Assassin's Creed: Odyssey – Review & Analysis
Written by: Sorrosyss, November 26th 2018

Warning: Spoilers from the game and across the franchise

Assassin's Creed Odyssey arrived a year after Origins with high pressure on its shoulders. Would the return to the annual release schedule hurt the quality? Being set even further back in time, was it even a true Assassin's Creed game?
Let us take a look at the game in detail then, and decide which elements we consider were a success, those that partially worked, and those that did not work well at all. Finally, let us also analyse the story conclusions and where it may take us next!

The Positive Aspects


Source: LeoKRogue

Without a doubt, the addition of a character select (or more specifically a gender choice) was the most widely applauded addition to the game. The gaming press in general were full of praise for this step towards inclusivity in a series that has come under fire for female representation in the past. Being able to select your own gender is a massive step forwards for immersion, and will no doubt have contributed to the game having the strongest sales for its opening week for the franchise in this generation of consoles. This will have likely been bumped by a higher amount of female gamers, and even from my own experience I know of two female friends who had never played an Assassin's Creed game before, yet decided to pick it up simply from hearing you could play as Kassandra for the entirety of the game. For a game about choice, this was a huge and very welcome one for me.

Other RPGs, most notably the Bioware ones, have recognised that gamers enjoy representation within their games. Whilst Assassin's Creed Syndicate may have come under fire for including female gang members, and indeed Odyssey for its portrayal of female Spartan society, historical accuracy is something we are used to seeing in the franchise. I can understand why some fans may be upset at these deviations from established norm. However, we must also not forget though that this is a fictional universe, an entertainment product, and indeed a reality that is not the same as our own real lives. (There was no giant solar flare in 2012 that I recall anyway!) If we want a female protagonist to be able to take on a role traditionally fulfilled by a male, then the Animus allows us the flexibility to show an avatar as whatever we desire they to be. As such, with character creator systems such a popular part of RPGs, I would not be surprised in the future to see a further level of character customisation in the next game – down to skin colour and hair options even. They have already experimented with the latter in Origins, and you will also note the Phobos 'Skins' of Odyssey, or indeed the character skins of Brotherhood in the distant past. So long as Ubisoft include a default historical appearance for marketing, this seems the likely next logical step for player choice and should in theory not dilute the storytelling. Due to the massive praise for the option, by all accounts this character select is likely here to stay.

The exact reason for us being able to make this character choice in terms of lore has been a sticking point for long term fans, but in essence it comes about from the Animus extrapolating from historical data – in this case the book by Herodotus – and basically best guessing the events that may have occurred in combination with damaged portions of DNA. In a further deviation from previous Synchronization requirements, we also have a form of digitized genetic memory stored inside the Spear of Leonidas itself, as evidenced by the flashbacks experienced from holding it. This kind of makes sense, as the Spear has only stored two strands of DNA (both with a high Isu portion) despite the many thousands whom likely died to the blade. With Layla's Animus able to access this and other inanimate materials, we essentially have a software version of the prognostic Isu calculations, as the Animus catalogues and spans out across many unique (and uncertain) artificial timeline paths, represented here as narrative choices through historical data. Perhaps it could one day even be used to predict the future as well. In the end, it may well be a case of the game functionality being created first and the lore having to be bent around it, but at least there is a somewhat tangible explanation.

The protagonist, be it Kassandra or Alexios, is a highly enjoyable character though. Equal parts compassionate, ruthless, caring, funny and selfless – your choice of hero has a wide range of character traits that we have rarely seen in the franchise. Playing as Kassandra, I really enjoyed the performance by Melissanthi Mahut, as I felt she brought an endearing level of nuance to the character. She is certainly to my mind the best female character we have seen in the franchise thus far - I adore her, and her muscular appearance has been widely embraced by the community as a positive body image for a female, and appropriate for one that had combat trained since birth. Michael Antonakos brings us a very angry Spartan performance in Deimos, and I do feel he was better suited to the villain role than as Alexios – as he really didn't quite have the same emotional range as Kassandra for me. Deimos was certainly one of the more memorable villains we have had to date though , especially for his Anakin Skywalker inspired tragic story and one liners. (“He is too far gone.” “The chosen one.” “I will bring Order!”)

A real benefit to the dual protagonist option is that we now have the ability to replay the game as a different character, and play out all of our choices in a different manner. It's a bit of a shame that the New Game Plus mode didn't make the release date, but thankfully this will be coming in the post launch content to further support this.


Source: AC Wiki

Speaking of the main story, I was really quite pleased with it. It held my interest far more than any of the recent franchise releases. The sheer length of the game lent itself to giving us more story beats, and more side quests to explore. What I loved about it most is that we finally got away from our stereotypical revenge plotline that has perpetuated the Assassin's Creed games, and this time we instead had a very much “Hero's Journey” esque feel to the tale. It honestly felt like you were on an epic journey from the start to the end, and the game's title of Odyssey feels so very appropriate. Utilising traditional demigod mythology, and adapting those to being part Isu was a very clever touch that can and should continue to be used going forwards.

The Cult of Kosmos were not a traditional Templar precursor by any means, especially with their obsession with chaos, but they certainly fit neatly into a similar kind of antagonist role, becoming your main targets throughout the game. And there were a lot of them! It was an inspired design choice to have them placed throughout the different aspects of the world. They could be found as mercenaries, sailing in boats, quest givers, or simply walking out in the wilderness. It really demonstrated how they had invaded every aspect of the Greek world, and reflected an organization in control of a country far more than the Order of the Ancients did in Origins. It is just a shame that we really did not get any kind of “White Room” experience by killing them, especially as the Origins variation on them was so well done.

At its heart, the protagonist journey was truly a story about family, with all the Greek tragedy it could muster at us. It was really helped along by a strong collection of supporting characters though. Most of the time I find the historical figures utterly forgettable and unlikeable, but this was certainly not the case for Odyssey. Sokrates and Alkibiades in particular shine here, and it was wonderful how you seemingly bump into them throughout the game world as they go about their own agendas and stories as well. It was far less forced that in previous titles, and their introductions felt more natural with little grandiosity.

Characterisation was in turn also largely helped by an infusion of comedy to the storytelling. There were some really humorous moments and quests that have stuck with me long after I finished the game (that poor goat!), and it was so refreshing to see the writers not afraid to take risks in that department. Thankfully the actors were more than up to the task, and in the end we had a tale filled with joy, heroism, sadness, romance, flirting, silliness and mystery. It was one of the strongest and most varied historical stories we have had in the franchise to date. The only downside was that depending on your playstyle it could take a very long time to experience the next step in the main narrative, especially if you were focused on side stories, which ultimately could hurt its pacing and overall impact compared to older titles.


Source: LeoKRogue

One of my biggest joys to find of Odyssey was the return to form and prominence of everyone's favourite First Civilization – the Isu. After sliding into the tertiary of the storytelling in recent titles, they were back in this game in a big way. Seeing numerous Isu sites with their distinctive sharp edged architecture was amazing, they are always a pleasure to explore, and that sense of mystery and awe about them from the earlier games returned.

Ubisoft Quebec has been known to push the limits of the storytelling with their previous work on the franchise, most notably with the Tyranny of King Washington which introduced several magical elements. Here in Odyssey, we see technological Isu hybrid experiments that ultimately created mythical creatures of ancient lore such as the Minotaur or Medusa. I love this idea! I would appreciate a bit more context into how these experiments came about though, and what exactly the Isu were trying to achieve. Perhaps this was indeed the ill fated “Olympos Project”. There is so much that they can do with this concept and other myths throughout history now though, and I am excited to see what other imaginative boss battle encounters they could bring us in the future.

“What is life but an illusion?” - Sokrates

We were also introduced to the new Isu character: Aletheia, who appears to be a rebel much akin to Layla. (Trivia: The writers are clearly a fan of this track) We have several instances in this game mentioning the possibility of reality being a layer of a simulation, a theme that was strongly implied within the Isu Retransmissions of Origins. Indeed, Atlantis itself is stated as a being a repository of “new universes”. The future calculations that the Isu made were constantly creating new alternative realities in their own simulations, as they witnessed the destruction of the world over and over – seeking a way to avoid it. In one of these simulations though, they observed Layla and her efforts, and it is fun to see how paradoxically things are now running in reverse - with the possibility of Layla recreating Aletheia and Isu times within her own Animus simulation. They could very well end up overlapping. “All it takes is a touch of a button.” Perhaps they are even part of the same simulation. If Layla suddenly awakened in the far future in a Matrix-esque moment, it would certainly explain a lot of things! As someone who has long wanted to see a futuristic setting, I'll happily dangle that possibility out there.

It was a shame we did not see any of the traditionally known Isu though, especially as some of the big names are actually the Greek gods themselves (Jupiter being Zeus for one). Hephaestus' Forge makes an appearance at least. In short though, I was very happy and excited to see the Isu back in full prominence and part of the main plotline, and I hope this is a sign of yet more to come from them.


After Egypt, I was struggling to find enthusiasm for Greece as I feared Origins' open world could not be topped. I should not have worried, as Greece is simply stunning. With an ever wider variety to the biomes that we saw in Origins, we also have new technology here in terms of lighting, weather effects and fogs, and some of the Photo Mode screenshots I have seen created by fans are really breathtaking. The vibrant colours and differing environments really help to make the world feel distinct, and areas rarely feel similar. Even the time of day can make things look entirely different, with the moonlight making even night scenes attractive to the eye.

Exploring the Aegean Sea is a pleasure, and approaching each new island brings with it new sights and experiences. I never expected to find myself jumping around in active volcanoes, running across salt flats, or climbing snowy mountains, yet here we are! I often found myself just simply standing in awe watching the beautiful sea waves crashing to the shorelines. The historical cities are wonders in of themselves too. Athens and Sparta are both massive in scope, and seeing the giant statues across their skylines is a sight to behold. I cannot praise Ubisoft's art teams enough for this mesmerising vision of Ancient Greece.

However, there is always an argument that states that big is not always better. As with Origins, Odyssey suffers the same issue with its unique locations. There is simply not enough variety to them, and you often find proliferations of NPC camps near each other – such as Korinthia which is inundated with them. Repeating the same objectives site after site does eventually start to feel repetitive, and if we are to have a game world this large again, there really needs to be a more concerted effort to improve the variety. The older games offered us more variations on questing, such as follow missions, escorts, investigations etc. We even had mini games, which I would very much welcome back. Odyssey simply suffers from far too many kill or loot objectives, making locations feel more like quantity rather than quality, and offering little in surprise or reward for visiting the majority of them. You come to know what to expect. This can especially be felt from the Message Boards dotted around the world, where you end up accepting many kill counter contracts and bounties above anything else. An argument could almost be made to say that a slightly smaller and more concise map may actually have been preferable in this regard.

Tombs and caves are generally pretty disappointing, and you do see some reuse of assets in both. Navigating them often requires a torch, and in the former the constant battle against snakes gets old really fast. They are sadly still a far cry from the parkour puzzle tombs of the Ezio days. Still, the Exploration Mode is a novel addition that lets 'Explorer' players enjoy an extra layer of searching the world for their next objective. Personally I prefer the Guided Mode, as I am not a fan of wandering around getting lost – but at least we have the option to cater for both playstyle tastes. Speaking of exploration, Ikaros once again gives us an excellent Eagle view of the area and works functionally the same as Senu from the last game – but we are sadly again given no lore explanation as to how this apparent symbiosis actually works. The nostalgist in me still misses the blue hues and interactiveness of the traditional Eagle Vision. The short range “Revelation” ability is just not the same! Considering the strong Isu blood of the protagonist, it was a surprise to not see this return honestly.

Finally, for such a vast world, it is again a shame that we are left without a progress tracker, nor a dedicated database to look up facts about the historical locations that we visit (the tidbits on the world map are not quite enough). There is very little in the way of interactive flavour text items throughout the world in general too. Whilst it is worth noting that a Discovery Mode is coming, I would still prefer to have had some tidbits of lore and knowledge as I explored the main game. Equally, the interaction animations could have been used to allow us to involve ourselves with the world more. Something as simple as just sitting down and enjoying the view could add so much to our immersion.


Origins brought a vast overhaul to the traditional Assassin's Creed combat last time out, and the hitbox system returns here. Only this time, everything feels much faster. You can tell that there has been a conscious effort to speed everything up, as animations are swifter – especially on free running and parkour where climbing, turning and jumping feels much more responsive. Dropping the shield for a far more reliable parry and longer range dodge is certainly welcome, and as a result the combat very much feels like a dance of death. It is a little sad that certain enemies feel like damage sponges though, and sometimes seem to take a ridiculous amount of hits to go down. I would certainly welcome a return to the execution chains of earlier titles to alleviate this somewhat. It also feels a bit odd to get trapped into Overpower animations whilst the enemies very kindly stand around waiting for you to finish your dramatic action sequence. We could certainly use trimming those down in length. I am most thankful though for being able to regenerate health, and that difficulty levels are adjustable and not tied to achievements. Overall, for me this is undoubtedly the most enjoyable combat system we have had implemented to an Assassin's Creed game to date.

Stealth is an area that could use looking at. On the face of it, this has been some of the best reworking of stealth mechanics in awhile. There are plenty of entry points to Forts for example, and lots of stealth cover in the forms of bushes and grass – but that is basically it. We no longer have benches, crowd blending, guard posts, wells, nor haystacks, and the variety of those elements within the older games is certainly missed. It can be frustrating to find that you cannot always 'one shot' assassinate enemies – especially when you have fully upgraded abilities and have been stacking Assassin damage on your gear. This often flies in the face of your stealth run attempts, as the unkilled hapless guard then calls out to others and ruins your efforts. Furthermore, the sometimes lengthy assassination animations and the additional effort it takes to pick up a body makes it genuinely laborious at times to try and clear stealthily and sadly leaves you being easily spotted. I would really welcome being able to move around a little faster whilst crouched at least. Corner assassinations are not as reliable to perform as I would like either. Usually my efforts on forts followed the template of starting out with a few stealth kills, failing to assassinate someone and getting forced into combat with groups of guards, and finally having to also bow down runners going for the reinforcement alarms.

On the subject of bows, they do feel a little weaker overall to their counterparts in Origins. I think this is in part due to us having just the one default bow type. I mean yes, the other bow types are still there as skills, but I do certainly miss the variety that we had as well as the consistent rapidity of the Light Bow from the last game. In general I probably used the bow far less than I expected to, and it's again a quite disappointing experience when clear headshots do not instantly kill an enemy. It can make bow gameplay a little frustrating, though I accept functionality wise they still work well.

The Spear of Leonidas is a great addition to our arsenal, and mechanically it fulfils most of the functionality of the traditional Hidden Blade – as much as I still missed the latter. Rush Assassinate is such a completely fun ability, and I sincerely hope it returns for the next game in some fashion. The ability to wield a Piece of Eden for the entirety of the game was brilliant though, as was being able to obtain several other Isu weapons in the later stages.

Traversal in the game is vastly improved. Horses feel swifter to get around, as do boats, and the new ability to now jump down from height without dying is massively welcomed. This was an issue I raised several years ago, and it is encouraging to see this feedback has been addressed for a game world like Greece which has some steep verticality to it. I know there is a little suspension of belief there with how we can fall hundreds of feet and take no damage, but there are some loose lore explanations there. The novelisation vaguely suggests that both Kassandra and Alexios survived their initial fall from Mount Taygetos because of their high level of Isu DNA, perhaps even that it somehow interacted with the Spear to provide a shield of some kind. Indeed, this is akin to an ability that the Staff of Hermes Trismegistus has as a bonus. Failing that, we can simply put it down to Layla adding it as an Animus hack. Loose lore reasons aside, it is a great addition and makes navigating the large open world far more enjoyable to the alternative of dying over and over, or having hay or leaf stacks every 50 yards.

Finally, being able to “loot all” around you certainly speeds up your progression to jumping into your next combat encounter, and is a very welcome addition. Oh, and the return of the “alternate” control scheme. Still feels like the only way to play an Assassin's Creed game to me!

The Mixed Opinions


The Flight (Source:

Ambient sounds are amazing here. I cannot tell you the joy I felt when I first came across a major thunderstorm in Odyssey. The sheer rumble of the thunder is just stunning. I love rain and the atmosphere it can provide, and here it is used well – especially out on the seas where the sound reverberates around you for miles. Foley effects are generally good elsewhere, with some amazing underwater tones, and the appropriate crunchy sounds to your footsteps depending on the type of terrain you walk upon. Animals and the nature around you all sound factually correct. Hanging around in towns, you hear the bustle of crowds talking around you, and sometimes the simple whistles of the wind.

As with Origins it is nice to overhear conversations around you in the open world. I was really pleased to hear only Greek accents throughout, and not a return to the random English accents that cropped up in Unity's France. It does a great deal for immersion honestly. One slight disappointment is the reusage of actors though, as we often hear the same voices upon several characters. (Seriously, how many characters did Barnabas' Andreas Apergis voice here?) This is a common issue to open world games of this size alas, as indeed is the limited amount of different face types. But I digress. The quality of the voice acting was a bit hit and miss in places, it was generally well done but certain NPCs were really badly performed at times.

Soundtrack wise, The Flight did a solid job. Their score definitely feels steeped in Greek sounding instruments, and wholly appropriate to the setting. I was really appreciative of the unique main theme, and two new tracks in particular; the haunting 'Enter The Animus' and the upbeat 'Pirates, Thugs and Bandits'. It was also a nice touch to hear a variant of Ezio's Family on the pause menu – just to remind everyone what franchise you are playing – and if anyone still doubts its place as the adopted 'Assassin's Creed' theme you will note that the track is literally now titled as such (Deservedly so too). Overall, I do not think the soundtrack quite matched the strength of Origins' score though, which leaned more heavily on variety as well as incorporating the Assassin's Creed motif of utilising modern synth and drums within the traditional sounds. A similar criticism was widely levelled at Syndicate's “classical” score for the very same reasons.


Source: LeoKRougue

Ah, here we are again. Well, at least we moved it up to the Mixed section this time. As I highlighted recently, we all expected the Modern Day sections to be minimal, and of the 100+ hours I spent in the game, it indeed probably only amounted to half an hour at most. For new players though, the e-mails and background to it must feel very confusing, especially as it mostly was in reference to the transmedia stories. For existing players it was a pretty disappointing to find no real follow-up to the events of Origins. William is nowhere to be seen, Layla does not mention Deanna, nor do we get any real feel for her integration into the Assassins or her thoughts about the organisation. It's a shame to see it skipped over so liberally.

Layla is still not really very likeable as a character if I am honest, though her portrayal here at least shows her in a warmer light, with less arrogance and a bit more compassion and friendliness to her new Assassin colleagues. It was nice for her to get out of the tiny room and do some activity this time, though a bit of a shame that she again had no real proper action sequence. In fact, she doesn't even kill anyone at all this time! I was saddened too that we have no “Exit the Animus” option like Origins. The laptop sadly also spoils meeting Aletheia before you have encountered her in the storyline. It was also a bit interesting how Layla re-entered the Animus using only the headset whilst in Atlantis. Was she streaming with really good WiFi down there? (Also is Alannah Ryan related to Shay Cormac? 'I make my own luck' indeed.)

So why have I placed the Modern Day higher up than Origins? Simple, for the first real time since Assassin's Creed III, we have had the three time periods of the Isu, the historical era, and the Modern Day combining into the one story focus. And for me, that is when Assassin's Creed has been at its strongest from a storytelling perspective. I was really pleased to see this new found focus, and it really touched back on the same magic and mystery that perpetuated those initial games and the mystery behind it all.

I really loved the touch of Kassandra (for she is evidently the canon character according to Marc-Alexis Côté) existing until the Modern Day too. It was a nice callback to previous fan theories that the Hybrid Eve somehow survived and still walks the Earth to this day. Perhaps that was even Kassandra in Dead Kings all along using a Lady Eve moniker, whilst hunting the Apple that Arno ultimately obtained first. Therein lies the disappointment though. I do feel this plot point could have been far more interesting if she had stuck around and aided Layla further in the Modern Day. Perhaps even have taken over as the protagonist. The potential was simply massive there, to have a character with thousands of years of knowledge to bring to the Assassin cause. It is sadly typical of the history of this franchise, that a decent Modern Day character is killed off just as things were getting interesting (Desmond, Juno, Charlotte etc). It was a sad end for a character whom I really grew attached to, and a bit of a shame Layla just coldly left her corpse on the floor and anticlimatically dived back into the Animus. But we should at least be thankful that her death left us with a dramatic moment, and set up the future of the Modern Day. But more on that later...


My distaste for the naval parts of the franchise is no secret. I still dislike losing control of my character to a vast vehicle. However, I have to give Ubisoft credit here. The boosting system and more specifically the vastly sped up turning speed (drifting) make a world of difference to the naval experience. It really takes the slow tedium out of proceedings, and makes getting around a lot more tolerable.

The combat mechanics feel pretty solid this time around too, as Origins' were really not very polished. Being able to launch multiple volleys one after another without the lengthy cooldowns keeps you more awake during the duels with other ships, and thanks in part to the boost – ramming enemy ships is both a viable and worthy strategy to attempt if you can manoeuvre yourself as such.

With the size of the Aegean Sea, I do concede that a ship was necessary here. It did make approaching new islands fairly exciting as well. I do wish there had been a bit more customization available though, or at least access to a separate room of the ship as your 'home' like we had in Black Flag and Rogue. I honestly miss the base building of the old days. As a final point, it would have been doubly handy if Docks could be used as Fast Travel points and summoned your boat simultaneously. It would have made world map navigation far easier.


The levelling system from Origins returns here, and there is an awful lot of content here to get through. The automatic level scaling also returns, but with one key difference; we cannot turn it off. In essence, I feel this creates more issues for players than the one it tries to resolve. For example, without being able to outlevel content, it leads players using stealth and hunter builds to regularly be unable to 'one shot' enemies, and indeed slows down their overall progression. As I highlighted earlier, this then leads to a feeling of grinding out content, which is not helped when each location is very similar. Every question mark on the map is near guaranteed to either be a kill or loot objective. The surprise is not really there, and without the variety in content, it can add further boredom to the perceived grind as quantity outranks quality. This can of course depend on the playstyle of the player, though. In my case, I complete each zone as I go along, and as a result was level 50 prior to completing Chapter 7 with about eight zones left to still visit. As Contracts tend to simply be kill counter quests, they can help with levelling, but I did find myself skipping Bounties as I went on as they were far too similar from zone to zone (Kill this mercenary, deliver this item etc). They also seem to reuse the same dialogue from NPC to NPC, which was a little sad to behold, especially when some of these quests can be completed within a minute. In short, though, being able to outlevel the content would be a welcome change, thus the reintroduction of the option to turn off auto level scaling would no doubt help alleviate some of the grind issues that some players perceive. Fortunately, at the time of writing Ubisoft has acknowledged some of these points already, and has increased the cap a further 20 XP levels to prevent hitting the limit too early in the content, with possible future adjustments to the level scaling also coming.

Speaking of dialogue, the new conversational cutscene system is a vast improvement over previous games, and it is lovely to see this used in just about every situation - especially on side missions which have been traditionally less interesting in previous games. I find that being able to choose what I say keeps me far more invested in the story content, instead of just standing around silently listening to an NPC reeling off a list of demands. (Remember Unity's side content where Arno stood silently? Ugh.) Romances are a nice addition, but most of them are really casual affairs here, with very little in follow up or substance. I would hope for an expansion of the concept for the next game, as I feel a lot of players would appreciate a bit more depth here. Overall though, the dialogue system is a bold experiment for the Anvil engine, and with some refinement it should definitely be retained for going forwards, as currently some of the pre-generated animations look a bit robotic.

Another question is whether the choice is as open as you would expect. How much do your choices affect the overall narrative? Honestly, from what I observed not that much – save for which certain characters live or die in key moments. The central story and locations occur fairly regardless of what you choose to do or say, creating in essence an illusion of fake choice. Even some dialogue choices facilitate two differing responses to what is ultimately the same answer. I actually had one erroneous continuity instance where I was praised for sparing an NPC, yet I had actually slain them. I cannot criticise Ubisoft too harshly on this though, as the exact same fake choice problem lies with games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age where the main story beats do not ultimately change. So long as the player feels empowered, it is still a worthwhile feature to my mind. In terms of immersion, it is most definitely a welcome addition to the storytelling. With the likes of Telltale Games falling by the way side, the niche for narrative choice based gaming is narrowing – but it’s certainly a market that can now be capitalised on by Ubisoft with this design.

One new feature to the game is the Mercenary system, which many have commented on it being in essence a version of the Nemesis system found within the game Shadow of Mordor. For a first iteration of this system, I initially felt it worked really well. The first Mercenary I encountered was a genuine challenge, and I was fascinated to hide in bushes and watch as their A.I. let them walk across the map and ultimately track you from your latest crime location. It certainly makes you feel like you are being hunted, especially when you get three of them attacking you at once. I had some truly epic battles with them! However, over time they start to wane your interest, and the variety that they have is not quite as deep as it could have been with only a handful of archetypes present. The rewards for some of them are really weak for the effort you have to put in as well. Towards the latter half of the game, they started to feel like more of a hindrance to my progression, and in the end I would just pay off bounties from the map to not have to bother with them. With some refinement though, and improved rewards this is a system that could lead to some interesting ideas. For example, how amazing would this feature be if we were able to add multiplayer into it? Facing off against other players as they invade your game world would be a true test and keep things very interesting indeed. Ubisoft's Watch Dogs has a very similar system in place, so there is certainly a precedent for this. Alternatively, we always have the arena should we want to introduce a little Battle Royale mode for the franchise.

Conquest battles are another new addition to this title. My initial impressions were pretty positive, as a large scale fight sounds a lot of fun. However, they do seem to feel like one massive button mashing session, and really don't play to the strengths of stealth or hunter specialised players. After a few battles, I felt the time and rewards were not justified and I generally avoided doing them which is a shame. This is in part due to the weak implementation of the factions system. Choosing to side with Sparta or Athens has no real impact to the game world at all. It simply carries on and rotates around with no consequences. It would have had far more meaning if we could have formally sided with one faction, and had narrative consequences for that decision. Instead, the protagonist generally is recognised as a hero of Sparta and a descendant of their most famous leader, yet can merrily walk into a Spartan camp and be attacked on sight. It feels odd, and whilst I can understand how the status of the war could not be changed for the near 30 years that it lasted, it honestly felt a bit pointless - to the stage that the player has little real reason to involve themselves in the wider Peloponnesian War.

Nitpicks of Negativity


My absolute biggest gripe with Odyssey is aesthetical. One of the largest complaints from the fanbase I have ever witnessed was the hood backlash seen at Syndicate's launch in 2015. Both the forums and Reddit were up in arms over the issue, and there was even a petition in place essentially to try and get the hood to be raised for the protagonist outside of stealth mode. It is therefore sad to see the Quebec team again seemingly repeating this issue, despite the widespread praise that the hood toggle received for Origins. The same ugly situation is sadly back here, as our main character has their headgear vanish for a cutscene and then mysteriously reappear as soon as it finishes. It's very distracting and noticeable, and whilst I understand there might be clipping in some scenes, I would honestly prefer it just to keep our hood (or helm) in place for immersion's sake. For me, the hood is absolutely iconic for this franchise, and stripping it away in this fashion saddens me. It bothers me even more that the hood stays up in some cutscenes (such as opening the Forge), or that other characters (Herodotus for one) are allowed to keep theirs in place too. It seems a simple thing to implement, but I have seen multiple fans and polls already raising this as a disappointment for Odyssey – especially for those of us trying to live out our Assassin fantasies.

Whilst the gearing system is absolutely appropriate and functional for its RPG purpose, there are issues primarily from a quality of life side of things. For example, some sets have bonuses that make them unsuitable to specific playstyles where you are usually stacking one damage type. This is a shame, and could easily be addressed by allowing us to freely amend the stats of items at a base level. 'Reforging' to give a World of Warcraft example. The issue is further magnified if you decide you want to have specific sets for each role type. Switching gear on the fly is currently extremely time consuming and not user friendly at all. Having gear 'loadouts' so that we can switch our outfit with one button press should have been added, especially as they have been common to most MMORPGs for many years now. Engravings only go so far in an attempt to fix the stats issue, and I honestly didn't even bother to use the engraving system on items that were unbalanced with their original perks, as it would have been a waste of time and resources – especially when you receive new gear constantly. (On a side note, we really need a “Sell All” option for gear at the Blacksmith. Selling one by one is real tedium.)

This problem extends even further when you look at it cosmetically too. The Visual Customization system is a very welcome addition, but sadly was not there to be enjoyed for the majority of players whom finished the game within its launch month. I hope this is factored into Ubisoft's metrics of how many players used the system, as it does seem to have been very much welcomed by the player base. There are a few downfalls to it though, such as how it would have been preferable to load each item as you moved the cursor rather than having to doggedly press on each item as well. This is one area where Origins' outfit system really shined though, as we could improve our gear yet retain the appearance that we desired without this element of maintainance. On the plus side, at least this system allows you to mix and match, and it is nice to see a basic 'dye' system on some of the gear pieces. There is a distinct lack of Assassin like cloth armor pieces in the game generally, though, with a hefty focus on “Warrior” stats on scaled and heavy armor. With the complete lack of iconic Legacy Outfits too, I do feel that for a game about choice it really lets itself down in allowing the player to tailor their look and playstyle in an expedient manner as they so choose. Seriously, I really want that cool face paint as an optional toggle. And an Isu armor set. It would certainly be helpful to have an item preview as well when looting items. Fortunately, the fixes to improve this system are quite plain to see. We have had better versions of customisation in previous games, most notably with Unity. As several fans have highlighted the same issues for Odyssey, hopefully the criticisms will be taken on board for a future update, or for the next game when it rolls around.


Source: LeoKRougue

As with Syndicate before it, this game sadly has some technical and stability problems. I suffered three crashes during my 100% playthrough, and was sometimes confronted with problems with the texture streaming engine – an acknowledged known issue on Ubisoft's side. This is really prevalent when you try to ride a horse into a city at speed, and the game literally freezes completely whilst items load into place. It is likely one of the reasons for the frustrating speed limit imposed on the horses in such areas, but it is not just restricted to cities. It occurs quite often throughout your playing, and if you sail for a great distance you tend to come across it frequently there as well. Whilst this problem was also present in Origins, it was nowhere near as frequent an occurrence as it is in Odyssey.

On my standard PS4, the loading times are also really long. For example, a simple fast travel often takes over a minute to load. The animated loading screen (alas I miss my running protagonist) also seems to push the hardware and set the fans of the console into overdrive for some reason. Utilising the world map, initiating a conversation, or using Ikaros can often lead to having to wait for seconds at a time as you are left confronted with a blank black loading screen. This problem also stood in the way of some early cutscenes, where flashbacks are stalled by bright white loading screens – mine eyes! Having to wait near a minute to get a short cutscene and then another minute to return to our character is not ideal, especially when games like God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 have implemented cutscenes and gameplay seamlessly together. This is definitely an area that the Anvil Engine will require some improvements on for future titles.

Sadly there were other bugs that I encountered that were thankfully mostly cosmetic, and were easily solved by a reload - yet still annoying to have to put up with. Examples include the health bar vanishing, enemy level indicators remaining in place upon the UI , the wrong zone location being displayed, the Atlantis music stuck playing in every zone, NPCs appearing terrified of you and backing away after a conversation, micro freezes in combat, NPCs running on the spot into walls, low frame rate and lip syncing being out on cutscenes, sound tear up and overlapping dialogue. The speedy number of patches we have had since launch is gratefully received, yet sadly many of these issues do remain. It does feel like in many ways that the QA cycle of the game could certainly have used being longer.



One of the most widely criticised aspects to the game is likely not one directly implemented by the developers. I am of course referring to microtransactions, which the wider gaming press picked up on a lot at launch. I mean yes, Origins offered most of the exact same options, but I feel that as Odyssey is a much bigger game, players feel the 'grind' point to the XP boost and lament the design of the game as deliberately catering to try and encourage such purchases. I can certainly understand that sentiment, but then I also do not see the allure of paying more money to play a game for less time. That being said, I was not pleased to see cosmetic packs being offered outside of the Season Pass yet again – one of the most widely criticised aspects to Origins' content last year. I must again take issue with the pricing point of some of these packs, as charging upwards of a third of the Retail Price of the game itself is simply far too much for cosmetic skins. The unconventional amounts of credits you can buy is also not very helpful – simply put, why is there no option for 100 Helix? The price points tend to force you into buying a tier above what you actually need. The Orichalcum fragments are also worth mentioning, as they are conveniently not scannable by Ikaros yet are required for a Ubisoft Club challenge – essentially making purchasing the extra map almost a standard expectation for completionists. This is a little sad to see honestly.

Finally, whilst not directly related to the game itself, special mention should be made of the marketing for this title. Despite Kassandra being the widely reported canon character, she was mostly shunned from the advertising in favour of Alexios. Case in point, how many different Alexios statues you can obtain versus the few for her. This was further magnified by the game cover itself only featuring Alexios. Only after fans were upset over this, did we hear that the cover was also going to be reversible to include Kassandra. A bit of a sorry situation really, when the game was marketing itself as being about choice. Both characters should have featured on the cover equally to my mind. Finally, some of the humorous attempts at advertising the game felt horribly misplaced, and tonally off for the usual epic nature of the trailers. Seeing Alexios impersonating Alexa was amusing sure, but was it really an appropriate message for the game? With the majority of players seemingly choosing to play as Kassandra according to most online polls, it makes this whole situation look a very misguided marketing approach to many fans, and a disservice to a character that is rapidly becoming a fan favourite.

Conclusions & Analysis

Now to the hot topic, that just about every outlet and long term fan wants to discuss. Is Odyssey a true Assassin's Creed title? Well, in my view the answer is complicated.

Whilst it is true that the game does not feature the traditional Assassin versus Templar plotline, it is certainly not the first time we have played a non-Assassin. (Haytham, Bayek, Edward and Anastasia come to mind) Certainly, the social stealth is pretty much gone. However, traditional elements yet remain. Hoods, leaps of faith, assassinations, and parkour are all still here. By all accounts, our protagonist plays like an Assassin in everything but name. Don't also forget that we technically still play as an Assassin as Layla.

Fundamentally though, the game model of old has now changed. Gone are the days of slowly working our way through a crowded place to strike one Hidden Blade kill, and then silently leave the area. We had that model for near a decade, and by the time of Syndicate it was getting stale to the gaming media - the relatively lower sales of that game reflecting of that fact for the public as well. Some may claim that the storytelling was far superior with the old model, but I would argue that was very debatable for some of the releases honestly. It was certainly no guarantee of quality. Assassin's Creed as a franchise instead chose to innovate, and rebirthed itself as an action RPG model. Arguably, this was a far more popular template to adopt. Following on from the success of Witcher 3 and Horizon Zero Dawn was a wise move, and despite some strong open world competition this year from big hit rivals like Spider-Man and the juggernaut that is Red Dead Redemption 2, against a backdrop of perceived franchise fatigue Odyssey still managed to exceed previous franchise sale records for the current generation of consoles. Ubisoft management will no doubt have been impressed in exceeding expectations, and will be heralding this as a ringing endorsement for the new direction of Assassin's Creed. This is the future that is here to stay now, and clinging to the old model is something that long term fans will have to let go of, or accept and adapt to the new.

Where Odyssey does show its pedigree is at the core of the themes being presented. Looking at the franchise objectively, it was never really about Assassins versus Templars – more one of freedom versus control. Chaos versus Order. The two extremes can never be allowed to succeed entirely, with a balance required to further humanity. We see this playing out in the timeline ever since Adam and Eve stole that first Apple of Eden. Truly they were the first 'Assassins', and the division amongst humanity over whether to use or destroy the Pieces of Eden was a central aspect affecting the balance. The desire to possess the technology drove their own son, Cain, to murder his own brother Abel after all. We have seen this age old battle of ideologies throughout the franchise, before seeing it coming to a head once more here in Odyssey. Kassandra knows full well that Isu technology holds a massive sway over the balance of reality, and that destroying it all is one such solution to restoring it.

Source: LeoKRogue
“Who is Aletheia?”

Aletheia represents a chaotic element within the Isu order. As the retransmissions told us within Origins, the Isu tried to maintain Order and avoid their own doom by calculating long into the future – at the expense of the human race in the process. By Aletheia's own words, with Juno out of the way (either imprisoned to the Temple in her time, or a reference to her death in 2018 – it’s unclear) she could now put into place her goal of trying to promote peace between humans and Isu. We have often cited how Eve lead the humans to victory in the Human-Isu war, but it is now easy to see that she may well have had Isu sympathisers lending to her cause, of which Aletheia appears to be one. With the promise of being able to visit the Isu time period within the Animus, this could easily be made possible by combining the Staff of Hermes Trismegistus and its stored genetic memory with Layla's Animus. We know this is possible from the very way that the Spear of Leonidas recorded memories within itself. Being able to visit the Isu times has been a dream for many long term fans, and to finally see some story development on those initial days of Adam and Eve would be a massive payoff. It is also perfect timing to bring it into the series, with Layla now representing the Modern Day equivalence of chaos, essentially challenging the Templar Order's control over the world – especially now with the Assassins still completely outnumbered and reeling since the great purge. “Be the chaos that comes to be.

In this way you can really see the franchise themes echoing and playing out once again. Aletheia makes a campaign to change the future for the better by making calculations far into the future, where she utilised Atlantis to seek “new universes” and varying realities likely through the time disruption of the Nexus. Layla is now doing the same, but mirrored in the inverse. Her Animus is now calculating and extrapolating paths within the past to see what can be changed as she can now see the 'nodes' that must be broken. As Pythagoras told us, we must “mend the past” using the Staff. If the Staff does indeed hold the key to balancing the equations of reality, then time – and reality itself - could be open to amendment. For example, we already see it manipulating the body of its wielder and preventing time from ageing it. It was also strongly implied that Ikaros' lifespan had been vastly extended as well, as Pythagoras was his previous keeper. He is also referred to as a “Bird of the Gods” in the novelization. If time is a code, it can be rewritten. It would also certainly not be the first time in canon we have seen Pieces of Eden affecting reality around them. For example, there was the project formulated by Nikola Tesla to combine an Apple with a Proto-Animus (Die Glocke), in order to cause a ship to travel through time. Don't forget that the Isu also tried to will an entirely different reality into being to save themselves, by using a global consciousness field through their technology.

Desmond's actions and sacrifice in 2012 sadly did not resolve the balance to reality, nor save the world as he had hoped. By preventing the Earth from being reset by the solar flare, the balance was not redressed. The 'node' remains in place, desperately trying to find a way to re-correct reality. Aletheia and other Isu could see this, and reached out to Layla to forge her as a new vessel of Chaos. With Abstergo (ergo the Templars) dominating reality with Order and Control, Layla will need to break the Code of the past to break the Node of the present. Pythagoras speaks of rifts in the past, and these focal points will cause ripples through time to the Modern Day. It is fairly easy to surmise that these focal points will no doubt end up becoming the locations within future games in the franchise. For every time period where Order or Disorder dominates, balance must be restored. Neither can ever be allowed to win completely, for the sake of reality. The Assassins and Templars are thus trapped in an endless impossible war, where either's victory will result in the annihilation of existence itself. Poetically tragic, much like the Yin and Yang – they are opposites who need each other in the end. Ultimate balance and peace, could likely never be achieved until the legacy of the Isu was completely removed from the world. It would certainly be a way to end the franchise if Ubisoft ever chose to do so. Fortunately this point can be delayed for many years to come as yet. If Layla elected to travel even further back in time to manipulate reality, she could even prevent the Isu from causing the disasters, or from creating humanity itself. That would certainly take care of things!

Source: LeoKRogue
Think about another possibility though - that a change in reality may actually have already occurred during the game. If being paired with the Spear has already allowed her Animus to tap into being able to alter the past, then consider what she could have changed. Layla is presented with a choice for the ultimate owner of the main DNA on the Spear, and that choice determines who meets her within Atlantis. Did her actions directly create a new reality through causality? But it’s just a simulation you cry! Perhaps, perhaps not. I find it fascinating for example that the canonical novelization does not include the Modern Day or Aletheia scenes at all. Consider that for a moment. As you see from her laptop, Layla is deeply invested in studying multiple realities. In essence this is not time travel as such, but simply altering reality itself. If the Staff's power can be combined into a simulation, can it make a window into any point of its past a new reality? This theme was already previously explored in the Conspiracies comics, but the possibility of correcting the past to benefit the Assassins is now a tantalising prospect. Both Origins and Odyssey strive to make a point of saying how tragic Desmond and Charlotte's deaths were – but what if they could be brought back? “A future where a loved one can be revived.” What if the Great Purge could be undone? With Layla now tasked with destroying every Piece of Eden to bring balance, could she now stop the two great factions fighting over the artifacts entirely? What if she went back to the Isu times and stopped the Human-Isu war from ever happening? Whatever way you look at it, the themes of Freedom and Control come back again and again. After Syndicate closed out its game with Juno's face, leaving an unfufilled prospect to the transmedia, let us all hope that Odyssey's tantalising conclusion is one we can invest in and have payoff for the next game.

Source: AC Wiki
Thus, what happens next? Well, the upcoming DLC episodes will likely take place prior to the concluding events of Odyssey. Darius is mentioned and foreshadowed within the Blind King preorder mission, and you do get the sense that he might already be operating within Greece during the events of the game. Finally, the Atlantis story must occur prior to Kassandra sealing the lost city. As such, as engaging as they are likely to be, they should have little impact on the existing endings.

The speculation for the next game setting is always a hot topic. The most popular bet right now is Rome – as it was mentioned continuously in previous leaks. Possibly with a return of a playable Bayek and Amunet? Beyond that, there is little other speculative evidence of other locations in Odyssey – save perhaps for Persia. There was the Templar Order foreshadowing by Aspasia with the mention of a Philosopher-King. This Plato sounding term could be applied to numerous individuals honestly – Caesar, Alexander The Great, Marcus Aurelius? However, with Kassandra / Alexios having existed for 2,400 odd years on the Earth, they can now easily cameo throughout the franchise thanks to their holding the Staff for all of that time period. As some fans have called for having the same protagonist for several games like Ezio previously did, this could be one clever way of retaining them but in vastly
Source: LeoKRogue
different settings and time periods. It is also an easy way to retain the dual protagonist mechanic going forwards. I will certainly be intrigued to see how they handle carrying over the story elements to the next release. Will they allow to import save games? Have a lore recap to confirm your previous game choices? Are both character endings therefore technically canon? Or will we simply adopt the canon as presented by the novelization? Time will tell!

What is my personal desire for the next location? Well, I feel we have seen far too much of Europe now. I would really like the series to try and do a proper attempt at some of the Oriental locations. In terms of setting and architecture, it would feel really fresh. Not to mention all of the untapped mythology and Isu elements that could be implemented. The calls for a Japan set game get louder every year, and it often tops fan polls for what they want to see. It has to be a matter of time surely? I would dearly love for a main release set in China though, and with Ubisoft's strong involvement with Tencent, the desire to have a huge hit in that territory must be very alluring for them. I would certainly love to see Shao Jun return in a full game, though there have been mutterings of evidence that a Han Dynasty era might have been considered. As for when we see the next game itself, well we know there is not a new release coming in 2019. We may assume it to be for the end of 2020, but it may well be even later. Or even a launch title for the next generation of consoles. In the meantime we have Remasters and an anime series to look forward to.

Source: AC Wiki

In conclusion, Odyssey has made some very important building blocks to the next release. It is an Assassin's Creed game, and its positive aspects and changes are likely to be embraced into securing the future of the IP. As a franchise fan, for that we can at least be thankful. Overall, I really enjoyed my time with the game. The RPG model is something I have desired for the series for many years, and as evidenced by the strong sales I am thrilled to see it pushing forwards in that direction and being so widely well received by the general gaming audience as well as the media. With some quality of life changes, modernised technical improvements to the engine, and the potential of implementing some kind of competitive or cooperative multiplayer return - the next title could be very special indeed.

I award Odyssey a final score of 8.2 out of 10.

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