Now I know going into this opinion that there will be some opposition from the get-go and that is perfectly fine but it needs to be said. Despite the secretive and clandestine nature of the Assassins and the assorted Brotherhoods, the Conquest Battles that will be coming to Assassins Creed Odyssey evolve the series in a delightful way.
Conquest Battles are decisive and dynamic conflicts between the forces of Athens and Sparta when one side becomes decidedly weaker in a given territory. These battles will occur whether or not the player is there to help and are essentially wild skirmishes between hundreds of soldiers, any one of which can take a swing at you.
Secrets and shadowy murder aren’t the crux of an Assassins Creed game, it is, in my opinion, being at the centre of history and influencing its path. In Odyssey, we play as a Spartan Mercenary, either Kassandra or Alexios, both of whom are not assassins nor will they become assassins over the course of the game. The formation of the Brotherhood as we know it occurred during the events of Origins with the establishment of the Hidden Ones.
Throughout the game, players will fight for either Athens or Sparta during the tumultuous events of the Peloponnesian War which involved a vigorous taking and re-taking of territories across Greece. Odyssey allows players to step into those large-scale conflicts and make a difference for their chosen allies. Large battles are not a rare thing in Assassins Creed but it is usually undercut by a defined target we need to assassinate. The hunt for Cesare Borgia in Assassins Creed Brotherhood springs to mind, as Ezio sprints across the body and fire-strewn battlefield hunting for his target.
And that really hasn’t changed much as the Conquest Battles still present a powerful hero for either Kassandra or Alexios to face. Take Diocles for example, a terrifying brute of an Athenian warrior that leads the forces in Mykonos against Sparta. Diocles and other heroes like him will take damage from other sources but it is ultimately up to you to put them down. These heroes will bring powerful abilities to bear against you and your army, challenging you in the best way possible.
I’ve always dreamed of being able to be a direct force in the historical conflicts that form the centre of the Assassins Creed franchise. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have dreamed I was the Axe Guy from the Assassins Creed Unity trailer, getting among the thick of it at one of the climaxes of the French Revolution.
The Conquest Battles, at least from the short amount of gameplay footage we have, add a true form of dynamism to the world, taking place whether or not the player is involved. History is not being caused because of the player, but guided by it and Odyssey is a big evolutionary step in that direction.
Assassins Creed Odyssey is going to divulge a lot of secrets regarding the First Civilisation and the artefacts they have left scattered, artefacts that have been pretty significant over the years. While Origins showcased how the Brotherhood began and how the Creed was established, Odyssey will explain why there was any need to form that brotherhood.
The Conquest Battles look quite intense and action-packed, presenting a different form of combat for an Assassins Creed game but one that feels natural and in a way, much needed. The danger surrounding the Conquest Battles, again by looking at the limited footage we have, is that they could get a little stale, but I have no doubt that we will have unique gameplay mechanics to the different battles, battlefields and weaponry at our disposal.
Assassins Creed Odyssey release for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on 5th October 2018.