Sony’s hoping to practically eliminate loading times with the PlayStation 5’s super-fast SSD hard drive, but has all the talk of next-gen efficiency prompted you to pay more attention to PlayStation 4 delays? This author’s been catching up on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in the wake of Ubisoft’s recent Valhalla reveal, and while the title’s an outrageous technical achievement, it’s hard to avoid its shortcomings on the PS4 Pro.
For starters, it can take up to four or five minutes to access the release’s vibrant open world interpretation of Greece. There’s enough time to make a cup of tea between booting the game and beginning to play it – trust us, we’ve done it a handful of times now. To be fair, the release rarely loads once you’re beyond this initial boot sequence, but in this post-PS5 world it feels like an eternity before you can actually play.
Of course, the long loading times also apply when you fast travel – it should be renamed slow travel in this instance – and, worse, when you die. In fact, the loading times feel like a punishment for any mistakes you may make in combat, because no one wants to sit twiddling their thumbs for up to 90 seconds waiting to respawn. We honestly couldn’t imagine playing on a higher difficulty, where death comes more easily.
There are other issues in Odyssey that stick out like a sore thumb since the PS5’s announcement, too. When you sail at maximum speed, the title will occasionally “buffer” to load in the next section of the open world – an issue that Sony has already demonstrated its next-gen system can solve with Marvel’s Spider-Man. Similarly, when you scout out camps with your eagle, straying too far from your main character will force the title into a load screen when you switch back, as it streams the world in.
It’s worth stressing that these issues aren’t inherent to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – in fact, the Ubisoft open worlder is one of the more technically accomplished titles on the PS4. These are simply the limitations of Sony’s current-gen hardware, and problems that the PS5 has been designed to resolve. It begs the question, though: have you been noticing these shortcomings more since the next-gen marketing cycle started?