Following the monumental success of Assassins Creed Origins how could Ubisoft even attempt to make something as good, or better? Is it even possible? That is the question that has been echoed across the internet since Odyssey was first announced mid-May this year. We are honored to be able to charge head first into answering this question with our Assassin's Creed Odyssey review.
Three years in development by Ubisoft Quebec, Assassins Creed Odyssey is set in 431 BCE, four hundred years prior to Origins. What does this even mean in the grand scheme of Assassin's Creed things? It means there are no Assassin’s with the birth of the Assassins Order occurring with Byek and Aya in Egypt. In fact, the only mention of anything assassin is in the skill tree with a little “a,” along with hunter and warrior. So, what are we even doing here?! That is a mystery still unfolding as even the Templars, or the Order are nowhere to be seen - yet.
So here we are in an Assassins Creed game, Assassin-free. That’s where the concerns end as present-day Assassin Layla Hassan jumps into her animus and the first choice of many arrives. Choose your difficulty level followed by a pick between two heroes: Alexios or Kassandra? There are also two modes to choose from:
- Exploration - A series of clues to your next objectives based on information you gather in conversations.
- Guided Mode - Similar format to prior Assassin’s Creed games.
For this review I chose Normal difficulty, Exploration mode and Kassandra. So, it begins.
Eagle companion Ikaros greets you with Greek music playing that’s so enchanting you forget any prior concerns. Accents take over, mud buildings, vegetation and people nostalgic to times long gone. Then you meet them. Kassandra or Alexios. Living a life in exile after a family tragedy that sealed the brother’s and sister’s fate.
Kassandra is immediately likeable. Thoughtful, yet guarded. Not overly-sexualized, yet stunningly beautiful. Stoic, though still nurturing. How bold or caring they can be is up to you in all your responses. Assassin's Creed Odyssey is very heavily a RPG.
If you’re a fan of anything Sparta you will already know how formidable they are in battle and out. The conviction they speak, the powers. These mannerisms are apparent in our heroes from the beginning. So much so, I found myself walking head first into enemy populated areas, not using Ikaros to map enemy populated areas and willing to take on everything levels above me. Often not successful especially on the latter but so much fun! I also admit I am on the fence about Exploration mode knowing I would explore as much of the map as possible regardless of the mode chosen because parkour is one of the major draw cards for playing any Assassins Creed game. In Exploration mode I find myself leaving quest areas incomplete often because the next quest map is on my screen so I head there. Why each area is incomplete is my MMORPG brain is so use to killing the main “boss” and looting the main chest then it’s done. In Assassin's Creed Odyssey there is often an extra chest or something else to discover that may include prisoners to release, people to talk to or documents and heirlooms to collect. Pro tip here? Press alt often and wait for the flashing gold “Area Completed” text before leaving!
Sounds like a huge oversight on my part doesn’t it? In my defense I am simply so keen to find the next cave, climb the biggest statues or free another prisoner in between using photo mode to its full potential as often as I can and then there are materials to gather.
Along with upgrades you may purchase with drachma coins via the blacksmith where you can also get engravings that apply extra stats to weapons and armor. You also collect olive wood, metal and precious gems to make arrows or upgrade weapons, armor or ships. Later on, the Oriciulium becomes available and soft leather can also be looted from animals.
Speaking of animals - There are no domestic cats because ancient Greece didn’t have any yet historically, however there are dogs, wolves, lynx and bear … which you can eventually tame to be your companion! There are also caged lions, loads of bird but the ‘niche” animals or what Assassin’s Creed Odyssey offers that makes it stand out even more is the water life - dolphins, whales and sharks. Sharks that attack! The water life is impressive, even making up for the fact that Ikaros is an Eagle not a Hawk like Senu. Ikaros doesn’t spread his wings like her so you don’t get to enjoy that photo pleasure HOWEVER be warned! Don’t become addicted to the whale breaching shots like I am! Waiting for long minutes hoping to get that perfect picture or cursing when it happens as your busy doing something else makes your eyebrows wrinkle.
So far, I am enjoying the Warrior and Assassin skill trees most using Assassin on land raiding campsites or compounds, Warrior on-board ships- the Sparta kick is too much fun as you send people hurtling to their doom. I also like to board ships so need extra survivability for full frontal combat.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey almost feels like a tribute to the animal kingdom because they are super tough to slaughter whether it be that pesky boar or sharks in the water feasting on drowning sailors. Combat on land using a keyboard gets fluid fairly quickly spamming my Q and space bar in between movement and mouse clicks. While combat under water is also fairly user friendly moving always to stay near the tail. I think the only thing I would use the Hunter for is if I turn myself into a seafaring mercenary. I could see it being handy for killing sharks and maybe even captains/sailors on ships alongside me.
Kassandra in combat is so enjoyable - her skill and movement seamlessly believable. She plays so strongly from a combat and RPG point of view. The weapon I enjoy her most using right now is the javelin but the javelin always makes for brilliant photography!
As the story unfolds, along with your map and you get into this gathering, parkouring and hunting rhythm here comes the main reason that has me rate Odyssey right up there with Origins. Next to Kassandra herself and animal taming, it’s the Naval component that really makes this Assassins Creed Odyssey epic. The recruiting mode is a brilliant function, yes, I am making Kassandra the best-looking men on earth fleet that she can maybe romance at a later date because she can. It’s also the naval combat, that takes a little getting used to but is much easier than I thought it might be. I absolutely love the shanties, opportunities to see more whale breaches so I am even more determined to get a perfect shot and all and all just a stunning way to enjoy the game as a whole.
SCORE: 9.6 / 10.00
- Choices, so many choices!
- Being able to play as a woman as well as a man
- Animal life is truly epic
- Voice acting and music incredibly immersive
- Combat fluid on land, sea and in water
- Naval combat incredibly exciting!
- Exploration Mode had me retracing steps often or missing quest points
- Synchronizing isn’t working for me currently some performance issues between story updates
- Trying to get those perfect pictures - need a rewind button in photo mode!