Assassins Creed: Odyssey (Xbox,PS4,PC)

Assassin’s Creed Origins changed the series by turning  the franchise into an RPG instead of just a story driven action game. This change made Origins a far more immersive and engaging experience. While Origins outlined the foundation of the creed itself in Ptolemaic Egypt, Assassins Creed Odyssey is set four hundred years before its foundation during the Spartan and Athenian war. It means that there’s no mention of Templars or Assassins, and you’ll not see the now famous hidden blades or missing fingers to accommodate them. That doesn’t mean there is a lack of Assassin’s Creed lore; instead you’ll get a closer look at the Isu also known as the First Civilization; the Ones Who Came Before.

Main character looking out at naval combat

Taking what they have learned from Origin’s role playing aspects and expanding on them, you are now given the choice to choose which hero you would like to play as. You’ll play as either Alexios or Kassandra, siblings and descendants of the infamous Spartan King Leonidas. the choice you make dose not seem to have an effect on the story telling with the game effectively just switching characters around based on your choice. While that choice seems at odds with Assassin’s Creed’s modern-day lore, it is later explained by Layla and her assistant that there are two sets of DNA on the recovered tip of Leonidas spear to unravel through the Animus, the technology that lets people relive the past.

Alexios and Kassandra the choice is now yours.

Exiled as a child by the town oracle, with a family torn asunder thanks to cruel Spartan doctrine, your hero grows to become a street-savvy mercenary who exchanges usually morally questionable favors for coin. Disputes and arguments are usually settled with the pointed tip of Leonidas’ spear; a relic of the past and your heroes only connection to their lost family.

The Spartans vs Athenians  war rages on, and your mercenary is hired to influence the tide of war. One assignment sees your hero become wrapped up with the Cult of Kosmos, a secret organisation of masked members who use their influence to manipulate and control Greece’s politics in their favor. Their conspiratorial plans naturally involve your hero’s famous bloodline and the access to ancient artifacts.which leads to a very literal odyssey across the cradle of Western civilisation, into the forgotten past of ancient Greece.

A portion of the world map

Because it’s Assassin’s Creed, you’ll engage and interface with famous characters from the period, including famed historian Herodotus, philosopher Socrates, the father of modern medicine Hippocrates and a whole plethora of other eccentric figures.

Because it was developed at the same time as Origins, many of that games core mechanics are evident in Odyssey. The combat is Practically identical, with your hero able to equip a wide range of weapons – bows, staves, swords, daggers to name but a few all with varying level requirements. Combat is engaging stuff; without shields available to the player, dodging and parrying are now essential. with the games being so similar special abilities are back and are now earned through a skill tree. These skills are now organised into three distinct branches; Hunter, Warrior and Assassin. My favourite skill has to be the Spartan kick, I will never grow tired of Spartan-kicking enemies to their death off of cliff sides. Though the Brotherhood doesn’t exist, it doesn’t mean you can’t still skulk in the bushes, waiting for an opportune moment to drive the tip of Leonidas’ spear through an unsuspecting enemies skull.

assassins skills
All new skills tree

What would an odyssey be without a ship? Also making a glorious comeback we see Black Flag’s naval transport and battles, though the time period means you’re using archers and javelins over cannonballs. Your ship, as with your equipment, can be upgraded and also staffed with lieutenants who offer perks to your ship. Instead of just killing all captains or lieutenants, the non-lethal option lets you recruit new crew members.

assassins ship
Ship to ship combat

While it’s very similar  to Origins in structure, the changes and additions are welcome ones. By going further back in time to before the foundation of the Brotherhood, Odyssey has been able to deliver an incredible Grecian RPG that even newcomers to the franchise can enjoy. There’s still enough here for lore enthusiasts, through digital journals and documents, but there’s very little fore-knowledge required. The modern-day stuff is still here, but its been whittled down to the bare minimum. All incoming players need to know is that there’s a machine called the Animus that lets users access genetic memories. Usually, those memories let players experience the wonders of an incredible historic setting in an engaging game. On that front, Odyssey more than just delivers; it’s probably my favorite Assassin’s Creed game and i would highly recommend it to anyone.

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