Shaping up to be another hit
When I was at EGX I played several games and the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was one of them. After the fantastic Assassin’s Creed Origins, I went into the Odyssey demo with high expectations and I came out of it feeling happy and confident.
You sunk my battleship
Naval combat is back in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and it feels just like it did in Black Flag. Comparing the naval gameplay to Black Flag isn’t a bad thing, Black Flag had some entertaining easy to use gameplay that was incredibly fun.
Ships in Odyssey control pretty much the same as they did in Black Flag so if you were an ace naval captain back then, you’ll have no problem here. Facing a ship from a sideways angle allows you to command your crew to throw an armada of javelins at the enemy ship. Your crew can also unleash a storm of arrows upon the enemy fleet and they can deal some decent damage. If bashing things is more your kind of thing, you can ram the enemy with the front of your ship, dealing massive damage to the enemy.
Once you have defeated the enemy ship you can do one of two things, keep attacking them and sink the ship or you can go for the more up close and personal approach by boarding the boat and taking out the opposing crew by hand.
I don’t know if it’s possible to upgrade your ship as the demo did not hint at that whatsoever but if it’s like Black Flag, then I think we can expect to improve and modify our ships.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey brings in a new form of gameplay called Conquest. One of the demo’s quests tasked me with taking part in a full-scale battle against the Athenian Army. Conquest battles are huge epic battles that take place in the middle of a battlefield between the armies of Sparta and Athena.
I’ll admit, I approached this confidently as I’m pretty damn good with the combat in Origins. However, my confidence was thrown out the window as I was getting hit over and over by the enemy. I put this down to me being rusty with the combat as it’s been several months since I played Origins. I quickly got back into control but Odyssey brings in some new combat mechanics (more on these in a bit) of which I had to quickly get used to.
The aim in Conquest battles is to whittle down the enemy forces until the opposing army’s health bar at the top empties. You can reduce the bar by taking down marked soldiers and commanders. When the bar at the top is reduced to nothing, you win thus earning a lot XP and loot.
Conquest battles are fun and if you aren’t careful they will make short work with you. Always make sure you are equipped with the best gear possible before doing these. When I was in the middle of the battlefield clashing against the Athenian Army, I have to say it felt like a more grounded Dynasty Warriors. Thankfully there is no Lu Bu otherwise it would be impossible to win.
Combat is similar to Origins and the controls are pretty much the same. Odyssey does bring in some new mechanics that make the gameplay a little bit deeper. You have your normal and heavy attacks, bow and arrow but now you have abilities. Yes, you have a skill tree but these are abilities that are visible in the bottom left corner.
Abilities are a new way of adding more depth to the combat and it does it job. The abilities are cool and they can do several things, some of them can break your enemy’s defence and others can dish out some heavy damage to enemies. One ability has you grab hold of the shield of a bad guy and throw it back at them like a lethal frisbee. My favourite is the Spartan Kick and it is what you think, it’s the “300” kick. It’s very satisfying to finish off by enemies by hoofing them off a cliff.
Good but not perfect
Whilst I had a good time with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, it wasn’t perfect as I came across a few problems whilst playing the demo.
As I mentioned before, the Conquest battles are a lot of fun but I did come across one annoying problem. I locked on to an enemy so I could focus on taking out one person at a time, however, the lock on would switch between enemies as I evaded attacks thus locking me on to a different enemy. I could work with it but it was aggravating at times. I asked a few of the other people who played the demo and some of them came across the same problem as me, so it wasn’t just my demo glitching out on me.
The other negative thing I experienced during the demo was the frame rate. When I first started the demo, I noticed that the game wasn’t running at a steady frame rate and it looked rather choppy. It did stabilise quite quickly but it was noticeable. The frame rate did drop again but it wasn’t as bad as when I started the demo.
Whilst I am a bit worried about the frame rate issues I came across, I’m fairly confident that these will be solved in the final build. When I went to EGX in 2017, I played the Assassin’s Creed Origins demo and I came across frame rate issues then. By the time Origins came out, the frame rate was solid for the most part and was a lot better than what I experienced during the demo.
Alexios or Kassandra
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the first game in the entire series when I can play as either a male or female for the entire game. For the demo I picked Kassandra and I have to say that even though I played as here for about 20 minutes, I like her attitude and personality.
I can’t really delve more into the characters as I didn’t get to know them a great deal. It will be interesting to see what Alexios is like and if he is as good as Kassandra. I’ll definitely have a save file for each character when I play the full game.
The series is back
I fell out of love with the Assassin’s Creed series a few years ago after a few less than great instalments and the annual releases clearly had an impact on the quality of the games. Origins was make or break for me and the Assassin’s Creed series but thankfully, Origins was a phenomenal game which ended up being one of my favourite games of 2017.
From what I played of Odyssey, it seems to be carrying on the success that Origins achieved and that’s a very good thing. Whilst I did come across a couple of problems during the demo, I’m confident Ubisoft will do a repeat of last year and fix them by the release of the game.
I’m looking forward to exploring Ancient Greece and admiring the architecture. I want to do more huge skirmishes against the Athenian Army and I definitely want to Spartan Kick more people off cliffs. You’ve got me excited Ubisoft, very excited.