Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Review | The Quintessence Of Assassination

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is just what the name implies.

It is, in fact, an odyssey.

The sheer breadth and scope of gameplay make it one of the more in-depth, full-on RPG experiences in the franchise’s history. An open-world full of colorful characters, random encounters, and endless exploration make this installment in Ubisoft’s long-running franchise, easily one of it’s most well thought out and immersive experiences.

Somehow, they have successfully married everything that was good about Assassin’s Creed Origins with other elements of games past to make the assassin experience, this time around, really feel like one that you as the player have crafted all on your own.

It’s almost as if they’ve given you the keys to the franchise and told you to drive.

Assassination Your Way

One of the greatest aspects of this newest installment in the Assassin’s Creed universe is the level of freedom they have allowed the players to have.

Now, while there isn’t an incredibly deep character customization system in place in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, you’re allowed to choose between two characters: Alexios or Kassandra.

When it comes to storyline, both characters fill the exact same role. Choosing characters doesn’t change your story much at all, but that is where the gameplay prison ends and complete, unadulterated freedom of play enters.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey allows you to choose between two different game mode styles.

Guided mode or Exploration mode.

You can choose the traditional “guided” style, where the map shows you the location of quests objectives, quest markers, locations of interest, etc, or you can try to incredible, new “exploration” game mode.

Exploration mode is exactly what it sounds like; you have to explore, quite literally, everything. If you need to find persons of interest, quest locations, or any other wonderful goodies that ancient Greece has to offer, then you have to find it all yourself using quest text or good, old-fashioned roaming around.

It’s an incredible departure of gameplay for a series in Assassin’s Creed that once was full of linear, “you do what I say” gameplay fun, where freedom and roaming were foreign, obscure concepts the assassins could only dream of.

The combat system in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is very similar to that of Origins, but much like everything else, an area where Ubisoft took an already fantastic system and slightly tweaked it to make it better.

With the changes made to the skill trees in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, they found a way to simultaneously simplify and enhance the overall skill tree system to allow a more fluid and personalized combat experience. When putting skills into each of the three trees, Hunter, Warrior, and Assassin, I never felt forced to go any further into a skill tree than I wanted to just to get one or two different skills. The simplification of the skill tree system allows players to really craft a character totally based on their own personal combat style.

By doing this, Ubisoft created an extremely fluid combat experience that is totally unique to each person. You can be a classic assassin, sneak around, and kill people in dark corners after an ominous whistle from the bushes. Or you can also rush into a group of enemies with a spear held high and fight them face to face if you want.

Personally, the most rewarding combat experience comes from being able to seamlessly shift in and out of the three different play styles the game allows you to have which creates a gameplay experience that never gets old or repetitive.

Outside of a few glaring issues with the games “lock-on” mechanic and some unintuitive, clunky climbing control mechanics, the combat and control system is even smoother than it has been in any other game in the series.

You truly get to be your own, unique kind of assassin.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey allows each person to play the game their own way.

Overwhelming Scope Of Play

I’ll be honest, the first few hours of the game can be incredibly overwhelming. The game is just that deep. Outside of the main quest line, there are so many other activities to do. It can be a little daunting trying to decide where to go and who to kill first.

But that’s what makes this game such a rich and immersive experience. The utter scope and size of Odyssey allows for a seemingly endless quest of adventure and fun.

Piggy-backing off of the amazing success of introducing a fully explorable and open-world concept to Assassin’s Creed Origins, Odyssey takes what Origins did well and goes even farther. With conquests, side quests, naval battles, mercenary hunts, arena fights, and so, so much more, Odyssey has taken everything that Origins did well to make an enhanced and deep RPG-like, Assassin’s Creed experience and doubled down. Even adding a few successful mechanics from previous Assassin’s Creed games of the past to really put the fun level of the game over the edge.

The reintroduction of naval battles and quests might just be the icing on the cake that is this game. Naval battles were so incredible in Assassin’s Creed Black Flag and I couldn’t be happier that they decided to take that kind of successful element from a past game in the franchise and add it into an already outstanding experience in Odyssey.

Now let’s discuss the map size. The map of Egypt in Assassin’s Creed Origins was 80km² which, in its own right, was fairly huge.

The map in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a massive 130km², over 60% larger than that of Origins. If you want to put that into the perspective of other widely expansive RPG experiences, Skyrim’s map was only 37.1km² and the map for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is extremely close to reaching the 136km² from the map of the widely lauded The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

The first time looking at the map, seeing how many different areas there are to uncover and explore, and compare it to the content available on the smaller starting islands is insanely overwhelming, but in a good way.

This is the kind of fear-inducing, overwhelming content we as gamers want in our games. I want to look at a map and realize it is going to take me hundreds of hours of gameplay to uncover and complete everything it offers. At a time when too many companies are a-ok with pumping out short games with tiny maps, Ubisoft brings us a monstrosity of an area in Odyssey’s Ancient Greece that we can spend countless hours exploring.

Finally, a game where I can spend so much time playing I will forget where the story ends and the exploration begins.

Greek Immersion Techniques

I have always been a sucker for Ancient Greek lore and Greek Mythology.

As a kid, I obsessed over all things “Ancient Greece.” It’s why I love playing Smite so much.

I’ve watched the Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts, and Disney’s Hercules hundreds of time.

I say all of that so you can realize just how truly mesmerized I have been running around and exploring Ancient Greece. From fighting mythical creatures and bandits on the seas to riding across the Greek plains in escape or climbing up the naughty areas of a Zeus statue, the environment that they have created in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is so incredibly breathtaking.

It is one of the most immersive gaming experiences I have ever had the pleasure to experience.

The characters are all very believably Greek and it really makes you feel like you’ve been put right into the middle of an amazing greek world full of obtaining drachmae, fighting Athenians and Spartans, and running from mercenaries trying to hunt you down.

The color scheme is warm and bright without being too overly colorful and each different area of the games has its own unique feel to it. While they all look “greek”, each area has it’s own very discernable style and texture to it.

It’s a world that I will have absolutely zero problems spending hundreds of hours roaming around in.

The Verdict

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has taken everything that made Origins one of the great games of 2017 and only expanded on it in good ways. The story is compelling and filled with so many choices only one playthrough just isn’t enough. The game allows for such a unique play experience that if you do play through it again, your experience the second time through will be almost completely different than any previous playthroughs. While the combat can get clunky at times and the climbing can be a little less than optimal, the overall experience of playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is an intensely involved and immersive experience that can easily rival the depth and breadth of content of any of the top RPGs released in the last 5 years.

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