Developed By: Ubisoft
Published By: Ubisoft
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox, PC
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4 PRO
Now Let’s See…
Even after sinking over 70 hours into this game, I still feel like there are many areas left to explore, many quests still sitting in the log, and so many more stories to be heard. I’m sure that by now, most of you must have heard, read about, or saw videos about the game, so without beating around the bush, I’ll jump right to the point(s) by literally listing them down in point forms to help you form an image of AC Odyssey (if you have not played it yet)
Graphics / Visuals
Let’s start with the looks.
- Odyssey is by far the best looking AC game to date. Considering how AC Origins set the bar ridiculously high last year, I’d say Odyssey is an achievement of a new milestone reached in graphics.
- Very nice lighting effects that brought the landscape to life.
- Dynamic weather and day/night cycle transitions smoothly throughout my gameplay. Diving into the sea at night results in almost zero visibility but as the sun rises in the morning, the seabed gets brightened by the touch of the light. The transition from darkness to light is beautiful.
- The game’s landscape reminded me of Witcher 3. ACO’s world is pampered with many different types of vegetations and terrains. From a bed of flowers to agriculture crops and wild plants, simply beautiful.
- The sea is also beautifully designed, with realistic wave tide pattern. Diving into the water opens up yet another world for exploration. Inhabited with aquatic lives, shipwrecks, and ruins.
- Impressive draw distance. One of my favorite thing to do in this game is to climb up to any tall building or mountain and just feast my eyes with the beautiful scenery.
My first time reaching Athens
Sound / Music
I was pleasantly surprised by the background music when I opened up the menu to view the map. But other than that, I can hardly recall if there were any more moments where the Music was memorable. Sound effects were so-so.
- Ubisoft was so confident with Odyssey that they willingly made a direct comparison with their all-time popular AC Game in the series, Assassins Creed 2, starring Ezio Auditore. Ubisoft took AC2’s theme song “Ezio’s Family” and re-arranged it with an Odysseian touch, sentimental and nostalgic. It’s been so long.
- Sea Shanties are back! Sail around with your crew singing the “Yo-ho-ho-ho” everywhere you go. Of course, you can also ask them to shut up.
- Sound effect acted well as a form of weapon clash feedback during combat.
- Although nothing else is memorable, Ubisoft did manage to make sound effects a vital part of the gameplay experience.
With the name Assassin’s Creed in mind, one inevitably lean towards a more “Assassination” style of approach. However, let me also quote a phrase from the movie 300; “And of course Spartans, have their reputation to consider – Leonidas”. What more when the main character in Odyssey is a direct descendant of King Leonidas himself? I was bound by honour to face all my enemies head on. Screw Assasination.
Coz this is Sparta, that’s why.
- Odyssey’s skill activation are through the skill bar. Spend your skill points to unlock and assign skills to whichever key you wish to use for activation. This took away the traditional AC combat style that played on weapon clashing, parrying, counter-attacking and dodging. Some skills are based on physical action which is fine, but there are also some that generate shockwaves to push back your enemies. The latter type shouldn’t have existed in my opinion. There shouldn’t be any pseudo-magical combat elements in an Assassins Creed game, in my opinion at least.
- Odyssey’s combat mechanism is identical to that of Origins”. Not so much on style and execution, but more about planning and timing. Parry is back but there is no counter-attack thereafter. Players are to use their normal attacks as follow-ups once an enemy is staggered from a parry. The AI seem to have improved and are generally hard to predict. Like Origins, it is best not to stand in the middle surrounded by the enemies, a more recommended approach is to kite them into approaching from the front.
- Health regenerates automatically after a while if you don’t take any damages, with no options for a manual trigger.
- Different weapons types require the player to master different combat styles. Odyssey does not force players to submit into a particular meta playstyle or weapon types, however, this only applies to melee weapons. Once you put a Bow into the equation, the balance of power will weigh overwhelmingly in favour of the bow. Bows are so Overpowered at the later stage of the game, you can almost rely on it all the time to handle all your fights.
- Did I feel like a real Spartan in combat? Absolutely No. When it comes to Spartans, one simply cannot omit the thought of a well-built warrior holding his spear and bronze shield with pride. In Odyssey, you cannot equip a shield. This really took away the spartan feel in my opinion. Then again, the main character in Odyssey is not a Soldier, he or she is just a mercenary, but still… having the shield would have been more appropriate.
Spearing someone in the guts while the rest of my crew cheered on.
Sailing at night, because I can.
When it comes to naval combats in Assassin’s Creed, the Black Flag is never far from one’s mind. Black Flag is not the best AC game in my book but is definitely the more memorable one, all thanks to its beautiful sea water and the freedom to raid other ships. One can easily observe how the naval section in Odyssey was heavily inspired by what was in Black Flag.
- One of the most amazing features in this game. AC fans have been dreaming for a Black Flag equivalent sea feature for a new AC game for so long, and Ubisoft delivered it this time. Apart from the large landmass, Odyssey comes with an equally huge sea area for players to explore. Players can once again captain a ship, upgrade it, customize it to a certain extent, embark on raids against other ships or just wage naval warfares against others. The boarding feature is also back, so in essence, this is Black Flag all over, but with so much more.
- Players can also recruit Lieutenants to reinforce their ship’s firepower. Note: Players who have enough Uplay level can unlock and recruit Eevie Frye (The female Assassin from AC Syndicate) as a Lieutenant from the U-club.
- Sea activities include wrestling with sharks, swimming with dolphins, live karaoke of your crew singing sea shanties, piracy, taking sea contracts, and sailing into high-level areas and regretting afterward.
- Ironically, none of the enemy soldiers could swim even if they were in the navy. All it takes to drown them is one nicely positioned spartan kick and they would be out of your hair for the rest of your ship raiding fiesta. You can also do this to elite soldiers and mercenaries. This part is quite amusing and defies logic in my opinion.
- Ship upgrading is back and is fun to mess around with. Upgrading some areas of your ship allows more lieutenant to serve under you at once. Players may have a maximum of 4 Lieutenants on their ship at a time.
Does this place look familiar to you?
I am quite proud of this shot to be honest. Statue of Athena.
One of my favourite part for all AC games has always been the historical aspect. I absolutely love making these virtual pilgrims into Ubisoft’s imagined version of history. AC is famous for including historical figures and using their recorded year and venue of death accurately in the game, I have always admired Ubisoft’s ability to do this. Coming on to Odyssey, this is what I observed.
- Odyssey offered a somewhat realistic glimpse into what was Greece at that point in time. Clothes, weapons, armors, cultural representation, political landscape, and the overall atmosphere of the world in the game, were all on a believable level.
- Back then, Greece was ravaged by a series of wars between several states (States in Peloponnesian League lead by Sparta VS States in the Delian League lead by Athens), the game did a good job in portraying how the level of civil unrest is higher in some contested areas than the others. Some side quests were also nicely written to give players a glimpse of how things were back then. E.g an NPC told me he needed some materials to craft armors for the Athenians.
- The game also did a good job in subtly portraying how Spartans were the more superior force compared to the Athenians. Sparta was the winner of the Peloponnesian War in history after all. (This is not a spoiler, it’s not my fault you are ignorant to history!). The game also showed how the Athenians were the smarter between the two, which was widely believed to be the case in reality.
- Odyssey offers a virtual pilgrimage opportunity for players with interest in history. They can visit the memorial erected for Leonidas of Sparta and his 300 warriors at Thermopylae, the place where the famous Spartan-Persian encounter took place. There is also an island where Achilles, the Legendary Myrmidon King is laid to rest. Ubisoft also included plenty of Historical Point of Interest players can visit. One can even view the map and read about all the points of interests that have unlocked.
- Humble yet accurate architectural design. After Origins, I expected Ubisoft to go gung-ho in exaggerating the game with famous greek architectures and pattern. Instead, Ubisoft went for the minimal setting portraying a more accurate layout and building of that era. It is worth noting that Origins is set in the Post-Alexander era, a pinnacle of civilization for that point of time.
- Odyssey may take away lots of fun for those who are familiar with the ancient history of Greece. It literally follows the historical timeline to the dot, so yeah, those who read about the history of that time will know what will happen next. E.g Which character will die and when.
I am also quite proud of this shot. If you don’t like it then you should blame your parents for not giving you world-class art sense.
What I really liked
After all that has been said and done, here are the extra bits of what I really liked in the game.
- Earn enough notoriety level and you will find that a bounty is put on your head, resulting in elite mercenaries hunting you. The said Mercenaries are equivalent to the “Phylakes” in AC Origins, except there are countless of them in Odyssey. Defeating each mercenary rewards good amount of EXP, Gold, and Gears. One can actually farm by continuously baiting their attention since there is no end to how many mercenaries you can kill. There are a total of 9 different tiers of Mercenaries and your character will also be ranked amongst them. I find this feature super fun.
- Each region in the game is either controlled by Sparta or Athens. As a mercenary yourself, you can choose to raid/plunder to weaken the existing faction in control of the region. There are many ways to weaken a faction; Killing Soldiers, Burning their War Supplies, Pillaging their Treasury, Killing the region’s assigned Leader, or Eliminating enemy forces in their forts and outposts. Once a faction is weakened, a Conquest Battle will be available where one can participate in a large scale skirmish between Sparta and Athens. Winning it will earn you a huge amount of Exp and good gears. Here is the fun part, you can choose which faction to help in Conquest Battle, doesn’t matter if you just single-handedly weaken Sparta’s influence in the region, you can still help them win the battle and restore their authority. Here is another great thing, you can rinse and repeat this process for as many times as you like. FUN RIGHT?
- Players can ignore Main Quests for as long as they want and still have tonnes of fun, level up and obtain gears by earning EXP through various means. There are plenty of side quests, contracts, daily quests, and weekly quests to indulge in.
- Photo Mode. The game was literally begging me to abuse its photo mode with all the beautiful sceneries in the game.
- Odyssey did really well in telling the history of that era. Everywhere you go to, you’d see effects from the on-going war. Some regions were directly affected, some were collateral damages. The overall atmosphere in the game set a convincing tone in voicing out the grief and hardship of the people resulted from a long war.
Rest in Pieces you mere mortals!
Nice right, feel free to be jealous.
What I wished was better
- Storyline wise, AC Odyssey’s main story feels like a re-written version of Origins’. The protagonist was motivated by revenge and though the motivation found its link to a cult (early version of Templars), the game did badly in associating this game with the entire Assassin’s Creed lore. When I played Origins last year, I could see how the Assassins order was founded after that. Origins ended with an impact relevant to the AC lore, whereas in Odyssey, It was not so. The game ended with one side of the story told (the revenge part), while the AC lore part was left as an optional portion. Yes, one can still complete the optional part, but it took away the level of impact Odyssey would otherwise have. This is an Assassin’s Creed game after all, storytelling should have headed towards telling that part of the story.
- Frames dipped down to 1 FPS in some cases. It is noteworthy to mention that this did not happen in all the scripted scenarios. But I tried to be creative one day and lured a group of Athenian Patrol towards another group of Spartan Patrol (in the City lol). So yeah, I deserved it. 1 FPS on the PS4 Pro but the game did not crash. I remedied it by being a street smart and by turning my character around, 1 Frame per second at a time, until the clash is out of my view (frames went back to normal after that).
- Not very responsive controls when climbing. Imagine this. You are in the middle of a climb and tries to quickly dislodge so that you can jump at the stupid archer who is nicely taking aim at your ass, but nothing happened when you press the button. So the arrow came and your ass felt the pain. Boo!
- Overall, this AC game really feels disconnected from the rest of the AC games. Maybe Intentional, maybe not. But I don’t like this.
After playing Assassin’s Creed Origins last year, I never thought Ubisoft would be pushing out of their newfound comfort zone so fast. I expected them to hold rank for at least one more year before pushing a little further. Instead, Odyssey went on to surprise me on many levels. All the goods I mentioned above represents a solid Action RPG game filled with many hours of contents and a bright future ahead. This is in my opinion, the best Assassin’s Creed game to date, though I wish they made more connection between this game and the AC’s lore.
Score : 8.5/10
Must Buy. One of the must-have games of 2018, the last game that gave me the same level of satisfaction after finishing it was God of War. Worthy of a GOTY nomination in my opinion.