I was equal parts shocked and pleased recently when I realised I have played over 400 hours across Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey, and with both games I am showing no signs of slowing down. As an advocate for playing games on the easiest setting, my adventures as both the Medjay and the Eagle Bearer are tales of unstoppable bloodthirsty forces who cement their name forever in the annals of time for Egypt and Greece. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is only weeks away, and when it releases I am confident I will sink hundreds of hours into that too.
I believe that Odyssey is very much this gaming generations Skyrim, and while I am aware that The Witcher 3 exists I didn’t enjoy much of the ten or so hours I spent on it. While you can play Skyrim in dozens of ways (stealth archer being the clear best way) Odyssey doesn’t have that much variety in comparison, and I’m certainly not fooling anyone when it comes down to the depth of their respective lore. The reason I draw this comparison is because of how both games keep players coming back for more and more, and for the way that even after thirty, forty, fifty hours in you will continue to find new things to surprise you.
In Skyrim, after at least fifty hours of exploring and popping off cheeky headshots as a Khajiit bow master, I stumbled across one of my favourite discoveries in a video game ever, the subterranean Blackreach. You may be baffled as to how it took me so long to discover, with the simple response being that I was having so much fun in caves, towns and the overworld that I wasn’t putting any effort into delving into the Dwemer ruins.
I had a similar experience in Odyssey, again after fifty or so hours, where a side quest allowed me to get through a locked door with an ominous roaring coming from behind it which I had first encountered thirty hours prior. Transitioning from a cutscene where a crazed Greek who believed himself to be a God lets you through the door, he is immediately killed by nothing less than a towering Cyclops with an incredibly bad temper. Ducking and dive-rolling around his attacks as Kassandra, taking every opportunity to hack away at his shins, was an unexpected but incredibly memorable battle that is just one of the dozens of experiences Odyssey sends your way to keep you engaged and playing.
On my second playthrough of Odyssey which I am playing at the moment, I was nearly ninety hours in before the fight with Medusa, purely because of the fun I was having exploring the world and rising through the Misthios ranks. To emphasise this point, this is ninety hours into my second playthrough, of a game I played close to two hundred hours over only last year. The time spent on my Odyssey playthroughs doesn’t yet dwarf my hours on Skyrim but it is very likely the latter will be overtaken soon.
A lot of the replayability in Skyrim and Odyssey is thanks in part to their graphical design. Skyrim received a graphical overhaul for its port to current gen, bringing its already pretty appearance to a much deeper look with popping colour and improved textures. With the benefit of being a game that launched seven years later than Skyrim, Odyssey is also packed with boundless beauty in every corner of its enormous map. From the detailed and teeming with marine life seafloor to the sweeping landscapes and picturesque views from atop Mount Taygetos, you never have to look far to find an incentive to use the games photo mode.
Despite both being part of long running franchises, new players are welcomed into both games as knowledge of previous entries is beneficial but far from required. If I am ever asked what games people should try Odyssey is always the first suggestion I’ll come out with (followed by Dishonored).
Similarly, both games also possess a particular mechanic each that players are likely to find more and more addictive the more they pursue them. Those mechanics are the Dragon Shouts in Skyrim, a deeply satisfying part of gameplay that even those who haven’t played the game will be aware of; and hunting the Cult of Kosmos in Odyssey. Following a moment fairly early in the story where Alexios or Kassandra will witness a meeting of the members of the Cult, it is made abundantly clear from this moment that they must all be eliminated to restore safety and order to the Greek world. Greece is going through a very tough time over the course of the game as the forces of Sparta and Athens are in open war against each other due to the manipulation and meddling by the Cult of Kosmos. Only after assassinating every member of the Cult and confronting their leader, the mysterious ‘Ghost of Kosmos’, can you be sure that you have succeeded in securing Greece’s future.
To conclude, I am not trying to say either Skyrim or Odyssey are better than the other, as they are both perfect games with fun combat you can comfortably play over a hundred hours on and across more than one playthrough. They both possess gorgeous graphics, fun and interesting characters and are set across huge worlds which very much revolve around your protagonist. Where Skyrim leans fully into having an expansive and interesting lore, Odyssey favours political maneuvers and social interaction, preferring to keep its story on the surface and clear rather than within in-game books and history you must seek out yourself.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @RespawningUK which you prefer or have spent the most time on. Do you think Odyssey is a better comparison to Skyrim than The Witcher 3? Whatever your opinions on the subject, let us know and in the meantime I’ll be back next week with another article so I will speak to you then.