Feature Article

Assassin's Creed Odyssey Goes Full RPG With Consequences And Choices, And It's Better For It

Everything is permitted.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey is three years in the making; Ubisoft Quebec conceived this entry into the long-running franchise as the team wrapped up development for Assassin's Creed Syndicate back in 2015. Ubisoft Montreal was in the process of transforming the series with Origins (that released in 2017) which gave the Quebec studio a foundation to further evolve Assassin's Creed into a full-fledged RPG the team envisioned. It's not just about the inclusion of branching dialogue or seemingly arbitrary choices during quests, though. Consequence is at the heart of making the journey through Ancient Greece something more than just another historical fiction.

During a visit to Ubisoft Quebec's studio, I had the opportunity to spend around five hours with Assassin's Creed Odyssey, starting at a point deep into the story. Many of its features jumped out immediately, like choosing to play as the female protagonist Kassandra through the entire game. Regardless, I'm a mercenary on the search for lost family members in the midst of the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC. Docked ashore the Delos Islands following a storm, I'm immediately posed with conversation options with my shipmate Barnabas. At first, it's striking to see this in an Assassin's Creed game, but considering Odyssey's full RPG approach, having agency in what I say to others is to be expected. While I could tease out more information or evoke different responses, words can have a much larger impact in certain situations.

The ability to steer your own course was abundantly clear when I could affect the rebellion on the Delos Islands. Would I endorse a brute force approach suggested by Thelatas or devise a more subtle, strategic plan with Kyra? Thelatas offers naval combat missions while Kyra points out enemy camps where you destroy weapons and supplies to weaken them. Siding with either ally on how take down the unjust ruler Podarkes would lead to liberation, but in this case, it's about changing the journey, not the destination. You won't be able to go through both missions in the same playthrough.

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Decision-making in Odyssey is taken a step further when factoring consequences. A side-quest given by the philosopher Socrates tasked me with handling a prisoner situation. This particular prisoner could aid the rebellion, but he's known to be dangerous and unhinged. I could straight up kill him, save him, or just ignore the quest altogether. So, as a dedicated paragon all throughout Mass Effect, I'm willing to give others a second chance. Little did I know that saving him would impact the conclusion to the main quest line. After taking down Podarkes, the Delos Islands erupted in celebration. However, the man I saved went rogue and assassinated an ally that he believed to be a threat to maintaining independence. It was an unforeseen consequence, but I quickly realized that Assassin's Creed is now asking us to think twice, watch our backs, or anticipate the effects of our actions.

Of course, the demo was just a small slice of a much larger open world, and if Odyssey can weave all the variables into a cohesive RPG experience, it's easy to see the game stand with some of the genre's best, which have also served as inspiration for the new approach. Director Scott Phillips said it himself; The Witcher 3, The Elder Scrolls, and Fallout are among his favorite games, and stated "that's what we wanted to push Assassin's Creed as a franchise into: more choice for the player."

Everything that's new is layered on top of the foundation Assassin's Creed Origins built. Franchise staples still permeate the game like climbing up to vantage points for synchronizations, stealth assassinations, and a modern day tie-in story. Genre trends such as weakening an enemy presence in specifically mapped zones to take control runs core to the game. Traversal holds Odyssey back from feeling fluid, though. Unintentionally leaping off building and scaling walls in the wrong direction happens more often than you'd hope. Hand-to-hand combat, in particular, is similar to Origins in feel, cumbersome targeting system in all. It's somewhat sluggish, but stays varied through different weapon types. However, Odyssey stands on its own with the number of abilities available in combat.

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The skill tree gives players access to many more options this time around. Yes, the Spartan kick is thrilling to use for launching enemies off cliffs or into the sea during ship combat, but comes in clutch when you just want to create more distance. A shield rip makes defensive enemies less irritating and much more manageable. The multi-arrow show helps tack on more damage per shot, which was really useful when fighting a burly bear with a whole lot of HP. These skills are easy to access because of how they're seamlessly mapped to the face buttons when you either hold the left trigger or left bumper. That's eight skills at your disposal at any time.

Trekking the open deserts of Origins wasn't the most exciting part of the game. Odyssey replaces that with the dangerous waters between Greece's collection of islands. In a similar vein as Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, ship combat plays a large role. Fire arrow barrages, waves of javelins, or full-speed naval rams tear enemy ships, and hopping aboard to finish off the last of an enemy crew yields useful loot. It makes all the in-between more interesting and the game feels full.

The initial impression is that Assassin's Creed Odyssey makes meaningful strides for the franchise by going all in on being an RPG, and it seems to be better for it. By looking at the genres frontrunners, Ubisoft adopts the web of choice and consequence for the first time in franchise history while building on established mechanics. It's a bold move for a series that traditionally tells you a story; soon you'll be telling your own.

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Now Playing: What Assassin's Creed Odyssey Learned From Witcher 3

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Assassin's Creed Odyssey

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ermacos

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Edited By ermacos

The specific timeframe is the best for the assassins creed series.. The beginning of all.

It was when Cecrops the 1st took over Aktika rulership and forced the corrupted values of Atlantis into today known Athens. Athens was called AKTIKA but Cecrops demanded from aktikans to change the name of their city, into something more "atlantian". He promoted 3 names, Athena, Poseidonia and one more and Aktikans voted for the first time in history to be called as Athens/Athenians. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecrops_I

Cecrops 1st was rumored to be a reptilian! Everything around his name is a myth, half snake half human. It was then when zionism infiltrated Hellenian empire and the begin of the downfall... Romans took over after Alexandros the Great.

So the beginning of the corruption DID started from that period of time, there is nothing canon into that. It was also then when secret societies start forming, like Gnostics, etc... with assassins... And indeed there is alien elements also dark magic elements, plus reptilian elements in the stories. Assassins creed origin do have the snake element and alien element.

It would be great an assassins creed in Atlantis but this subject is for a reason by cabalists prohibited, it was the beginning of all (an alien invasion, lots of spaceships and stuff.. )

Anyway I wanted to know, if they include in the game historical happenings like; Athenians after they changed their name into Athenians, they start praising Athena as their goddess, they moved with ships all over the islands of Hellenic empire to collect taxes, also execute all those who didn’t praised the Athenian Goddess, because the modern Athena was not very accepted by the peripheral regions!

It would be a great naval experience if we have random events of Athenian ships to collect taxes also content of executions in all surrounding islands and regions.

I will also give you actual distanse from my island into athens in order to calculate the map of the game! I live in Lesbos Island and

Lesbos island - Athens = 256klm

Lesbos -- Rhodes Island = 392 klm

It will be a huge map and for your reference, Cecrops the 1st is 20-30 years before the age of the Odyssey game.

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BuyaPC

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I liked origins because it was different, and easily the best ac but now they're back to their reskinning again which they'll cash in on for another 3 or 4 years. This is a total reskin of origins.

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Slinqy

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Edited By Slinqy

Trying to compete with Witcher and Mass Effect... smh. Look, this will likely sell, because rpgs sell, but this is not the right step for Assassin's Creed cause you just ripped its soul out. It's AC in name, and it's a part of the lore, but these features and aspects, like mythological enemies, romance options, and branching storylines (which is a retcon by the way) did not NEED to be explored. The identity's gone. GONE! Double down, Ubi. Get back to the core of this franchise and revive its soul!

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Slinqy

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@nibbin1191: The Isu were pretty much the only mythological thing in AC, and they were mostly all destroyed. All that was left was their tech. In Origins you are literally fighting the aspects of the gods of Egypt. Huge difference.

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Obiroid1

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In origins you can become a badass. The skill trees were great. Old AC combat were you just blocked and countered every attack was getting stale. I think it was a good move to change the combat system.

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ahmad996

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After being a die hard AC fan for a good part of a decade and having played every title, I'm done with this series. I used to be an advocate for the series defending it against people since AC3 where the disappointments began. But now I'm officially done after playing origins. I hate the fact that they brought RPG mechanics into the series because that's not what the game is about. I want to be able to assassinate whoever the hell I wanna assassinate and not be restricted because of a stupid number. A god damn base level jobber henchmen would take 5-10 minutes to kill if he was at a district beyond my current level and that's bull shit, Not to mention how lame and broken the combat was in Origins. (especially when fighting multiple hostiles) by trying to copy Souls games by introducing a poor man's version of the "hitbox" system. I'd much rather play Bloodborne if I wanted that. They even mellowed down the parkour mechanics from Syndicate which imo were perfected at that point. AC has no direction at this point and the modern day storyline seems pointless. Overall I am sick of these yearly releases and I am sure Odyssey is gonna be the same thing. (We are now giving you enhanced kicking abilities that send enemies flying)

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fishnpeas1

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I wonder if there are any actual assassinations in this one. They seem to have forgotten that's what the games were about. Its more like Dragons Rim Creed now.

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deactivated-5bfc8187829ef

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Omg i really dont understand how they make time for another game like this.ac series are really boring right now. They milked them so much i can not even look at thier pictures. Yes and this time we go full Rpg lol they are saying this for a decade now!

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SimulationStim

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I'm pretty excited for this game. If there was one thing that I felt was missing in Origins it was the flesh out conversations and dialogue options. I'm hoping that they will add meaningful choice and consequence to the system rather than just a couple of different ways to say the same thing. And I don't see why the only comparisons are to Witcher or Mass Effect. There are other 3rd person action games that have choice and consequence dialogue options(Gothic, Risen, and Elex to name a few) and they're better games because of it. If the AC series, with its combat, fantastic game world and mostly decent gameplay can nail the narrative and infuse the world with interesting npcs to experience I think it'll be one of my favorite games since Witcher 3. And when I'm finished with this game it's on to Rdr2. Wow...

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Obiroid1

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I really enjoyed origins fun game. this looks just as good or better. I hope the Persian wars are part of it

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siarhei

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Edited By siarhei

A lot of Origins haters in these comments...

Imo, it was fun, albeit with annoying level-gating and too steep of a level-scaling curve.

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XenomorphAlien

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Ubi is really changing AC up. Origins was great, can't wait for Odyssey.

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stiefjac

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I feel like i'm in the minority of people who despised the new combat system in Origins, I purposely played more stealthy than I have in any of the other entries to avoid fighting anyone. Kind of disappointed they're sticking with that one. I thought they really nailed it in Unity, because I never felt overpowered like in the other entries where you constantly block counter until 20 dudes are dead, then the bizarre combat in Syndicate wrecked it, and now Origins basically just did away with any feelings of badassery

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proceeder

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Those were probably slaves rowing the boats, that you left to burn & sink with the ship. How does that make you feel?

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Ausgamer85

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They will need a serious story recap at this point to bring people up to speed with this hopelessly convoluted time jumping story. Esp since RPG fans likely have not played every AC. I got bored after AC2.5 and came back to Origins knowing nothing of the story.

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winstondoom

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@ausgamer85: I thought people just did what I do, ignore everything about the animus and abstergo and just crack on with what's actually entertaining xD

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siarhei

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@winstondoom: Exactly, wth is Animus? To me AC became all about virtual tourism :)

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Kyrylo

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Deseprate attempt to refresh boring shlog AC has become.

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Mogan

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@Kyrylo: Origins was pretty successful, so I don't think there's a lot of desperation here.

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Kyrylo

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@Mogan: it sold about same as Syndicate, which flopped.

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Mogan

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@Kyrylo: Not from what I'm seeing. A quick Google search says Origins was the third best selling game in Europe and the Middle East in 2017, exceeded Ubisoft's expectations, and is/was on track to double Syndicate's revenue.
It might have sold the same (unlikely) but Ubisoft made a lot more money off Origins than Syndicate.

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GNS

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Will you return the Codex entries and bring back simple combat (or at least one-hit kills)?

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GNS

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@nibbin1191: I played Origins up until Alexandria (level 12 or so) before giving up, and have yet to see how to one-hit kill something.

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GNS

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@nibbin1191: And that is what I'm talking about. They tarnished everything from the previous entries and made some sick mash-up of different game combat mechanics (presumably For Honour and Dark Souls), and locked everything up under a level requirement. And now, in order for me to go on a killing spree, I have to grind to level 40? Get the **** out of here.

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bruta

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they did great with Origins, best AC since Black Flag.
Sparta looks like fun as well

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wespunk

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I look at if you don't like assassin creed games do us a favour don't buy it then you don't have to comment about it

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Litchie

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But as usual with AC, or Ubisoft in general, it will be shit.

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Litchie

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@nibbin1191: Origins sucked. Hard. It saddens me to hear people calling it great.

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Mogan

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@Litchie: Origins was pretty darn good.

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Litchie

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@nibbin1191: Weird as hell, especially when they're in favor of freaking AC. :P

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starjay009

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@Litchie: Keep your opinions to yourself Litchie.. nobody needs to hear about it. Origins is an amazing game. Vast majority loved it. Check the positive reviews for it all over the internet and the buyers' opinion on Steam.

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GNS

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@starjay009: keep your opinion about Origins being great to yourself, I don't need to hear this bullshit.

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ahmad996

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Edited By ahmad996

@starjay009: Lol reviews. Dont support your opinion from others opinions. Makes you seem stupid. Also Origins may have looked impressive but played like shit. Broken combat and mellowed down parkour with an unimpressive story and characters. If you like all that then more power to you. I prefer to have higher standards than that especially as a former die hard fan of the franchise.

Btw dumbass, a comment section is designed to let people give opinions about a subject matter.

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Litchie

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@starjay009: Nah, I'm going to keep expressing my opinions about games on gaming websites. Sorry for hurting your feelings.

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Steamaddict

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Ai looks dumb as shit...

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starjay009

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@steamaddict: Just as dumb as AI in other so called 'great' RPGs such as the Mass Effect trilogy, Dragon Age, Witcher series etc.

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deactivated-5ed679841254d

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I honestly don’t think the development cycle has been long enough for the developers to have created “quality alternative story trees and actions” as a direct result of your decisions. Just saying, not to downplay the hype, but we shall see. I won’t conclude it, but I do doubt the quality in these games of late. (Prepare for the worst and hope for the best)

Just from them saying in the article that there are miss queues in the parkour mechanics is pointing towards more “copy and paste” development despite this game (and AC:Origins) supposedly being built off of a new engine.

Will we ever see an “ambitious AC game ever again?” (Besides the first AC and Blackflag?)

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

@wrestlingdude: I'm sure this game was in development long before Origins came out, but I wont be shocked if your choices don't really have a lot of impact on how story plays out.

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gagula94

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@wrestlingdude: Hey now, AC 2 was ambitious as well. Blackflag however was a good pirate game but it's assassin part of the game was dull and boring as hell.

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