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Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Quebec
Release Date: Oct. 5, 2018


PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Assassin's Creed Odyssey'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on June 25, 2018 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Assassin's Creed Odyssey is set in Ancient Greece and is the next installment in the open-world action/adventure franchise.

Pre-order Assassin's Creed Odyssey

It's perhaps entirely predictable that the Assassin's Creed series has a new game each year. It's only missed one year in recent memory. Among many yearly franchises, Assassin's Creed has the benefit of always going somewhere new. There are few games set in many historical periods, and if nothing else, Assassin's Creed provides an interesting look at historical locations and people. Assassin's Creed Odyssey, the latest game in the series, heads to Greece for the first time, and what we saw looked quite fun.

Odyssey follows one of two selectable protagonists: Kassandra and Alexios. Unlike Syndicate, where the two Frye siblings shared the protagonist role, your selection will be your sole assassin. They share the same basic history. As ex-Spartans, they're working as mercenaries in ancient Greece. Inevitably, they get swept up in the tides of history and must learn to assassinate their way through the greatest dangers of the age in order to preserve freedom.

Odyssey feels a lot like Assassin's Creed Origins. The core mechanics are extremely similar to the point that we were told that if we'd played Origins, we could hop right into Odyssey without a tutorial. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, it feels like the jump from Assassin's Creed 2 to Assassin's Creed Brotherhood. The mechanics are the same, but there are a lot of signs of extra polish. Combat felt better, though that may be because I'm used to it. It was far easier to wade into fights and win or to sneak around and assassinate an entire fort full of enemies.

The biggest change to Odyssey is the inclusion of Leonidas' Spear. This is effectively a cheat code in that you can spend your adrenaline bar to perform extremely powerful and effective special attacks. The skill tree is divided into three types: melee, ranged and stealth, and each has distinct special abilities. Archers can fire multiple shots at once, Assassins can perform extremely long-distance assassinations by throwing the magical dagger, and Fighters can break shields or — in true Spartan tradition — kick someone extremely hard, perhaps into a pit, and mayhaps while screaming, "This Is Sparta!"

These powers are extremely strong and a lot of fun to use. They give you an edge in whatever situation you may find yourself in. In our demo, they made difficult situations easier, similar to takedowns in Batman: Arkham Asylum. They feel like a surprisingly natural addition to the Origins style of combat.

One of the new additions is Conquest battles, which are large-scale melee fights where players wade into war and try to turn the tide to your own side by seeking out and killing high-value targets. Each high-value target drains the enemy's overall health, and once it reaches zero, you win. The same is true in reverse, though.

Returning from previous games in the series are naval battles. Considering the overall lower level of tech, there are some minor differences, but by and large, you'll see a lot of familiar material if you've played the previous Assassin's Creed titles with sailing. The core controls and mechanics are very similar, from attacking to boarding. Since you don't have cannons, you'll use arrows and javelins instead, in addition to good old-fashioned ramming. Upgrades to the ship, such as a brazier, allow you to perform special attacks, such as flaming arrows. Fans will likely be glad for the chance to engage in some piracy again — until Skull & Bones takes over!

Assassin's Creed Odyssey is shaping up to be a safer sequel to last year's ambitious Origins, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The best Assassin's Creed games tend to be those that focus on polish over reinventing the wheel, and Odyssey feels like one of those. With a bit of luck, it could be one of the best Assassin's Creed titles to date. We'll have to see when it releases this October for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

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