Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Assassin's Creed Odyssey - Things We Loved (And Some We Didn't)

Assassin's Creed Odyssey got robbed in 2018. It was probably the best "AAA" game of the year thanks to great production values, fantastic gameplay, a great setting, and a compelling story, but because it's Ubisoft everyone just shrugged at it when awards season came around. Red Dead Redemption 2 and God of War got all of the attention, but all I'm saying is that you don't instantly die when your horse runs into a tree in AC: Odyssey, which makes it automatically better than one of those two. Continue reading for our reasons why we loved, and a few things we didn't, about Assassin's Creed Odyssey.

We Loved:

The Setting - Ancient Greece is absolutely wonderful to explore. The game is massive and filled with historical locations to visit and people to meet. Each area of the game actually feels distinct and, most importantly, it all feels like real places people would actually live in. 

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AC Odyssey
The Gameplay - You hate to say it at this point, but the combat in Odyssey is a little Dark Souls-esque with a great balance between blocking / dodging / attacking that feels really nice. I love hunting down cult members or fighting mercenaries because the fights are really strategic and exciting and fun. Exploration gameplay is wonderful as well since you can climb on pretty much any surface in the world, even sheer 100-meter cliff faces. Unlike, say, Zelda: BOTW, however, there is no stamina to worry about and you can actually climb when it's raining, so that's another past GOTY that Odyssey is better than. Hey-yo! 

The Open World - AC: Odyssey is what I always wanted Assassin's Creed to be. Instead of a series of linear "Go here and to this exactly the way we want you to" missions you are just sort of dumped into the massive open world and allowed to do things mostly however you want. You can approach locations from any direction. You can be as stealthy or loud as you want. When the game really opens up and you have a ship to sail wherever you want, and have three (!) separate main storylines to pursue, in addition to a bazillion side missions and optional things to do, the freedom to just do any of it whenever and however you want is absolutely amazing. I also really enjoy the Cult storyline where there is a massive cult of anonymous powerful people controlling everything in ancient Greece and you have to first discover who they are and then hunt them down. Having to discover their identities and then hunt them down and assassinate them, rather than having an NPC telling you who to kill next, is exactly what Assassin's Creed was always meant to be.

Mythical Creatures - Odyssey is mostly rooted in reality but where is the fun in setting a game in ancient Greece if you can't throw in some legendary mythical creatures too. Saying exactly what you fight in these optional endgame missions would be spoilers, but most of the classics are present and they represent some of the most exciting content in the entire game. The fights are amazing and the quests leading to the fights are typically very good. It makes me want a "AAA" game based on Clash of the Titans or Homer's Odyssey something fierce.

Sailing - Sailing your boat around ancient Greece is one of the most surprisingly enjoyable things in the whole game. The freedom it gives you is wonderful but the actual sailing is genuinely fun even if it is as simple as can be. Ship-to-ship combat where you ram into other ships or shoot arrows / javelins at them is something I didn't think I would like at first, but it is really fun and lucrative and worth doing. I also really, really love the songs your crew sings as you sail around. They are awesome.

The MTX Nontroversy

You can't talk about Assasin's Creed Odyssey without addressing the controversy of having DLC items that you pay real money for in order to speed up your progress in the game. These $10 DLCs give you permanent bonuses to the XP and money you earn in the game. The controversy came from people insisting that the game was intentionally improperly balanced and too hard and too grindy in order to make people buy the DLCs to make it easier. That is not the case here at all. The game does get difficult and sometimes the quests are a level or five out of your current capability, but the beauty of this game is that you just go do something else for a while instead. As I said above, there are three main quests in this game, plus loads of side quests and totally optional content, so when you hit a wall you just go chip away at something else that is actually at your level in order to level up and get better gear so that you can go back to the previous stuff that was too hard. It isn't rocket science, people. And, you know what? If you do feel it is too grindy and actually want to buy the booster DLC, go ahead. Have fun. Telling other people how they should play and what they should be outraged about is super lame.

What We Didn't Love

It's Too Huge - As much as I love the world and the wealth of things to do, goddamn is Assassin's Creed Odyssey too freaking huge. I've played for 45 hours and I think I'm only like 60% through it. I beat the main family quest line and have done most of the other two, but there is still a ton to do. There are big chunks of the game world I've never even laid eyes on. The problem with having such a huge world so densely packed with stuff to do is that there is only so much variety to that "stuff". I got bored with taking over forts and exploring caves for loot a long, long time ago. Most of the side quests are the same handful of missions over and over again, too, so I just stopped doing non-critical side quests long ago as well. Even with that said, though, I still have had plenty of compelling things to do and my level up and gear progression hasn't slowed down at all, which just proves that they could have probably cut out half of the stuff here and the game would have been just as fun and rewarding.

It's Glitchy - AC Odyssey is a huge world full of stuff and a ton of systems all running on top of each other, so it isn't surprising that it is pretty darn glitchy. During cutscenes characters will slide into frame or disappear and reappear. Occasionally cutscenes will show characters' mouths moving but with no sound. Worst of all, the game has frozen and had to be restarted multiple times during my playthrough. It's not a total mess, but it is disappointing that the experience isn't more stable. Like I said, though, games that are this big and complicated are almost impossible to get 100% right.


The Assassin's Creed franchise in 2019 is very different from the way it started back in 2007. The gameplay is less stealth-based, the mission design has opened up, the game world has greatly opened up, and the gameplay gives you move freedom to explore than ever. Even if you didn't like what Assassin's Creed used to be (before the 2017 reboot with Origins, at least) you still owe it to yourself to give AC Odyssey a try. It is one of the best "AAA" games I've played in years.