Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – Further thoughts

I’ve hit just over 20 hours in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey now and I think I’ve got the measure of it.

Compared to the excellent Assassin’s Creed Origins, it doesn’t quite stack-up, but it’s one hell of a game anyway. It looks stunning, gives you a massive world to play in, and countless hours-worth of stuff to do.

There are a couple of things for me that don’t neccessarily prevent my fun, but certainly slow it down a little.

Odyssey
 

Level-gating

My biggest bug-bear in the whole game, and something that feels much more prominent than it did in Origins.

As an Assassin’s Creed fan, I love continuing the story and taking in the lore, learning about the characters and the world. But Odyssey seems to take great pleasure in leading you down the path then chucking-up massive brick walls.

I’ve often found myself 2 or 3 levels behind the required level for the next main mission. In some games, you’d take it on the chin and plough through. Odyssey is pretty damn punishing though. A couple of levels is a massive gulf between you and your enemies.

Now, I get it. I do. Ubisoft want you take-in more of this massive world, and build yourself up with all of the RPG elements to hand. And yes, I’ve found myself learning more and taking on some side stuff that I would have totally missed.

That’s not really the point, though. Giving opportunity to do extra bits is fine. But when the gulf is so large that you need to do quite a lot before you can circle back to the main missions, it’s a chore.

I’ve literally had to play for a couple of hours doing stuff I’m not arsed about, just so I can get back into it. Once or twice would be fine. I value levelling-up. But it’s a frequent occurence that starts to become quite frustrating.

 

System on system on system

Not a complaint so much as an observation. Odyssey throws a massive amount of game content your way. And that should be absolutely applauded.

But, having 2 tabs in the main menus committed to two meta-games (Mercenaries and Cultists) is pretty heavy if you ask me.

Sure, the Mercenaries seem mostly optional at this point (so why bother?), but Odyssey seems to have the story quite fixed on the cultists. It just means I’m having to decide the best way to invest my time, and honestly, why would I not go with the Cultists?

The mercenary system seems under-cooked, perhaps? Right now, I feel like it’s just redundant. If I see a mercenary that’s way too high a level, I avoid them. If I’m being hunted by one, I pay them off. The rewards are above average, I suppose?

Cultists are now the meat on the bones of Odyssey, but as it stands, it also seems superfluous to the main story. Speaking in terms of how they’re presented at least.

I expect that they’ll become more closely entwined as I go, but, thanks to the level-gating, that might be a while yet.

I’m really enjoying Odyssey, but it feels like it almost wants me to feel like I’m grinding all the time. Adding layer upon layer of extra stuff to do.

As a completionist and someone that wants the most bang for their buck, you would be set. Hell, based on the size, scale and quality alone, it’s an easy recommendation!

But if you’re like me and don’t neccessarily want all of that, and want to be taken-in by the narrative, you’re going to feel like you’re working for the next nugget of story.

 

An odyssey, I suppose.

Reading the above, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I wasn’t enjoying Odyssey. But that’s far from the truth, I’m having a great time.

Exploring the world, taking in the sunsets and hammering photo mode.

Give me a little more, you know, “Assassin”, because I’m a mercenary and there’s no mention of the order of Assassin’s or anything. Give me more story and less work to do to get there.

Am I asking too much?

It feels very much like how Red Dead Redemption 2 made me feel. Odyssey has become a grind to the end, and I’m not sure I’ve even hit the halfway point yet. Taxing, taking it’s toll, when I just want to play and advance through the narrative.

I don’t think it helps that the voice acting feels so one-dimensional compared to Origins, either. Those hard-earned cutscenes don’t quite give me the immersion I’m looking for.

Odyssey is a beautiful world, choc-full of things to do and I really like it. But when it’s making me feel like I’m doing chores……..I question whether or not it’s time well spent.

I’ll finish it, I have to/want to. But right now it’s looking quite daunting.

Perhaps the term “Odyssey” is actually very apt….

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