When I posted my initial review for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, I ambitiously stuck a “part one” in the title. Time constraints are a thing and as such I had to put that review out when I was merely twenty hours into the game. Other reviewers who had more time were reporting of a game bloated to at least sixty hours, so I decided I’d give myself the time to finish this game properly and come back to talk about it.
Frankly I was surprised I even wanted to give this game a further look, but Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a pretty surprising game. After twenty hours I had just gotten started and I was excited to continue the adventure. Well, I’ve travelled the length and breadth of the Greek world. With over a hundred hours of game time, I’ve seen and done basically everything Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has to offer. Let us discuss.
So first off, I’d like to say I still agree with everything I said in my previous article. I took a look back over what I said, no big changes to make. That article was more of a standard review of the game, here I want to go a bit more in-depth on a few details. Let’s start with gameplay and how it progressed over the course of the game. Odyssey is an action game at heart, and with half-decent gear you can skill your way through just about every fight. This game is an RPG too, and it has some fun gear to pick up. For about three quarters of the game, I mostly just used whatever the highest level equipment I had.
Once I started to finish off some of the high level quests like hunting down cultists, I got some really interesting gear. My particular favourites were the Amazon set, which made Kassandra look like Wonder Woman but more importantly grants massive healing while attacking. With this, I didn’t need my healing ability any more. I could just hack away at enemies and my health would fly back up. It’s super powerful, but considering this is a very late-game get it’s pretty fair. I had a knife that did constant poison damage, a bow that always fired flaming arrows, a massive axe that did way more damage against bosses, and a plethora of other legendary weapons with all kinds of perks. Considering you can also engrave these weapons for extra abilities, there’s a lot of fun to be had. For no good reason, I made my poison blade do fire damage too. It didn’t really work but it was dumb and I loved it.
Overall I was surprisingly happy with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. The move to an action RPG isn’t without issue but the overall job is well done. Especially considering the sizeable part of the assassin’s creed audience who’s cup of tea this usually isn’t, Ubisoft have made a lot of good decisions in this transition. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has loot, it has lots of numbers and it has a plot that can be altered quite drastically by your actions. It is by no means the best game under this banner, but a good entry level RPG for a wider audience. In my previous article I mentioned the option to spend money to boost your experience games. This is by far the most bothersome fly in Odyssey’s ointment. In the name of science, I decided about halfway through the game to lay my own money down and find out how much of a difference this makes.
I’m sad to report, it makes a significant difference. Before the boost, there were a lot of walls. The game would flow fairly well from quest to quest, but occasionally the difficulty would spike. I’ve seen others mention the moment you reach Athens and suddenly all your quests are several levels higher than you are. I had this problem too. It seems that unlike Origin, which had a nice and steady pace to it, Odyssey would have you perform some repetitive bland quests to gain the levels you need. However, this is an action game and when approached with a challenge my instinct was to “git gud” as I have been trained to do. Frankly, I was wasting my time. After paying my ten bucks, that never happened for me again. With the experience boost Odyssey suddenly felt like the smooth ride that Origin did the year previous. More so, I was consistently ahead of the curve and occasionally the levels of enemies would jump up to catch up with me. Personally, this practice worries me. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
For a finish, I’d like to switch up the discussion. Like many of you, all progress in any other game/show/life endeavour came to a grinding halt once Red Dead 2 released. I likely would’ve had this piece done weeks ago if Red Dead hadn’t kept me away for a few weeks. Playing these two games around the same time, as well as Spider-Man just previously had me thinking on the state of open world games today. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 are great examples of two stark contrasts in how to design an open game, Red Dead is unapologetic in its realism while Odyssey is terrified it might offend you. Leave your horse behind in Red Dead? Tough luck. Need a ride in Odyssey? Just whistle and a horse shall magic up right in front of you. Even if you leave your ship docked at the entire other end of Greece, just pop to the nearest dock and have it come to you!
Not to say one way or the other is correct, but 2018 was a great year for exploring vast worlds. Spider-Man and Odyssey are both excellent examples of adventure games with all the mod-cons, plenty to see and do and the whole experience is very streamlined. Red Dead is intentional rough, but breaks new ground in that way Rockstar does. Going back to Odyssey after Red Dead, I genuinely felt like I had lost a significant feature when I couldn’t talk to absolutely everyone I met.
It was an interesting time, seeing the genre take strides forward but also tweak and refine what it’s already got. Essentially what I’m saying is if you enjoyed Red Dead 2 and would like a palate cleanser, Odyssey comes second only to Spider-Man. Good times all round.