The Esquire Review: Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Fanboys, light up your hate torches; Assassin's Creed games have been getting boring of late.
Not that the games don’t have a rabid fan base. The franchise has always had thousands of die-hards who love the slowed-down, stealthy mechanics of stalking prey through the streets of whatever ancient land was the setting of that year’s game.
However, the world has moved on. Sandbox games are a dime a dozen these days, and the old ‘hide-in-the-bushes and whistle and then stab a guy’ gameplay seems stale.
The folks at Ubisoft have finally understood this point – after one or two recent flops – and decided to rectify it with this, Assassin's Creed Odyssey. And in doing so, they have probably made the least Assassin's Creed Assassin's Creed game in existence. But is that a bad thing?
Assassins Creed Odyssey - what’s new?
You don’t play an Assassin in this game. Instead, you play one of two brother and sister mercenaries born before the brotherhood of assassins ever came to be. As such, stealth plays a lot less important in this game – in fact, if you don’t fancy it at all only a few missions rely on you having to sneak into places. And even then, if you get caught, you can generally just slaughter everyone who saw you.
In fact, Odyssey plays more like an action RPG than a stealthy-based fighter. Your character levels up, and each level makes them more powerful and gives them access to better gear. You get more XP – which lets you pick skills in various trees – and you can play through the campaign as either a hunter, warrior or the eponymous assassin.
Oh, and one of the favourite features from the franchise’ previous Black Flags game also comes along for the ride – your ship. Yes, Odyssey lays naval combat on heavy, and you can upgrade your ship with all sorts of nasty perks such as flaming arrows or a massive ram at the front.
Assassins Creed Odyssey – is it any good?
Despite relying little on sneaking through the tall grass to assassinate your foes, Odyssey is actually great fun.
Exploring the world of Ancient Greece, fighting off rival mercenaries, kicking people off ledges (while yelling, “This. Is. SPARTA!” never fails to draw a smile, and because you can swap between stealth play and battling an entire army, it keeps everything fresh.
Speaking of battles, there is a new gameplay component that sees you toppling ruling regimes for either Athens or Sparta, which then lets you play a Dynasty Warrior-esque type mass brawl. Again, it’s great fun.
Overall, Assassin's Creed Odyssey is a big new addition to the franchise and one that gamers will absolutely enjoy. Whether or not that makes it a good Assassins Creed game for the fanboys who have come to love the stealth-based gameplay, well, that is a whole other story.