Or why I can’t stop playing Assassins Creed Odyssey a year later
I’ve slept with everyone in this game. I’ve slain dozens and dozens of Spartans and Athenians alike. I’ve climbed every Synchronization spot. I’ve taken a few photos. I’ve silently decimated entire forts, filled with patrolling guards, in minutes. And I’ve found the hidden secrets to the ancients that only die-hard AC fans will appreciate. This game is amazing
But I’m not here to review a game that is almost a year old. Nope. This is about my time with a game I can’t seem to stop playing. My time in a game world that continues to amaze me with its breathtaking visuals. It’s what every game should aspire to be; fun. Something quite antithetical to last year’s biggest game, Red Dead Redemption 2. And while the story and characters in that game were top-tier, it just wasn’t a whole lot of fun to play.
I’m not here to bash on RDR 2. Nope. That game is special and I have every intention of revisiting that world again. Its level of care and detail is staggering. I respect great storytelling. I’m a writer, so great dialogue gets me going. And I finished that game because of those things. But it was in spite of poor gameplay. And that’s what keeps me glued to AC Odyssey long after it came out.
I bought the season pass about a month after the game launched. I do this every time. I buy the newest Ubisoft game (more on them in a minute), play it for a week or so, and then fall in love with their world-building. They throw a splash screen on my game suggesting I save 20% on the season pass, and then I buy it. They were right all along. Thank you, Ubisoft. The content on this pass was well worth the money. I like getting content that enriches the lore. And AC games have so much of it that I need that extra stuff. I even watch YouTube videos to make sure I have my timelines correct. I’m a true video game nerd, and I don’t give a fuck.
But this is a game that shines in its gameplay above all else. Everything simply works. It’s like listening to Apple people extol the virtues of why iPhone is better than Android; my phone just works, they say. And if we can use the RDR 2 and AC Odyssey parallel in the same way, the latter works in ways that the former does not. Control. Control. Control. There’s a breezy weightlessness to moving around ancient Greece. Alexios glides through towns. He runs everywhere. He even mounts his horse automatically if it comes running by him. I strike from the shadows with precision. I hide amongst the bushes, unseen, with almost no effort. I feel like an assassin. And when it’s time to bash skulls, My sword and heavy ax are both just a button press away. I switch to my bow with almost no thought. The challenge becomes my skill level. Am I taking advantage of what the developers wanted from me? Is the combat strategic and fun, like intended? For me, this is an easy answer; it’s yes!
But this has all been discussed by better writers than me. The reviews have been very good on this game from the beginning, garnering an impressive 87 on Metacritic amongst critics, but a very disparate 5.8 from the user base. I guess everyone else didn’t find this game as much fun. But their joy is not my joy. And hence the need to share this story with you.
At the end of the day, I’ve enjoyed each moment I’ve spent in Ancient Greece. And at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters