For anyone who has seen the 300 movies, the story of Assassin’s Creed is no stranger. The action of the game takes place exactly during the War of the Peloponnese, that opposed Sparta to Athens. It is the story of two brothers, Alexios and Kassandra, both descendants of Leonidas, the celebrated king of Sparta of the century. VaC.
It is in this scenario that the whole adventure unfolds and where we will have to demonstrate all our dexterity and perspicacity in order to survive. Do we get it?
There is something that, first and foremost, has to be said about this game: the world of Assassin’s Creed is huge! The whole scenario imagined by Ubisoft is, in addition to extremely detailed, quite varied and with much – even a lot – to explore and know.
In this fantastic action RPG in the open world, we find right from the start with a novelty regarding previous games of the saga: we can choose the gender of the main character. We will, during the game, incarnate Alexios or Kassandra. This choice is a welcome innovation but, in reality, there is no relevant difference or benefit in choosing one or the other.
This choice lies only in personal preference, but it seems that in the case of Kassandra the dialogues – although they are exactly the same – are better achieved.
Continuing on the topic related to dialogues and interactions with the characters, there are often a number of different response options when talking to NPC’s. Although, most of the time, these options do not lead to a significant change in the main story, situations in which the attitudes we have towards other characters influence the course of the plot. There are, for example, times when we have to choose between showing mercy and saving someone’s life or simply eliminating this NPC. These kinds of actions will determine how the plot will develop from then on.
Another new aspect is that it is the first time in this saga that the main character romantically engages with NPC’s, regardless of the partner’s gender. Being an interesting aspect, the truth is that it does not play a relevant role in history.
With such an extensive map, it would be difficult to exploit it and discover its secrets if there were no side quests that would guide us in that direction. If the number of parallel missions enables us – almost obliges us, moreover – to this same exploration, the truth is that it also distracts us from the main mission. The game progression system only allows us to level up as we complete these missions; if we focus only on the main mission, we are acquiring experience much slower than if we are doing some parallel missions.
The progression system allows us to develop some skills that will help us as we move forward. These skills are embedded in 3 different roles: Hunter, Warrior, and Assassin. We are not required to play a specific role, as it is possible to acquire skills belonging to any of the roles. In fact, it is advisable to know a little of everything since we will find, in different situations, also quite different adversaries.
The great disadvantage of this system of progression is that everything initially works fairly linearly and rapidly, but – as we approach higher levels – this progression becomes slower and it is practically impossible to acquire experience only in the main mission. As we have already mentioned, the game itself forces us to carry out parallel missions to reach our full potential.
As we gain experience – and money – we can and should improve the equipment we carry with us, with the improvement possibilities to be unlocked when we level up. Again, it is advisable to make some upgrades to our armament and protections: as we go forward, the opponents are also getting stronger and stronger.
Unfortunately, parallel missions turn out to be quite repetitive: entering caves to retrieve stolen artifacts, locating and killing an enemy, talking to this or that NPC who will provide us with some more details about the plot – and, not infrequently, in giving another parallel mission. It’s an interesting system but leaves the feeling that it exists only to force us to explore the scenery.
After a few hours of playing, something that jumps in the eye is the intuitive and easy way in which the combat system is used. There was no difficulty in getting used to the way our character moves, positions and struggles, becoming too easy when dealing with opponents with our level or lower. Of course, the case changes shape when we are facing stronger opponents (and we will find many).
The mercenaries who walk behind us to capture us are usually much stronger, and in such a situation – and even if we are well equipped – it is rarely a bad decision to turn back and abandon the fray. In fact, it is advisable not to approach any mercenary: if we are detected, it will be very difficult to stop being persecuted.
From my experience and the time I spent playing, I had the slightest feeling that in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey there is a lot more emphasis on character level than on the skill of the player: no matter how good our armament, we rarely get out alive fighting against opponents 4 or 5 levels above ours. In the vast majority of situations, we can not even deliver an initial blow, which turns out to be a bit frustrating.
But not only on land battles live this game: were recovered the maritime fighting that had been introduced in Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. However, remember, the action takes place during the century. Vac, when there were no guns or muskets. It remains for us to cover the enemy ships with arrows, to protect us from the arrows that the enemy shoot at us, to approach the enemy ships or to sink them with the battering ram that is in the bow. Although it is initially interesting to maneuver a ship in a combat scenario, we soon realize that there is also some repeatability here.
An addition that makes a difference is the concept of conquest battles, where we are placed in battles involving large armies. These battles occur when the influence of an occupying army decreases, that is when their power over the territory they control begins to weaken. This can happen if we attack and plunder their bases or kill their commanders.
It is quickly realized that the stealth component that characterized Assassin’s Creed almost disappeared. There are situations where however well hidden that we are on top of a high building, we are easily detected; in other situations, we are completely discovered and it seems that no one gives by our presence. A little confusing and in need of some tweaking.
What does not need adjustments is really the scenario. Detailed, great, addictive to the point that we want to do all the parallel missions just so we can explore some more. This game has it all: we can stroll through the densely populated cities, wander the woods looking for materials to build weapons, visit hidden caves about which little is known, sail from island to island in boats we can “charter” – or steal The reality is that the scenery never tires us. There has indeed been a great deal of commitment and dedication in designing and developing the game setting and this is undoubtedly one of its great strengths.