Assassin’s Creed Odyssey review: Prepare for the longest journey yet

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Ubisoft is back with another Assassin’s Creed game in 2018, and this time it will be transporting players into ancient Greece. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a third-person action adventure game three years in the making, and it follows the same gameplay mechanics from Assassin’s Creed Origins with new abilities, ground and naval battles, and loads of missions. In addition, Ubisoft is infusing more RPG elements with dialogue options with consequences and romancing characters.

The first thing you’ll need to know is that Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the longest Assassin’s Creed game by far. It took me around 70 hours to complete the game, and that’s including all the Cultist missions and acquiring the Artifacts. The series has been heading more into RPG territory, and fans of the “realistic” action where it only takes one killing strike to kill an enemy will be disappointed. But with the RPG elements, you can’t just pick a fight with anyone. (You can, but it will end badly if they are at a higher level than you.)

Exploration Mode

One of the coolest features is Exploration Mode, a gameplay mode that Ubisoft actually recommends. To find many of your missions, you’ll have to actually explore ancient Greece. Don’t worry, there will be hints to give you an idea of the mission’s location, and they will help narrow down your search. I played with this mode on for the first half of my playthrough, but I then switched to Guided Mode since it can get tiring, especially with the amount of missions.

Alexios or Kassandra

Players will get to play as Alexios or Kassandra, but it really doesn’t matter who you choose since their storylines are the same. For our playthrough, we decided to play as Alexios, a Spartan boy who was left for dead, only to be rescued by Markos, a shady businessman from Kefalonia. As an adult, Alexios works as a misthios, aka mercenary, helping people for drachmae (Greek currency). However, there is a secret organization called the Cult of Kosmos that is planning to control all of Greece. It will be up to Alexios or Kassandra to stop them while also confronting their past.

Ancient Greece

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

The world of ancient Greece is massive in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. It can feel daunting because of the mainland and its surrounding islands. To reach the islands, you’ll have access to a ship with your captain and pal, Barnabas. (He’s definitely going to be a favorite character for many players.) You’ll also have access to Phobos, your trusty horse, to traverse the lands. You’ll get to customize the look of your ship and your horse, and there’s even a unicorn skin that runs on rainbows. History nerds will get a kick out of exploring ancient Greece.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

When starting out on the island of Kefalonia, many players will be tempted to climb on a giant Zeus statue to see if they can hang onto his butt or private area. Yes, we’re guilty of that. And if that’s not enough, there are many more nude statues all around the map for climbing including Poseidon. However, if you’re serious about your historic landmarks, you can visit the Parthenon, Acropolis of Athens, Thermopylae pass, Tomb of Leonidas, and temples for different gods like Apollo, Aphrodite, Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Athena, and Artemis.

Missions

As a misthios, aka mercenary, your character will be helping out all sorts of characters for money. There are main Odyssey missions where you have to deal with the Cult of Kosmos, and then there are side missions. These include helping a dad find his son, collecting rare animal pets, and collecting ingredients to create a love potion. The higher mission levels can be done, but they will be tougher due to enemies having a higher health bar.

Aside from missions, you can assassinate leaders from different areas to start battle conquests. Once available, you can side with either the Spartans or Athenians. Winning the battle will net you epic gear and experience points for leveling up. As for the leaders, you can try to kill them right away, but they will be well-guarded. To make it easier, you can weaken the nation by destroying supplies.

With the game having so many missions, it does get a bit overwhelming. Once you think you’re finishing a mission, many more will pop up as you progress through the story or visit a new area. The side missions do have interesting or fun stories, but I felt like skipping a lot of the dialogue since I was anxious to finish the main Odyssey quests.

Gameplay

Assassin's Creed Odyssey _114_EpicBattleFlamingSword_1536354638

When Ubisoft released Assassin’s Creed Origins, it made some big changes to the fighting and parkour system. Odyssey uses the same mechanics which consists of light attack, hard attack, dodging, tapping two shoulder buttons for parrying. In Origins, I found myself parrying and countering a lot due to the shield. With Odyssey, your character doesn’t carry a shield, so parrying isn’t the safest bet. Dodging has a better success rate of helping you dispatch the enemy while also slowing down time, so I saw myself dodging way more than parrying.

I do miss the older Assassin’s Creed game where you actually feel like a badass fighter where stabbing and slicing someone would actually kill them instantly. With the RPG elements in the latest games, you’ll have to strike at enemies a few times to kill them. However, if you’re okay with the changes to combat, then there will be plenty of abilities to play with. Choosing abilities all depends on your playstyle, and the game separates them into three categories: Warrior, Assassin, and Hunter. You can try to focus on one, or you can distribute ability points to balance your character out. Certain abilities can be stacked, so you can really do damage on enemies.

Naval battles return, which were first introduced in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Since this takes place way before, your weapons will be the Javelin and arrows. You can also ram into an enemy ship for extra damage. One of our favorite things in Black Flag was being able to board a ship. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey brings that back, but it isn’t as cool since the ships are smaller and you can’t hoist yourself up on the mast to help you do an assassination from above.

Since the game is called Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, stealth is a big part of it. You can crouch to make detection harder and hide in bushes. Like Origins, you won’t be able to assassinate an enemy with one hit if their level is higher than yours. Along the way, you’ll get to upgrade your abilities, outfits and weapons, and this will allow you to instantly assassinate tougher and higher-leveled enemies with one hit. One of the abilities you can unlock allows you to chain assassinations using the Leonidas spear.

The world is filled with materials, and you can take them from the ground. You can also buy them at the blacksmith or dismantle items. The materials you collect can be used to upgrade your outfits, weapons and ship.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

End Game

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey offers tons of missions, with side missions helping you level up to complete main and Cultist missions. Aside from having different endings based on your actions, there are also three main story endings during a single campaign. The first is the personal story ending, the others are the Cultist ending and another gives you insight on what Layla’s up to. (Layla is the character you control in the modern setting.) Ubisoft does offer players to pay to level up faster, but it’s done in the store menu, which requires an extra step to get outside of the inventory and map screens. Ubisoft has done a good job of not making people feel like they should pay to level up faster in order to complete the Cultist missions. (I’m looking at you, Middle-earth: Shadow of War). With that said, the Cultist ending is very lackluster, especially with all that build up. If you had to finish the game, we recommend completing the main story missions and the ones involving the artifacts.

Final Reaction

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is one giant playground where players can take in the sights of ancient Greece filled with beautiful mountain scenery, iconic landmarks, and populated cities like Sparta and Athens. The price is definitely worth it for the hours and hours content, even when we felt like the side missions felt overwhelming. The combat takes what Origins did and expands on it with new abilities while making the parkour simpler than ever. You can climb almost anything in ancient Greece, and you know what that means? People posting pictures online of their character hanging onto Zeus’ junk.

Score: 4/5 Atoms

A PlayStation 4 copy was provided by Ubisoft for review.

About author

John 'Spartan' Nguyen
John 'Spartan' Nguyen 9338 posts

Assassin, scoundrel, head honcho.