The Odyssey for those unfamiliar with ancient literature follows the journey of the Greek hero Odysseus as he attempts to get back home, an ordeal that takes him ten years. Much like his decade spent sailing the obscure corners of the seas, Assassins Creed Odyssey will open up an absolutely enormous marine environment for Alexios/Kassandra to conquer.
The team at Ubisoft has really focused on the ocean in Odyssey to make it an incredibly seamless experience that enchants and captivates players. The shoreline will have waves constantly breaking and dying while the further out the seas will become angrier, throwing larger waves against the hull of your customisable ship.
But of course, Assassins Creed is as much about exploration as it is about murder so be prepared to dive well below the surface and explore mysterious ruins filled with fish, jellyfish and of course, sharks.
This is not the first time players have ventured out onto the seas in Assassins Creed, with Black Flag putting us into the shoes of the incredibly successful pirate, Edward Kenway and throwing a hefty chunk of engaging pirate warfare at us.
Unlike Black Flag, naval combat in Odyssey is a lot faster paced, with a greater emphasis on close-range combat. There are no cannons on board these mighty vessels, instead, you will obliterate your foes with volleys of arrows, javelins and a combination of cleaving and ramming. Cleaving is the act of completely tearing through a ship leaving two broken halves and a lot of dead soldiers and it looks incredibly satisfying. Not to mention there are actual gameplay benefits to successfully cleaving, as you receive a portion of your ship’s health back and receive bonus resources from the destruction.
Ship speed in Assassins Creed Odyssey, particularly turning speed, has also been increased for more responsive battles. This means if an enemy is careening towards you there is still time to dodge the brunt of the attack.
Out on the ocean, naval combat is blurred with hand to hand as you board an enemy ship and leave no enemy standing. You can then loot treasure to your heart’s content, the bigger the ship the higher level of loot you will be able to steal. Not to mention that ships you do physically destroy in battle will drop chests that will be scattered under the waves. You can search for them if you so choose.
Aside from the missions players will undertake in the service of either Athens or Sparta, we can also freely sail around the Aegean, raining terror on any soldiers unfortunate enough to cross us. This will inevitably attract the attention of the majestic Mercenary ships sent to eliminate you. These powerful enemies hide great loot at great cost to you and will definitely not be beatable at the earlier levels.
As you level up, your ship levels up alongside you, increasing not only its strength but also providing upgrades you can unlock. Ramming damage, Hull Strength, Fire Arrows, more Lieutenants are all available, plus more over the course of the game.
Lieutenants are special allies that players can hunt down and recruit. This is done by sneaking up on them, choking them out and then paying them to fight for you. As with everything in Assassins Creed Odyssey, there is a lot of gameplay choice in that you can decide to hunt down the best fighter in the land or simply choose a wandering archer.
Lieutenants bring with them special perks that alter how your ship functions on the Aegean, whether it be boosting speed, increasing defensive stats etc. The higher level/higher importance that your potential new ally has, the better the potential perks they will hold.
Assassins Creed Odyssey is evolving the franchise in big ways, and the control and choice players will hold in Naval Combat is yet another highlight of that. See you in Ancient Greece on October 5th!