Your crash course on AC Odyssey.
You may have read a lot about Assassin's Creed Odyssey leading up to its release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The new open-world game has finally arrived, and below, we've rounded up all of the essential information about the series' latest entry in one place. We'll run down many of Odyssey's broader features and go through the basics of what you should know before jumping in. Everything from story to combat tips are outlined below, along with links to more detailed guides if you wish to dig deeper. Note that there are no major story spoilers in this article.
When And Where Is Odyssey Set?
You're probably aware that Assassin's Creed Odyssey takes place in Ancient Greece, but it specifically covers the Peloponnesian War fought between Athens and Sparta. The game opens with a 300-esque battle scene where you take control of King Leonidas of Sparta during the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BCE, then transitions to the start of the main protagonist's story almost 50 years later in 431 BCE.
If you've followed Odyssey since it was first revealed at E3 2018, then you'll know that you can choose between taking on the role of a female or male lead; Kassandra and Alexios are two sides of the same coin and play exactly the same--the main differences are, of course, the voice acting and character model. Your choice also affects the narrative slightly; whoever you choose to play as is made to be the older sibling of the two. You come from Spartan lineage, but the game doesn't force you into aligning with either side of the war since you're a mercenary trying uncover the truth of your family's disappearance.
Prominent Greek figures like Socrates and Hippocrates make appearances throughout Odyssey, and you can interact with them as they offer side quests of their own. While historical fiction has always been the foundation of Assassin's Creed lore, it's never been afraid to incorporate the supernatural. Odyssey takes it a step further by pitting you against mythology itself; one example is a fight against Medusa where you try to avoid getting turned into stone.
How Long Is Odyssey?
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Assassin's Creed Odyssey is huge--its open world is about twice as big as Origins. That may not seem as daunting when you consider the fact that the Mediterranean Sea makes up a large portion of the map and that you'll spend plenty of time sailing the high seas. Regardless, there's still a great deal of ground to cover throughout Greece's mainland and several islands.
As for game length, it's difficult to get an accurate range since every player will engage in a varying number of optional quests and activities along the way. Estimates have been around 50 hours to complete the main story and a decent chunk of side activities. GameSpot editor Alessandro Fillari spent 60 hours with the game for the purposes of his review, and there remain more optional content for him to take part in.
New to the franchise is Exploration Mode. Instead of having waypoints and objective markers littered on screen in the traditional Guided Mode, Exploration Mode puts the onus on you to figure out where to go to complete quests. This means you'll have to pay closer attention to NPC dialogue and investigate the environment more closely.
This is especially true if you take on the optional quest to hunt down a cultist organization. They're a web of mysterious figures with hidden identities scattered throughout Greece and you'll need to do investigative work to locate and assassinate them. Sometimes, you'll happen to take them down in the midst of a side mission that they're involved in, but you'll often have to dig for clues on their whereabouts whether or not you've activated Exploration mode.
Fighting With Style
Odyssey builds off of Origins' combat system, but it introduces some key changes. Shields are no longer an option, which naturally pushes fights towards a faster pace. The skill tree remains divided in three categories attributed to specific playstyles (Hunter, Warrior, and Assassin), but it features some neat new abilities. You may think the Spartan Kick is in the game just for kicks and giggles until you realize that it's super effective for booting enemies off cliffs or creating space in fights. Another setting-appropriate ability is the Rush Assassination that lets you put the Spear of Leonidas to use during long-distance stealth kills.
In addition to multiple types of melee weapons (like polearms, swords, and maces), you have a bow that's both useful for attacking long-range and inflicting status effects on enemies. The Arrow Master skill unlocks arrows that can poison, paralyze, or explode on impact, opening up numerous possibilities in combat; combine that with Devastating Shot and your projectiles will be even stronger. The skill tree can be overwhelming at first, but we have a few tips on some good abilities to pick up early and how to use them in clever ways.
Don't worry about min-maxing in the skill tree; you can respec at any time for small cost. This affords you the opportunity to experiment with different combat approaches and character builds.
Setting Sail In The Mediterranean
With multiple islands scattered across Greece, great emphasis is placed on sailing and ship combat in Odyssey, essentially taking a page out of Black Flag's book. Engaging with hostile ships will have you firing arrow barrages, tossing waves of javelins, or using the naval ram to inflict damage. Once an enemy ship's health is depleted, you can either sink it for a small reward or board it with your crew to get better loot. If you board the ship, you'll have to get your hands dirty and fight the opposing crew.
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Enemy ships vary in size, health, and strength, so be sure to know what you're up against before engaging. Throughout Odyssey, you'll upgrade your ship and recruit shipmates from quests or smooth dialogue interactions. Different crew members offer specific bonuses and attributes for your ship.
Play Your Part
Odyssey doubles down on RPG elements. There's leveling up, skill trees, gear scores, and numerous optional quests, which was implemented in Origins, but the series dips its toes into branching story threads for the first time. Dialogue trees permeate character interactions and you'll face consequences for your actions whether they be good or bad. The way you decide to complete some quests will affect the resulting narrative and can also spill into the details of other quest-lines; don't be surprised if there are unforeseen consequences and collateral damage.
With branching dialogue comes romance options. You're free to romance as many of the available characters as you want, and the circumstances for which you can romance them may change based on other decisions. Most often, these partners will become part of your ship's crew, which may be a bit of an unceremonious conclusion for love interests. However, these scenarios can play out strangely, and you can see for yourself how romance can feel awkward or forced.
By nature of being an RPG that deals with choice and consequence, there are multiple endings in Assassin's Creed Odyssey; nine to be specific. Unfortunately, you'll be hard-pressed to see them all in one playthrough since key decisions early in the game will affect the possible endings open to you.
Different Versions, Special Editions, And DLC
Assassin's Creed Odyssey is out soon, but you can still snag the pre-order bonuses offered. Pre-ordering from the Ubisoft Store grants you access to the Blind King mission, Best Buy gifts you a $10 rewards certificate, and GameStop includes the Blind King mission and a Spartan helmet keychain. Aside from the standard edition of the game, there's a Deluxe edition ($80) that includes an XP and drachmae (in-game money) boost, the Kronos and Herald of Dusk gear pack, and the Capricornus naval pack. The Gold edition ($110) packs the DLC season pass, Secrets of Greece and Blind King bonus missions, and lets you start playing now. The Ultimate edition ($120) includes all the aforementioned content from both the Deluxe and Gold editions. There are few other special editions with collector's statues that you check out in our pre-order guide.
PC Minimum And Recommended Specs
For the PC players out there, make sure your system is powerful enough to run the game properly. If you're aiming for 4K resolution with High settings, Ubisoft recommends a system with at least an AMD Ryzen 1700X or Intel Core i7-7700 CPU, AMD Vega 64 or Nvidia GTX 1080 video card, and 16GB of RAM. For those not doing 4K, be sure to read up on the minimum and recommended PC specs to run AC Odyssey smoothly.
You can read or watch our review of Assassin's Creed Odyssey right now; editor Alessandro Fillari concluded: "Assassin's Creed Odyssey's ambition is admirable, which is reflected in its rich attention to detail for the era and its approach to handling the multi-faceted narrative with strong protagonists at the lead. While its large-scale campaign--clocking in at over 50 hours--can occasionally be tiresome, and some features don't quite make the impact they should, Odyssey makes great strides in its massive and dynamic world, and it's a joy to venture out and leave your mark on its ever-changing setting." For perspectives from other critics on the game, you can read through our review roundup.
All Our Assassin's Creed Odyssey Coverage
Guides And Reviews:
- Assassin's Creed Odyssey Review
- Assassin's Creed Odyssey Reviews Roundup
- 11 Tips You Should Know Before Starting
- Combat Tips And The 12 Most Useful Abilities
Features And News:
- How Long Does This Game Take To Finish?
- No New Assassin's Creed Game Coming For 2019
- AC Odyssey Was "Nearly Finished" A Year Ago, Annualization Not Planned
- Game Director Talks Story And RPG Inspirations
- How Assassin's Creed Odyssey Continues To Transform The Series
- Romance Feels Forced, But Some Of The Dialogue Options Are Hilarious
- AC Odyssey Doesn't Have Multiplayer, But The Franchise Isn't Necessarily Done With It
- Ubisoft Wants Future Games To Feature Male And Female Protagonists
- AC Odyssey Releasing On Switch In Japan As A Streaming Game
- AC Odyssey For PC: System Requirements And Recommended Specs
- AC Odyssey Is Playable Right Through Google Chrome, If You're Chosen