Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Released: 5 Oct 2018
Reviewed: 4 Mar 2019
Platform: PC

Odyssey is a ridiculous game in many respects. From its roots in stealth and assassination, AC has completely changed to a hack and slash open combat game removing any semblance of reality, now allowing you to take on dozens of guards, parry arrows, shoot through walls & jump off a cliff with no damage if things get too risky. I played as Kassandra; her voice acting and animations are top notch. The game has been polished to shine (I should hope so being the 11th AC title). The story is generally good, with bad pacing, lots of filler content and way too long. The level system is trash as always. There are microtransactions. Removal of the minimap works pretty well.

This is going to be a long one.

Being the 11th game in the series, Ubisoft have had a lot of time to polish their gameplay. Movement, climbing and stealing are really smooth, to the point of being a little too unrealistic now; Kassandra can scale vertical walls with no grip points now. Being able to jump off cliffs and take no fall damage is a double edged sword; on one hand it's ridiculous, on the other it's nice not to have your character kill themselves when they decided to jump off something without being asked.

The voice acting is really good. Combined with the animations, it's the first game in some while where I actually cared about the main character. Kassandra does an excellent job of making her character believable. This is a huge difference for me from Origins, where I couldn't stand Beyak or anyone around him. I'm not sure if that was just bad Egyptian accents or the quality in general.

The story in Odyssey again is a huge improvement over Origins. As far as I remember, Origins was effectively "Kill all these people to cross them off the list". Odyssey starts out strong with plenty of childhood memories, and is in general a quest to find your missing family. I will say here that I felt the game was waaaaaayyy too long. I would probably have given it 5/5 if it was at least 10 hours shorter, because there were sections of the main quest line that were ridiculously unnecessary and off-pace. For example, I'm in the middle of stopping an evil cult from taking over Greece, and we decide to take a massive detour to get our house back in Sparta by taking part in the Olympics and fighting a major battle. It's a stupid excuse to put the Olympics in the game and needless filler. You're in the middle of hunting down the cult, reunited with your mother, and then you decided to take a massive detour to get your house back? Who cares? I've spent the whole game killing Spartans; I don't care about getting a house back. Aside from that particular section, lots of the main quest NPCs will say "Yes, I know where your mother is, but my X has gone missing and I need you to go find it first. It's a massive breadcrumb trail where everyone you meet needs a pointless side quest doing first before they'll give you the information you need.

As I always comment since they first introduced levels in Unity, it completely ruins the game. AC used to be about freedom and exploration, but since you now have a level you're gated from large sections of the map and content until you level up. This affects the main quest, where you can go, what you can do, and is just another excuse for them to get people to pay real money for gear and experience increases.

The minimap is gone, and in general this works really well. Quests give you information on where you might find what you need, then when you're in the right area you can use the eagle to find your target. I used this for 90% of the game and turned it off for the last 10 hours when I was just trying to get it over with (and the information I was given was flat out wrong. Someone you need to find 'frequents the gym and his own house', but when you switch to guided mode you see he's not even in the city). Most quests are obvious, some just give you none of the required information. One of the early quests was to get an archer from an island off the south coast of Phokis containing a shipwreck. That description fit two islands and I spent half an hour running around the wrong one.

One thing everyone has commented on is your impact on the war. It's lucky they pegged you as a mercenary in this one because I felt no allegiance to either Sparta or Athens. You can kill soldiers on both sides, and help either side win battles. The faction controlling an area has literally no effect on the game other than the colour of the banners, which is why it's even weirder that halfway through you have to take a 5 hour detour to get your Spartan home back.

*Other minor annoyances*
- Difficulty settings are trash. They don't affect 'difficulty', they just give enemies more hp and more damage. Taking 10x longer to kill enemies isn't harder, it's just more boring.
- The graphics generally look amazing, but optimisation is still flaky. I got 80fps in the wilderness, but closer to 30 in heavily populated cities.
- Mercenaries know exactly where you are at all times, even if you were never seen, which is both annoying and immersion breaking.
- One of my major gripes with the game was their decisions on where to put writing effort. There's loads of crap filler quests in the main storyline where you're sent off to collect things for people, then when something interested happens like when you find Atlantis, the dialogue is literally 3 lines long and you get two short options, with your character immediately accepting the situation and asking no questions.
- It's about time they did a modern-day AC to tie up the ancient civilisation storyline, but they won't. They'll continue to add token efforts towards it so they don't alienate the people who haven't played the whole series, then the series will die off with no storylines getting finished.
- Having microtransactions in a game that costs between sixty and A HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN EUROS is laughable. Get a hold of yourselves, you greedy fucks.

All of that being said, I enjoyed most of the game, it just needed to be shorter. I will eventually summon the willpower to reach level 50 so I can see some of the legendary monsters they've created, but there's another 8-hour XP barrier in my way before that.

When I ‘finished’ the game and wrote my review, it was after dealing with Deimos (46h played, level 41). Although that is technically an ending, it felt unfinished, and I wanted to finish killing all the cult members and deal with the Atlantis quest.

It pissed me off that if I wanted to see that content, I had to gain another 9 levels - but I am glad that I did. I hunted down every last member of the cult, and discovering who was their main leader was really rewarding. After that was done, I hunted down and killed all the mythological creatures, which were really well implemented both in combat and in-game lore.

It took me another 14 hours, but I actually found myself enjoying the game a lot more after finishing the main quest for some reason. I guess it felt more like optional fun rather than just trying to finish a never-ending main quest. If you’ve played the other AC games and are used to getting some lore about the First Civilisation, you need to do this. That’s what was missing from the end of the main game - but it’s all included once you collect the artifacts and take them to Atlantis.

60h played, level 52.

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