An exciting new chapter for the Assassin’s Creed franchise
A few weeks ago, Ubisoft Québec invited me to their studio for a hands on gameplay session with, the yet unannounced, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Before playing the game, developers gave us a little bit of background on the game. First, the game has been in development for the past three years by the team at Ubisoft Québec.
Second, the game takes place in Ancient Greece and you play the role as a mercenary during the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens. Third, while creating this new ambitious action role-playing game, developers focused on the player’s role in the game and how they will interact with the world around them.
Fourth, an all-new interactive dialogue system has been implemented that allows you to create your own path and journey unlike anything ever seen before in the franchise. Your choices will give you more freedom, more impact on the world, more customization on character and experience. Player choice was at the core of every system and feature created in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Help shape the future of Greece
The slice of the game we got to play was a sizeable one and it was the exact same one that is on the show floor this week at E3. For our play session, Ubisoft wanted to give us a story with a beginning and an end. Thus, the area of the map was limited to the Delos and Mykonos islands.
You are given the choice to play as Alexios or Kassandra, mercenaries of Spartan blood sentenced to death by their family. The developers made it clear that both characters share the same story and gameplay possibilities. The demo took place about 15 hours into the game and my character, Alexios was at level 18.
The story for this play session involved being called to the islands by a rebel group who want your help taking down the evil leader Podarkes. He has been hunting and killing anyone that opposes him. In order to do this, you must lower the nation’s power. You do this by killing enemy soldiers, sinking enemy ships, destroying war supplies, and pillaging national treasures.
Choice is the core of everything in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Almost immediately upon playing, I could see that Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was not going to be like others in the franchise. Not only did I have choices of what to say to other characters while interacting, but during some missions I had the option of keeping a character alive or taking them out. During a short break, I was sharing my adventures with others at the event and found that we each had a different experience.
One character that I had taken out, a fellow journalist had let them live and eventually he came back later on in the adventure to attack the rebels. New for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the ability to map your character’s abilities to the face buttons of your controller. It makes it easier to take out your opponents with powerful attacks.
My favourite ability was the famous Sparta kick. I never got tired of sending my enemies flying with this powerful attack. Interestingly enough, the developers opted to give both Alexios and Kassandra a secondary weapon rather than a shield.
The return of open-world naval combat
Naval battles return in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and I found it to be pretty similar to Black Flag’s redefined gameplay. Navel battles are now more dynamic and I found the sea to have many more ships than ever before. I came across dozens of ships from different nations that were only recognizable by their sails. And, as the game has no “code”, it’s important to pay attention to these sails. It its easy to attack your allies without knowing it!
I must admit, taking your ship out on the water, chasing down another ship, and engaging in battle is addictingly fun. The sense of exploration is second to none. Alternatively, traveling between the two islands in the demo can be done with a smaller raft. Though, it’s no where near as fun controlling it.
After playing the new Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for five hours, I did not want to stop playing. The ability to craft your own adventure through the choices you say and do has limitless possibilities. The demo was on Xbox One X development units and looked beautiful. I love that your character’s abilities are accessible by the face buttons on the controller. It makes combat much more fluid and natural.
The massive size of the islands I got to play in was impressive. Compared to the rest of the map, they looked tiny. I can hardly wait to get my hands the full game of Assassin’s Creed Origins when it launches October 5, 2018.
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