Ubisoft opted to approach the development of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey unlike any of the previous titles in the genre. Rather than offering a tight, guided experience like other Creed games, Ubisoft went for a much more open, Fallout-like approach to Odyssey, which makes it stand out from its predecessors in many ways. The game feels more like an expansive open-world RPG than an action heavy RPG-lite experience, which I appreciated greatly, and found to be a breath of fresh air for the franchise.
I urge you to check out our full review below in video or written forms, because if you have the time to fit this massive AC game in during the fall AAA-release-rush, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the experience and value Ubisoft has provided in Odyssey.
Hey now fans of the Creed, Matt Heywood here from EntertainmentBuddha.com to review Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, or what I now like to call, Assassin’s Creed Fallout, but more on that later.
There will be no spoilers present in this review.
Let’s get this out of the way my friends, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey ain’t your big brother’s Assassin’s Creed, which is thanks to a brand new approach to player choice that Ubisoft has taken with this iteration of the now long standing franchise. For the first time ever, you can play an Assassin’s Creed game in an explorative fashion, which is thanks to the new Exploration mode that you can toggle when you first fire up Odyssey.
In this mode, you aren’t given nearly as many waypoints to help you navigate to each of the game’s main objectives. Rather you’re only provided clues and a general sense of direction for each of the game’s main Odyssey level quest lines. You’re basically free to go about the game in any way you see fit, so you’re not guided in any real way, making the experience feel much more like a RPG franchise like Fallout, versus a typical Assassin’s Creed guided experience.
You can always turn the exploration mode off at anytime and return to the standard AC experience, but I highly recommend not doing so. This game has been built from the ground up to promote player choice and freedom, which is also reflected in the deeper dialogue and choice system. Throughout the game you will be presented with multiple replies to a single question, and each reply can lead to different narrative consequences. For example, early on you can decide to kill a bounty hunter that is looking for you, or you can leave him be. Although, if you kill him, the Chapter’s boss mission if you will, becomes much more difficult, because you have to now fight the boss and the bounty hunter at the same time. But if you decided to kill him, then the battle becomes much more manageable.
Choices like this are liberally sprinkled throughout Odyssey’s main and side quests, so again, this entry in the AC franchise is much more like a full on action-RPG than any of its predecessors. Which I have to say makes Odyssey a very fresh feeling AC-experience, and a very intriguing video game to play through. The impact of the deeper choice system is so great in this game that there are a total of nine different endings to witness, which speaks volumes about this game’s depth and potential length.
Speaking of which, if I had to guess, a full 100% complete playthrough of this game would take well over 80 hours. There is so much content to work through it becomes problematic at times. Mostly because you can go hours upon hours in between progressing the main story, so at times it felt like the main plot took a bit longer to heat up. This in turn typically led to me getting sidetracked, or disinterested in the rather intriguing main narrative, which tells a mysterious tale of a Spartan family who may come from a special lineage, but due to other mysterious forces and their schemes, has been torn apart and must rediscover its roots to figure out how it fits into the big picture.
I really don’t want to go any deeper into the main plot due to spoilers, but I will say that it is a narrative that is intriguing enough to keep you plugging away at the insane amount of content Ubisoft baked into this game. Like I said, I enjoyed the story so much that I felt the ridiculous amount of content and at times higher rank needed to complete main story missions were preventing me from continuing on with it in a tolerable pace. There’s just so much going on that at times you can lose site of the main narrative, which is a shame, because it is very mysterious and has plenty of the AC fantastical flair to it.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, if you couldn’t tell by now, is not your traditional AC game, so even its gameplay and systems are more RPG-like. Regardless of which hero you choose, you will have three skill trees to flesh out, as well as tiered levels of gear to manage throughout the campaign. You can assign ability points earned through ranking up to the skill trees, which will unlock skills and buffs related to Warrior, Hunter, and Assassin skill sets. Skills can be assigned to the D-pad for use in battle in both melee and ranged combat. In melee you can gain the ability to set your sword on fire, or make it poisonous, while in ranged you can unlock abilities that allow you to shoot three targets at once, or give you the ability to drop a shower of arrows on your enemies.
These abilities greatly change up combat in this AC game, which makes it feel more dynamic than the old parry and attack system made famous in early AC games. You definitely have to be more engaged in battles, while also balancing the use of the special skills you unlock. You can’t just get into a ballet of parrying and attacking anymore, so combat is much more involved and skill based in Odyssey. I actually enjoyed the more difficult combat system, because it didn’t feel robotic and simplistic, so it made you think about each and every encounter and how they should be approached, which in turn allowed you to focus on the skills that suited your play style the best.
I found the parkour system and getting around the massive map of islands to be well done too. Getting around each city was no problem with the tried and true AC parkour system of just holding down one button to engage in climbs, jumps, and mantles. Getting from island to island is also no big deal thanks to the allure of navigating your ship through the open seas with the ability to take on other ships to score treasure and XP, and yes, your sailors will sing their own awesome shanties, which always evoked great memories of Black Flag for me.
After playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey I fear I may no longer be able to go back and play older AC games that I never completed, because it has changed the franchise’s gameplay formula in such a way, that the older experiences may now feel a bit too dated to enjoy. That’s how different this entry feels, but I embrace the drastic changes, and feel they have led to one of the deepest AC games to ever release. In fact, it is the deepest, and feels like it has the scope of a Fallout title, so if you’ve been yearning for a more RPG-like AC game, then Odyssey should be on your must-play list. In fact, I could argue that the biggest downside to Odyssey is that it has so much content that you can at times lose focus on the interesting main narrative, so at times the pacing can feel a bit lethargic as you try to progress the main storyline.
I could also argue that’s a great problem for a game to have, especially when gamers bitch about the overall value of a gaming experience. You will without a doubt get your money out of Odyssey, because it is the largest AC game to ever release. Ubisoft really took some risks with Odyssey, and for someone like me they paid off in spades. The experience felt fresh for the franchise, which ultimately resulted in a worthwhile gaming experience. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey earns itself a very respectable 9 out of 10 review score from Team EB. If you can somehow manage to fit it into this already packed fall gaming season, I urge you to do so, because it is unlike any other AC experience you’ve ever played.
Thanks for watching, Matt Heywood signing off for EntertainmentBuddha.com, where we make you a better geek, one post at a time.
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