PC & con­sole game re­views

IT’S NOT CALLED A SPAR­TAN KICK – SE­RI­OUSLY.

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ODYSSEY SHEDS SO much of what As­sas­sin’s Creed is known for to fully em­brace the core con­cepts of a role­play­ing game – and it’s all the bet­ter for it. Even though the story doesn’t live up to its ini­tial premise, the ad­di­tional layer of choice, breath­tak­ing scenery, and col­or­ful sid­e­quests make Odyssey not only the best As­sas­sin’s Creed to date, but one of the best RPGs since The Witcher 3.

Un­like pre­vi­ous As­sas­sin’s Creeds, di­a­logue op­tions now let me in­flu­ence ma­jor and mi­nor quests – some­times with hor­rific con­se­quences. I re­fused to in­ter­vene when a priest wanted to put a plagued fam­ily to death, in­cited more than one re­bel­lion, and even spared a shamed gen­eral from what should have been a very sat­is­fy­ing dish of stone-cold re­venge. And, yes, I’ve also bumped uglies with quite a few will­ing char­ac­ters.

These fre­quently won­der­ful side quests are spread out over a world that is al­most in­com­pre­hen­si­bly large for a sin­gle­player RPG. Nor­mally size doesn’t mat­ter, but the sheer scale of Odyssey’s an­cient Greece is to its ben­e­fit, es­pe­cially be­cause each area feels so dis­tinct and de­tailed. It’s a vast world that I want to ex­plore, and each zone has a sub­tle aes­thetic that makes it unique, from the arid bad­lands of Crete to the ver­dant plains of Arka­dia. This isn’t just Ubisoft’s big­gest game ever, it’s also it’s most beau­ti­ful.

One thing worth men­tion­ing is that Odyssey’s story fea­tures some pretty stiff level gaps that have to be over­come by di­vert­ing time to com­plete side quests and other ac­tiv­i­ties. I didn’t mind it, since all of those ex­pe­ri­ences are fun, but it will be an­noy­ing to any­one who wants to just fo­cus on the main quest.

Odyssey re­tains the same MMO-style lev­el­ing sys­tem of Ori­gins, mean­ing en­e­mies who out­rank me by even a few lev­els will be prac­ti­cally in­vin­ci­ble no mat­ter how well I fight. That’s still an­noy­ing – es­pe­cially when I want to take on a new story quest but dis­cover its level is be­yond mine – but in the case of mer­ce­nar­ies I like how it es­tab­lishes a food chain. When I saw Ex­ekias the Le­gend, a level 50 merc, roam­ing around Del­phi with his pet bear, I felt like I bumped into a celebrity.

Fans of older As­sas­sin’s Creed games can rest easy know­ing that stealth is still big part of Odyssey. Sneak­ing into heav­ily guarded forts and es­tates is how I’ve spent a good half of my time, but the sys­tem re­mains largely un­changed from pre­vi­ous games. I still use my ea­gle to mark en­e­mies and var­i­ous ob­jec­tives, and there’s still that fa­mil­iar ten­sion of try­ing to slink through an en­emy camp un­seen.

As­sas­sin’s Creed Odyssey is enor­mous and beau­ti­ful, and it ef­fort­lessly ties ac­tion, stealth, sail­ing, fac­tion con­trol sys­tems, mer­ce­nar­ies, and cultist hunt­ing to­gether into one co­he­sive game that, even af­ter 50 hours, I want to keep play­ing. Odyssey is a lot more than just an­other As­sas­sin’s Creed, it’s an RPG of un­par­al­leled scale sup­ple­mented by sat­is­fy­ingly lay­ered and deep pro­gres­sion sys­tems that each play their part in bring­ing an­cient Greece to life.

“HELLO MY NAME IS ALEXIOS AND I WOULD LIKE TO CON­NECT ON LINKEDIN!”

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