After I reviewed Assassin’s Creed Origins, I thought that would be the last game that I played within this beloved franchise. Thanks to Google Project Stream, I got my hands on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for free until January 17, 2019. With a decent internet connection, Google Project Stream runs very well on Google Chrome, but the game does suffer a lot from lagging and dropping frame rates with poor internet quality.
Violence: It is possible to turn off blood and gore in options menu. But if you elect not to do this, expect to see a lot of bloodshed. Some cinematic cutscenes feature intense violence, such as cutting off people’s heads and penetration of throat. You participate in war battles at points throughout the game. Soldiers aren’t the only people you can kill, though; almost any NPC in the game can be murdered, including civilians, and some optional quests specifically require you to kill merchants or politicians.
Sexual Themes: It is your option to flirt or hook up with possible candidates of either gender. However, these encounters are completely avoidable. If you chose any romance, no sexual scene will be shown, but suggested dialogues will appear in conversations, and sound effects can be heard during cutscenes. Statues of topless women and nude men appear throughout the game world.
Language: Many characters in the game use foul language, including words like s**t, f**k, p**s, and c**k. This language appears both in casual conversations, as well as when characters get particularly emotional.
Spiritual Themes: The game mentions a lot of gods, since ancient Greeks believed in multiple gods and mythical creatures. Apollo is one of the most mentioned and common that you will encounter. Temples and priests can be found in many places in the game.
Positive Themes: Odyssey rewards you being kind to your opponents and righteous in your behaviors, and the story reflects how those good choices come together into a happy ending.
As I always love the historical settings of Assassin’s Creed games, Odyssey never fails to make me feel a sense of awe everywhere I travel. The world is so beautiful that I could just enjoy chilling on my horse and riding around. It is a wonderful feeling to experience ancient Greece thousands of years after its time. I understand that this is a fictional universe, but I appreciate the hard work they have done to reflect detailed historical facts in architecture, culture, and clothing.
The story is the best one I have ever played within the franchise after Assassin’s Creed III, as it is engaging, rewarding, and moving. Because of the storytelling, I found myself deeply caring for what was going on in my character’s life and destiny throughout the game. Without giving spoilers, you will enjoy the stories from both main and side quests much more now due to the choice options, which give you more power in what you want to say, how you want to react, and what path you choose. I appreciate the new mechanic and it certainly adds pressure in my decision making. It is especially engaging, though somewhat frustrating, when I have no clue which choice will affect my path and which will not, so make sure to save your game before making dramatic decisions with any NPC.
Being a mercenary is not necessarily black and white; instead, it is often as grey as you want it to be. You can kill NPCs, innocent citizens, or soldiers from either the Spartan or Athenian armies if your heart desires, but you also need to face the consequence of being hunted down by bounty hunters. You can pay them off with gold, or hunt them down before they come to get you. Stealing also increases your bounty level, but remaining unseen while doing so has no effect.
You can choose which side to take in the war between Athens and Sparta throughout the game. By killing soldiers, burning supplies, and stealing national treasure, you can weaken the enemy’s power over a certain region. When the reigning faction’s regional power falls low enough, you will be able to join the conquest battle, an epic fight reminiscent of the Battle at Thermopylae. Your job in the conquest battle is to defeat as many as enemies you can before the time runs out, so that your faction can control the region.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey embraces more RPG elements than any other AC game. You can customize your gear and armor by upgrading and engraving them with better bonuses which suit your play style. You have your own ship to upgrade too! Just like Black Flag, you can sail out into the open sea, explore unknown areas, fight against enemy ships, hunt sea animals, and loot shipwreck sites. Upgrading your ship will allow you to recruit people to provide some nice bonuses for battles. You can choose to play as a male main character—Alexios—or a female main character—Kassandra—for your playthrough; I certainly prefer Kassandra over Alexio. In terms of physical appearance, voice acting, and personal charisma, Kassandra is a better crafted character, and choosing her makes the game more enjoyable as a whole.
Similar to Origins’ The Hidden Ones DLC, in Odyssey you can hunt down targets who do harm to society. Each regional target carries great gear for you to collect. One of the best items is a Easter egg for Wonder Woman: the Amazonian armor set. I am a big fan of Wonder Woman, and I absolutely adore this outfit. Being able to see my character growing stronger and overpower enemies as well as super fashionable in ancient Greek period clothing is a great joy. The combat system is refined from Origins by allowing you to reset your skill trees at any point.
After talking about everything that I like, I should note a few flaws in the system. While love interests in games are often referred to as “romance options,” the terms “hook-up” or “one night stand” is more fitting for the so-called “romance” in Odyssey. Honestly, I am not interested in pursuing such a “romance” at all, for it does not show any depth in reflecting how human relationships work. Can you avoid such encounters with individuals? Yes, absolutely; as long as you don’t select any of the dialogue options with a heart symbol, you won’t flirt with anyone. Don’t worry about whether you can still finish a mission without getting physical. It is still possible complete missions and recruit NPCs into your crew without ever getting them in bed with you.
The game suffers from bugs as well. At times you will run into loot that cannot be looted, some spots you cannot jump over that clearly should be jumpable, paths that cannot be found, and missions that cannot be finished. However, these issues are bearable if you enjoy the game as a whole. Micro-transactions are not required and you can totally finish the game without spending any money on them, but they are available as is the current trend in gaming. The leveling process can be long as well, but it is still worth every moment that you dive into this ancient world.
One last thing: Odyssey uses the most cursing of any AC game. Normal citizens use the “F” and “S” words often in casual conversations, and the main characters usually use them when they get emotional or angry. In the same way that I reviewed Origins, I see no need for this and it is totally unnecessary to add strong language in ancient civilizations that do not share our modern culture. I do appreciate the provision of the blood-and-gore disable option, but just wish there was also a filter for those who do not want such strong language as well.
There are many different endings for Odyssey, depending on what choices you make in the game. If you want to get the most adorable, heartwarming ending, you have to show kindness, forgiveness, and generosity to others. It is great to see a game rewarding players’ good behaviors, and I hope you will end up with the ending you want. Good luck!
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The Bottom Line
If one avoids unnecessary romance, turns off gore, and is able to stand the strong language, AC Odyssey is a good buy, if only for the story and historical setting.