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Editors’ Choice: Why Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is One of the Best Games of 2018

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Editors’ Choice: Why Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is One of the Best Games of 2018

Ubisoft elevates the series to new heights with a bold and captivatingly human experience.

In every Assassin’s Creed game, there is a moment where the assassin clambers up to some high-reaching vista — a tower, a balcony, maybe even a ship’s mast — and briefly focuses their eagle eye on the land below them before bounding forward into a leap of faith.

The thrill is usually in the leap, a reflection of the quick, fluid, sneaky gameplay that was once the foundation of the series. With Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the thrill is now in the climb, and the expansive beauty that waits at the top as a reward.

I’m a longtime fan of Ubisoft’s history-hopping stealth series, even with its various tweaks and mechanical changes through the years. Some entries took bold, broader strokes like Black Flag or last year’s Origins, but Odyssey tosses red paint all over the canvas to create something familiar but lusciously fresh. The world of Ancient Greece is a sight to behold, and it’s gleaming with new opportunity at every corner.

Rather than simply chasing vengeance or upholding tradition, Odyssey is a journey of action and choice. There’s not yet a brotherhood or creed to follow. Instead, you are bound to your own ambitions, whatever that may mean. You’re a mercenary with big dreams, exiled from Sparta with a whole world ahead of you waiting to be explored. For me that meant playing as a witty and empathetic Kassandra, fighting against man or myth to reunite her family. For others that could mean taking a more bloodthirsty approach, seeking revenge and nothing more. Others might fight for brutish glory on the field of battle and arena. Even still, others might ignore the clash of armies and instead head out on the open sea as a pirate. Each quest is a choice, and those choices reflect throughout the entire game and open doors unlike ever before. The series has always allowed for exploration aside from the story, but in Odyssey even the main quest branches out in ways had me giddily criss-crossing my way across the map, discovering new adventures and secrets.

The series similarly reinvents itself by ditching what was once thought of as the essence of being an Assassin: the Hidden Blade. I’ll admit even I was a bit wary of this change heading into Odyssey… until I kicked my first enemy off a hill with a Spartan Kick. The shift to special moves weaved alongside the history of your new main weapon, the Spear of Leonidas, is a natural one for the series, and it gave me a shot of adrenaline with each enemy encounter. Combat becomes a flurry of flexibility and stealth is absolutely still a mainstay, but the broader skill set makes for more engaging and strategic combat, from the smallest animal encounter to full scale conquest battles.

What makes Odyssey such a standout is its rich and captivatingly human characters. Kassandra is genuinely funny, and a total delight to play as no matter what tone you choose to pursue. I’ve sailed right past objectives and docks on my sea galley The Adrestia just to listen to my naval captain Barnabas and the ancient historian Herodotus squabble about fact or fiction. I romanced a randy old woman who originally had me fetching aphrodisiacs for her poor, exhausted husband (who similarly begged me to, uh… give his wife a hand). Even when the main quest branches off into smaller tasks, they lead to characters each on a bewitching journey of their own. In a world with so much to do, it’s these moments that keep me coming back for hours with no end in sight.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey elevates the entire series to new heights, making it a joy for loyal fans and a brilliant entry point for folks that just didn’t even know where to begin with previous entries. It’s easily one of the best games this year, and a knockout in the decade-long franchise.


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14 Comments

  • Even though many leaned towards God Of War or Red Dead Redemption 2, this was my Game Of The Year (and no, not because I’m part-Greek). It was the only game this year and the first after Persona 5 that I spent over 100 hours on. Everything seemed so fresh, so new, every quest led towards a different path and the different play styles allowed for so much variety during conquest battles. I didn’t really enjoy the naval battles but even those turned out thrilling once I made the Adrestia sturdy enough! Plus Melissanthi Mahut’s performance came off as extremely natural… This game had everything!

  • I’m glad this game wasn’t overlooked. It’s a really good Assassins Creed entry.

  • Wait, the worst game in the franchise is one of the best games of the year? Odyssey isn’t a game so much as an interactive movie, and this review proves it — nothing about actual gameplay, stealth (which Odyssey doesn’t even require for any quest), puzzles, parkour, or any new game elements this introduced to the franchise (because unlike every other entry in the franchise, this one introduced nothing). What we got is a an open world hack-and-slash interspersed by unnecessary dialog and cutscenes. Everything I need to know is in the upper left corner, which is a good reminder because by the time I run/ride to the next location, I’ve forgotten what I’m supposed to be doing anyway.

    If I want a movie, I’ll watch a movie. I want a game, and going in this direction, this “game” may well be the last I play from this franchise. Everything that made AC great in the past is gone.

    • Damn – imagine simultaneously being this pretentious, and this wrong. Good riddance from the community.

  • Bowelmovement89

    Haljor, you’re welcome to your opinion but I find it a little narrow minded. Assassin’s Creed is over 10 years old, it needed a refresher bad. Unity gave the series a bad reputation and Syndicate (while I liked it) was the same old game that (like you say about Odyssey) added nothing new to the series. It’s fine if you don’t like this style of game, there’s other games out there for you. Consider this though, Odyssey is to Assassin’s Creed as Super Mario 64 was to the Mario franchise. I don’t think any game players want to play a game that feels like 2007 anymore.

    • How is this game a refresher? I understand if you called Origins a refresher even tho i personally despise its choices for changes and lore. Odyssey is just a copy paste of origins.

    • This game and Origins improved the formula. There are RPG leveling mechanics, mythical beasts to battle, animals, swimming, more puzzles to decipher (pyramids, etc.). Everything is substantially bigger than the previous iterations. I like the direction the series is headed. I look forward the next iteration on the next consoles.

  • Dexter_3893

    Because you can kill iranians people in this game, that’s why this game is one of the best games in 2018

  • I am making over 7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people say to me how much money they can make connected so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my existence. This is what I do……. w­w­w.T­a­g­3­0.c­o­m

  • Outsider--G

    I picked it up during Boxing Day sale. Looking forward to play it! :)

  • MisterWebb88

    A buddy of mine showed me that this game was on special for $29.99 with the sale ending 01/01/2019… He showed it to me… By the time I logged in to buy it the sale was over? I’m guessing… Do playstation sales end in the middle of the day?

  • JoeMichaelV

    I really dislike this game, extremely laggy, bugs every where the side quests are extremely annoyingly stupid graphics in the people are bad, facial expressions, the horse it’s horrible, the landscapes are beautiful and the water as well, being on the boat it’s fun and the fighting it’s nice.

    I was a fan of this franchise but they disappointed me with this one, I think origins was way better than this one

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