can be modified at blacksmiths across the world for damage modifiers, boosts, bonuses, and the ilk. The game employs a Destiny-lite experience where depending on rarity and damage output- players are encouraged to seek out the rarest and most highly damaging weapons for situations. Those weapons are necessary too because they can make the difference between a quick death and escape or a onslaught of bounty hunters.
The naval combat in Odyssey felt refreshing compared to previous assassin’s creed games; taking out spartan of Athenian Ships felt satisfying. During your journey, you can recruit spartan and Athenian soldiers to your crew. Conquest battles also felt epic whether you’re fighting alongside the Athenians or Spartans, the fights gave the game a unique feel.
Visually the game boasts an incredible amount of diversity. Grassy hills, dense foiliage, decorated interiors, and meticulously detailed architecture flourish. On the Playstation 4 Pro the game is comfortably crisp with a rendering resolution around 1440p give or take. One of my favourite features in Odyssey is Photo mode, similar to Origins, photo allows players to capture incredible shots while appreciating the beauty of Greece.
Most importantly, the game uses its artistic palette to bring the era to life. When Cassandra jumps aboard a ship and sails hundreds of meters across the vast blue- the waves ebb and flow in a realistic and convincing fashion. These are top tier visuals.
After my 55 hour play through, I left the game feeling satisfied. The game was immersive and allowed me to choose my own path. Although the game doesn’t have a direct connection to the brotherhood, it’s a fresh take on the series that shouldn’t be ignored. When it comes to narrative, Oddysey’s biggest strength is the human tale of love, loss, betrayal and revenge. There’s so much to explore whether you’re exploring the lands, or sailing across the sea. Since Odyssey has post game content planned, i look forward to revisiting this beautifully crafted world.
A review code was provided by the publisher to review
Developer: Ubisoft Quèbec / Publisher: Ubisoft
Release date: 05/10/2018
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch via Cloud (Japan Only), PC
Assassin's Creed has grown up. Planting its feet into the ground, the series has embraces the RPG genre with grace and poise. Oddysey proves this franchise is a force to be reckoned with.