We recently had the opportunity to play some Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and we’ve gotta say, we’re really looking forward to this one. That’s something we haven’t been able to say for an Assassin’s Creed game in a long time.
While everyone had their doubts about Assassin’s Creed Origins, it turned out to be a pretty decent game. We even gave it an 8.5/10 in our review, which you can read here. In terms of appearance, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey looks almost identical to Assassin’s Creed Origins, which is fine really, Origins was not a bad looking game at all. The only thing that’s changed is the setting. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is set around 400 years after the events of Origins and takes place in ancient Greece. Regarding characters, we already know that we’ll be meeting many of the iconic characters of the time, such as Hippocrates, Socrates, and Leonidas among others. Let’s get into the first impressions.
Gameplay wise, if you’ve played Assassin’s Creed Origins, it’s pretty much the same, including most of the UI. Various things have been changed here and there, like for example the skill tree is different. The skill tree in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey seems to be filled with far more actively useable abilities, as opposed to Origins, where once you unlock an ability you could use it at any time. You have a skill dial to the bottom right where you can place 4 abilities that you can use during combat. These abilities are fueled by an additional resource which you can see under your health bar, that you gain during combat. There are passive abilities as well which you unlock by completing various challenges. Challenges unlock as you acquire levels, and you level up, obviously, by gaining XP, which you get for doing just about anything in the game. Challenges are for the most part are fairly straightforward – kill 30 enemies with a bow to get +2% ranged damage.
Origins departed from traditional Assassin’s Creed games in many ways, and Odyssey continues this departure, and is now more of an RPG game than ever. Starting off with the choice of gender at the start. This is a first for an Assassin’s Creed game where you get to choose a character at the beginning. The choice of gender doesn’t change the game in any way, not even in terms of romance options, it would seem. Oh yes, there’s romance options now. The story isn’t as linear anymore and there are a lot more RPG elements that have been implemented into the game. Many more dialogue options, and supposedly, many more choices and decisions to make, though we didn’t get to experience too many impactful choices during our short gameplay session.
Going back to combat, it’s fairly similar to Origins, there’s a wide variety of weapons to choose from, from regular swords, to massive clubs, and long spears. Each offering different pros and cons. The sword for example doesn’t fare too well against shields, while the club or hammer smashes right through them. Similarly the spear’s reach is great, but get too close and it loses effectiveness.
You’ve got the ability to parry strikes which will give you an opening to land blows, and the timing is important as usual, you can’t spam the parry, which punishes you for messing up the timing. There’s nice flow to combat and it works well with the new abilities, some of which are pretty cool looking. And of course, the Sparta Kick is in there, feel free to kick blokes right off a cliff. While it’s not necessary to use the abilities, they do make combat much easier.
You’ve got your eagle as well, to be your eyes, your scout if you will. Like in Origins, when you start off we’re assuming all your eagle can do is help you scope the area out a bit, but in the demo our eagle seemed to have been fairly leveled, could mark objects, and enemies through walls and such. The eagle seems to have a significant role story wise as well, as the protagonist is associated with Zeus, and in Greek mythology Zeus is known to have had a golden eagle as his companion, and is often represented by the eagle.
They’re bringing back naval battles in a big way in Odyssey and will apparently play a bigger role in Odyssey. We didn’t encounter any loading screens throughout our play through, and transition between naval and regular gameplay is quite seamless. When you’re at the helm, you can control the movement of the ship and switch between the sail and the oars. In the heat of battle, you should be using the oars to accelerate and potentially ram into the enemy ships. In the demo, we could ram into ships and attack with arrows and fire arrows. However, as you play the game, you will be able to upgrade your weapons and crew member skills. It was refreshing to go back to the seas and enjoy the glory of naval battles after it was introduced in Black Flag.
We were introduced to a new style of combat in Odyssey, called Battle or War mode where you’re put into the heat of war with large numbers of soldiers facing off against each other. The two warring factions in the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey are the Athenians and the Spartans, and as a mercenary you can decide which side of the war you want to be in. These can get quite chaotic and you need to be constantly on your toes, lest you get flanked.
The inventory like we mentioned above is pretty much the same as Origins. The gear section has all the items you’re wearing with a little exclamation mark to indicate that you’ve gotten something new for that particular slot.
You have various materials you gather as you travel around as well, which you can use to improve weapons and armor.
Again, like we mentioned above, the graphics don’t look too different from Assassin’s Creed Origins. Origins looked pretty good, so does this. For our preview we played on the Islands of Delos and Mykonos, the birthplace of the twin gods, Apollo and Artemis according to greek mythology. The islands looked beautiful, especially when we got up to higher places to synchronise.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey First Impressions – Final thoughts
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey hopefully maintains the upwards improvement the Assassin’s Creed franchise saw with Origins. We definitely had a good time with it, the characters were nice, the protagonist was likeable, we liked the RPG elements, and overall, we’re actually looking forward to this one. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey releases worldwide on October 5, 2018.
Manish "Trigger-Happy" Rajesh
If he's not gaming, he's... no wait he's always gaming.