Here we go again.
Just one year ago, almost to the week when this column comes out, I was writing the same thing. We get right into the heart of Broketober, and already I am under a heavy burden of having to buy AAA quality games. The first week I spent playing Forza Horizon 4 until I received my gold level bracelet, and with the new seasonal modes, I will be going back to it on occasion. Matter of fact, the winter season is currently underway, so I’ll definitely need to check that out.
But what has been taken over my gaming hours lately is Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, a game that truly lives up to its name. Although I started the game later than everyone else (my copy arrived on Monday,) it has taken over my life for the past three days.
However as I get into my topic, I need to provide a little disclosure because I know there are going to be those who will call me out. As you see from the picture (which was taken at the time of this writing,) I am currently 15 hours into the game with Kassandra’s status at Level 15. Currently I am at the start of Episode 4 where I just arrived in Athens. As a result I am not as far as most people, and what I am writing is based on my own opinion, which does not express the views of anyone else here at GiN.
But with that out of the way, let’s continue.
As I stated, I am enjoying this “epic” game. Normally I’ve not been the biggest Assassin’s Creed fan, especially the earlier games, but they did have their moments. Ezio was such a likable character in AC2, and the naval combat in Black Flag was perhaps the best part of that game. But it was Assassin’s Creed Origins that really started to win me over. Granted there are those I have talked to that said it didn’t feel like an original AC game (as well as Odyssey,) but for someone who loves massive open world RPG experiences such as Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and the Witcher 3, I felt quite at home with it.
It is almost at the same level I felt about Final Fantasy XV and how it changed that series for me (for the better.) I am in awe of the RPG and exploration that Odyssey features, as well as all the customizable loot that can be found. Even taking a cue from Injustice 2 by upgrading current items to your character’s level is a nice little touch.
That’s not to mention how quests are now done if selected in Exploration mode, which requires you to obtain clues about certain quests. It’s almost as if Kassandra (or Alexios, if you prefer) developed their own form of Witcher Senses. I like it a lot.
Considering how I’m still at Level 15 and still there is tons for me to do (and that’s not even counting the two expansions that will be released later on,) Ubisoft just shows something I like to see more of these days: value. I really want to see more single player experiences provide as much value as we see here.
But of course, every time something great comes out, there are always those who have to take things way out of proportion online. Yes, the usual suspects who make up click bait videos to post on YouTube in an attempt to boost their ad revenue and Patreon supporters no matter how insane it is. And what is the excuse this time?
WAAAAAAAH! This game relies too much on grinding! It takes five hours to boost just a single level!
They even take it a step further. Considering that this is a Ubisoft game, there are certain “sterling” individuals who accuse Ubisoft of using “grinding” as a way to force people to use microtransactions to complete the game.
Yes, I know I have complained about games using microtransactions in the past, and I still stand by them if they truly do impede on a game’s progress (like in Star Wars Battlefront II) but so far, I have NOT seen any need for me to use paid boosts, and the way things are going, I’m actually going to enjoy doing various quests to build up more than a decent amount of experience to level up. That is NOT grinding. You want real grinding? Look up early MMOs or JRPGs like the earlier Final Fantasy games and then come back to tell me about Odyssey being too grind happy.
As I said at the beginning of this column, we’ve been through this last year. Remember Forza Motorsport 7, and how everyone went off about the game adding loot boxes? Remember how they were paid with IN GAME CURRENCY and never required real money payments? Or what about Middle Earth: Shadow of War? Remember how everyone was bent out of shape because of Act IV and how you can only beat it by purchasing microtransactions to buy high level allies to complete it? Did I make any payments to do so? No, I beat all ten battles of Act IV without spending a single dime and was completely satisfied with the experience.
In fact, the controversy was so out of hand, that I started my own hashtag on Twitter, #DidntSpendADime to tell people to not fall for what others are saying when it is taken to a whole new level of exaggeration. If my current Assassin’s Creed “Odyssey” continues the way it’s going, I might have to bring that hashtag back. Again, don’t listen to the extremists who only care about their ad revenue, listen to those who enjoy playing games in general.
But I will say if I’m wrong, and it does show signs of bad grinding, then I will provide a retraction. We’ll just have to see what comes up, but for now, Odyssey is pretty amazing.
Currently Playing: Forza Horizon 4, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Xbox One X)
Waiting For: Fallout 76