For many years, I’ve heard people clamoring for the Assassin’s Creed franchise to take a break and find its footing once more. In 2016, Ubisoft decided it was finally time to pump the brakes and try to reinvigorate the tried and true formula they’d used for so long. The result was the critically acclaimed Assassin’s Creed Origins. Fast forward, and we’re face to face with the second game built on this new foundation, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
In another place, at another time, I could see myself getting really into Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and its massive world and wide variety of systems. There is seriously a ridiculous amount of things to do in this game, from taking down outposts, to hunting mercenaries in a stripped-down Shadow of Mordor fashion, to recruiting people to sail with you on your ship and sending them on missions. Those three things alone are concepts you could build full games off of, but in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, they’re optional missions.
That isn’t entirely true though. See, while these side activities didn’t seem particularly mandatory for me to engage with, it became apparent that I will have to spend time with them if I want to progress through the game. I recently got to a point where I was informed that the man I was to assassinate in the story, was about a level 12. This was an issue, cause I was a lowly level 9 assassin, incapable of stabbing through a loaf of bread, let alone a man. Then I realized what made Assassin’s Creed Odyssey such a lengthy experience. Aside from being genuinely huge, it also requires a certain amount of grinding to be able to progress, which for me is a bummer.
On top of all of that bloat, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is just a little rough around the edges in general. There’s this weirdness with the combat in that it feels a little loose and unwieldy at times, from animations not lining up right, or the camera moving around in less than helpful ways when you’re trying to parry attacks. There was a moment where I was trying to hand in a quest, but the person who I was to talk to was fighting a wolf. Upon defeating the beast, he turned his aggression towards me and just attacked. So I retaliated in the only way I knew how, and kicked him off the side of a mountain. It was funny, but I could have used the experience instead.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a dense game that’s going to take a long time for you to get through. Even though it’s bloated and slowly paced, and even though it’s clunky at times, I’m still having fun with it. There are times when you’re stalking your prey through a compound, and everything just works and flows in a way that makes you feel like a competent assassin.