Ancient Greece is a dream place for an Assassin’s Creed, to the point that one wonders why they didn’t do it before. When you take a step back and see all the improvements that the series has been entitled to since the last five games, you reassure yourself that this universe was not wasted earlier. We are entitled to the definitive version of what could be a successful open-world RPG, in this era rarely visited in the medium.
RPG? Did I say RPG correctly? One wonders what has happened since Assassin’s Creed Origins for Ubisoft to consider this series as a role-playing game, while it has always been described as an action-adventure with infiltration. What’s even more amazing about this name is that the differences between Origins and Odyssey aren’t huge. By the way, I apologize in advance for mentioning Origins 3000 times in this review, but I can’t help it because the game systems are so similar.
And that’s a good thing to tell the truth, since if the last game took a few steps forward to get closer to The Witcher, Odyssey completes the way. We note the presence of multiple choice dialogues (for the first time in the series), which have sometimes serious consequences, which will lead you to one of the nine endings. It weighs down the dialogue a bit, so it didn’t delight me more than it should, but I know that people like to feel like they are influencing the script (see my trilogy of articles “How not to write stories”). Side scenario precisely, it is only at the tenth hour of play that I was able to summarize it to you, so long it takes time to start …
A large-scale scenario
So there you have it: you play as Alexios or Kassandra, according to a choice at the beginning of the game, who are descendants of Leonidas. You know, the guy who yells “This is Sparta!!” in the movie 300? The intro sequence is precisely the famous Battle of the Spartans, in which we see the spear of Leonidas in action. It is for this legendary (even epic) weapon that the characters in the present connect to the Animus and decide to explore Ancient Greece.
In any case, I bitterly regret not having chosen Kassandra as a playable character, because Alexios is not great as the protagonist. It’s the a little too sympathetic anti-hero who throws little jokes, like Ezio, Kenway, Star Lord, Han Solo or any other character in the media these days. Not badass enough for an assassin, and too comical to be a killer. His French dubbing is not extraordinary either, but hey, we still end up accepting it (not really the choice, right?).
The game is divided into three quest lines:
1 – Alexios or Kassandra who tries to find her family. Full of twists and turns, it is she who makes you cross the map in search of answers. We meet historical figures, we are voluntarily directed to historical places, to offer us a beautiful little guided tour of Greece.
2- The cult of Kosmos to dismantle: classic Assassin’s Creed as we like it. A tree of villains to unmask by finding clues, and then go hunting. They’re not all hidden in forts, so it’s great to find them and formulate a strategy to eliminate them as easily as possible. It’s one of the most fun (and unique) aspects of the game.
3- The search for artifacts from the first civilization. So there, I’m delighted. I know I’m the only one, but I’m overly excited. The main element that made me hang on to the series at the time was the bits of videos of subject 16 which introduces us to the concept of the first civilization, the Isus. Suddenly the Universe of Assassin’s Creed became rich and mysterious, and I wanted to know what it was. Since then, we have been given answers in dribs and drabs, but I think this time, that’s it. And what could be better than ancient Greece to make us explore a vanished civilization? In 2019 a DLC will immerse us in the heart of Atlantis!
A long epic
At the time of writing this review, it is impossible for me to tell you if the end of the game is satisfactory, since I have not yet finished Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Its duration is the reason. It is a major downside for some players, and a huge positive point for others.
Generally, the other games in the series had an average duration of 15 to 20 hours, for those who focus mainly on the main quests. It was turned upside down with Origins, which was much longer than usual. Not necessarily because it contained more missions (even if it seems to be the case), but mainly because each mission and region on the map tells you the recommended level to participate. Odyssey is structured in exactly the same way, and in both cases, I found myself constantly having to complete the majority of the side quests in order to progress. So it’s impossible to focus on the story alone, and even though the “how long to beat” site tells us that it’s possible to complete Origins in 27 hours, I was still far from the end after more than 80 quests and 35 hours of games.
For a patient player looking for a rich experience to fill their weeks of free time, this is quite awesome. The side quests are done little by little and the suspense of the main scenario keeps our interest for dozens of hours.
Conversely, I admit to being a rather impatient player, who likes it when things move quickly, and who often gets tired after 25 – 30 hours of play. I didn’t care about it in Origins since it was also a solid, gripping, beautiful and well-built product. The difference is that Odyssey comes to us only a year after the 50 hours of Origins, and I don’t feel like I’ve had time to catch my breath.
It doesn’t take away from the overall quality, but I doubt that the general public (myself included) is ready for such big games every fall. A small break next year would be greatly appreciated, especially since Odyssey will be supported for the next few months with additional content.
The novelties of the year, in bulk
Inspired by the nemesis system present in Shadow of Mordor, Alexios and Kassandra will have to climb the ladder by eliminating a line of generals. This is the evolution of Phylakes from Origins: those fearsome bounty hunters who prowled the map, ready to attack you at any time. It is when we meet them that their identity is revealed, but also their level. One of the ones I met when I was at level 10 still had a good forty levels more… Let’s say I hit a little sprint, it’s good for the form seems.
Important detail: if you are not discreet enough when infiltrating a fort, the guards will call for reinforcements, including one of these mercenaries. It changes everything, much like the animals in Far Cry, which force you to rethink the situation.
Police gauge at the GTA
The more you steal or cause boredom, the higher the reward will be for the mercenary who will bring your head back. You can pay your debts to eliminate this price, but otherwise, as in GTA, more enemies will come to attack you during your walks alone in the forest. Stay on your guard.
Yes! Who says RPG with multiple dialogues, says romance! As in Dragon Age or The Witcher, it is possible to court PCNs and end up in their bed a black fade. It doesn’t bring anything in particular (since the energy regenerates anyway), but it’s funny.
For those who find that this game is not long enough, you can eliminate the objective icon on the map with the exploration mode. Instead of knowing exactly where your next quest is, you can rely on characters who give you clues like, “It’s close to a mountain or stream, I don’t know anymore.” I quickly realized that this mode was not for me, so I was relieved to see that it can be turned on or off at any time. My problem with this mode is that you can’t really explore in Odyssey. When the two regions that surround the one you are in ask for 10 to 20 more levels, you will have no choice but to check the map regularly.
One of the best Assassins’ Creed
Just like Origins, Odyssey is one of the essential Assassin’s Creeds, the series at its best. More modern, more massive and with a fichtrement fascinating universe, this is one of the titles not to be missed. Some novelties are quite great (the mercenaries), others a little heavy (choice of dialogues, exploration), but I really appreciate the effort that Ubisoft puts into its games so that they are constantly renewed.
I would still recommend Origins above all for its scenario and universe, but Odyssey comes in good second. The amount of content is amazing and ancient Greece is a feast to savor from the eyes.
- Repetitive but fun side quests
- Gigantic map and amazed at times
- Of a colossal duration that will occupy the invested players…
- … but which will perhaps discourage the less patient
- Dialogues are often very ordinary
- Still very similar to Assassin’s Creed Origins