01st Nov2018

‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’ Review (PS4)

by Xenia Grounds

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My experience with Assassin’s Creed is pretty limited. I’ve only played Syndicate in full but I have paid attention to reactions to the series. I’m aware that not every Assassin’s Creed game has been a hit but the same could be said for every series that runs for a long time. The question is: Is Assassin’s Creed Odyssey one of the hits or another misfire?

The story in this entry is that we follow a mercenary (either Kassandra or Alexios) in ancient Greece who starts travelling the islands in order to seek revenge for a tragedy committed on their family during childhood and to hopefully rebuild their family in the process. I played as Kassandra because if given the choice then I’ll play a character that I can get to resemble me as much as possible. Additionally, she is the canon protagonist of the game but the differences between her and Alexios are very minimal and the story virtually remains the same which is fine because the main story is pretty good. There are multiple endings in Odyssey as the player can decide certain outcomes in the story. Most of them can be pretty minor but other ones can have massive consequences further on. You’ll never be sure which ones have a payoff or not though so it’s best to treat all interactions you have with other characters with some degree of caution. Also, the obvious answer to a problem may not necessarily be the correct one either so it’ll keep you on your toes. There is the modern day side story in this game which has frequented other AC games but to be blunt, I never cared for that part and every time it came up, I just wanted to get back to Greece because that was way more entertaining and interesting.

There is a lot of content in this game. The main story itself takes 60 hours to finish but there are multiple side-quests for you to complete as well. They aren’t all enjoyable as they frequently come down to three type of missions: Escort, fetch quest or take out a fort. Admittedly, it can get pretty tedious at times but there are some side quests that will genuinely make you laugh such as one involving a fake minotaur that just makes you forget that you’re doing the same thing you usually end up doing. Some of the ones that I personally loved involved optional boss fights and the arena as it felt like a test of skill and it was a rush of adrenaline but they happen very late into the game. Another problem is that you have to do a lot of them because this game kinda forces to instead of making it optional. The reason being is that story quests are usually above your level so you have to grind EXP by doing side missions to get the level required to further the story or there’s some condition for you to fulfil first like having to gather and pay 17,000 drachmae…I wasn’t a fan of that latter one in particular.

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The gameplay as it stands is different for an Assassin’s Creed game. There’s less focus on stealth and you can complete a lot of missions without needing to sneak around but it’s usually harder depending on the mission type. You get a variety of weapons to use. I personally stuck to the sword and bow throughout the game. There are other weapons such as daggers, staffs, axes and spears which I didn’t use but depending on your playstyle then you might be able to use them effectively as they all have their pros and cons. The game isn’t too hard if you’re properly equipped and don’t bite off more than you can chew.

There are times when things they don’t respond the way they’re supposed to. There was an instance in my playthrough where an NPC I was protecting for a quest started randomly attacking me like I was an enemy although that clearly wasn’t meant to happen since the mission is meant to correctly end with you saving him. Also, this may be a case of something just happening to me but there were times where the game would literally slow to a screeching halt and everything would move at like 2fps which made me feel like the game had crashed but then everything would start moving normally after a few minutes or if I moved to a certain part of the map.

One of the biggest frustrations is the bounty system. Essentially, if you do too many illegal acts then other mercenaries start hunting you down. It works like the GTA stars except this is more inconvenient as mercenaries are pretty unforgiving and tough to kill. This can be avoided by not killing in front of witnesses and the bounty meter does slowly decrease (emphasis on slowly) or you can pay them off. Sometimes, you don’t always have a choice in the matter and they can attack in groups and with animals which makes you want to pull out your hair as it can cause more than a few cheap deaths.

Another frustration would be upgrading equipment. There are four categories of equipment: Common, rare, epic and legendary. Naturally, the cost to upgrade equipment depends on its category and some of the costs to upgrade are ludicrous especially at the beginning so you’re pretty much forced to loot for gear. Much later on, you have more money than you know what to do with so upgrading isn’t an issue but by then, you don’t really need to upgrade all that much depending on how much content you have left to finish.

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Conquest battles are also common in this game since Athens and Sparta are at war. You pick a side and one is defence and the other is offense. You can pick whichever side you want as it’s inconsequential to the story. The only thing that changes is the amount of loot you receive after helping them win and more often than not, you can find better gear just by going through the game’s story so conquest battles feel like an afterthought. Conquest battles aren’t terrible missions and they’re pretty easy to win since all you have to really do is keep killing enemy captains but that’s always the way to win for every conquest and very little is done to change it up.

Lastly is the sections with the ship. You do get to sail the seas after the first five hours or so and the amazing graphics makes it look absolutely incredible. There aren’t many missions that involve using the ship and it’s mostly just around to take you to other islands when fast travel isn’t an option. You can have battles with other ships you encounter which can be quite entertaining but if you’re ganged up on then it turns ugly pretty quickly to say the least.

For all the moments of frustration I had with this game, I enjoyed it a lot and found it hard to put it down. It has a lot of content to enjoy. I haven’t covered all of it in this review because I still haven’t finished everything yet. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is one of the better Assassin’s Creed games in the series. It’s a game that will appeal to everyone whether they’re a hardcore or casual fan or a newcomer.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is available on Ps4 and Xbox One now.

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