By Jonathan Reed
It is the highly successful game that has spawned 21 sequels/spinoffs, and Assassin’s Creed is back with its latest incarnation, Odyssey.
Assassin’s Creed is one of those franchises that releases both hits or misses. The first few games were exceptional, as was Black Flag, but other instalments of the ancestry game haven’t been. Take for example, Unity based within the French Revolution, which after playing you couldn’t help but question, had Ubisoft run out of ideas?
But then came along Assassin’s Creed Syndicate which launched the franchise back into a fresh take after setting the backdrop as Victorian London. From then on the series has seemingly knocked-out success after success and the latest instalment, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is no different.
Carrying on from the previous game, Origins based in ancient Egypt, we travel further back in time to 431 BCE and recount the Peloponnesian War which was fought between the city-states of ancient Greece. Unlike previous Assassin’s Creed games, the player can choose the gender of the main character, adopting the role of either Alexios or Kassandra.
Both characters are mercenaries and a descendent of the Spartan King, Leonidas I, and are both left attempting to restore their fractured family after they and their sibling is thrown off a cliff as a child by their father by the command of the Spartan oracle. So that pretty much sets up the plot, so what about the gameplay?
Well, similarly to most Assassin’s Creed games, we were bowled over by the look of the game. The graphics were spectacular and the open world feel of ancient Greece is epic. The environment encompasses all of Greece and most of its islands, though at a much smaller scale, but still it is immensely impressive.
The combat technique from the previous instalment is used once again, and the gameplay benefits for it. Alexios/Kassandra fully absorb into numerous fighting techniques and combat modes with ease and it never feels repetitive immersing the gamer fully into the narrative.
The open-world feel of Odyssey also allow the player to choose ‘contracts’. These are side missions that earn you money, artefacts and goods to trade or use to enhance defence or attack skills. These also move the game onwards and develop the structure of the plot whilst fleshing out character interaction.
Throughout the main missions and ‘contracts’, the player can level-up the characters skills whether it be fighting, defence, hunting or tracking; the more you do the greater you become. And whilst this can become too much, and here is an example of where Ubisoft may have been too ambitious, it doesn’t detract from the beauty of the game.
One theme that has complimented Assassin’s Creed right from the beginning, is the overall experience. Even the worst of the franchise has managed to fully invest the gamer into the environment of which they explore. It is this immersive formula that is the not-so-secret skill to the series success. Odyssey however, builds upon this winning concoction.
Everything from the Characters, to the landscape, story and scope reach new heights and easily push the latest instalment into the series most accomplished addition. The developers have taken everything that has worked in the past and pushed the envelope further, creating a game that fully grasps the foundation of Assassin’s Creed and builds one hell of a Grecian City on top.