Friday, 24 May 2024

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Review

Many mythological traditions involve demigods – exceptional individuals born from the union of a human and a deity. These heroes accomplish astounding feats thanks to their divine heritage. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, much like these demigods, exists in a realm between two worlds. It boasts vast improvements to combat and progression, allowing players to feel capable and powerful. However, Odyssey struggles to fully utilize this power, presenting an Ancient Greece that relies too heavily on routine rather than legendary exploits.

A Majestic Open World

Despite its shortcomings, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey deserves praise for its incredible ambition. Ubisoft Quebec has created an immense and visually stunning open world, filled with towering statues and breathtaking landscapes that serve as a vivid backdrop for your quest. After choosing either Kassandra or Alexios as your protagonist (personally, I prefer Kassandra’s voice performer), you embark on a journey that pits you against nations, cultists, and monsters. The new hero exudes a likeable confidence, and the choices you make have a meaningful impact on the unfolding consequences. However, the pacing can be frustrating at times. Even with the abundance of side quests, you often find yourself grinding or completing unrelated tasks just to advance the main story. This drip-feed pattern, spanning over 50 hours, hampers the game’s momentum.

Enhanced RPG Systems and Intense Combat

Building upon the foundation laid by Assassin’s Creed Origins, Odyssey introduces expanded RPG systems and numerous new features. The most rewarding aspect is the melee combat. Engagements become a ballet of attacks, abilities, dodges, and parries. As you fight, you build adrenaline, which can then be unleashed through a wide array of powers. Imagine setting your blades on fire, slowing time, and attacking multiple enemies, engulfing them in flames. Or sending a lieutenant to distract a bandit while you take aim with a poison arrow. These abilities, and more, create a dynamic and godlike sense of power, making it the best combat system in the series.

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Naval Gameplay and Mercenaries

Naval gameplay returns in Odyssey, featuring the most comprehensive iteration since Black Flag and Rogue. You can upgrade your ship, explore sunken ruins, and hunt down pirates. While it all works well and provides simple fun, Odyssey fails to provide sufficient incentive to go sailing. The naval encounters lack complexity and the rewards are underwhelming. Although the picturesque views and occasional fiery exchanges from your ship are enjoyable, the naval component ultimately feels inconsequential beyond its transportation function.

One of Odyssey’s signature features is the introduction of mercenaries – roaming warriors who present a greater challenge than standard soldiers. They’re similar to Origins’ Phylakes, but their number is infinite, and you climb their ranks as you defeat them. Engaging with mercenaries pays off, as you receive rewards (such as decreased weapon enchantment cost) for killing those ranked higher than you. However, the system isn’t without its flaws. Mercenaries will hunt you down after you commit crimes, often leading to unexpected encounters that make for great water-cooler moments. On the other hand, it can also create annoying scenarios, like an angry mercenary standing next to the person you need for a quest. Additionally, attracting the attention of many mercenaries while attempting something delicate can be a hassle, and shaking them off your tail is no easy task.

A World in Need of More Crafted Gameplay

The volatility of the mercenary system highlights a larger issue in Odyssey – the scarcity of deliberately crafted gameplay. The game boasts an abundance of content, with Ancient Greece offering a myriad of activities such as clearing camps, infiltrating forts, and waging war. While these objectives are enjoyable, there is a yearning for scenarios that feel less random and more carefully designed. Odyssey often feels like an ecosystem left to run on its own with minimal authorial interference. Many quests involve sneaking around cookie-cutter compounds, dealing with a standard assortment of patrolling guards as you loot chests, burn war supplies, or eliminate specific targets. Even the main story missions and key assassinations rely heavily on these tasks, resulting in major beats that don’t feel distinct or special compared to the rest of the experience. Although these activities may be fun, their repetition and predictability dampen the overall excitement of your tale.

FAQs

  • Q: What are the protagonist options in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey?
    A: Players can choose between Kassandra or Alexios as their protagonist, each with their own unique voice performer.

  • Q: Does Odyssey offer a compelling story?
    A: Yes, the narrative in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is both a hero’s journey and a fascinating tie-in to the wider lore of the series.

  • Q: Does naval gameplay make a return in Odyssey?
    A: Yes, naval gameplay is featured in Odyssey, providing players with the opportunity to upgrade their ships, explore ruins, and engage in naval encounters.

Conclusion

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey endeavors to blend innovative additions with returning features. Although the execution may be uneven, Ubisoft Quebec strikes a successful balance overall. The story is compelling, both as a hero’s journey and in its connection to the series’ wider lore. Exploring the world is enjoyable, combat is empowering, and acquiring epic loot is thrilling. These solid core elements carry Odyssey a long way. However, like Icarus and his wax wings, they are not enough to reach the bright star on the horizon.

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