As an avid fan of the series, I am thrilled and proud to see the franchise grow and develop in story and gameplay. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is, at most, a topping in the many tiers of the series’ accomplishments, groundbreaking concepts, and thrilling stories.
During the prologue, it may seem that Odyssey is just stemming from the templates of Assassin’s Creed: Origins, but over time it grew to its own game with overflowing content that never seemed too much.
While Origins still consists of Assassins and Templars to explain the beginnings of their long war, Odyssey explores the story that takes place way back during the Peloponnesian War.
For the first time ever, the game lets you decide your gender. You may either play as Kassandra or Alexios — both of whom will have the same storyline.
Kassandra and Alexios are the descendants of the Spartan hero, Leonidas. Depending on whom you choose, either will be the eldest child of the family and wielder of Leonidas’ spear. Because of a tragedy due to the decision making of a major underground organization, they are separated from their families and grew up as mercenaries, without knowing whether or not if the other has survived. Without spoiling anything, Odyssey is about finding the truth of Kassandra and Alexios’ family, their lineage, and the defeat of the underground organization that wrecked their lives.
Everything about the two heroes is similar, including the script with, of course, the exception of pronouns. However, the only major difference the two have are the way the dialogue is delivered which becomes the build of their individual personalities. Kassandra is the beautiful yet sarcastic, all around badass female heroine while Alexios is the deep-voiced Casanova that may at times seem a tad goofy.
I must give praise to Kassandra’s actress, Melissanthi Mahmut for her truly amazing performance and convincing delivery. She made it as if that the right way to play is through being Kassandra.
In its long history, we don’t get a lot of female heroines from Assassin’s Creed, so to choose whom I play is one of the best features that had been added. To me, it already won the feminist game of the year because of its depiction of female characters and overall equality in gender representation. All characters in the game were also voiced by Greek men and women to avoid whitewashing or “Americanizing” anything. This to me was also one of the greatest moves anyone could do, and their language and accents were absolutely beautiful to hear. Louder for the people at the back: representation is important.
A Content Gold Mine
The gameplay can be described as simple yet complicated. The same elements such as third-person story exploration, naval combat, and eagle vision are still obviously maintained. If I were to compare it to anything, I would say it to be a gameplay crossover between The Witcher and Skyrim.
The menu allows you to customize your character’s equipment, from headgear to legwear. The equipment dictates the style of gameplay you may want to achieve: a Hunter, a Warrior, or an Assassin. Hunters deal in long-range, Warriors deal in heavy or blunt objects, while Assassins care for the swift, sneaky approach. Besides the distribution of equipment, there is an ability tree that you may choose from as you level up your character. The ability tree is, again, separated by the types. You may choose to distribute the traits equally to become an all-around player. I played as Warrior/Assassin type as I don’t do well with aiming.
An addition to the game is the exploration function, which made me compare it to Skyrim as you may traverse through the huge map discovering areas on your own. There will also be certain quests that will not give you the exact location of your next target, but instead, they will give you clues as to how you may find it. Clues like which city it is in, or what direction from a certain landmark. You use your map to mark down the clues, proceed to the location, and use your eagle, Ikaros, to specify it down with his eagle vision.
If you prefer the easier route, you can opt out of the exploration function at the start of the game. But I must stress that this is the only way to properly play Odyssey to full immersion.
In the near midway part of the game, submenus for Mercenaries and Cultists will be added to add to the content of Odyssey. As a mercenary yourself, you may aim to become the top mercenary by beating the others in tiers. You can encounter other mercenaries if you are given a bounty for certain crimes you have done in the game, like murder or theft.
Cultists keep track of the underground organization, and again without spoiling anything, this submenu helps you know and find its members.
Another addition to Odyssey is the option to have romances with a number of characters. It’s nothing raunchy, just a good kiss on the lips and an amount of time that passes off screen indicating something more. The romances are a tad offbeat and comedic at most, they are unimportant altogether but it’s pretty much for comic relief and a telling of that era of hedonism. Romances choose no gender and you can get it on with either male or female, and maybe later you can choose to bring them on board your ship as a crew because why not.
Just with these, there is so much to do within Odyssey apart from the main story. But going through your side quests is more than just “a side”. With Odyssey, this becomes an important part of even the main storyline. To join in the growing fad of choosing your own destiny that develops the importance of decision-making, Odyssey plays the same card. In certain quests, you will have to make choices that will make an impact on the aftermath of the game. I love how Odyssey makes me treat each quest as if they were the main one, and I love how the impact of decisions play on your moral toughness.
I have once mentioned before during a previous review on Black Flag, that Assassin’s Creed can delve deeply into philosophy. Odyssey makes that clear with the appearance of Socrates whose words will make you question your decisions in the game and emphasizes early on how magnanimously important your declaration of what is right and what is wrong are. I could go on and on about philosophies present in Assassin’s Creed and geek out, but let’s save it for now.
Of course, a large map with great detail and content is not prone to certain bugs common in Assassin’s Creed, like characters floating in water or sudden freezes. But I have gotten these bugs not as frequent as I thought it would, so that’s an improvement already.
Overall, it’s very hard to find fault in a game that was well thought-out, culturally accurate with equal representation, a content galore, and beautiful sceneries and detail (zooming in on clothing/armor gives you the idea of how truly fine-tuned the detail is). I can spend a week or two playing Odyssey and would still not have finished or dented the amount of story and quests present. The open world is too large that just uncovering every nook and cranny is going to take some time.
This is what we all want in the end, great and long hours of content to let you know you spent your money wisely.