Assassin's Creed Odissey review, ancient Greece according to Ubisoft

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Martí Micolau
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Discovering Classical Greece!

The beating heart of Western civilization, Classical Greece has played an essential role in the development of our modern nations, based today on the concepts of Liberty, Republic and Democracy that were so brilliantly outlined by the philosophers of the classical age. With the latest incarnation of Assassin's Creed, perhaps the longest-running saga in modern video game history, Ubisoft transports us to the Peloponnesian War, one of the most flourishing periods of the classical age, dominated by the clash between two poleis, Athens and Sparta, at the height of their power. The clash between these two ways of understanding the world and society: open and democratic, but also corrupt and unscrupulous the former; ruthless and militarized but also efficient and organized, the latter would have forever marked the development of civilization.

On this epic scenario, in which the figures of the various Herodotus, Socrates, Aspasia and Hippocrates stand out, the story unfolds, or rather, the engaging "odyssey" of a renegade mercenary who, pursuing his own interests, will finally discover his own origins and its true nature.

With Asssassin's Creed Odissey, Ubisoft has therefore chosen to represent a crucial historical period for the history of civilization and did so at the completion of the tenth year of age of the series, which with this chapter, after the prelude represented by Origins, finally meets its most natural evolution into a real RPG. Furthermore, the pre-creed historical period of the murderer allows the screenwriters to offer a clearer vision of the whole story of the fruits of Eden, already glimpsed in Origins and now placed at the basis of the development of civilization as we know it.

"Know yourself". Inscription on the temple of Apollo in Delphi

From the very beginning, the game makes its intentions clear: offer the player a personalized experience that can change according to his choices, in an immense lore like that of Asssasin's Creed. It does so initially by asking us to choose between a male and a female character, Kassandra or Alexios and then allowing us to shape, through multiple choice dialogues, the character of our character, grumpy and rebellious or heroic and kind, up to the final choice of camp: Athens or Sparta. The choices, never ends in themselves, will influence the course of the adventure, even if, in hindsight, the real effects of these will be evident only later in the game. In short, every narrative crossroads helps to outline the characteristics of a credible and realistic protagonist, moved by the most natural and low passions, but also by sudden outbursts of humanity.

The personalization of the experience is amplified by a clear and effective character progression system, divided into three "paths": that of the Cacciatore, the Warrior and murderess. By completing primary and secondary missions, we will earn experience points and, reaching a new character level, we will unlock a skill point that can be spent in one of the three aforementioned paths. The path chosen will consequently influence our way of approaching battles, thanks to the special abilities of each path. The Hunter's road, for example, will allow us to unlock the special ability of the aimed shot that will allow us to guide the arrow to the target by holding down the right trigger causing incredible damage, or that of multiple arrows, for an approach to battles from a distance. ; that of the warrior, will allow us to use the "Spartan football", a videogame version of the famous football made famous by Gerard Butler / Leonidas in "300" and here extremely useful for quickly taking out enemies during boarding (aspect on which we will return in a moment) or to cause fall damage to enemies too strong for a direct approach to the sword. Finally, the Assassin's abilities will return to do justice to the saga's mainly stealth vocation, allowing us to increase the damage of stealth attacks, to poison the tip of our weapons or to advance even more silently in areas densely populated with enemies. Assassin's Creed Odyssey leaves the player free to combine these skills in the way he deems most appropriate, in this way customizing our way of playing even more and even starting from scratch, spending a few drachma, if the combination of special skills no longer does to our case.

"Here in Athens we do this." Pericles, address to the Athenians. "This is Sparta!" Leonidas meets the Persian messenger.

As in the plot, there is no right or wrong way to play Assassin's Creed Odyssey, you can devote yourself to the exploration of the immense open world, or to the completion of mercenary contracts, displayed in special boards around the Greece, similar to what was seen in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. You can even dedicate yourself to completing the romance missions with some of the characters encountered in the adventure, once again, in absolute freedom: therefore, space for sapphic and fleeting loves or more "complicated" relationships. The main core of the adventure, however, revolves around the vicissitudes of the mercenary we interpreted and the path we decide to take, in favor of Athens or Sparta. In fact, the main missions will ask us to kill certain characters, military or political leaders, to weaken the power of a particular nation by sabotaging its military supplies, or by taking control of the seas.

Just like in Black Flag, one of the most successful chapters of the entire franchise, our hero, will be able to put himself at the helm of a warship to sow terror among the merchant fleets or to restore the supremacy of the seas, with some truly memorable and fun battles, or even simply to explore hidden places. During these times you can even appreciate some seafaring songs in Greek sung by the rowers. The ship, as well as the character, can be upgraded by spending resources and completing certain objectives. For example, it will be possible to enhance beaks and figureheads, improve the resistance to ramming of other boats, enhance the reload times and damage of the archers. It will also be possible to entrust specific tasks to enlisted lieutenants around the map, obtaining a bonus to the speed, resistance or accuracy and damage of archers and javelin throwers. Remaining on the subject of naval battles, however, we found the boarding phases in which we would have appreciated a greater degree of spectacularity a bit disappointing.

"The beginning is half of everything". Pythagoras

The game world, with some exceptions, is entirely explorable from the beginning and the restrictions placed on exploration are cleverly hidden with some tricks such as the absence of a particular power or a particular tool, for example a ship and its crew to finally be able to leave the coasts of Kefalonia. Even the missions in which you can embark, both main and secondary, have no limits, but as in any self-respecting RPG, forget to proceed "straight to the goal": some enemies will simply be too strong to face and will force you to perform a little of grinding around the game world. Even trying to act covertly will not exempt you from progressing the character to the right level to face certain enemies. In fact, the stealth assassination, for the strongest characters in the game, is not enough to eliminate them by resetting their health bar and in a short time you would find yourself surrounded by enemies too strong to be beaten.

From the point of view of the actual gameplay and the combat system, Assassin's Creed Odyssey resumes and improves the good things that were seen in Origins. The dorsal keys are used for light attack and parry, while the left trigger is on the bow and the right one for the heavy attack. The combination of the back buttons and a specific button of the pad we have chosen will then be used to activate the special ability equipped. Another novelty also consists in the possibility of activating, by making a dodge with the right timing, a bullet time mode (a real constant in the latest action adventure from Bayonetta to God Of War) which by slowing down time allows us to attack the enemy. helpless.

Also from the point of view of inventory management Ubisoft has taken over the system that we have come to know and appreciate in Origins. The weapons are divided into categories: spears, swords, axes, daggers and sticks, all of which can be upgraded with engravings or with better materials at the blacksmiths. Same goes for breastplates and pieces of armor: shoulder straps, gloves and pouches. The variety is good, although later in the adventure we will find ourselves with the same weapons we have already seen but with higher DPS. However, the situation is different with regards to bow management: no longer the exclusive prerogative of some specific categories of bows, special skills such as the one that allows you to shoot multiple arrows will be available with all types of bow and must be unlocked via the path. of the hunter.

Also very appreciable is the system that reduces the hud to a minimum (it is the game itself that advises you to choose this mode, called "Exploration"), forcing you to search for the objectives to head for yourself. Our faithful eagle Icarus always comes to our aid, capable of identifying targets and enemies from above with the "hovering" ability, but the absence of a fixed path makes the movements less guided, allowing us to appreciate the vastness of the open world created by Ubisoft Quebec. This mode also makes it practically mandatory to pay attention to the dialogues and, more generally, to ask the right questions for the correct identification of a target or an object. However, the system can be freely reactivated at will, even if only for a mission.

There is no lack of negative notes and these can be found mainly in a really basic artificial intelligence and in a stealth system that is too simplified. In fact, you just need to move slightly away from the playing area, or hide in plain sight after making an attack because your enemies pass from the state of alert to that of tranquility in no time at all.

“Beauty is in the details”. Plato.

Ubisoft has managed to recreate a vast and credible game world, capable of offering truly suggestive glimpses that surround a plot that, although not very deep, manages to keep the player for the almost 40 hours necessary to complete the game.

From a technical point of view the game performs just fine on PS4 Pro and the huge open world appears well characterized and sufficiently detailed. Of course the artistic direction is not particularly inspired and, also thanks to the slightly too bright colors of the Greek poleis, the atmosphere often suffers, pushing you to tackle even the most serious missions a little too much pink water. However, the game runs at 1440p and 30fps on PS4 pro quite consistently, with very sporadic drops in frame rates and never able to affect the experience. Of course some problems don't seem up to par for a production like this, like a really basic weather system, the animations of the characters during the dialogues, a little too artificial, and some really basic particle effects (apart from the water textures, which deserve a round of applause). Bad and absolutely to be reviewed, however, the uploads every three by two. Some of these are so long as to make the wait really annoying, like those after a game over or even worse, the ones that occur when you switch from Icarus' flight to our hero if our eagle has gone slightly further than where you are.

As in every Assassin's Creed, moreover, there is no shortage of bugs and glitches but we are far from the gross horrors of Unity. In our walktrough only in a couple of cases we were forced to restart the game from the last checkpoint. However, in some moments we found it impossible to activate the stun by pressing the right stick.

The dubbing in Spanish is admirable, with some interpretations that would not disfigure in a Netflix or HBO TV series; certainly having to download additional 2Gb after the “classic” 18Gb patch day one is not an easy thing to digest, but the wait is definitely well rewarded.

"Panta rhei". Heraclitus

Assassin's Creed Odissey returns to fans a production truly in line with what had been the franchise up to Black Flag and concludes a modernization process started with Origins. Assassin's Creed is now finally a true Action RPG, characterized by a truly huge open world full of things to do and see and a system of choices capable of truly influencing the course of your adventure. Accompanied as it is by a lore that draws on the classical tradition and the enormity of myths and legends that have been handed down to us from this extraordinary period for Western civilization, Assassin's Creed Odyssey is a journey worth taking. Of course the atmospheres are not as inspired as in the Bayek saga, but the number and quality of the quests, both primary and secondary, will soon make you overcome even this lack. Too bad only for those really anachronistic uploads even for an Assassin's Creed ...

Assassin's Creed Odissey
8.0 / 10
Buy on
Available on PS4, XBOX One, PC
    - Truly amazing game lore
    - Our choices will have significant consequences
    - RPG component further refined compared to Origins
    - Huge game world ...
    - ... maybe too much
    - Really excessive uploads
    - The opposing AI needs further refinement
Assassin's Creed Odyssey returns to fans a production truly in line with what the franchise had been up to Black Flag and concludes a modernization process that began with Origins. The Ubisoft series is finally a true Action RPG, characterized by a truly huge open world full of things to do and see and a system of choices capable of really influencing the course of your adventure. Accompanied as it is by a lore that draws on classical tradition and the enormity of myths and legends that have been handed down to us from this extraordinary period for Western civilization, Assassin's Creed Odyssey is a journey that is truly worth taking.
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