By Sam Coles:
There are video game franchises that go on for years, with that longevity can come with fatigue with the audience and the franchise for me that springs to mind is Assassin’s Creed. I am a huge fan of the series, however around 2015 when Syndicate came out, I just lost all interest for the series and just drop it for a few years. As the years went by, I get an email from Ubisoft in 2019, they said “Do you want a copy of Far Cry 5 and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey”. Me not being an idiot I said yes of course, I booted up Assassin’s Creed Odyssey I fell back in love with the series. What made Assassin’s Creed Odyssey so special? Well let’s talk about it.
I think what immediately stood out for me with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was the setting, Ancient Greece is such a fantastic setting for a game especially for an open world game, plus I did study era for A-Level. Not only that, the story within said period is always good not ground breaking but it is engaging throughout as you converse with various figures throughout Greek history. You can either play as Alexios or Kassandra, who are both Spartan warriors that meet an untimely fate and are exiled. I picked Alexios because his sarcastic remarks never cease to make smile and burst out laughing, and in my opinion Kassandra as the antagonist works better.
What was instantly refreshing when I first booted this game up was the world, now I may come across as a tad biased because I did study this period of history for my A-levels and still own a copy of Herodotus’ The Histories on my shelf. However, it is a setting that is not often explored especially with open world games and it works beautiful for Assassin’s Creed, as Ubisoft always have a good eye for detail and authenticity with each historic period.
Like the real-world version of Greece, the landscape consists of islands, coastal towns and cities, these can range from small remote areas to sprawling and thriving cities. The first time I entered the outskirts of Athens I was in awe as I saw the Parthenon on the horizon, I couldn’t wait to the enter the city and explore like the curious cat that I am. Coupled with the large and beautiful landscapes is a superb musical score, it is relaxing to listening to as I explored beautiful vineyards as the sun would slowly set as I find myself journeying towards a valley.
The gameplay is something that is rather contentious within the Assassin’s Creed community, however this is what drew me back to the series as it was refreshing. It does try to do a more simplified version of The Witcher 3’s dialogue mechanics, but simplified is not necessarily a bad thing. The combat is simple but it can be challenging in the early stages, especially when you are up against big groups of enemies as they will discard you like a football and kick you hard. Plus the combat is instantly enjoyable when you unlock the Spartan Kick, as it basically throws the balance of the game off a cliff literally as you can kick high level enemies into the ocean. Before you ask, yes I do shout "This is Sparta"! in the middle of my bedroom/office every time I do it.
What also drew me back to Assassin’s Creed with Odyssey as well were the visuals, yes, the animations with characters during conversations are stiff at best, but the details on main characters are in fact very good. From the blemishes on their faces, to the exquisite detail on armor. Not only that as I said before the landscapes are beautiful, with the blue hues of the ocean as I sail across the Greek World, the sunset vistas as I walk through an out of the way village to the busy and bustling cities as people are trying to sell me their wares.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is a game that brought me back to the series, yes one could argue that it is not really an Assassin’s Creed game but maybe that is why it drew back in. It’s on the list of games that I play when I want to relax or if I am feeling low, this is the game that made me fall in love again with the series.