Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Review

Every game comes with its faults, and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is no exception to that rule. There have been bad reviews; there have been good reviews. First and foremost I think it largely has to do with the platform on which one plays the game. Playing it on the PS4, I almost never encounter any bugs that someone on a PC would, which I find sad as it felt like I’m being left out on the jokes. Bugs are becoming a fun part of modern video games in their own right. They’re a laugh, and it’s fun to see what silly things the game tries to do while we play. Because Assassin’s Creed has bugs a bad game it does not make.

Atmospherically, I don’t think Assassin’s Creed is as in-depth as other games are, so when you encounter a bug it’s easier to laugh at it. Let’s face it, as far as terrain and graphics are concerned there are plenty of other games out there that look and feel similar. At this point, jumping into Assasin’s Creed felt like slipping on a familiar pair of jeans after a long summer. The list of similar feeling games is extensive as sandbox games have dominated the market these days. People who take the game too seriously are missing the point: it’s a video game and video games are fun. Assassin’s Creed is fun, and it’s also hilarious.

The game runs smoothly as a huge portion of it is dedicated to exploring the map. It covers a lot of ocean and I do believe that the Ubisoft team was trying to stick as closely to an accurate scale of Greece. Because there is a lot of ocean does not make it feel as though the team got lazy. The ocean itself is full of amazing things. Diving into and exploring it is almost another game itself. There is no lack of things to discover and interact with beneath the water’s surface. In fact, swimming in the ocean rather than rowing around in your boat, I would say is the better part of traveling. You wouldn’t get anywhere, obviously, but it’s wonderful to dive into the water and see the detail they dedicated to those areas of the map alone. From colorful reefs to exotic and beautiful looking ships, to sunken treasure and hidden temples, the ocean part of the game is my favorite of the map terrains.

Example of the scenery under the ocean's surface with fish and reefs.

Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve had oceans in Assassins Creed, but it is the most ocean we’ve had since other games like Black Flag or Rogue. It was something that was hugely popular with fans when it was first introduced so it is great to see it make a return.

Walking above land, while immersive and relaxing, became a tedious chore, making fast travel my best friend. Being able to travel quickly to points on an island where your objectives are closest allowed for me to level up quicker. Random encounter enemies such as animals or bandits, while they do give you experience points, are a waste of time as they tend to be tedious to fight when you’re a lower level character first starting out the game.

Leveling up in the game is my hugest problem. It’s time-consuming and obnoxious as it simply takes forever to gain enough experience points to move up. What’s more, and is the salt to this wound, Ubisoft seems to have purposely done this so that one might be encouraged to pay actual money to level up faster. Good game, yes, but no thank you. Please don’t do that again.

Technically the game is a sandbox, yes, but it still has levels in the cheatiest of ways. Rather than blocking off certain areas as other Assassin’s Creed games have done in the past, it “recommends” that you stay out of certain areas by giving you a level gauge at which your character should be at. Exploring a portion of the map where you are within the desired level range, enemies will show their level of experience above their heads. In a restricted section, however, enemies will show nothing but a red skull as if to say, “don’t even try it, you low-level plebeian.” Even if there are areas that are technically off limits when first starting the game, that little detail made it vastly humorous to me.

So enemies are a waste of time when looking for those sweet, sweet experience points. What, then? The easiest way I began to quickly learn was to complete the endless amount of chores. I know this was a huge issue for other players of the game, but I love sidequests so doing them was a treat. Sidequests are moments for us to get to know our characters better. We get to see them respond and interact with NPCs in a fluid and natural way. Additionally, the option to chose responses and how to speak to characters made it less of a chore and more of a fun way to become your character.

In prior games, encountering side quests felt one-sided, but Odyssey allowed for the player to interact with NPCs rather than watch them from a far. The game also focused on the facial expressions and animations when watching your character interact with NPCs out in the wilds. It made your character have more of a personality in my opinion.

Kassandra talks to the doctor who she is able to romance.

I love that you can romance NPCs. The game even goes as far to ensure that either gender for your characters is bisexual. It’s both forward thinking and historically accurate! Even if the romance scenes are kind of lackluster insofar that they only show a simple kiss before a fade out, I still enjoyed and loved watching my Kassandra flirt. I’m actually a bit jealous that I didn’t actually play as Alexios. I was told that his voice acting was terrible, but after watching some of his romance scenes on YouTube I can say that he’s by far the better of the siblings at flirting because he sounds so bad at it!

Yes, the main reason I liked Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was due largely to the mechanics of the game that made it feel like something coming from Bioware. I’m not sorry. I love Bioware games, and I have been patiently waiting for something new since Inquisition. Playing Assassin’s Creed has been a pure delight and a wonderful game that filled an empty void. It’s its own game, but the familiarity of it in comparison to Bioware games made it all the better. I like to think of it like this: When you read a book genre that you know you love, you want other books in that genre to continue reading even if they aren’t always by the same author. That’s what it was like playing Assassin’s Creed.

Speaking more to the mechanics of the game, the user interface is quite a downgrade from Origins; and that’s good. Origins’s weird spider map thing made it obnoxious and hard to look at in the UI, but everything about that has been simplified in Odyssey. It matches the game, is simple to read and navigate, and makes nothing needlessly complex. I jumped directly from Spider-Man to Origins and honestly, the UI felt like the same thing just a different color. It was very easy for me to get used to. Coincidence? I’m not sure. Are all UIs in video games becoming similar? I wouldn’t mind if they did because the UI and getting used to its intricate details tends to slow me down and annoy me more than anything.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey's example of the UI and abilities page.

Combat within the game, as other Assassin’s Creed games have been, is just more button mashing, but I really don’t expect much to change in that realm, and that’s okay. The wheel of special actions made fighting enemies less aggravating and more humorous in my opinion. It became easy to lock an enemy into a loop thus allowing you to defeat him with the same pattern over and over. I quickly worked out a system that made combat run fairly smoothly for one on one combats. In a group of individuals, though, I would stay far away from hand to hand as possible and rely on the assassin skills. And I had to rely heavily on those skills 90% of the game in the beginning.

This next part is a direct message to Ubisoft. Stop being so wishy-washy about the whistling. Just keep it in the games. It’s useful for assassination, and when a game is largely about assassinating, things allowing for some form of distraction or lure tactic makes sense. Additionally, keeping the bird mechanic from Origins in Odyssey was a good idea as I relied heavily on Ikaros for scouting. With such a giant map, Ikaros made things just a little bit easier on me.

Ikaros flies over a village.

As far as plot and writing are concerned, I actually don’t care. There’s so much to do in the game outside of the plot that it almost didn’t matter. And the amount of time it took leveling my character up between plot points also made little difference to me. The plot became something that was easily forgotten. This is another issue I know others had with the game, but I’m going to say that I’ve never cared about the actual plot of the Assassin’s Creed games as a whole. I’ve always been all about exploration and side quests. To be able to play a game that has so much in it was perfect for me.

All in all, I would say that this game is worth buying now. Ubisoft did a fantastic job and the game is worth the 60 dollars that it costs.

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