Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: First Impression
The latest installment in the franchise, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey takes players on their own personal odyssey through Ancient Greece. For the first time ever, we are given dialogue choices, which impact how the main story plays out. You can choose to ally yourself with the warring Athens or Sparta, choose a love interest, be a killer or a peace-keeper–you can be whoever you want to be.
Odyssey starts out with a bang, then slows down as you choose who you want to play the game as: Alexios or Kassandra. Both are mercenaries who find themselves caught up in the Peloponnesian War. The only advantage one has over the other is if you prefer fighting or stealth. Alexios is better in battle, while Kassandra favors stealth. This decision doesn’t impact the outcome of the story at all, so it is really just a preference thing. I ended up picking Kassandra, and so far, she’s a really great protagonist. I’m sure Alexios would also be really fun to play as, and am thinking that when I go back for round two, I’ll choose him.
I’ve logged 10 hours already, and it is everything I hoped it would be. Odyssey is terribly impressive in terms of how much content there is. Origins boasted a massive map that allowed for a lot of travel and exploration, but Odyssey‘s map is even bigger. How I’m thinking of the game right now is if Origins and Black Flag had a Greek baby. There is going to be a lot of sailing involved, which I know can be a terrible pain. I was not a fan in Black Flag and Rogue, but then I got the hang of the controls and it was actually kind of fun. In Odyssey, there are fewer methods of attacking via boat, so it actually makes things a bit easier. Unlike the two other sailing games, you can recruit soldiers to your side and install them as your lieutenants. Each come with their own special bonuses for sea battles.
Like Origins, there are various places on the map to explore with tasks to do in order to “complete” the location. The only real purpose for doing these things in Origins was for a trophy, but now, there is more incentive to do so. There are activities now that reduce the hold Athens/Sparta has over an area. By taking forts, burning supplies, and stealing national treasure, you reduce the hold on that location, making it easier to conquer the region. This aspect of the game reminds me of Middle-Earth: Shadow of War because it makes the “final boss” easier to defeat if you’ve reduced their influence. All of this leads to conquest battles, which sticks you on a battlefield between the two warring sides. The one I’ve done so far was fun and much different than anything we’ve ever seen in Assassin’s Creed.
Another new aspect to the game is an expansion on the Phylakes from Origins. This time, mercenaries will hunt you down as your bounty level rises. By killing them, you gain rare and legendary items, but you also rise through the ranks of the mercenaries. They aren’t all crazy-high levels like the Phylakes were, but they still make for a difficult battle. Plus, you could accidentally have two or more come across your location at the same time. I reloaded my game this morning and it started me right on top of one who was several levels higher than I was, so that was rather unfortunate. As you rise through the mercenary ranks, you are awarded bonuses, such as decreased cost at the blacksmith.
Yes, this is very different from any of the games that have come before. It is a hybrid between Assassin’s Creed and an RPG, but that only makes it a really fun, engaging game. The setting is amazing (everything looks beautiful), and I can’t wait to progress further in the story (I keep getting distracted by the numerous location activities and side-quests).
If you pre-ordered or purchased the gold edition, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is available now. If not, the standard edition will be out Friday, October 5.