Assassin's Creed Odyssey (2018)
Editor’s Note: There is an additional edit at the bottom of the original review, after I finished the game.
I am writing this without finishing the game… because I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever finish this game. It is such a love letter to Ubisoft of 2014. It realized what everyone loved about the year off AC Origins game, and basically tossed it out the window. What you are given in Odyssey is a shell of what made Origins so great. The sheer amount of stuff in this game is absolutely overwhelming. And this comes from someone who 100%ed both Witcher 3 and AC Origins and LOVED every single moment of it. Odyssey is basically “Filler - The Game”. It has so much crammed into it with no reason why. A majority of the stuff in the game doesn’t hold any real weight. If it was in Origins, it wouldn’t even be as bad, since you were basically an Egyptian Cop, and you could tack it up to just serving the people and doing your job. But here, you are a Mercenary that has no obligation to anyone. Most of the time the quests have no offer of money, and you are only doing it because of the XP grind.
The characters are mostly forgettable and poorly voice acted for the most part, except for the female version of the main character. If you do choose her, Kassandra is voiced so well, that it's easy to forget you are watching and playing a video game, and not just watching a movie. She does such an amazing job with the lines she was given. And it's in such stark contrast to the male counterpart. I’m continually baffled that the male version was even put in as a choice as he sounds so lame in comparison.
Honestly, there are several things that stand out in my mind about Odyssey that are actually pretty neat. The Cult story, which unlocks around 20 hours into the game is the big new thing. Also there is a Mercenary system in place now too. Someone finally copied Shadow of Mordor and took the Nemesis System idea and put it in their own game. It really isn’t as fully fleshed out here as it was in Mordor, but it still is nice to see someone try to replicate it, because it really is such a neat idea. Several locations also stand out as “Oh wow, this is rad!” moments for me. Diving into a Volcano to find there is a bit of floor there for you to explore and find a hidden cult sanctuary in the depths is such a neat location. The lighting effects are well done, but again, with Origins, it was already done a year ago, and much better on top of that.
Odyssey has a lot of just “eh, it’s nice I guess” locations. Not much really stands out, like Origins did. Even the Caves, that are the equivalent of Tombs, just have such a cookie cutter design to them. Every single one is the exact same, just layed out a little differently. As opposed to in Origins, where I remember a Crocodile god tomb, and it was hidden near a swamp, and flooded and just had such neat markings, making it distinct from the Tomb of a king, where that one was filled with treasures piled up high to the ceiling.
Everything you can say nice about Odyssey, you can say about Origins, and also add on “Origins did it better”. It's a crappy thing to say, but it honestly is true. This truly was the B team working on the B game, and it shows. Every single thing was done better a year ago. I lament buying and playing this game just because of the super high watermark that Origins made. If Origins didn’t exist, and this came out before, this would be a good game with too much stuff. But now, it’s just going to be compared with the much more fun, and better game.
Hopefully AC will take another year off and give the series time to rest, because when it did that with Origins, it made that game so much more fresh. As it stands now, Odyssey will just stand on its own as “Another one of those” but also with so much filler that isn’t even worth completing, that I’ll just recommend everyone play Origin instead. Odyssey just doesn’t do enough new or even interesting things to make it worth existing. It might be harsh, but this game should be assassinated by Bayek and sent off to the Duat.
EDIT: I did actually finish this game, with over double the time it took to complete Origins. Being able to speak more clearly about the game and the story, I felt like I was just adding to what I already said. This game is a step backwards in the AC franchise in every single conceivable way. It throws too much at you without really going in depth into any single one. There are several main plots and several endings, which you can’t really see without it being spread apart in dozens of hours. I finished the Atlantis/Father storyline first and that was probably the best content in the game as you fight the mythological creatures like the Minator and Medusa. Then I tried to finish the Brother/Mother storyline, which took a LONG time to get to, and apparently I got the bad ending because of one choice which was the right or good answer, but ended up with my entire family dying for no reason, and no warning that this choice would lead to a bad ending.
Then I decided to finish up the Cult storyline, and that was just more checklist gaming, which was a good time, but again, just too much and required me to look up several locations of cult members because there just is too big a world to explore and unlock. Then the final cult member was someone I had know clue who they were, because I met them back 60+ hours ago and barely even knew them. It was just too much stuff to cram into this game that made all the “heavy” stories fall extremely flat.
I really turned on the game the last 20+ hours of playing, and really enjoyed it, but that’s more because of the formula of the gameplay and not because of the story or environment. I enjoyed Origins a million times more, though Egypt was a much better location, Bayek a far more interesting main character, and the main plots being much less convoluted and stuck to one thing very very well, instead of branching out in several directions and not really getting anything right.
Odyssey should only be played by hardcore Assassin’s Creed fans (I guess I am, although I like these more Modern Area AC games, than the originals). It offers just too much stuff, that you really can’t focus on any one thing and get distracted every few minutes with another side quest, location, fort or character that needs to bother you for trivial help. The DLC just came out and I’ve heard it's bad. I can’t imagine myself ever going back to it now that I finished and uninstalled it. It was fun as a timewaster, and just to jump back into Origin style combat and exploration, but I’d be lying if I said this was one of the better AC games (in terms of a whole package). It’s a fine game, and you will certainly get your money, but if there was a choice to be made of should I play Origins or Odyssey, it’s Origins hands down every time. Period. Odyssey is like a comfort food, it’s there when you need it, can just zone out and lose an entire game just checking off quest after quest, or Question mark locations. It’s just good ol’ video game fun, but sadly nothing more than that.