Assassins Creed has become a household name in the gaming industry much like Call of Duty, Legend of Zelda, Halo and innumerable others. We’ve assassinated our way across almost every corner of the world with the standard formula remaining pretty much the same throughout. That is until Assassins Creed Origins flipped that formula on its head in an amazing jaunt to Ancient Egypt. That virtual revolution is continuing with Assassins Creed Odyssey with its RPG elements and a storyline that places weight on your decisions and actions.
Pick Your Mercenary
Assassins Creed usually follows one protagonist, occasionally allowing you to play multiple, but never before has it allowed players to choose their warrior. You will be granted the option of playing as either Alexios or Kassandra, Spartan mercenaries fighting during the time of the Peloponnesian War in the 5th Century BC.
It is important to note that neither Kassandra or Alexios are assassins, nor will they become assassins over the course of Odyssey. They are powerful warriors, but assassins as we know them came about during the events of Assassins Creed Origins. Regardless of which warrior you choose to pick, you will wield a powerful First Civilisation artefact known as the Broken Spear Of Leonidas which unlocks special abilities for your mercenary to wield in battle. Despite the lack of actual assassins in Odyssey, the story will uncover the origins of how the First Civilisation artefacts became integral in the Templar/Assassins conflict. This will include players being able to interact with and discover more about the other pieces of Eden.
In terms of modern times, the Animus will still play an important role and will continue the story of Layla who we met during the events of Assassins Creed Origins. So, while we are jumping back several hundred years in terms of historical timelines, the modern day story will be chronologically after Origins. For players who do not particularly enjoy playing in the modern day, you will have choices to either limit or extend your time spent outside the Animus.
Now, I know that many players will be a little upset about the fact that an Assassins Creed game will not have any actual assassins in it. You play as a Spartan mercenary, not even an actual Spartan. But Odyssey is still at its core, an AC game putting players into a major historical setting during a tumultuous time. However, in a new spin for an AC game, our choices and actions will matter, which is possible storywise due to old DNA.
“In a series structured around genetic memories of historical events, this degree of choice is made possible by what the developers call, ‘old and imprecise’ DNA, which leaves it to you to fill in the gaps in the historical simulation”
From a design standpont, this is genius as the game will still converge at historical points and we will get to meet historical titans like the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates and Socrates, one of the most influential ancient philosophers. The brand new dialogue system will allow players to truly immerse themselves and interact with history so if we want to debate with Socrates, that is entirely on the historical table. An exciting prospect for this history nerd.
From a gameplay perspective our dialogue choices and actions within the game will be seen throughout the world. One of the bigger overarching choices relates to who you decide to side with in the Peloponnesian War: Athens or Sparta. This initial decision coupled with all the assorted quest choices, can lead you to one of two possible endings, change the feel of the world itself, limit who and what is available to you and ultimately make the game feel like something interactive and alive.
The E3 demo tasks you with the central goal of eliminating a brutal tyrant known as Podarkes, who just happens to be backed by Athens. In order to draw him out you need to lower his Nation Power, which can be done by killing his soldiers, destroying supplies and stealing valuable treasures.
The quickest way to do that is to team up with a young revolutionary known as Kyra and her group of rebels and Thaletas a Spartan commander. Kyra prefers the stealthier approach while Thaletas, in the true Spartan fashion wants to knock down the front door and charge in screaming. It is entirely up to you the route you want to take, or you can even utilise a combination of the two. After the quest is done and the dust has settled you will find the effects on the island itself (in this case Mykonos) and who remains alive and well.
Who you choose to side with, eg Kyra or Thaletas can also help in your quest to pursue a romance with them. Assassins Creed Odyssey allows you to chase down certain allies and NPCs within the game for the express purpose of some really old school romance. The romance choices aren’t just tacked on to the game but play an integral part of the game but can be opted out of/not pursued if it isn’t your cup of tea. During the Odyssey AMA with Jonathan Dumont on reddit, it was stated that if you make the right choices you may witness some romantic scenes, without the full nudity however. This may relieve or disappoint you depending on your perspective.
Bringing it back from the low-light romance side of Odyssey, it is possible to take to the seas in a spectacular fashion, fighting battles for either Athens or Sparta and winning reputation and renown as a fierce captain. Boats and ships are nothing new in Assassins Creed, from gondolas in Venice, papyrus boats in Egypt, to the literal pirate ships in Black Flag.
Your ships can be outfitted with cosmetic customisations and gameplay upgrades as well as staffed with unique recruitable crew members. Fitting in with the time period, there will be no cannons like the ones that were equipped on the Jackdaw but there will be bows and arrows, javelins and a greater emphasis on ramming and cleaving enemy ships into splinters.
The weapons, chosen ramming device and hull can all be upgraded on your ship through progression and special perks can be applied to your vessel through recruiting crew members. These crew members can be found throughout the world and can be enlisted and brought on board, each specialising in something different. I presume that the crew members available to the player will differ based on whether you fight for Athens or Sparta in the war. But the recruits you enlist for your ship can also be utilised on land in the true fashion of Brotherhood, where an ability known as Call To Arms sends in your recruits to distract and fight enemies.
Oceanbourne combat will play a big part in Odyssey with about half the map being navigable ocean that we will eventually conquer. Players will also have to deal with the pressure of the dynamic weather system, which includes torrential downpours and violent storms. Both a terrifying and strategy-ridden situation.
Assassins Creed Odyssey is extending the revolutionary changes made by Origins and truly advancing the franchise. Odyssey will be released on October 5th, 2018 and promises to rejuvenate the franchise. Seeing as how the setting will expand more on the pieces of Eden, it is a good chance that we are approaching the end of the overarching story. Hopefully not.