Review

Assassin's Creed Odyssey Review - Glory Of Sparta

  • First Released Oct 2, 2018
    released
  • PS4
  • XONE
  • PC

Choose your own adventure.

The soft reboot that was Assassin's Creed Origins introduced a new approach to the series' brand of stealth-action gameplay, along with an expansive and vibrant open world with many dynamic systems at work. In this year's follow-up, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, developer Ubisoft Quebec builds upon its predecessor's pillars, and in the process shows greater confidence in the series' new direction.

Set in Ancient Greece, Odyssey predates the previous game by several centuries. During the Peloponnesian War in 431 BCE, you take on the role of either Alexios or Kassandra, siblings and former Spartans-turned-mercenaries. In keeping with series tradition, Odyssey features parallel storylines, with the main narrative taking place in the distant past and the overarching plot set in the present day. After pivotal moments dealing with political intrigue and wartime conflict in Greece, you'll jump back to the modern day to continue the story of Layla Hassan, introduced in Origins, who's working to uncover the secrets of the first civilization. Throughout your travels in Ancient Greece you'll uncover lost tombs, engage in naval warfare on the high seas, and assassinate the key members of a shadowy conspiracy seeking control of the known world.

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In your trek through the Greek mainland and the islands of the Mediterranean sea, you come across diverse locales that showcase lush environments that pay tribute to the old gods, while rubbing shoulders with the many historical figures of the era looking to make their impression in Greek society. The amount of detail packed into each location is impressive, tied together by an active and dynamic ecosystem where local wildlife and civilians keep their territory. But as you dive further, you'll see the many hardships and realities of life in Ancient Greece firsthand, including the horrors of slavery and the ever-present war between the military-driven Spartans and the bureaucratic Athenian army.

Featuring a map that's more than double the size of the previous game, Odyssey is built to be explored and has incidental content to reward your wanderlust. You get the sense that your actions will have a lasting impact wherever you go, and Odyssey offers up a wealth of content that fuels your growth at a steady pace. Though the issue of level-gating comes up occasionally, preventing you from actively exploring any region as you wish, you can take a break from the main story and dive into the breadth of side content at your leisure. Several side quests offer a surprising amount of depth and heart and feature some of Odyssey's more standout moments.

Throughout the main story and in side-quests, you'll make several key decisions that affect the game's narrative and your character's journey. While many of the choices you make are largely inconsequential and result only in slightly different endings for quests, the fateful decisions that do matter can lead to drastic turns of events, with some storylines and characters meeting their end prematurely. In moments you'd least expect, you'll see the payoff for decisions made early on in the story, for better or worse. With nine different possible outcomes at the main story's conclusion, there's a surprisingly large amount of cause and effect that can make the narrative feel all your own.

The different protagonists also offer up some of Odyssey's most endearing and entertaining moments. Despite the grim nature of the game, jokes and fun gags often break the tension, even during serious events. Though both Kassandra and Alexios share the same dialogue and story beats, their differing personalities, gender, and points of view offer unique flavor, making them stand apart--with some scenes and questlines feeling more appropriate with a particular character.

The Photo Mode in Assassin's Creed Odyssey allows you to capture some of the game's most breathtaking views.
The Photo Mode in Assassin's Creed Odyssey allows you to capture some of the game's most breathtaking views.

Romancing side characters is also possible in Odyssey. While some of these scenes can be amusing, they're mostly just bizarre shows of affection that have no real purpose. These scenes almost always result in a shallow aside during the conversation, with the characters slinking off-screen before returning to the conversation without skipping a beat. Most often, these awkward romance opportunities appear immediately after (or during) otherwise harrowing events. Aside from seeing some additional scenes with certain characters, there's really no benefit to engaging in romance at all. The inclusion of these scenes feels cheap and can sully otherwise interesting conversations.

As you unravel more of the world and advance in the main story, new gameplay mechanics and side opportunities will reveal themselves, adding even greater incentive to explore. When the conspiracy that threatens Greece makes itself known, you'll be able to keep track of the major players through a large interconnected web in the game's menu, showing their connections to other targets and how to find the intel to track them down. But in one of Odyssey's more involved quests, you'll encounter several mythological beasts hidden within the world, offering up some of the game's most inventive and memorable encounters, where brute force isn't always the answer.

The world in Ancient Greece feels much more reactive compared to previous Assassin's Creed games, and you get the sense that your actions will have a lasting impact wherever you go. When you start causing too much trouble, you'll attract the attention of rival mercenaries looking to collect a bounty. Similar to Shadow of War's Nemesis system, though not as sophisticated, Odyssey presents a seemingly endless set of antagonists with their own backstories, strengths, and potential loot. If you find yourself with a bounty on your head, mercenaries are often quick to appear--leading to some annoying encounters where they arrive at the worst possible time, even during some story missions. If the heat from the encroaching mercenaries feels too much, you can lay low long enough for the bounty to clear, assassinate another wanted criminal, or pay off your own bounty in the game menu.

With nine different possible outcomes at the main story's conclusion, there's a surprisingly large amount of cause and effect that can make the narrative feel all your own.

One of Odyssey's more clever features is the new Exploration Mode. With this optional mode enabled, you're challenged to use your observation and deduction skills to find your next target, without the support of icons or waypoints. By engaging with quest-givers and friendly NPCs, you'll learn details about your surroundings and slowly piece together your next steps. Exploration Mode heightens the pride that comes from solving puzzles, and this makes each step of your investigations feel all the more rewarding.

When it comes to combat, Odyssey keeps up with the recent trend to incorporate stat-based mechanics into its core gameplay. Compared to previous games, there's now a greater focus on allowing you to customize your character to approach the challenges ahead. You can also build your character to specialize in stealth, long-range, or melee combat, and you're able to respec at any time. If you want to build your character as a powerful Spartan warrior wielding a legendary spear and use your Spartan Kick to boot enemies off cliffs, you can, but you are also free to stick with the traditional Assassin archetype.

This opens a lot of opportunities to experiment with special moves and gear, the latter of which can also be customized with special perks that offer unique bonuses. Odyssey no longer features the shields introduced in Origins, and as a result, combat flows at a brisker pace. By placing the emphasis more on dodging and parrying incoming blows from enemies, fighting feels more involved and dynamic. While there are times where Odyssey can run right into the awkwardness of its RPG mechanics clashing with the action gameplay--such as being unable to assassinate enemies outright due to being under-leveled--it makes up for it by giving players the options to avoid such clumsy engagements.

Your ship, The Adrestia, can be upgraded to deal greater damage and move faster while out on the open waters.
Your ship, The Adrestia, can be upgraded to deal greater damage and move faster while out on the open waters.

Naval combat and sailing make a return in Odyssey, opening up exploration on the high seas. As you build up resources and find new members to join your crew, you can customize and upgrade your ship, The Adrestia, to take on more daring challenges. Much like in Black Flag and Rogue, seafaring offers up some of the more exciting and visually pleasing moments of the game, finding lost sunken ruins in the oceans depths or facing off against increasingly aggressive rival ships. Over the course of your travels, you'll be able to recruit new lieutenants to add buffs to your ship, giving you more of a fighting chance against the sea's greater threats.

The scope of Odyssey is enormous, and for the most part, it's presented well. But some of the new innovations that seek to fit within the scale of the world, however, feel somewhat lost in the grand scheme of the game. With the ongoing war between the Spartan and Athenian army, you can choose to take part in the conflict and dismantle a faction's influence in a region. In these Conquest battles, you'll pick a side and cripple an army's hold by assassinating their leaders and taking their resources--culminating in a large-scale battle against their forces.

While this is a solid way of gaining resources and improving your standing with a faction, the mechanics and implementation into Odyssey's general systems make it feel half-baked at best and pointless at worst. In some of the more bizarre cases, the game and its narrative don't seem to take Conquest seriously, especially when the main story has you helping a particular faction, despite the side content in the area actively hurting them. This in turn can create a jarring and noticeable feeling of dissonance throughout your adventures. The game often struggles to make sense of the actual war gameplay within the context of its core narrative, which is disappointing.

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When looking at Odyssey in the bigger picture, it can often feel like too much game for its own good. There are numerous moments where the loop of exploring, completing missions, and traveling can slow the pace significantly. This is exacerbated by the expansive map, which can sometimes feel excessively big and a chore to travel through. There are also some notable bugs and hitches that crop up throughout, including those that prevent progress in missions to outright crash the game. Several times throughout my journey, progression was somewhat exhausting, which made some of the more impactful and exciting moments in the story feel like a drag.

Despite this, 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.

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The Good

  • Massive open world to explore with a lot of sights and surprises to uncover
  • Ancient Greece is an incredibly detailed and vibrant setting
  • Great storytelling with plenty of interesting choices, along with fun and interesting protagonists
  • Memorable story missions and side-quests that showcase diverse characters and complex themes of the era

The Bad

  • Slow pacing that can make playing the already overwhelming campaign a drag
  • Disappointing Faction gameplay that feels half-baked within the core mechanics

About the Author

Alessandro is a longtime fan of the Assassin's Creed series and was looking forward to diving into Odyssey's large-scale adventure. Playing on both the PS4 and PS4 Pro, he spent well over 60 hours exploring the game's massive world. Ubisoft provided codes for the purposes of this review.
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HarrisonDavies

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Edited By HarrisonDavies

I first bough this on PS4 and played 260+ hours, absolutely addicted to it, what a great game...on the PS4.

I've just recently upgraded to a monster of a gaming PC £3,000+ and what an absolute pile of junk this game is on PC.

It is so poor optimization even with the latest and greatest GPU and CPU. Trying to achieve basic 60fps is a nightmare of tweak this and tweak that. Metro Exodus on Ultra nets me 120fps.

What gives Ubisoft?

Back to the drawing board for PC, Ubisoft.

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PeterRoberts123456

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How is this not the best game for a long time. I'm addicted to it. Best one since black flag. quite a bit better than origins which i deleted to install this.

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kostasPyrkas

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Best game i played last 2 years(far cry primal)... incredible details....gives you the opportunity to know ancient Greece and watch Golden age's Athens come in life.. reminds me a lot the witcher 3 but better because you can use axes and other type of weapons except swords, and greek mythology is much better background than witchers. the disadvantage that the gamespots reviewer sees (too large) is because he plays games for a job (and free) and is in a hurry to complete them to write the review. we on the other hand do pay the game and want it to have as much content possible...the only improvement i could imagine in this perfect game is to refine combat even more bringing some of dark souls weight into battle's movement..

2 • 
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Shinkan21

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Loving this game so far. I really liked origins and this is more of the same, there is just so much to do and explore.

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GNS

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I'm going to start by saying I haven't finished this game, far from it, and I don't think that I ever will. Not because it's a bad game or that it is boring, but because its simply too much to do in it, and for a guy with a job and a family, this feels like another work, which you do not get paid for.

That being said, currently, I'm on my 15th hour of playthrough. My impressions so far:

1) Story has more quality in Odyssey than it has in Origins. This is determined by one little detail - Origins only had fully cinematic main-quests, while all of the side-quests were not. You could just "laddy-daddy-da" around while listening (most of the time I did not) to some random NPC saying almost exact same thing that his counterpart five minutes ago in another area did, and go fetch or kill someone without having any valid idea why. In Odyssey, however, this is not the case, because all of the quests are fully cinematic, so you at least know the general idea and the story behind the plight of the people you encounter.

2) Gameplay is the same, but some aspects are better in Odyssey than in Origins. For example, Origins did not have much to go on in regards of fancy fighting techniques. You just bashed your way with your sword and shield, and/or sniped your way with bows and arrows. That's it. While in Odyssey you are introduced with variety of ways (compared to Origins) to dispatch your enemies: kick them off the edge, impale them by throwing your spear, stun them with burst of light etc. In other words, the combat is more fun.

3) The world. It's on par with Origins, I think. Nothing much to see, and only on the third map where I was supposed to meet the contact, which game me my first assignment to sail from Kephallonia, I ventured in a spectacular looking valley with vibrant foliage colours. It actually was so beautiful in comparison to other places, which did not stood from the crowd, that I had to take a screenshot. But, in over-all, the world is not much different from Origins.

Also, speaking about the world, it's big, very big, bigger than Origins, I think. When Kassandra (you can choose between two persons to play for, male and female) emerged from the secret-club-meeting place, and I had the option to look at the list of possible hit targets, I just gave-up. Too many. And, when I minimized the world map, yep... too big of a world. I can't possibly finish all of this till Summer (on the other hand, maybe that's was the intention of Ubisoft, because, as far as I know, we will not receive another game next year).

Anyway, if I had to say, it's better than its predecessor Origins (compared to it, it's like a polished gem), but suffers from the same things that many open-world games suffer, i.e., bloated world and unnecessary side activities that are introduced to compensate for that bloated world.

7/10.

2 • 
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DeadManRollin

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@gns: You don't have time to play but you could write all this?

Wow

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GNS

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@DeadManRollin: all of this time? You mean all ten or less minutes?

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DeadManRollin

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@gns: Well, if it took you 10 minutes to write such a well summarized review, well, kudos to you bro.

Actually, I am quite enjoying this game, so felt bad to see that you didn't enjoy it much. This is the first AC game that I am actually enjoying. I tried a few in the past, and hate all of them.

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GNS

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@DeadManRollin: but it's just a bunch of negative things I wrote that I did not like about the game. It's easier to write negative stuff than positive.

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DeadManRollin

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@gns: Even after reading everything you wrote here, I finished the game last month and got the platinum achievement, too. It really grows on to you, man. Especially the combat. Sneaking in to a camp and assassinating unsuspecting foes just never gets old!

I just hope someday you will find enough time to give the game a second chance.

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deactivated-5bfc8187829ef

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Both origin and odyssey are very good games. What is game if it is not entertaining?

Setting for ac games must be mysterious and france and england are not mysterious settings . I didnot like syndicate and unity. While black flag was good.

These new lands are great exploration and combat ..lits of elements . Tons of quest. Goid characters .visually stunning for a open world game. I dont now what poeple are say ing about pc performance . I am playing it on pc and i didnot have asingle problem. Most of the time people dont know what are they talking about. 9/10 great game just like origin is.

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deactivated-5bfc8187829ef

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Both origin and odyssey are very good games. What is game if it is not entertaining?

Setting for ac games must be mysterious and france and england are not mysterious settings . I didnot like syndicate and unity. While black flag was good.

These new lands are great exploration and combat ..lits of elements . Tons of quest. Goid characters .visually stunning for a open world game. I dont now what poeple are say ing about pc performance . I am playing it on pc and i didnot have asingle problem. Most of the time people dont know what are they talking about.

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Grabberflesh50

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superb game...love the new direction...9.8/10

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vortec40

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Edited By vortec40

People are mentioning fences . Get off it and play this game. Redbox riules for trying games. I. Bought it a day after.

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Castaneda

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People who don't love this game love Trump. They are just plain bigly stupid. 9,5 out of 10.

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allblackmax

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My biggest issue with this game and why I stopped playing it is the sub-par graphics, chopping animation and general lack of fluid graphics. The characters' facial expressions and graphic details such as hair, skin, and eye details are not good. I was playing the game on the PS4 Pro and the "performance mode" did nothing to help the situation. Even the landscape details, rock formations, water, grass, trees, etc are sub-standard. Hopefully they're working on a graphic refresh.

Horizon Zero and Far Cry 5 set the bar.

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vortec40

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@allblackmax: you’re either exaggerating big time or playing this on a shitty tv. It’s one or the other .

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p1p3dream

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@allblackmax: I tried playing on my PS4Pro, and I also found the game struggling quite a bit. There is a lot going on in this game graphically, and the PS4(Pro even) doesn't have quite enough muscle to really keep up with the game.

Playing this on PC with HDR / 60fps, and ultra settings- the game looks drop dead gorgeous....

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DrUnK_PuNk

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Edited By DrUnK_PuNk

@allblackmax: Seriously? Graphics are the reason you hate this? Graphics do not make a game good, also if you want better graphics you are playing in the wrong mode. Performance mode is for those who want higher FPS or don't have a 4k tv. If you want better graphics get a 4k tv that has HDR support and play at higher resolutions with HDR on of course. Some of the best games though have graphics that could be called bad. I am on the fence still on if I should get this game or not but I assure you graphics are not the deciding factor for me at least. If I get this game it will be the second assasins creed game i've played since i've only played the first one and didn't really like it.

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mattcake

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It still has the ridiculous annoyance of carrying around a dozen pairs of pants I can't wear yet because my level is 10 and they're level 11. Do I need more XP to understand how to use laces or something? I really wish they'd use some sense and let people equip *anything* but maybe not get all the bonuses until you're the same level - or better yet, gain XP with each item you wear that levels up quicker the higher your level. The contrived gameplay elements like that detract from so much good that they've done elsewhere. 7-8 seems about right sadly.

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MashedBuddha

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@mattcake:

Yep the fact that this is an issue really is stupid. As stupid as the other two comments that replied to this post.

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deactivated-5bfc8187829ef

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@mattcake: because you probably havenot played rpg games before,?

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sparkbark

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Edited By sparkbark

@mattcake: your comment was "pants". seriously though, your moaning about wearing pants in a game?? get a life.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Slow pacing how? After 13.5 hrs i still can't put the controller down. This is as close to a perfect 10 as i would ever want to give a game apart from timed missions gahh !.

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jagdedge124

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Given the user reviews are about 6.8 right now, the reviewer probably overrated it, but certainly better than IGN's rating. Good job. I can see an 8 on a game like this, but the 9's and the rest, a bit crazy.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@jagdedge124: I would give it 9.8 it is truly the best game i have played all year. Great missions , incredible graphics. Playing on Xbox One X though which is easily the best console version. Just so damn smooth for that level of detail. Great to see them use the X's extra memory and horsepower in a meaningful way.

I can't think of another game that even comes close to how fun and involving this game is the longer you play it.

I am still stunned that there is next to no pop in no matter where you go and how far you see. Moving along in a ship is an incredible experience on a 4k screen and so is mountain climbing and looking down at cities and the ocean. The lighting is amazing how it reflects off water surfaces.

They obviously spent a great deal of time and love on this title and it shows in spades.

I often just want to stop and take photos every few minutes as there is always something incredible to look at.

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Bogdan96

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@jagdedge124:

From me has 10/10! Game of The Year! Kassandra is the best!

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DEVILTAZ35

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@bogdan96: I totally agree love her sarcasm :)

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alexbartle

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Assassins Creed always feel like a chore to play

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Castaneda

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@alexbartle: Lazy people feel everything is a chore. Get off your ass.

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MashedBuddha

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@Castaneda:

My god use your brain, you're sitting on your ass playing videogames.

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3partan341

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So basically more half finished Ubisoft work getting hyped. Got it.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@3partan341: Half finished how? It has a few very minor glitches such as lighting that is a bit weird indoors at times that i have noticed on Xbox One X but this is overall one hell of a polished game. It is often so stunning i just stare at the screen. Riding into the mountains on the horse and overlooking the landscape to the ocean and even seeing far off ships and islands full of detail is just incredible. They really did use the extra memory and horsepower of X here.

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vortec40

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@deviltaz35: it’s tjhe same on the pro

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3partan341

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@deviltaz35: All the technical stuff is fine. Bugs are fine. They can fix that in a bit. The ideas don't seem like that thought out imo. I wish Ubi gave the developers more time to iron things out. Maybe backtrack if they needed.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@3partan341: What did you want from it just curious? Just personally this is the best game this side of The Witcher 3

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3partan341

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Edited By 3partan341

@deviltaz35: I was looking for something like their trailers on the Steam page. Where the combat seems grounded. The actual gameplay seems whimsical like it's all about dancing around with magical leaps and throwing magic swords.

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MXVIII

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After playing for a good 20 hours I can say with certainty that getting rid of the shield was dumb. Plus the developers blatantly lied when they said there wouldnt be as many archers as Origins. Every single enemy in the game either has a bow or a javelin. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Trying to board a ship and all the enemies on the boat take aim at me and fire, you know what would be REALLY helpful against something like that? A shield.

Other than that, combat is pretty clunky compared to Origins. Especially against multiple opponents. even when you are focusing on one guy, you can do a side roll and swipe at nothing but air, because your character isnt even facing what he supposed to be focusing on anymore. Ocarina of time had better targeting lol. They should have went with an Arkham style combat system to be honest. I think that would have worked much better, especially since this game FORCES you to fight multiple opponents if you want to take part in the conquest modes.

The Game is gorgeous though. The world is massive and fun to explore, although Senu was a MUCH better scout than Ikkaros, although this is balanced out with a new ability that highlights nearby enemies, which is great when you are in caves where Ikkaros obviously cant see. Senu, was much easier to control, and for some reason the terrain didnt look so much like pea soup in Origins. You could make out enemies and objects far easier in the predecessor than this title. I mean it is an Eagle. They have extraordinary vision.

All of the abilities are really fun and incredibly useful. I find myself utilizing more aspects of the tree, than I did in Origins, for example there were whole branches in Origins that I completely ignored. However, this go around every branch seems to have something useful for every play style.

I can agree with the 8/10. Its very enjoyable, and It has plenty to keep you playing. Explore mode is definitely the way to go! Im still not completely on board with their design decisions, but it is what it is.

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Bogdan96

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@MXVIII: you don't know how to play then...I play it on Nightmare and I have level 25 and 20 hours in it with no boost! I never used the shueld in Origins so I'm glad it's gone! You should play Kassandra she is the best!

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MXVIII

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@bogdan96:

Im not surprised. The game isnt that hard at all. Swing swing swing, and repeat lol.

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lorddaggeroff

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This reviews a bit biased, kinda silly getting reviewed by someone whose a fan, if the reviewer compared this to assassin's creed IV black flag then they would place a better emphasis towards this game, but the reviewers being objectional and seems to focus on the games franchise instead rather it's beautiful pbr world, and rich assets, and beautiful seemless environment that's simply living and alive. Rockstar still hasn't added any animals that's worth bothering with on the next gen consoles.

So yeah I think this reviews biased, especially when death stranding comes out there will not be any vehicles, the same said for phantom pains ending being nonexistent yet it was a master piece to some. Yes and no.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@lorddaggeroff: It did make me laugh at first being torn apart by a level 9 wolf when i was level 2 lol. Teach me to explore too far too quickly. I came back at level 10 and wiped em out lol.

The game is just so much fun though , at level 7 i snuck in and stole a level 42 armour piece from a compound and stole all the treasure right from under their noses. It is great that you have that level of freedom to really use stealth a lot if you are careful.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

Why The hell would you play this on the Pro when the Xbox one x version has superior draw distance,textures, faster transitions and a much much higher resolution. This is an easy 9.5 on Xbox one X. Best game of the year so far and nothing even comes close. This is Ubisoft showing they really can make a stellar RPG. It feels like The Witcher 3 quite often but doesn’t quite have that level of polish but what does? Nothing so far. This is probably one of the few great games we will see on current systems going forward. It absolutely smashes the disappointing Shadow of the Tombraider so badly that you will forget you even played it.

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Sa80iii

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Edited By Sa80iii

@deviltaz35: I mean... why the hell would you play this on the Xbox one x when the PC has literally superior everything?

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Assassin's Creed Odyssey

First Released Oct 2, 2018
released
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC
  • PlayStation 4
  • Stadia
  • Xbox One

Assassin's Creed's newest game enters the Ancient Greek world.

8
Great

Average Rating

337 Rating(s)

8

Published by:

Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Mature
Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language