The opening scene says it all, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is filled with excitement and action. You start at the iconic scene from the movie 300. You are Leonidas, guiding your army through the battle, taking on captains and the leader of Persian Calvary. How many times have you seen 300 and wanted to play a role in that scene? It was one of the most memorable scenes in that movie and it’s one of the iconic scenes in this game. The excitement and action, does not stop there as it continues all throughout the game. The Assassin’s Creed Franchise stood true to its name with Odyssey. The graphics, environment, and fighting are just as good as the other Assassin’s Creed games. When you watch the release of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey during E3 they kept mentioning it’s a love story, but what you expected is not what the story line follows. If you thought it was about a love between two lovers, you might want to play the game.

Story Line:

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has always been about telling a story and they did just that in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. The story of Alexios and Kasandra is something from a movie. As you make your away along as either Alexios or Kasandra you learn more about your past. You learn the man you thought was your father is not your father. You learn your mother is still alive and a cult wants to kill her. When you locate the cult, you learn the leader is either your sister or your brother depending on who you play as. The story motivates the player to play on and on, inspiring you to begin the next quest immediately after completing one. It is comparable to when you’re watching a show and it cuts to commercial. It leaves you on the edge of your seat waiting for the commercials to end and the show to return to find out what happens. The Assassin’s Creed Odyssey story has the ability to take you through that “on the edge” seating process. Except this is between quest lines and travels. Especially when you select the explorer mode, which takes the gameplay to another level.

You decide how each interaction goes, your response defines the next response from the character you are interacting with. You have to pick carefully as each choice affects another aspect of the game later. Honestly, that makes things exciting, you can find a love interest depending on how you converse with them. If you chose to kill specific people at different interactions that will come back to haunt you later. The story does not change much, but your interaction with other characters does. Having the option opens the doors for different paths the character can go in. You can stand true to being a mercenary or a mercenary that becomes the hero in the end. The choice all depends on how you respond during each interaction. Controlling each situation only adds to the story and your length of gameplay. If you are that type of gamer that likes restarting a game just to see what would happen if you selected another option then Assassins Creed Odyssey is that type of game. You have countless hours of game time just with doing that.

Game Play:

Who doesn’t like a good old fight with a sword or a staff?The fight scenes just like all the other Assassins Creed games can make players come back continuously. The new feature of having a button to specify an ability is an excellent idea. Another iconic event from the movie 300 “THIS IS SPARTA” scene is when Leonidas kicks the Persian messenger into the pit. Being able to sneak up on someone standing close to the ledge of a mountain and being able to straight kick them off is gratifying.  That may sound sadistic but play the game and give it a shot. Ramming enemies like a bull, truly comes in handy when you’re battling multiple enemies and they all have shields. That ability breaks the shield and opens at least one for full on combat. The ability to guide an arrow along its way, ensuring it lands right in an enemy’s head is so much fun. All of this with just pressing two buttons, making your one hit turn into a combo. The level of difficulty is just what a player would want. Especially with Mercenaries always trying to kill you. They require more combat attention than your average fight. Which only helps when your regular interactions are not as challenging.

The exploring mode rather than guided mode can make the gaming experience so much fun. Why always have instructions along the way reminding you all the time the direction you have to go in. When you want to make stops along the way to check out new areas. You may want to check out that question mark to see what cool gear you can get from the enemies at that location or the chest. Roaming around Greece looking for a fight makes a difference in the overall game play. Not to say that guided mode would take away from the experience of battling Athenian’s and Spartan’s along the way, but it just does not have that free feel like exploration mode does. If you have played previous Assassins Creed games you are familiar with Guided mode and should be familiar with its limitations. Not being able to easily move around the country freely limits your game play. The marker pointing in the direction of where to go and always alerting you to go that way and not the way you want can be annoying.

What I Liked:

I liked the fighting styles. It was enjoyable to get into each altercation even with enemy’s that had a higher rank than mine. The different ability buttons helped you tremendously with each interaction. With a series of button pushes, you are able to disarm an enemy with a shield, smack them with said shield and open up a can if whoop ass. This made battling higher ranked enemies easier to defeat and allowed you to hit multiple enemies at once. The side missions have an interesting ending which makes them fun to complete. One side mission was to gather herbs for an elderly couple to get their groove on. The funny part was the elderly man was like, “You’re going to kill me, I can’t keep up with this”. As Alexios you get to ask her if you can join to help satisfy her. I truly enjoy the different ways they incorporate animals and creatures in your surroundings. They did this on land and the sea, while on ships making your way through Greece you will see dolphins jumping through the water, and every once in a while you will see a whale leap out of the water. It adds that extra realistic feel to it all.

The map is so large that you will have to play for hours to complete it all, 30 – 40 in total, maybe more depending on how much of a perfectionist you are. Some of the items on the map are not even available yet, or I have not unlocked some of them yet. I found an island which has a door, that every time you get close to it something runs towards the door and shakes the whole island. I have revisited that island a few times to see if anything happens from the further I get into the game. Whatever is behind that door is large and might just be in charge, but hey I am ready to take on the whole of Greece.

What I Didn’t Like:

I have to be honest and admit that I do not have many issues with this game. Most of the issues I had were personal and minor in nature. One issue I had been with my joy stick movement being sluggish at time. I also wish the story would have changed a little depending on character selection but I guess to maintain flow and to give each character their own path might take away from the overall story. The story does work well as it goes along. I might be asking for too much with this one, I just didn’t want to see the opening scene of Alexios sitting on the ledge of his home singing a song as Kasandra. I was expecting something a little different. Although, it was awesome to be her and teach the Cyclops enemies some manners I wish she would have had her own character specific opening scene.

Final Thoughts:

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is one of those games that will always draw you back to playing it and will still entertain you. It has that type of entertainment that other games don’t have or if they do it’s for a short period of time. Even if you have explored a large portion of the map in Odyssey you still have so much more to explore. The environment is always so realistic and that makes the gaming experience just as exciting. This game does not stick to a script per say, the experience changes as you move along and complete task after task. The character interactions are funny at times and entertaining even when starting a side task that begins a new quest line. Opening another part of the story and history of Greece. They wanted to make sure that you would spend your time figuring out places and things. They wanted you to explore and see Greece for what it was and is. The interesting story was just an extra notch to the game. If you have not played this game yet, I highly recommended it, it’s a different gaming experience from the previous Assassin’s Creed Franchise. Pick up a copy for PS4 and XBox One S & X.