Assassin’s Creed was introduced over a decade ago and for a while it was an extremely popular and celebrated franchise. Its success later contributed to its unraveling, as the frequency of its releases quickly led to over saturation and many fans simply stopped caring about the Animus, or at least wanted to go back to the early entries like Assassin’s Creed II. After taking a year off from creating a new mainline Assassin’s Creed title, last October gave us Assassin’s Creed Origins. Taking place in ancient Egypt, this new adventure starring Bayek reinvented the franchise as a more action RPG title, and based on the reception, the break resulted in a higher quality title than many of us were anticipating. Because of that it’s surprising that in less than one year after the release of Origins, the Animus will be sending players on a new adventure in Greece in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Assassin’s Creed Origins took the series into a more action oriented direction by revamping the battle system, so for better or worse players can expect a similar feel in Odyssey. However, while the gameplay mechanics are very familiar to last year’s title Odyssey makes some additional changes so the follow up isn’t simply more of the same with a Mediterranean flavor. This title puts a greater emphasis on RPG elements by including branching dialog trees that shape the game world and its relation to the player. Some of these consequences can be seen immediately while others won’t be revealed until later in the story. There are also opportunities for romance, as players will be able to switch between a male and female character, Alexios and Kassandra. Details as to how in depth this will be and how many viable relationship parters are remains unclear at this time. Also not confirmed, ancient Greece was (among many other things) known for same sex relationships so we can begin the speculation if that ends up being an option.
For a series that was born of the stealth genre, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey changes up the sneaking around by adding in Conquest Battles. These are large scale affairs where the player is thrust into combat between two decent sized battalions. These battles are successfully completed by eliminating important ranking officers before the player’s side loses too many of their own, much like a scenario from For Honor or a Dynasty Warriors title. This mode, while enjoyable, seemed out of place in an Assassin’s Creed title so it will be interesting to see how it ends up fitting in with the narrative and overall gaming experience when Odyssey is released.
Naval Battles make a return in Odyssey, and this was more enjoyable than expected. During this particular era, more advanced steering mechanisms didn’t exist so the ships traveled and battled based on the orders Kassandra gave while standing at the helm and giving orders to her soldiers. The ship nimbly moved across the sea, moving in and out range of the enemy vessels. The trained soldiers obediently followed the every command to raise their shields against a volley or unleash the flaming arrows at my command as they aim where they aim. Spartan warfare is apparently a major facet of Odyssey, and whether it be on land or sea Odyssey is set to satisfy every assassin’s bloodlust.
With an October 5 launch date, it seems that the reprieve from an annual Assassin’s Creed game was short lived. Assassin’s Creed Origins is the template on which Odyssey was built, so your personal opinion on its predecessor is a good baseline for where to set expectations. The branching dialog, romance options and of course the returning skill tree show that the developers intend to increase the appeal to RPG fans, but adding Conquest Battles and Naval Battles also puts a great emphasis on war. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is planned to launch on the usual suspects of PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.