I’ve only had a few hours to spend on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, after picking up a copy this morning, but I’ve that’s enough for a hot take. Although, it’s basically a variation on the theme set by Assassin’s Creed Origins, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has implemented some significant changes for the series.
Kassandra is the shero we were introduced to at the E3 unveiling of Odyssey, but she’s not the stand alone protagonist. At the beginning of the game, you can choose between Kassandra and her brother Alexios (I had to look up his name), so Ubisoft is yet to give us a female-only led Assassin’s Creed, which is a disappointment. In addition, the default box art on my game was the man, with Kassandra relegated to the alternate cover. Not a great start for a game I was excited to play because we get to play as a woman.
That said, Kassandra is charming and a believable warrior. Her physique is worth noting because she has muscular legs and arms. Refreshingly, she hasn’t been modeled as lithe and wiry to satisfy beauty standards. Kassandra is clearly a fighter first, but she also has an iconic fishtail, side braid for the cosplayers. As I understand it, she doesn’t have the iconic hidden blade or assassin’s garb, but I’ve only just changed out of my noob tunic, so can’t confirm.
So far, I’ve met a couple of who I think will be recurring NPCs – Phoibe and Markus. Phoibe is a young orphan who looks up to Kassandra and gets into trouble early on, for an entry level mission. Markus is a loveable rogue, who is also a key figure from Kassandra’s past and his missions dominated my first few hours with the game.
Both of these characters give us a chance to get to know Kassandra, with Markus triggering several flashbacks, filling in her backstory. Through her conversations, we also see that Kassandra is no pushover. Although, Odyssey introduces dialogue choices for the first time in the Assassin’s Creed series, no matter which option you choose, it doesn’t betray Kassandra’s core character. If she’s kind or relenting, she does it with a wry smile or a warning raise of the eyebrow, so you never feel like you’re making the “good” choice vs the “terrible” choice.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey promises consequences for your dialogue choices, with a warning flashing up to remind you. At the end of missions you can decide whether to take a reward or just do a good turn for someone, which could work out in your favour later in the game. You can also choose not to kill some people at key moments or knock people out, rather than hit the assassinate button. I haven’t played long enough to see whether the choices lead to impactful narrative outcomes, so I’ll get back to you on that.
At around three hours in, I’m really enjoying playing as Kassandra, but my initial impression is it doesn’t really feel like an Assassin’s Creed game. There doesn’t seem to be much need for the iconic parkour and rooftop running. Looking at other feedback, plus my own experience, Odyssey focuses on combat even more than Origins did. And while ancient Greece is beautiful, it’s just not as interesting as ancient Egypt, which was stunning and made me want to scour every inch of that world.
Much like Black Flag, Odyssey feels like a great game that’s sitting in the wrong series. I may yet be proved wrong – we’ll see – but at the moment, I’m playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey because I’m interested in Kassandra’s story. However, if I want to feel like an assassin, I’m more likely to head back to Assassin’s Creed Origins.