How Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Creates a Meaningful Journey

  The following post contains spoilers for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

How Assassin's Creed Odyssey Creates a Meaningful JourneyDeveloper: Ubisoft Quebec

Genre: Action RPG

Release Date: October 5, 2018

Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Writers: Jonathan Dumont, Melissa MacCoubrey and Hugo Giard

Biography: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey takes players to Ancient Greece where they play as Alexios/Kassandra to destroy a powerful cult, reunite their family and seal the gates to Atlantis.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey embarks players on an epic journey across ancient Greece from sailing the clear blue Aegean ocean to the snowy peaks of Mount Taygetos. The game focuses on Alexios or Kassandra depending on the player’s choice with both playing a role in the story no matter who you choose. Starting on the island of Kephallonia, your character isn’t a complete blank slate, they have a past involving a violent expulsion from Sparta by your father and an important family lineage being descended from the legendary Spartan warrior Leonidas. Like many Assassin’s Creed games, the plot revolves around legendary artifacts known as Pieces of Eden, and Odyssey is no exception as your character possesses the spear with mysterious power once held by your grandfather.

One of the most enjoyable parts of your journey in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is developing Alexios/Kassandra’s personality – although every choice you make won’t add up to wildly different paths or endings, being able to react peacefully, aggressively, flirtatious or violent adds to the role you want to play well, with my character moving from a drachmae hungry mercenary to a benevolent and decent person by the time I finished the game. There are also more humorous interactions available which make the characters feel more human and is a change of pace from the dark and violent scenarios found during Odyssey’s setting during the Peloponnese war between Sparta and Athens. These dialogue choices affect how many quests play out continuing the shift towards the RPG genre that started with 2017’s Assassin’s Creed Origins.

Alexios and Kassandra are capably voiced by Michael Antonakos and Melissanthi Mahut and there’s a mountain of dialogue too from internal monologues as the characters voice their concerns about events or lengthy conversations with NPC’s where you can ask optional questions. This benefits the game by allowing the player to feel part of the story and adds a little more depth to what may be a traditional fetch quest or clearing an enemy encampment. Other characters are also well represented in particular Leonidas who embodies the well-known Spartan warrior archetype in pre-rendered cutscenes that are really well made. A particular highlight is the opening of the game which depicts the Battle of Thermopylae where 300 Spartans held off the Persian empire.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey takes you on a long journey, well over 100 hours if you want to complete everything and throughout your travels you see good and bad on both sides of the war and frequently meet those civilians who are caught in the conflict. Odyssey offers a slightly different perspective on the conflict compared to previous games as Alexios/Kassandra aren’t pious assassins but mercenaries with a vested interest in who will pay them the most. Nevertheless, there are smaller choices that speak to your chosen morality. For instance you can choose to overthrow either Athens or Sparta in a region by destroying supplies, killing soldiers or stealing treasure but your decision to do so is optional. You may have a particular side of the war that you feel you want to represent or you may discover that a city’s leader is corrupt or violent in the small piece of writing on each which may sway your decision. 

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

The main threads of the game are threefold – reuniting your family, sealing Atlantis and destroying the Cult of Kosmos, the Proto-Templars similar to the Order of Ancients in Origins. You quickly determine that your expulsion from Sparta was manipulated by the Cult of Kosmos who want to use your bloodline for nefarious means. The cult enters the picture in a substantial way when you infiltrate a meeting wearing a disguise and discover the your brother/sister has become a puppet, albeit a powerful one, of the cult. Ubisoft does a good job of making the cult feel widespread, dangerous and mysterious. The player must uncover clues to discover the identity and location of cult members before killing them emphasising the vast network of members.

Odyssey’s story succeeds by holding your interest with these somewhat linked story threads. The core of the main campaign is a story of family, redemption and revenge while the Atlantis storyline leans heavily in to the Isu, the powerful race that existed before humans and created the Pieces of Eden. The latter brings you into conflict with mythical creatures like the Minotaur or Medusa. These are highlights in the story and test your skills with an epic boss fight. Some standout moments from the main storyline is finding your father, the Wolf of Sparta and deciding his fate after he tried to kill your sibling, meeting and fighting alongside Brasidas, a Spartan warrior whom you can choose to romance and reclaiming your home in Sparta. 

Some of the best stories in the game come from the various tropical Greek islands which also happen to be some of the most beautiful settings in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Some are comedic, others dramatic but all well written and some give a flavour of the pirate adventure found in Assassin’s Creed Black Flag. The journey in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey also adds substantially to Assassin’s Creed’s lore. Kassandra is a critical figure and interestingly stands somewhat in the middle of the Assassin/Templar conflict. Her near immortality granted by the Staff of Hermes Trismegistus raises some interesting questions for the history of the series and it will be interesting to see if Ubisoft ever expand on this. The elements of fantasy and history have always been present in Assassin’s Creed so Greek myths and heroes are certainly at home in this journey.

For more on Assassin’s Creed check out the Story Mode for Assassin’s Creed Origins.

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