Everything is on fire, you’re not allowed outside unless you’re in full Bane cosplay gear and you need some escapism in your life. Now more than ever, video games are scratching that itch to help you escape from the world and have a good time. I’ve currently been doing just that, touring Mediterranean islands and engaging in naval battles that has left scores of broken ships in my wake, killed some of the biggest bastard animals in the ancient Greek world and made a name for myself as the deadliest mercenary around.
If you’d told me several years ago that I’d be pumping so many hours into an Assassin’s Creed game along these lines, I’d stood there. Blinking. Silent and dumbfounded. More so than usual anyway.
And yet here we are. I’m close to 60 hours into Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and I’ loving every single minute of it, to a point where my enthusiasm for the franchise has been properly reinvigorated along the way. The last time I’d dipped into Assassin’s Creed, was with 2014’s Unity. Now mind you, Unity still had plenty of charm but by then I’d felt as if the formula had run its course. It was as pretty as a Renaissance oil painting once all the nightmare fuel glitches had been fixed and the history tour of ye olde France was educational stuff…but I felt like I was going through the assassin motions at that point.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on the other hand, just feels like the type of sandbox I adore. Some people say its bloated, others say there’s too much to do within it, and I have to say…well you’re kind of right. The amount of content stuffed within Odyssey is staggering, but to its credit it is done in a manner that never feels in your face. There’s an optional drive to do all the side-quests and organic missions, a hands-off approach that other games could learn and benefit from.
Want to go start a quest-line in Athens where you slowly hunt down elusive cultists responsible for giving you a rim origin story that makes Batman’s life story sound like a picnic in the park in comparison? Done. Want to switch gears and sex your way across Greece as you pursue targets and love? The choice is yours! Feel like finding your sea-legs as you sail across some of the bluest waters ever seen in a video game, dolphins racing alongside you as you hope to maybe kill a few of them on the side? That’s mostly possible. Damn dolphins.
Anyway, what’s truly great about Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is how it boils down to a power fantasy set across a picturesque collection of islands. It has history and charm in spades, it has activities that’ll keep you going for weeks if not months and it is filled with small moments that’ll put a smile on your face. If you’re one of those people who prefers to give Ubisoft a year between games, only hopping in a few months after a title has released, then all the power to you!
Because right now, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is an amazingly detailed world to explore. I’ve yet to play Assassin’s Creed Origins, but diving headfirst into Odyssey while being largely unaware of just how much has changed, has been an absolute joy for me. It’s Dark Souls by way of an RPG grind, anchored by a progression system that tailors itself to your way of play: Ranged archer who can take down foes before they get near, a close-quarters warrior of legend or a sneaky backstabbing bastard who uses theatricality and deception to stick a broken spear into the base of your skull.
Guess which method I prefer?
Like I said, I’m near the 60-hour mark and I’m still finding so much to keep myself occupied with. I’m nearly down hunting down all the cultists of Kosmos, I’m a few legendary animal hides short of having the Artemis fan club sing my praises and this week I’m planning on tackling some Atlantean DLC which I’ve been told will leave me in full “HUH?!” mode by the end of the day. Grabbing Assassin’s Creed by the horns in its present state and just ahead of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla so that I can build up some thumb muscle memory, was a smart move.
As the old saying goes, Greece is the word.
Last Updated: June 1, 2020