Earlier this week, Assassin’s Creed fans got their first good look at Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. The extended demo shown on Ubisoft’s stage revealed that the game is following closely in the footsteps of Assassin’s Creed: Origins while adding a couple of its own tweaks to the formula. Some were plain to see, while others might have slipped-by unnoticed. Majorly changed or not, it looks like players are going to have something different on their hands once the game releases this October.
The biggest changes that Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is making to the series’ formula is the much heavier emphasis it’s placing on role-playing and player choice. After choosing to play as either Kassandra or Alexios, it’s up to the player to determine who exactly they are and how they will interact with the world around them. According the developer, players can do this in a couple of ways. The first is through their combat choices. Alexios/Kassandra carry the legendary Spear of Leonidas, which grants them access to all manner of special abilities. They can take the direct approach as a fierce warrior, engage from afar as a ranged fighter or fight unseen as a manner one would expect from an Assassin (if indeed that’s what Kassandra is). Players have the power to use any combination of abilities from any of these skill trees, so it really is up to them to decide what kind of fighter their character will be.
The other major way players can define how they affect the world around them is through the game’s new dialog system. Dialogue choices actually have some weight to them, and they carry consequences that can either crop up immediately or will take some time to make themselves known. This can also affect one of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s other new additions: it’s romance options. Yup, along with choosing how one’s character fights and relates to those around them, players can, for the first time, decide who their character has a relationship with. The type and quality of said relationship will depend the character being pursued, so players can expect more than the usual relationship beats seen in games like Mass Effect. In addition to all of this, naval combat is making a comeback in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and it’s receiving some changes too.
Naval combat in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is about immobilizing the enemy’s ship and then either ramming them with intention to sink or boarding them and taking their loot. It sounds like boarding is the better option once one has recruited a competent crew, as each ship has a chest full of gear just waiting to be plundered. Getting a crew capable of taking the ship is, again, up to the player. It seems that just about anyone can be recruited to be part of Kassandra’s/Alexios’ mercenary crew, and it’s on the player figure out who makes the cut and how. As for the gear available on those ships and elsewhere in the world, it follows a system based on that of Assassin’s Creed: Origins; the key difference is that each piece can have a special quality imbued upon it that can grant active and/or passive benefits to one’s character.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey comes out on October 5, a little less than a year after the acclaimed Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Yet, it seems like Ubisoft and the team behind it are aiming for something more than the annual iterations of the past. It all sounds quite good, so here’s hoping the game will be able to deliver on the potential that’s been shown thus far.