Last week I hit on why I love the world and the protagonist so much, I played as Alexios BTW. This week I’ll dive more more into the gameplay and enemies that make you want to keep coming back for more. No video game is worth playing without some stellar gameplay and a reason to get good at it; enter mercenaries, cultists and much more.
This AC decided to get rid of the hidden blade, which caused much controversy at the time, but you know what it makes a lot of sense and defines the different path this game is carving out for itself. The new weapon, the broken spear of Leonidas, gives Alexios a brutal edge – quite different from the subtle assassins of the past. Instead of subtly sneaking a blade into someone’s throat you’ll find yourself comboing someone, tackling them to the ground then brutally finishing them off with the spear, often this goes undetectable but it really made me feel that you’re a warrior playing assassin. You can also unlock an ability to throw the spear whilst being undetected to take out a few enemies at a time. Speaking of being a warrior; In this game you’re playing as a spartan reject, and the grandson of the great Leonidas. From the outset you’re told that you are a Spartan warrior, so instinct kicks in to not worry too much about stealth, however you can (almost) freely change between assassin, warrior and hunter.
After about 40 hours of playing primarily as a warrior I decided that I wanted to start playing this game as more of an assassin (it is called Assassin’s Creed after all), all I did was start to change my gear to give me more of an assassin boost and unlock more of the stealth abilities. I found it so incredibly easy to fluidly change my style of play, before I was using stealth briefly until I was found – then I would tear my way through the camp. Now I found myself carefully working my way around large forts, picking out enemies from bushes and ledges. The depth of game play forces you to put a tonne of thought into every move you make, you’ll look at the camp or fort and think “is this assassin or warrior time”, looking through to see who you should take out first and how you can get around everyone without getting caught. That’s not even the half of it as you’re also faced with boss fights, ship battles, hunts, hand-to-hand combat; and as always the assasin’s creed (very refined) world exploration mechanics – and so much more. To put it simply a game with this much scale and detail just shouldn’t be allowed gameplay of this level, it’s unfair on other open world games.
Finally I’ll briefly talk about the enemy systems, the cult and the mercenaries. Quite cleverly these systems weave themselves in and out of the main storyline, meaning you’re essentially forced to keep them going, whilst simply giving you a feeling of achievement. The mercenary system is a line of people like you who are paid to take you out, when you raise your trouble level (cop star rating) they will come after you – if your level is at 3 then you’ve got 3 mercs on your tail. When you take them out you’ll get gold and their gear, which are some pretty unique weapons come the end. I loved this as it actually gave you a reason to stay in trouble. The Cult system is quite different, where you’re given certain tasks to reveal their identity such as ‘help people in this area’ or ‘a clue is found in X cave’ and of course there are those that are locked to the story. Once you’ve discovered them they get marked on your map for you to hunt down, some are walking around without a clue, others are guarded in a fort and some are even on ships; but why should i bother going after them you ask? Well killing the cultists is the only way to upgrade your spear, and this is the only way to really change your damage dealt and unlock higher tier abilities. Essentially you need to kill the mercs and cult to succeed in the later game, and it’s just a hell of a lot of fun.
Ubisoft I take my hat off to you, for making such a bold change to a much beloved series and succeeding in making it so much better and immersive. I am unbelievably hyped for Valhalla and am so glad I still have the Odyssey DLC to finish (keep an eye out for my stream of this). This game is going to end in my top 5 of this generation and at no point in my 70 hours did I feel bored or frustrated. Odyssey is simply a joy to play and a masterpiece of a video game and it needs to be on your list of games to play before the PS5 if it isn’t already. Alexios I bloody love you.