Finding your way like nobody else – First impressions of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Early access has it’s ups and downs. Clearly it is amazing to not have to wait any longer and jump into a game as soon as possible. On the flip side though: If you have an issue, there are not many people around that can help you. Luckily I found the solution to my issues by myself – though not without some frustration. And, being fully aware of the irony, I DID get lost right in the beginning of the game. I found Kassandra’s home again two hours later, by accident. Oh and one thing needs to be clear in advance: I won’t apollo-gize for Greek mythology puns that will happen over the next few weeks.
I spent the last two days playing Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and I have to say: Most of the time (when I am not getting lost) I am having a blast. The graphics are amazing and the environmental design is absolutely stunning. Animations look smooth and the voice acting is superb. It makes for a really immersive story aspect. The story itself starts slow, personal. No end of the world high stakes. It feels more about the personal hardships of the life of someone who comes from nothing. I am pretty sure that will change soon, but I am in no rush to run through the story.
The exploration part of the game is far too much fun. I am on a rather small island at the moment but just walking around, climbing anything I can find and seeing what I can do and what I can’t feel both fun and rewarding. The Loot system feels quite good – not too much clutter but enough things to make you feel you actually get something for exploring every nook and cranny.
The general controls are not that different from the last AC title, so if you have played that you’re good to go. If you haven’t you might need a little to get the hang of it. Overall combat is straight forward but: It is still an Assassin’s Creed game. Meaning: If you are someone who likes to charge into the enemies head on you will have a really rough time – especially in the beginning. Since one of the skill trees is a classic warrior (the other being hunter and assassin) I am guessing that does change a bit as you level up. But in the beginning you are woefully under powered for that sort of play style and should rely on scouting ahead, stealth and assassinations more than brute strength. Unless you are an absolute god at dodging and parrying. And even then you can get taken out easily. So tread lightly!
Or do it like me and fight that one mercenary 16 times in a row because you are convinced that “this character is 2 levels above you, you should avoid him” really is not so much a rule as it is a loose guideline. He kicked my but! Repeatedly. Admittedly also due to the fact that I was playing according to the “dodging is for the weak!” philosophy. Which is, as explained above, a very dumb idea. But I beat him eventually. With quite a bit of gore. (Damn some of those scenes are brutal!) So have I learned my lesson? Please…
The main character is absolutely amazing. I am playing as Kassandra but I’ve seen some footage from a friend who is playing as Alexios and they are both so very well done. In a way that makes them both alike but also subtlety different enough so they are not carbon copys of each other whee they are the exact same character.
I DO with I had more options to say “fuck off, no way!” when some npcs are trying to rope me into their dumb shit shenanigans. But I guess the story has to move forward somehow, even if it is with me and Kassandra constantly eye rolling.
After two (ok, more one and a half) evenings in this game I am still on the starting island, feeling like I am not nearly done with it and enjoying the journey a lot. I can’t say much about the story so far simply because there hasn’t been a lot so far and I am busy with doing every side quest I can find. All of which are fully voiced and have cut scenes by the way. The side quests also level with you. You might find a quest that is a bit above your level but quests you pick up at level two and only get to a couple levels later scale with your level to match the enemy level and the quest reward. So you don’t have to be worried about out-levelling content ever.
Last but not least: The photo mode is again amazing in this game. And you can put a filter onto your map and see your own (or if you want other people’s) screenshots at certain locations. It’s a nice extra feature. And I apologise in advance for all the useless screenshots I take. At weird locations. The statue of Zeus was particularly shocking in that regard. Where Kassandra said to me “I probably shouldn’t climb this…” and then did it anyways. I also probably shouldn’t have stopped right there just to take a pic. But sometimes in these games there are moments when you just don’t ask yourself if you should do something. You gotta!