Asassin's Creed: Odyssey
(Xbox One X):
Did all achievements in 200+ hours. It was exhausting. But still finished it 100%, the feeling is similar to how i felt after completing MGSV
-- they really should have cut down most of the content and stayed slim and brief. Game is largely the same as Origins and some things are slightly improved from Origins, but the overall bloat just becomes tiresome instead of enjoyable. They wasted so much of own their time and hard work for such a little and underwhelming outcome. It feels like they stretched their devs and talent so much -- most of the quests felt like busywork and there was no quality and impact felt for anything in the game.
The decision to make both Kassandra and Alexios playable as main characters, that alone doubled if not quadrupled their voice acting time and budget. I picked Kassandra and her VA is okay, but from what i heard of Alexios as main character in youtube videos -- he just sounds as loud buffoon. All that time these 2 actors spent on their lines (and motion capture!) feels like a complete waste on Ubisoft's part because the game is so monotonous -- NOBODY is gonna be in a hurry to replay it just to hear different VA.
Other NPC voice actors also feel like they were stretched thin. It feels like there are only 5 people doing the voices even if imdb page lists hundreds VAs
. One guy especially stands out, his voice and mannerisms are so noticeable and cartoonish he always takes me out.
Gameplay-wise Odyssey is pretty much the same as Origins. Everything good that Origins brought
is still there: brilliant eagle vision redesign, BOTW-like climb everywhere, less emphasis on a map and NPCs giving you directions based on actual in-game sights (again -- very similar to BOTW), great graphics, interesting setting and gorgeous vistas
. The game is even more colourful than Origins and visuals really pop with HDR.
They fixed a problem i had with Origins with UI elements. Because my TV is prone to burn-in i always try to hide all UI elements but in Origins a few of them were always shown. Odyssey fixes that, allowing you to remove everything. For some of the bosses i had to bring back my health indicator and ability icons because i needed to see cooldowns on abilities and when i need to heal, but most of the game i played without most of the UI.
One of the differences from Origins is notoriety system, like in GTA or very first Assassin's Creed games. Of all things to bring back they reintroduced the most annoying one. Now you get penalized for looting and killing people (yeah, the game called Assassin's Creed penalizes you for killing -- figure that one out). Eventually the heat on you gets too unbearable with soldiers, mercenaries and even citizens and random dogs attacking you -- you're forced to run away. It's just annoying and breaks power fantasy of roaming around in this open world doing whatever.
The main villains are now yet another secret organisation they made up instead of Templars because neither Assasins nor Templars can't exist properly before Crusades start. It's not a big deal but i wonder why had to make up yet
another new power-hungry "not-Templar" secret society when they already had Order of the Ancients in Origins. It is especially dumb because in DLC story Order of the Ancients shows up too! And the game have even more secret societies than these two -- there are also Followers of Ares! How many masked cults can one country have?
Odyssey also removed a longstanding tradition of baddies having post-death cutscene which at least gave some characterisation to their villains and was a signature feature of the entire series. Was that also because of bloat? They made so many cultists, they couldn't afford doing the lavish death cutscenes for all of them? It's really a shame.
The bloat also probably hurt quests -- so many quests feel like so generic like they were autogenerated. And many of them WERE: game features special time-limited quests that pop-up randomly and these are your generic "deliver this to that guy", "kill this person". Some of them are just "i'm down on my luck, gib me money plz" -- these are the best because you just get an exp right then and there without all that delivering or killing business.
The sheer number of story and side quests was why quality of writing took a major nosedive. And to make things even worse -- Ubisoft was so eager to utilise their new dialog branching systems -- number of lines were multiplied several times over. And many of the decisions you make in dialogs DO change the story rather significantly which is good in theory but looking back feels like yet another wasteful decision on their production team because they multiplied their writing and quest making budget for seemingly no result -- because again who is going to replay this huge open world game.
I actually got to see the impact my decisions make on a story -- because of a bug. Due to random error my save file got overwritten by previous version and i lost 20 hours and had to replayed some of the quests. Man, i was so demoralized because of this, i didn't touch the game for a week. But still -- what else am i to do sitting home? So i came back and it wasn't too bad and i got to see different outcomes.
And the impact of my dialog decisions also turned out to be yet another underwhelming mess. My choices definitely DO make changes but they're don't really follow any logic and just feel random. When i didn't kill one person first time around that led to additional time wasting and when i DID kill him after file-save bug it led to cutting that quest line down to 10 minutes instead of 20. There isn't really any logic or reward for doing things one way or another even if you DO replay quests.
And some of the writing is just plain bizzare, like one quest line involves an NPC asking me to kill his grandma? And this is supposedly a good and standup guy? Oh by the way, the game features "romance" system in dialog and i can romance this dude too in-between all that grandma killing. Really sets the mood.
That "romance" system is kinda hilarious for how out of the blue it is. Sometimes you just walk up to random NPC and speak for the first time and a dialog choice with heart symbol appears right away. It almost feels like a parody of romancing options from Saint's Row
but implemented completely seriously.
I am okay with the fact that open-world games like AC: Origins are mostly auto-generated these days
. But i really dislike the trend of not only autogenerating the map but to also fill it with autogenerated mission as well, like Shadow of Mordor does.
Odyssey introduces similar system to Shadow of Mordor orc generals with mercenaries than you occasionally have to hunt down or they start hunting down you. And as i mentioned -- some side-quests are auto-generated too. Publishers really want to cut down costs of making these huge open world games and it feels like you're being tricked.
Odyssey also has user-generated missions, though i never opened them even once. From i've seen it's bad
, but i like the aspect of opening-up dev tools for quest making to players.
But the most obvious autogenerated thing in Odyssey are tombs. These are just mazes, with the same generic copy-pasted corridors and same rooms, it feels like an 8bit RPG with confusing 3d labyrinth that was added just to pad time (and it's not like Odyssey needed to add any more padding). There is no climbing, no grand set-pieces, like we got in previous games with churches and secrets inside them. We just roam around in these tombs and occasionally move some blocks to clear the way. It's especially insulting when you compare them to pyramids from Origins because each pyramid was entirely unique outside and inside.
Combat is basically the same as in Origins and the same loot system. There are now even more abilities -- they even added a second melee wheel of abilities. Lower enemies you can just kill by assasinating them one by one
, but bigger enemies and especially bosses require to run around spamming arrows
and waiting until cooldowns on abilities end and then activating. That's how i was killing most of the end-game enemies in Origins and the strategy stayed mostly the same here. Only this time there are no healing arrows so i have to circumvent that with different loot weapons. Overall all bosses are huge bullet-sponges so battles span a lot of time doing the same thing -- running around shooting arrows and dodging and activating abilities. It takes a lot of time and is really annoying when you die right at the end and have to redo the entire boss encounter. Cerberus boss fight was especially infuriating because it (literally) dropped you into this boss fight so the game was checkpointed and i couldn't even go back to previous point in the game and change and upgrade my loot accordingly. I think that alone took me almost an hour of retries.
Speaking of loot, they also added another annoyance -- if you get too many loot weapons and armour you become "encumbered" and start to move really slowly, so you're artificially forced to either dismantle all your trash weapons or sell them to the nearest blacksmith. Loot is just became more annoying to deal with especially the procedure of dismantling hundreds of loot trash weapons and clothing out of your inventory.
Game has lots of extra costumes, ships and costumes to buy but i was more than fine with what game was giving me, though for half a day Ubisoft REALLY
wanted me to buy anything from their costume store so they've been showing an ad for their DLC sale every single time i was opening a map which was kinda annoying.
Speaking of DLCs. Game has 2 extra DLC campaigns. Each has 3 episodes each and are pretty long. One is on the same map as regular game just with added missions and other one features a new pretty big maps for each of the episode.
Legacy of the First Blade is more focused on the story -- however it just exposes further how tired Assassin's Creed's "revenge story" has become really. In both main game and in this DLC especially you always know that everyone
main character becomes close to WILL die violently at the hands of baddies du-jour so they can fuel the story.
Fate of Atlantis i liked more because it had 3 rather big location with fantastic and different style. I loved "floating-islands" design of Elysium
and grand gold-laced futuristic Atlantis. I really like fantastic architecture in videogames and movies -- the weirder and more aesthetic the setting is -- the more i like it.
Speaking about weird, Odyssey did something really, really, REALLY strange in (one of it's) ending and i actually kinda like it. They actually pushed the envelope on the sci-fi side of a series and changed the relationship between main characters inside and outside the animus. So kudos for that.
Overall the biggest problem with the game it is filled too much with filler. Where Origins quests and story felt brief and meaningful, Odyssey is almost all filler and at odd with itself. In Origins they purposely capped themselves to only leave the most interesting quests in and in some places there wasn't even much to do, but at least it played good. While in Odyssey it feels like bar for quality was lowered so much -- nothing leaves an impression.
It's a good game in minute to minute gameplay, but they really should have cut like 70% of it instead of stuffing it so much.