Assassin’s Creed has been a big part of our gaming lives for over ten years now. The last game in the series I played was Unity, I’ve played all the games prior to this one and they’ve been a bit of a mixed bag in my opinion. I found the original to be incredibly limited, 2 and its spin-offs were excellent, 3 was pretty bad and Black Flag remains my favourite of the series so far. I own Syndicate but I’ve never gotten round to actually playing it. I didn’t bother with Origins as the setting was never one that appealed to me, I know it changed the Assassins Creed formula significantly I just never actually gave it a go. When Odyssey was announced I was instantly incredibly interested, the game is set in ancient Greece, it features Spartans and brings back a version of the naval aspect of Black Flag. It ticks a lot of boxes for me and made it a must buy.
I’ve only really scratched the surface so far but the first thing that’s been nice is that there seems to be a distinct lack of focus on the modern day stuff, which historically can make the games drag a bit. The intro also has you controlling Leonidas at the battle of Thermopylae which is pretty great and a nice way to introduce you to the world. The first thing that jumped out at me on starting the game was that the control scheme has changed dramatically from Unity, buttons have moved around the controller and that has taken some significant getting used to. I’d assume it’s similar to Origins though so I’d guess anyone that’s played that wouldn’t be quite as confused as I was. It has made me work on my stealth skills though as so far I’ve been bad at face to face combat.
The second thing was how pretty the game is, the scenery is incredible and I’ve really enjoyed unlocking more of the map as it means more to explore. Being a man-child one of the first things I did was scale a statue of Zeus and take a picture of me hanging onto his arse, because why wouldn’t I? I’ve also loved the sailing parts so far, there’s something soothing about sailing along as a pod of dolphins swim next to the boat or seeing a whale breach.
The RPG elements are a refreshing addition, the speech options remind me somewhat of Mass Effect which is never a bad thing and the sheer number of side quests means that there’s plenty to do. Some of the powers that you unlock when levelling up are also pretty fun, the Spartan kick being particularly entertaining as it’s tempting to just re-enact that one scene in 300 by kicking people off things while screaming “This is Sparta” in a poorly disguised Scottish accent.
The one change I’m not a big fan of is the levelled enemies, if you’re not at the same level or above then you can’t assassinate them which seems somewhat counter-intuitive. If I sneak up on someone and jump out of a bush or shoot them in the face with an arrow then they should die, they shouldn’t be able to just kinda shrug it off. I see that it’s there to make you follow the games intended structure to an extent but for me, it’s a little frustrating.
Further to that, the mercenary mode is a bit of a hit an miss. At points, you’ll do something which places a bounty on you and when this happens you’ll have a mercenary looking for you who is usually a higher level. It’s fun in a way as it adds a potential wildcard factor to things as this dude may be where you need to go so you have to work around this. But this can also be a little irritating as it potentially makes something that would ordinarily be pretty straightforward a lot more complicated. These are only a couple of small niggles and I totally appreciate other people will love this aspect of the game. Thankfully these haven’t detracted my enjoyment of what is a fantastic game. I’d put it in my top 3 games of the year so far and it’s been a while since playing an Assassins Creed game so it’s been nice that my return to the series is as good as it is.
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