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Video Game Review: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
October 29, 2018
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the newest addition to Ubisoft’s annual franchise.
Set during the Peloponnesian War in 431 BCE, players control either Kassandra or Alexios as they fight their way through the war in Greece. The series has been redesigned to play more like a role playing game, with fast paced combat and a truly open world. The 11th time is the charm, as this game in the series is a breath of fresh air compared to the last ten.
Starting off the story, players have a choice between siblings Alexios or Kassandra. The gameplay doesn’t vary, and both characters are fully voice acted, so playing who you want to feels responsive. The assassin is born into a Spartan family, training to one day fight and serve in the country’s army. The oracle’s prophecy demands that the other sibling be thrown off the mountain, and in trying to stop it, the assassin falls off as well. The main character flees Sparta, and the rest of the game starts on a little island called Kephallonia.
The game’s world is massive. It has over 20 visitable islands, and only about half are required. Visiting the other islands rewards the player with experience, items and a wide array of vibrant colors and architecture. Because this game takes place in Greece, Ubisoft paid special attention to making the world feel colorful and accurate to life in ancient times. The game’s graphics are great, but in a world of Triple A games, great graphics are expected. The game’s use of color is what keeps the player looking at the screen.
The world isn’t just pretty pixels, though. It’s filled to the brim with interesting characters. Among them include ancient scholars like Socrates, Leonidas and Hippocrates. The game’s dialogue is interesting, as it allows the player multiple options to communicate with the world.
The game’s story is an interesting narrative that has the misthios tracking down the rest of his family. Through this task, the assassin learns of a secret cult that controls the Greek world like a puppet. The player can then abandon the main story and focus on eliminating the cult, starting at any of the 6 branches of the tree and working their way to the leader.
In addition to the cult enemy tree, there is a mercenary tree as well. As many as five mercenaries can be hunting the player at once, which makes even the simple task of riding your horse a challenge.
The game’s main quests will often be ridiculously spaced out, jumping five to 10 levels. Because of this, the player is forced to grind out on side missions, which by themselves are unique and fun, but being required to do them to advance bogs down the player. If an enemy is a higher level than you, they can’t be assassinated.
Besides grinding, weapons and armor provide interesting buffs that influence playstyle. Daggers, swords, axes, maces and staffs are some of the weapons you can use to fight the armies of Athens and Sparta. Armor can be stacked to make the player a fortress or equipped purely for the bonuses they give. Gear can be bought, looted, sold, upgraded and engraved, a new system that gives a weapon a perk the player can directly choose.
Three skill trees- warrior, assassin and hunter- allow the player to fight according to what they want their assassin to be. Warrior makes Alexios or Kassanrdra a fighting machine by kicking, punching, bludgeoning and stabbing their way to victory. Assassin lets them become invisible, apply fire to their weapons and allow for higher damage assassinations. Hunter focuses on the bow and arrow and lets the player shoot multiple poisons, fire or shock arrows at multiple targets at once. Despite all of these tweaks to combat, it can still feel bland and turn-based when enemies often have triple the health of the player.
Ship combat also returns and is revamped to feature Hellenistic era ships. Fire arrows, javelins and the good old-fashioned option of ramming other ships are the way the player settles brawls on the Aegean Sea. Ships can be overtaken, then boarded, for their staff or completely cleaved in two or more resources.
Reuniting the mercenaries family and killing the entire cult are only two of the nine possible endings to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Just the main story can take anywhere from forty to fifty hours, and the rest of the game could easily double the main story hours.
Assassin Creed Odyssey is the best the series has been for awhile, if not the best it has ever been. Unlike the other games, the bugs are minimal and don’t break the game. If anything, they provide laughs during the boring grind of side missions. The new role playing game aspect of the series is an innovative new twist that can revive the series.