Assassin's Creed: Odyssey (XBOX One) Review
Game Name: Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
Developer: Ubisoft Quebec
Date Released: October 5, 2018
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch
I want to start off by saying, Happy New Year to everyone!! Hope that 2019 is full of good surprises. Over the holidays, I had a chance to finish one of the most talked about games of 2018 in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. Ubisoft had stated that they would not release games on a yearly basis, yet here they are, with a game, a year after Assassin’s Creed: Origins. In fact, there was also DLC for Origins released in 2018.
Players in the past got AC fatigue and the franchise looked like it was in a downward spiral. However, they did manage to make a good comeback with Origins. They had added new fighting mechanics and expanding on the RPG elements. Let us see if Odyssey lives up to the Assassin's Creed name.
The game takes place in Ancient Greece in 431 BCE (Before Common Era). You can play one of 2 characters. You have a choice to play as a female (Kassandra) or a male (Alexios). You are brother and sister. Playing either one does not change how the story plays out. The story has a few components to it. You start outside of the Animus as Layla Hassan. For those who do not know, the Animus is the machine that allows Layla to go back in time and play historical characters. She discovers the Spear of Leonidas. When analyzed, it is discovered that the spear has the DNA of 2 people. These are of Alexios and Kassandra. From here, Layla enters the Animus and this is where you start your journey in Greece. The first part of the story takes place when you were a young kid in Sparta. You and your sister were thrown from a mountain by their father (Nikolaos). This was due to a prophecy by an oracle. Of course your character survives and then your journey begins. You are a Methios which means mercenary. Your goal is to find who betrayed your family and tried to split the family up. I played as the character of Alexios. Early on, you are asked to find who the Wolf of Sparta is from a man named Elpenor. From here you discover that Nikolaos is your father and the Wolf. He admits that he regrets what he has done. You also learn that Nikolaos is not really your father but your stepfather. You discover that your mother is Myrrine and she has been quietly been trying to do some good in Greece. Along the same path, you eventually learn that you true father is Pythagoras. He is the gate keeper of the secrets of Atlantis. Although this is very interesting, it is not really part of the main storyline. On your journey to find your mother, you discover of this group called the Cult of the Kosmos. Basically they are a group that do what they think is right, to make Greece strong again. You can consider them the Anonymous group of ancient Greece. You also learn that your sister is also with them. They have brainwashed her into thinking that she is the chosen one. They are this game's equivalent to the role the Templars played in the older Creed games. Your final goal is to find who the Cult of the Kosmos are, as they are the ones that ruined your family. You also try to find the identity of all the cultists as their identities are hidden. As you travel across Greece you discover clues that uncover who some of these cultists are. While in Delphi undercover, you discover that your sister is part of the Cult of Kosmos. This is the main focus of the main storyline. You have to try to get her to reject the cult and comeback to your family. How the story unfolds is up to you. Some parts of the story will change depending on the choices that you make during the game. I believe that there are multiple endings.
The first thing that I want to talk about are the graphics. This game looks gorgeous. I said this with Origins and I will say it again, it is beautiful. I also played on the original XBOX One and it looked great. I can just imagine on an XBOX One X or PC in 4K. Every time I hit a synchronization point, I was in awe of how beautiful Greece was. Odyssey continued where Origins left off in terms of mechanics. The fighting mechanics are essentially the same as in Origins. Depending on your level, enemies can be more difficult to beat than others. The eagle has returned from previous AC renditions and proved to be useful on your journey to find new items, treasure chests, cave entrances and much more. You can also use your eagle to distract the enemy, giving you an opening to attack them. The upgrade system I believe is very well done. There are so many different items and weapons that you can find on your travel, you never feel as if you are missing out on inventory. One of the biggest positives was that I did not feel as if the side quests were repetitive. I felt as if each quest meant something and led to a bigger goal. Yeah there are some side quests that are useless like trying to get ingredients for a love potion, but these were fun and did not bother me at all. I really liked the character development. I felt that each character meant something. Although you meet some Greek icons, everyone you meet seems human and not an AI bot. That went a long way in wanting to play more. I found myself really intrigued by the relationship between Alexios / Kassandra and Phoibe. That relationship for me really pulled on my heart strings. The story was also very strong, in my opinion. Compared to Origins, where the story was good but the ending was anticlimactic, Odyssey had an ending that rewarding for the amount of time and emotion investment I put into it. I felt satisfied when all was said and done.
One of the biggest complaints that I have are the loading times. I know that I played on the original XBOX One and loading times are an issue on that hardware. However, it was annoying having to wait long stretches when loading a save or fast travelling. On some nights it made me want to turn off the XBOX. Throughout the game, my game froze or crashed and I needed to restart. I also clipped the game and fell through the map while I was in a ship fight. The audio also sometimes wonky. The syncing of the lips during conversation is sometimes off. So there are bugs with Odyssey, but it still does not take away from the experience too much.
I was not a big fan of the mercenaries in the game. They are contract killers that will hunt you on the spot if there is a bounty on your head. It was fine for the most part, but there were times where these mercenaries came after me when I was trying to clear out an area. Sometimes the level of these mercenaries were 1 or 2 levels higher than I was and it made it difficult to deal with them and with the other soldiers. I understand why that it was done. Ubisoft wanted to give a challenge to the player but I did not personally like it. Sometimes some of these mercenaries felt unbeatable or took very little damage even though you hit them in their weaknesses. Something that they did not fix from Origins is the AI when riding your horse. The GPS on the horse is sometimes not great. It will still go the long way around the map just to get where you are supposed to go. There were times where jogging over the mountains did a better job than taking my horse. The NPC’s (Non Playable character) trying to avoid being run into by the horse fail every time. I kept bumping into people all the time. If I am riding my horse on autopilot, I expect the horse to avoid people on the way. Sometimes it causes conflict with other soldiers which I wanted to avoid. The last point that I did not like, were the parts that took place outside of the Animus. These parts of the game could have been cutscenes and did not need to be played. I think that this is something to think about for the next game. I said the same thing with Origins. It is a very small part of the game but still not fun.
The only way that I can describe this game is, it took what Origins did well and improved on its imperfections. This is another strong entry in the series and I believe that it lives up to the Assassin's Creed name. The story for me was very engaging. It is rare that I am emotionally invested during a game but when one of the characters died, I actually grieved with Alexios. That scene, in particular, was very well done. In fact, it was probably better than most scenes found in movies. The backdrop for the game is awesome. Greece was an awesome choice and they could even have another game at a different time. The story can continue. I just hope that they do not fall in the trap where they release these games on a yearly basis. The last time they tried to release too many games, players stopped buying the games and the quality went down. If I would be Ubisoft, I would wait until the next generation of consoles before releasing a new game. They could maintain this game with DLC's to continue its life cycle. I would recommend this game to anyone who likes RPG's and like story based games. The gameplay is quite satisfying. The series has become one of the better RPG's. It similar in gameplay as Deus Ex or The Witcher III. That is some pretty good company. There are many hours of fun to be had here.
Rating: 9 cultists out of 10
What do you think? did you like the game or not?