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Assassin's Creed Odyssey - MojoPlays Review

VO: Riccardo Tucci
Does Ubisoft's latest Assassin's Creed game, Assassin's Creed Odyssey mix up the formula or is it just another flashback? Welcome to MojoPlays and this is our video review of Assassin's Creed Odyssey.

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Assassins Creed Odyssey Review

I still remember receiving the first Assassin’s Creed game 11 years ago and being captivated with wonder at the gorgeous world begging to be explored through some sweet parkour action. Since then, I’ve had an on and off relationship with the franchise, clamouring for something more. Assassin’s Creed is like the Call of Duty of stealth-action games, you can bet that every year a new title in a new era will be released, and gamers will be exploring, parkouring, questing, and assassinating to their hearts content. And while this formula is tried and true, it was desperately in need of an overhaul. With last years Assassin’s Creed Origins, Ubisoft showed us what they had in store for the future of this franchise, and their vision was met with praise.

The bar was set higher with Origins, introducing players to a full-fledged RPG experience and stunning new environments. So how then does Odyssey expand on Ubisoft’s recent foray into the RPG genre? Does it deliver a more refined and engaging experience over its predecessor? does it fall short? or does it just keep the status quo? Welcome to MojoPlays, and this is our review of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Upon booting up Odyssey, I was instantly thrown into one of greek histories most famous battles: Leonidas and his army of Spartans taking on the Persians. It’s a familiar tale that’s always satisfying to see played out, and even more satisfying to be a part of. In this opening sequence, I am introduced to the basics of combat. If you’ve played Origins, you’ll feel right at home with Odyssey’s gameplay. It’s fast-paced with an emphasis on dodging and parrying your opponents as we’ll as chaining combos for maximum kick-assery. It’s not perfect but once you get the hang of it and customize your combat experience, it’s definitely more fun. More on that later.

After some brief story segments, I’m finally given the option to choose my lead character and begin my Odyssey. For the first time, the franchise offers both a male and female lead in spartan siblings Alexios and Kassandra. While both of their stories are essentially the same, the fact that you can play through the campaign as either one is a step in the right direction in offering players choice and greater immersion. Unfortunately there’s no in-depth character customization here, but then again, this is new territory for the franchise.

As I’m introduced to Alexios, a charming mercenary with a sharp-tongue, I’m already given the choice to decide what kind of person I’m going to be. In my very first encounter, I need to choose whether to let 2 thugs live or die. This game is all about making your own choices, whether they be major or minor. It became apparent early on that my choices really did matter, as letting certain NPCS live or die impacted battles later on and even opened up entirely new quest lines to pursue. Odyssey is taking those RPG elements introduced in Origins and doubling down on them, creating deeper dialogue options with multiple outcomes, each with their own pros and cons. Think of it as Assassin’s Creed meets the Witcher, with parkour.

Let’s talk about the world in which Odyssey takes place: Ancient Greece. It’s one of the most ideal settings for this franchise given how much history, lore, and landmarks it has to explore. Roaming the map on my newly acquired trusty steed, who I personally selected, I was impressed at just how vibrant this world was. From the shanty towns to the wealthier cities and all the forests and caves in between, the Grecian landscape is bustling with activity and the vistas are each more picturesque than the next. The dynamic weather system and different biomes are equally as important in making this world as authentic as possible. Exploration is as easy as calling for your horse, hopping on your ship, or fast traveling to any location you’ve synced with your trusty Eagle Ikaros. In terms of sheer scope, I was delighted to see just how massive Ubisoft’s world really is, with dozens of islands and locales ripe for exploration, each with their own stories, dangers, and rewards.

Essential to any good RPG are the quests, and Odyssey offers plenty of them in a wide variety. You have the Main Story quests, which are pretty straight forward, but often require multiple steps in order to complete. There are quests related to the world and the NPCs in it, and these include retrieving objects, disposing of bandits, and solving crimes, to name a few. Then you have bounties and contracts posted on message boards across the world. Usually they require killing targets, sinking ships, or destroying property. The addition of Mercenaries, who are formidable foes you can encounter across the world for a chance at rare loot, was something I really liked. Think of them as mini boss fights, with each tier of mercenary more challenging than the next. Suffice to say, I’m pleased with just how much content there is here, and I feel like I barley scratched the surface of this massive world.

Shifting over to the combat, armor, and weapons, this will be familiar territory for RPG fans and those who have played Origins. There are a handful of weapons to choose from, from swords and daggers to staffs and spears, and of course, your trusty bow and arrow. Each weapon’s stats compliment certain play-styles, the three main ones being Hunter, Warrior, and Assassin. There are different tiers, from common to legendary, with the higher tiers offering customization via engraving, a process which allows you to assign special stats to a weapon or piece of armour. The abilities tree lets you further customize your experience, initially allowing up to 4 special moves for your melee and ranged attacks. And yes, there is a “this is Sparta” kick, because, well, this is Sparta.

I generally enjoyed the combat and trying out different special moves and combos, but I did find it weird you couldn’t roll during a fight. I also found the targeting system a bit hard to manage, as switching between enemies was rarely as smooth as I wanted it to be. I played conservatively, focusing heavily on parrying and dodging attacks to chain combos and get that oh-so satisfying finisher. When it came to stealth and assassinations, I found myself mixing up my style. Sometimes I would go into a bandits compound, stealthily kill a few of them, and then get into an all-out battle and kill the rest. Other times I would play it safe and get in and out with minimal confrontation. The choice really is yours, with the limitation being the level of enemies you’re going up against: best not to fight them head-on if they’re considerably stronger than you.

Naval combat makes a return, and it’s as good as its ever been. On the open seas pirates and opposing forces will pursue you, so best to level up your ship and crew. The naval battles were fun, and given that Greece is a series of islands, you will spend a good time travelling via the sea. I’ve never been the biggest fan of naval combat, but I have to say that Odyssey makes it enjoyable. The ability to recruit crew members, customize your ship and weapons, and the plethora of naval contracts means that it’s a sizeable part of the gameplay experience.

During my play through I came across some glitches and bugs that, while not game-breaking per se, were none the less annoying. Some of the animations clipped through characters, which never really looks good. And early on this happened (glitching) it was funny until I died and had to restart from an earlier checkpoint. In any case, the bugs were minimal and didn’t stop me from enjoying my time with Odyssey.

Overall, I'm impressed with the world, the characters, and the variety of quests available to me early on. With a game this big, it’s hard to truly experience everything it has to offer in a short time, but what I did experience left me excited to explore Ubisoft’s version of Greece and its inhabitants even further. Odyssey builds on the foundations and systems introduced in Origins, with a much deeper focus on player’s choices and the impact they have on the story and characters. It’s a game that begs to be played multiple times to truly be appreciated. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a strong entry in the franchise and while it’s more evolutionary than revolutionary, it’s clear that a lot of time, effort, and love went into crafting this epic adventure.


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