After the deserved success of Assassin's Creed Origins, someone at Ubisoft must have decided to replay The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Bayek's Egyptian adventure had already borrowed heavily from CD Projekt Red's masterpiece, but Assassin's Creed Odyssey doubles down on every role-playing mechanic that it can. The result is an open world game with layers upon layers of depth -- a truly engrossing experience if you have the stomach for it.
Odyssey's recreation of ancient Greece is, in a word, stunning. Ubisoft didn't get enough credit for how incredible Egypt was in Origins and it's probably not going to get the praise it deserves for this sun-soaked virtual paradise. The level of detail is often absurd, and although you do see the odd glitch or bug that snaps you back into reality, it's ultimately very difficult to resist the allure of such a beautifully crafted world.
Where Odyssey steps it up over Origins is in its reliance on dynamic life. Outside of bustling towns and cities, there's a lot more going on. Just travel from one location to the next and you're bound to see some little event occur, whether it's a farmer and his goat being attacked by a wolf or a skirmish between Athenians and Spartans. It's a cliche, but Greece feels alive -- like it would continue to exist even if you weren't playing.
It's important to highlight this stuff because for the most part, Odyssey feels a lot like Origins. The controls, the menus, the user interface -- it's very much built on the foundations laid by last year's release. However, as mentioned, Odyssey branches much further into RPG territory, to the point where it's more comparable to The Witcher 3 than it is an older Assassin's Creed title. Has Odyssey lost its identity as an Assassin's Creed game? There's definitely an argument for that, although there's no doubt that this new direction has breathed some much needed life into the series.
Simply put, Odyssey is the most involved Assassin's Creed has ever been. The hero of this tale is yours to define, from their sex to their outlook on life. Through newly implemented dialogue choices, you alter the course of the story. You decide who to fight with and who to fight against, who to romance and who to give the cold shoulder. While the role-playing isn't as in-depth as it is in, again, something like The Witcher 3, it's more than enough to make it feel like this is your own unique adventure.
Meanwhile, the main story is enjoyable, if a little predictable. We won't go into too much detail, but you know the drill by now. Bad guys lead to more bad guys, and the bad guys are actually pretty darn bad. They're so bad, in fact, that they need a good old stabbing, and that's obviously your job.
Fortunately, each scenario is given some weight thanks to the characters. In previous Assassin's Creed games, the supporting cast would chop and change before they got a chance to really establish themselves, but with Odyssey's dialogue choices and extended interactions, main characters have a lot more time to get their personality across. In short, some of the series' best characters now reside in ancient Greece, and your hero is one of them.
But where Odyssey really shines is in the gameplay department, where its many, many systems tie together to create one cohesive, dense whole. As a mercenary, your hero is conveniently given license to do just about anything they like. There's a battle raging across Greece and you can take sides. You can even switch sides whenever you want, if that suits you. Or you can just sow the seeds of chaos wherever you go. Whatever you fancy, the unending war between Athena and Sparta is at the core of Odyssey's gameplay loop.
Greece is cut up in regions, and each region is controlled by either Athena or Sparta. However, you can overthrow the current masters whenever you feel like it by killing their leaders, triggering what the game calls conquest battles. These battles are huge in scale, and see you take to the front lines. Imagine Dynasty Warriors with a lot more one-on-one encounters and you're on the right track. These decisive clashes are fantastic fun, and they're a great way to mark the end of each campaign.
So why should you take part? Well, as a mercenary, you're rewarded for your services. You're given powerful loot whenever you help an army to victory, and you're fed lucrative missions and contracts. Naturally, the rewards you're given contribute to your character's progression. You'll level up, earn the right to equip better gear, and eventually get your hands on legendary weapons. Once you're strong enough, you can take on deadlier quests in more dangerous areas of the gigantic map -- you know how it goes.
Like Origins, it is perhaps a bit of a shame that each region is gated off by how high level its inhabitants are -- unless you have a death wish, you can't just sail to the other side of Greece in search of adventure. That said, watching your hero grow stronger and stronger wouldn't be anywhere near as rewarding if you didn't have something to work towards. Getting bodied by a seemingly invincible bounty hunter early on in the game is a catalyst for improving your character, and once you're powerful enough to stand your ground, killing them makes you feel like a god.
Speaking of bounty hunters, Odyssey is the first ever Assassin's Creed title to have a proper law and order system. You're no longer booted from the game when you kill too many civilians -- but get spotted murdering some poor bugger and you're going to have a bounty put on your head. The same applies to stealing, or trespassing on military grounds. Build up enough of a bounty and other mercenaries will be deployed to hunt you down -- and this is where things get interesting.
Mercenaries are some of the most dangerous opponents in the game, not unlike the roaming phylakes in Origins, but the twist here is that there's a Middle-earth: Shadow of War-style system in place. Mercenaries are generated from a seemingly wide pool of characters, and they're then plopped into the open world. They each have strengths, weaknesses, and their own little backstories, and killing them before they kill you nets you some potentially super rare equipment.
And once again, all of this feeds into character progression and the current state of the game world. Everything in Odyssey interlocks, and when you add stuff like the return of naval battles to the mix, there's an unprecedented sense of scale here.
Just about everything in Odyssey is an improvement over Origins, but it does feel a bit jankier to play. Character animations are slightly off at times, and interestingly, the combat lacks the same impact. Thankfully, the ability to use special moves in battle elevates the action. Thanks to an expanded skill tree, you can customise your hero even further, investing in Hunter, Warrior, and Assassin skills. Each category defines a certain style of play, and each has its own set of abilities that you can unleash on your enemies. The best part is that you can mix and match however you like, and as a result, there's potential for some interesting character builds, and a lot of room for experimentation.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey is a superb open world RPG. It can be a little rough around the edges, but there's a gameplay freedom to this particular adventure that's really a cut above what the series has attempted previously. With a gameplay loop that simply never stops giving, Ubisoft's recreation of ancient Greece is an amazing achievement, and in some ways, a genuine step forward for open world game design.
nice review, Robert Ramsey. this game keep me busy and help time go faster until Red Dead Redemption 2 launch at midnight on October 26
Wow. I'm actually excited about an Assassin's Creed game. Kudos to Ubisoft for turning it all around.
Happy to answer any questions that I can, whether it's about the game or the review. Just @ me.
@ShogunRok Without spoiling anything, how is this game related to the other ones again? Did they drop the whole time-trip mind-meld story nonsense a game or 2 back and reboot the series last game, or is the battle between the 2 long time rival groups still playing out throughout time and in the present, or the future if that's when the present is in these games? These games haven't been numbered since IV but I never see anybody talk about the underlying story progression any more so I'm not even sure if it's still there or they just gave up.
@ShogunRok does graphic improve better than Origins ? is map bigger than Origins ? is ai enemies smarter enough ? is this game better than Origins ?
You had me at 'Kraken good fun'
@rjejr It's loosely related in that the Pieces of Eden are causing havoc. It's set way before every other game in the series, so it feels like they've been given free reign in a creative sense. Now, I enjoy this aspect of it, but diehard Ass Creed fans may disagree.
Maybe I should make this my first Assassin's Creed game...
Not anytime soon, though. I've already played Xenoblade 2 this year, and I'm currently going through NieR: Automata. I don't want to get open-world burnout like I got Metroidvania burnout.
This isn’t new life, it’s unholy necromancy I tell you!
Anyhow, my never-ending complaining aside, I have interest in this as a Ancient Greece spartan game. It does look like a good game, if a terrible AC game.
@shogunrok A couple questions: how is the stealth? How many difficulty options are there (especially harder ones)? How much strong profanity (four letter starting with an F) do you remember? And how long was the game for you? I actually find myself surprisingly interested in a (used) copy after reading your review. Excellent write-up.
@porhawj2016 Visually it's about the same as Origins. Lighting is top notch. The map, I believe, is actually a bit bigger, but a lot of it is ocean. Still, it's properly gigantic. No one's going to complain about it being too small, put it that way.
Is it better than Origins? Overall I'd say yes, although the tone feels a lot different. Odyssey doesn't feel as serious — it's more comfortable with having fun, especially with its characters.
That said, Origins is proooobably more faithful to Assassin's Creed as we know it. Odyssey is very much an open world RPG.
Robert you damn fool...why do you make me spend 70 euros?
@Jaz007 Stealth is basically as it was in Origins. It's... Pretty easy as far as stealth goes in video games, but the new skills and abilities can make it a lot of fun. Teleporting assassination kills, crazy bow attacks... It's fantastic once you unlock them.
There's a fair amount of swearing. Not a huge amount, but characters aren't afraid of dropping the f-bomb.
The game's very lengthy. I think if you blitzed the story you're looking at maybe... 30-40 hours? Maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less. If you want to do everything — take part in every battle, do every side quest, level up to the max, build a perfect character — it's going to take much longer. You're probably looking at 70-80 hours easy, and then you can just keep playing and playing and playing. The game never ends if you don't want it to. I guess a mercenary's work is never done when there's a war on!
And thanks for reading!
@AFCC Ubisoft should owe me a cut of the sales with comments like this.
@ShogunRok Thanks for the reply. Now I think I understand why you didn't cover it in the review, b/c it only confused me worse. Well except for the part about the AC fans not liking it, I follow twitter.
Maybe I'll just not play games any more for another 10 years and wait for interacting with Witcher 4 in the Holodeck.
I feel like Origins looked slightly better when out in the world but it's also been a while since I played it. I might just have GOW and Spider-Man fresh in my mind and expect the moon now.
That said cutscenes look better in Odyssey. Kassandra looks great...
As much as I enjoy Ubisoft games I have always found their protagonists to be the weakest parts of their games. Not so with Odyssey, I fell in love with Kass in about 5 mins... I can't speak for Alexios but 10 hours in and Kass is very well done.
@rjejr Haha, the short answer is Odyssey doesn't really have that much to do with Ass Creed's overarching story. And I'm fine with that!
And honestly, I think Ubisoft is too.
@Splat Pretty much agree with all of this.
@ShogunRok Sounds good! I haven't played Origins yet, should I play it first? Seems like Origins will be less impressive after this one?
@ShogunRok is true that the MD story is loads better then origins?
(i know that gameplay wise it's nothing more as it was in origins)
@Octane Hmmm, that's a tough one. I think if you played them back to back you'd burn out for sure, so I don't recommend that.
As for playing Origins first... I think it's probably the best way to do it. Because then you've kind of got a basis for what Odyssey does better, if that makes sense.
But I think if you really wanted you could quite easily play Odyssey and largely forget about Origins. I still think Origins is a superb game, but Odyssey is much more involved and goes in heavier on what Origins feels like it was trying to achieve.
@jdv95 The modern day is basically non-existent in this one, which I prefer!
I mean, it was nothing in Origins either, but here, it's even less.
@ShogunRok Definitely don't intend to play them back to back! I don't mind waiting a few months in between.
@LaNooch1978 Yes, the store is still off in its own menu.
For the record, I checked the microtransaction store once during my playthrough and then never again. They're obviously there to make money but they just seem so pointless to me.
Not once did I have to grind in Odyssey, and it never even crossed my mind that I could pay to progress. It strikes me as incredibly strange that anyone would pay for this stuff, but I guess someone must, otherwise they wouldn't be there to begin with.
Having said that, if anyone thinks we should write about the microtransactions in Odyssey, let me know.
@ShogunRok At some point companies need to realize there's a balance between making game series that is easy to get into - sports and FPS - and letting people start from scratch. Or almost from scratch. GoW could probably be played by new people. Tomb Raider got the reboot. Not sure how many people will be scared off by that 3 at the end of KH, most people know it's really game 7 or 8. I think a trilogy is about as far as you can go with main series, then you need to start a new trilogy or reboot. This sounds good and Origins sounded good but I don't have time to play all the previous games.
also how is the parcour?
i heard from some players that it can be cluncky (not realy realy holding on to edges at times etc) is that true?
@Splat Did you see Evie i loved her trying to get her statue but its nowhere to be found.
@ShogunRok Maybe the modern day will die off ik the end. 😁
@ShogunRok I would gladly give you at least 20%
@jdv95 I had no issue with the parkour. It's a little janky at times, as it was in Origins, but very smooth for the most part. I still love the way you can just climb anything.
@AFCC I was graciously accept!
This review reads like it would get a score of 9, so I was surprised it got only 8. Can't help but feel that this would get a 9 if it was a playstation exclusive game. Well, it is a playstation site after all.
Anyway, looking forward to play this, can't wait. I enjoyed origins a lot and this sounds like improved origins.
Sounds good and the new abilities look like a lot of fun, I did enjoy my time with Origins before getting a bit burned out before the end. This sounds great but I'll have to pass for now, I'm currently playing Spiderman and still have God of War to catch up on. Then in the next few months I've got Red Dead Redemption 2, Resident Evil 2, Kingdom Hearts and Days Gone, so finding time for a big game like this would be difficult for me. The joys of being a grown up gamer
@ShogunRok I freaking love that if a mountain is blocking you from where you're going you can just climb it. I can't put into words how much I hate having to walk all the way around.
I really wish they would add it to the next Elder Scrolls game but I know they won't.
Nah, the last one was pants.
@Splat there's not a mountain in Skyrim that I haven't glitched my way to the top of 😉
Another great review!I used to play all the Assassins Creed games but the last one i played was the excellent (I thought so anyway)Syndicate.I'm much more interested in this game than the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2 but I really can't decide on whether I should be playing Origins first despite loving the look and sound of this more..
@kyleforrester87 You can shut off the hud and waypoints in this one.
@ShogunRok Nice review! Just curious your thoughts on giving an 8 over a 9 as your review didn't have much negative to say. Thank you!
@Splat noiceee sounds like they have listened. To be honest I've been bitten by too many openworld Ubisoft games, they just are not for me. That said, I never say never, maybe I'll try this in the future.
Awesome to hear. I remember starting with 3 and not enjoying it much. Got 4 due to the publicity and loved it. Unity was meh. But then Syndicate was really good. Glad they took a year off for the series because it seems they really learned how to vary the design of the games, create more unique settings, and make better open worlds. Will be picking up Origins soon and Odyssey not long after!
@ShogunRok Nice review! I tempted to get this (but not straight) after I've finished Origins.
Question time! Did play this on a Pro? Is the wildlife the same as in Origins? And do you still have control over your eagle?
the review sounds like a 9 but got an 8.
@starhops I just think it's a great overall package but there's no single aspect that really stands out as being excellent. The combat's fine, the RPG elements are very welcome and well implemented but they're not top tier, the story is good but nothing amazing, same with the characters.
I think when you're looking at a 9/10 it's basically one of the best games the genre has to offer at the time of reviewing it. So Dragon Quest XI got a 9 from us, but that's because it's basically the best traditional JRPG on PS4.
Odyssey is a great game but it's not creeping up on The Witcher 3, for example. Hopefully that makes sense.
@LaNooch1978 Yeah the HUD is completely customisable — it's great.
The red icons on the bottom right are your wanted level. The more red helmets the higher the bounty, and the more hunters will be after you.
@ShogunRok already downloaded the game, just waiting for midnight! Thanks for writing and pushing me (spartan kick me) over the edge
@JohnnyShoulder Yeah I played on PS4 Pro. Runs really well, a few very slight frame rate dips here and there but nothing that ruins the experience at all.
Wildlife is pretty much what you'd expect. A bit different to Origins, though — more mountainous regions and regions with woodland, so the wildlife reflects that a bit more.
And yeah, full control over your eagle just like in Origins.
@Spectra Fortunately the modern day stuff is barely a part of this game. You do get booted back to the modern day at points, but you can jump straight back into the Animus and ignore it like you could in Origins.
To be fair, I thought the modern stuff in this was actually better than in Origins. Better presented, better paced. Like, it's still rubbish compared to the actual game, but it's not enough to spoil things.
@AFCC I hope you enjoy it as much as I am!
@ShogunRok I usually tend to agree with you so I'm not concerned about it I too loved Origins despite only finishing the main story this past week (I tend to leave big games midway through lol)!
I just need help before midnight......KASSANDRA OR ALEXIOS omg??!!
@ShogunRok Did you play in guided or exploration mode?
@AFCC Only you can decide! I played Alexios and I thought he was great. From what I hear Kassandra is just as good, though.
And if you loved Origins then you'll love this, for sure.
@Nightcrawler71 I played mostly in exploration mode. Tried guided a few times just to see how different it was.
To be honest it doesn't make a massive difference, but exploration mode is quite nice in the way that it doesn't mark things directly on your map. Just sets you off in the general direction and lets you work it out.
@ShogunRok Thanks! I started playing this today and so far have been playing in exploration mode.
Great review. I’ve never really clicked with the Assassins Creed series, despite a few attempts to get into the earlier games, but this one sounds like it needs to go on my ‘to buy’ list.
@AFCC There are comparison videos on YouTube but I'm Kassandra all the way.
@Splat I'm leaning towards Kassandra...just one more hour to think 🤔
Great review, definitely on the cards for next year!!
I see you've given it the same score as Origins. Now I'll probably wait till they're both on discount.
@ShogunRok I never got why people hate the modern day aspect so much that it’s a detriment to their enjoyment. I mean it isn’t like you’re there long or that it’s absolute pants heck most of the time it’s got some interesting ac lore to discover. I think it’s just something that gets repeated on the internet because it’s been like this for years now.
I might get it on a sale
excellent review as always!! very keen to get stuck into this
What a year for games on PS4. I'm just starting Spider-Man and not yet played Detroit and God of War yet. Now this coming, Red Dead Redemption 2 and VR games to boot it's just incredible. What a time to be a gamer.
Every time I see the word masterclass used in a game review, I get that immediate flashback to Princess Bride's "I do not think that word means what you think it means"
...reads like a 9/10...
For the record, review scores don't start at a 10 and then drop points for everything the game does wrong.
You can have an 8/10 game that has next to no faults, but it doesn't hit a 9 because it doesn't truly excel at what it does.
I hope some of the jankiness goes in a Patch or two's time.
I saw a pic of Medusa in the previews for this, are there many opportunities to interact with Greek mythology creatures?
(Big fan of Jason & The Argonauts and Clash of the Titans (original))
Am I stupid for playing about 1h30 with each character and still can't decide what to pick?
Kassandra has a better voice and I like her a lot but at the same time I feel like Alexios fits the world more and the armor looks better on him...
I spent 3 hours in the game and now I'm stuck thinking what save file should I keep playing -.-
i MiSs ThE oLd AsSaSsInS cReEd
@ShogunRok Thanks! I appreciate your answer and that sounds about right to me as well (not that you need my validation ) as I think an 8 is a good game and one to own. A 9 or 10 is a must have (if you like the genre).
As someone that loves Witcher 3, will I enjoy this? I'm kinda hesitant cause it's an Assassin's Creed game and I've never really gotten into the series. I've played the original, 2 and Black Flag, I only liked the first one.
@Amusei I think you'll find a lot to like about this is you enjoyed TW3. Like the review says it's actually closer to something like TW3 than it is a traditional AC game.
Imagine TW3 set in ancient Greece and you're very much on the right track.
@ShogunRok Alright, I guess I should get this one than. Thanks for the advice.
Great that this game performed alright, but I plan to wait for a deep discount sale...still need to beat Ezio Trilogy first, and then wait for AC3/Liberation Remastered to come to PS4 before I can play Black Flag, Rogue, Unity, Syndicate, and Origins etc.
A fantabulous game, easily the best AC since Black Flag.
assassin's creed odyssey on ps4 is very awesome to me i love the exploring ship battles and conquest battles the most in ac odyssey it is the best assassin's creed game ever and it is my 2nd or 3rd favorite game ever
Tap here to load 75 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...