Odyssey is the newest instalment from Ubisoft and I can tell you, they should be proud! I really did think upon seeing the gameplay reveal videos that were plaguing various media sites upon its release that they had gone back to their old ways of copy and paste then repeat who will notice the difference?
You start with the option of choosing your lead character which is a first for the series it doesn’t really change anything as far as I am aware apart from some dialogue and the armour looks different on Kassandra than it does on Alexios, you can choose from either Alexios or Kassandra to be your main protagonist in this journey you’re embarking on. Odyssey is set around 431bc when the Athenians were at war with the Spartans and this time period does not disappoint as you get involved with whichever faction you wish to help be that with enemy forts/hideouts, conquest battles or even at sea with your mighty ship the Aderstia navel combat isn’t as good as black flag just because of the lack of cannons but it’s still enjoyable. It all counts towards your Conquest battle for a specific region.
The game runs very smoothly, in my opinion, I’ve tried it on PS4 and Xbox One X and the games ran smoothly and looks stunning especially in the peak of the day when you can look across the plains of Greece. It has a few slip-ups like loot that isn’t there being shown which will be fixed after a patch and the fact that you can climb any surface without any clear route being visible which is fine as it saves time but just unrealistic.
General running, climbing and fighting all works well although your chosen hero isn’t very fast and there is no option to sprint so it does get annoying you will have your noble steed to get you about a bit faster as long as you stick to main roads that are your best bet to get from A to B quickly.
Climbing as I said you can pretty much climb anything you want which is good just not how it would work in the real world, but I can get past that fact as combat feels the best in the series fluent deadly and devastating. The combat is where it’s at for me I love getting stuck in fighting 5+ people at a time dodging parrying and dealing the final blow to my victim it’s so much fun and the weapons you will find along your journeys will help you along with that process, me personally I like to use a sword and an axe but if you don’t fancy that you can use a club/mace, daggers or a staff and go all Donatello on them the choice is yours.
Bows are a bit different this time around you only ever have one bow and that bow can fire many different types of arrows and different types of shots as well, but we will come back to that. Armour is another big thing in this game and being around 431bc it’s all about metal chest pieces different greaves and helmets, so you can make your character look like a something out of the gladiator film.
You can once again upgrade all of your gear to keep it up to date with your level which is great but the amount of resources you have to find is just ridiculous so just a friendly tip if you find something you like due to stats or just look just keep hold if it and upgrade after a while just find something else that is already levelled up as resources rule the world in this game you need them for everything! Upgrade your sword 269 metal 170 wood etc. and all this to gain three levels its wrong in my eyes. It shouldn’t be that high in my eyes. Upgrading your ship is the same story so just do what you feel you need to but like I said be patient and just save. You can, however, purchase timesavers which are microtransactions but if you’re impatient then chuck more money at this game.
A new feature of the game is engraving your gear which isn’t very well explained in the game but it’s well worth doing it gives you a choice of upgrading your stuff to help with your play style. Feel like going in head first to a group of enemies? Throw on a 4% warrior damage. Like hiding and killing in silent (True Assassin!) throw on 4% assassin damage it all adds up and by doing this you can have two or even five sets of armour to deal with all different types of problems in the game and the more you use the engravings they will level up and give you greater benefits. The example they’re set on milestones so kill 50 animals and you gain greater damage to animals.
Another new feature is that you, as far as I know, are not an assassin you are a mercenary so killing civilians stealing etc. are all ok but you will pay a price as if you’re a naughty boy/girl a bounty will be placed on your head and you will have to deal with that bounty hunter on your case until you kill them or they kill you and fair warning that is relentless they always turn up at the worst possible times and ruin your plans more times than you can count, and don’t be thinking oh bounty hunters sounds fun, they will be a level or two difference! NO! I was level 12 and got hunted down by a level 18 and 27 bounty hunter it was not fun.
Message boards are another new feature but really they’re the same as the pigeon coups that Ezio had to go to to get contracts but the amount of contracts you have is unreal I think right now I have at least 30+ active missions which are great for the XP but I have an illness when it comes to side quests I have to do them so it’s drastically slowing down my story progress which is fine but I don’t know how many more I can do as they can get very samey, like kill these soldiers, kill the bandits, get me herbs etc. They can drag on a bit but then you have mini story side quest these are fun and the characters you meet along the way are all interesting and have their own interests.
Conquest battles are cool as hell it’s a full on war and you get to choose if you help attack the nation or you defend the nation if you attack you get more rewards so you weigh up the risk of fighting a hard battle for more loot or an easy battle for less loot.
Ubisoft have outdone themselves with the new and improved skill tree and some skills are better than others that’s just the way it is but you can upgrade as you see fit want to be a whiz with a bow upgrade hunter tree a demon close up and personal go for warrior or an invisible assassin choose to follow that path on the tree, the choice is yours. The best option is the fact you can mix and match and if you’re not happy with how your skills help you can reset them at any time and try out different combination’s for a little drachma.
Another first for the series is that they have gone more down the line of the RPG by giving you a choice of dialect when dealing with main and side quests you have to gather info from them about the target or for what they want you to do this is detailed in two modes you can choose from you can play in explore mode where you get the hints but you have to follow the hints to uncover your goal or normal assisted mode where the game tells you where to go, you can also have many many romantic encounters in which you choose whether to pursue them in that way or not I mean who knows you might get some more info or you might just get an STI.
This game is stunning I loved Origins but lets be fair it was a desert pretty much the whole time wherever you went with a few bits in between whereas this in majestic cities in there prime and the statues that are around and the temples its all just such a nice place to run around and take it all in. Going to sea is just as spectacular rivalling against other ships be that Spartan, Athenian, Pirates or bounty hunters after you its survival of the fittest so you better be ready for multiple ships going out for you at once but you will have your trusted lieutenants by your side who all offer a unique ability to add to your ships offensive or defensive abilities so choose wisely.
All NPCs have a good look to them depending on what region you are in at the time they all feel as though they would belong there which is very cool. All main characters you meet all feel unique and have a purpose take Socrates he was a Greek philosopher and they guy just talks in riddles all he reminds me of is Yoda from Star Wars the way you converse with him but being in that time period and what he was, I like to think its quite accurate.
The game sounds are great you can hear the roar of the ocean when at sea the hustle and bustle of Athens market the trees rustling as you run through a forest and the sound of the hard rock when running along mountains.
The sounds of battles are where it’s at though the sound of a successful parry and a counter attack is my personal favourite. Voice acting in the game is very good so far all the main parts of the story feel emphasised so you feel a characters anger or sadness which is good as I think we deserve it after having to play a Connor even after all these years…yes I know I still hold a grudge!
The controls are very much the same as Origins they feel great and easy to use and in combat, fights feel very fluent and responsive, you use the RB/R1 and RT/R2 are your attack and RB/R1 & LB/L1 are a parry move when triggered. They have also added a hotkey you can assign your abilities to like the Sparta Kick and also Bow abilities are housed there as well. These are accessed through LB/L1 for you melee abilities and LT/L2 for your ranged attacks.