‘Odyssey’ is different, yet satisfying new take on ‘Assassin’s Creed’


The main character looks on at what lies ahead. Image from Ubisoft. Photo credit: Ulises Duenas

At a glance, “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey” looks like a copy of the previous game, “Origins,” but set in Greece. While they’re extremely similar in a lot of respects, “Odyssey” does enough things differently to move the series forward in a new yet polarizing direction.

The series has now fully embraced RPG mechanics to the point where it’s not just an action where you level up. These changes are a double-edged sword. It’s nice that combat has more depth and that the world feels bigger, but micromanaging gear, and the numbers associated with them, isn’t something the series needed.

Dialogue choices can impact the outcome of quests and the story, in some interesting ways. I wasn’t expecting these choices to matter much, but the game does a decent job of at least making it look like your choices matter. Choices, unfortunately, have the same problem Bioware games do in that it’s often difficult to tell what your character is going to say when you choose an option. There’s already been a good handful of times where I just wanted to be slightly aggressive and my character ends up yelling at the person they’re talking to.

“Origins” served as a soft reboot for the series in both story and gameplay mechanics. While the story still has some of the series’ trademark wackiness, it’s been surprisingly interesting so far. You play as a descendant of the famous warrior, Leonidas, in a quest to unravel the mysteries behind your bloodline and discover why a secret cult is after your family. It sounds kind of cliche, but the game actually does some cool stuff with that premise. Even the modern-day aspects of the story are interesting.

Exploring ancient Greece has been the highlight of the game so far. The game’s map is huge and running around the various islands makes everything feel like a grand journey. Traversing the seas in your ship doesn’t feel as great as it did in “Black Flag,” but it comes close to capturing the same sense of adventure.

The most surprising new feature has been the optional “exploration mode.” Before you begin playing, you can choose to play the game similarly to previous ones where most of the activities and markers on the map are revealed automatically. You can also choose “exploration mode,” which makes you explore the area in order to find your next objective in quests. The developers tell you that the new mode is how “Odyssey” is meant to be played, a sentiment that I agree with.

Hardcore fans of the “Creed” games will have plenty of things to not like about this one. The series is moving forward in a very different direction. I don’t see it as a bad thing; just something that takes some getting used to. Underneath all the changes lies a great game that is worth delving into. I’ll be back with a full review later on down the road.

Ulises Duenas can be reached at [email protected] or @OrionUlisesD on Twitter.