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Return as it was. Review of the “almost role-playing” Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Assassin’s Creed first came closer and closer to modern times, and then went back to the distant past – in times before our era. And in the process went somewhere not at all there. Odyssey is not Assassin’s Creed at all in the form in which you expect to see the game at launch. Probably, it should have been called differently, and then the questions for action would be much less. But wait, what else is an action? Now it is a role-playing game. At least, the developers really hoped that they could convince us of this.

Side effects

For the sake of sexual neutrality, two characters were added to the game – either Alexios or Cassandra is available. There is no difference between mercenaries (remember: men and women are equal), so the choice does not affect anything. The hero lives in the ancient Greek province and is trying to make ends meet. There is no particular work, petty banditry is flourishing, there is a war – peaceful people are in poverty, but soldiers have glittering armor and outrageous helmets.

First, the hero performs minor tasks, and then he is offered a real deal . The main game begins with this: it’s time to get out on the largest map in the history of Assassin’s Creed, which is divided into zones controlled by one or another side of the conflict.

Ubisoft seems to have decided to try it out for itself. In Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the passage of the main plot is stretched for some indecent time (the score is really dozens of hours) due to the need to perform a ton of minor tasks. Due to this, the influence of the faction weakens, and then you can already fight for control over the territory. A lot of locations, tasks for them – even more. And to complete quests over time, it becomes too tiring.

Not a killer anymore

The orders are quite diverse: track down and “execute” a mercenary, find rare weapons, steal documents, collect animal skins, and so on. It all sounds good, but here before the heroes of the series almost did not reach the primitive “give and take”.

Assassin – the killer of the highest class, a kind Hitman of the Middle Ages. He hid his face under the hood with a stylized beak, in place of the ring finger he had only a stump to pass the blade hidden in the cuff, and he committed murders in public view, while remaining invisible – thanks to the ability to dissolve in the crowd. And let with each part of Assassin’s Creed more and more receded from the original idea, the belonging of the hero to the chosen fraternity was somehow felt. Now this is nothing. Alexios / Cassandra – the most common character of the average RPG, hence too “simple” tasks.

As befits a role-playing game, we have a choice in the dialogues, but it is rather conditional. The dialogues themselves are written and delivered very poorly. The interlocutors somehow waving their arms, blinking occasionally, facial expressions almost do not change, and the replicas themselves are scarce – Ubisoft may be much better (at least as in Watch Dogs 2), but for some reason does not always want to. And also a specific humor, which sometimes slips almost to the “American Pie” – well, Assassin’s Creed isn’t to face.

At the same time, there are enough moments in which our decision will affect the fate of the characters. Say, a group of civilians looted a cart, because they have no other way to find food. Should I take them to the bloodthirsty soldiers? After all, the guards will certainly kill people. On the other hand, the corpses were torn to pieces near the cart – residents say that they found it already in this form, but you won’t check it out. Such situations in the spirit of The Witcher 3 are definitely encouraging.

Creative borrowing

By the way, Ubisoft was definitely inspired by The Witcher when developing some mechanics. There are quests in which you need to investigate an event or find something. The zone of searches is outlined, and forward – we wander, we look for key points. Is that a special mode of vision is not enough, but it is replaced by a bird, which serves as a reconnaissance drone. You can also, as in the same “The Witcher”, win over some girl for a good time. True, for the special location of the lady Geralt really had to strain himself, but here everything is overly simplified – he said the right words in a couple of dialogues (so that you would surely not make a mistake, the “correct” line is also marked with a heart) and you are already dragged by the hand. On the other hand, this can be explained by the characteristics of ancient Greek life – hedonism and all that.

The main problem Odyssey – pumping. The developers have made a rigid binding of the abilities of the characters to their levels, which, on the one hand, is not surprising for an RPG, but on the other – wildly annoying. Passage of the storyline regularly stops due to the fact that rivals are simply too strong. To deal with them is almost impossible, unless you grow up in level. So, you type quests on the bulletin board and you pass them for the next few hours to pump the hero.

Sometimes lucky, and a powerful opponent can be killed thanks to the bug – there are, incidentally, an unusually large number of them for playing from Ubisoft. For example, one strong fighter who took out Alexios with two blows managed to shoot from a frail bow (it took about five minutes), because … the enemy was stuck in a stone. In animals, if anything, there are levels too: brutal boars make us remember as many as Gothic 3.

One vs hundred

The combat system is most reminiscent of Shadow of Mordor – and this is not a compliment. The analogy is especially noticeable in attacks on fortified buildings, in which you need to kill the local boss. Previously, for example, we eliminated the target covertly. Now, a surprise attack will not always be fatal – again, due to linking to levels. In this case, the victim will raise the din, for which all the guards will run. To understand the scale of the problem: Imagine that a Hitman in a Hitman does not kill the enemy, but removes only a part of his health, after which the target enters the battle with you or flees.

In battles on the hero piled up in a crowd, the enemies resorted from all sides, and the numerical superiority is very much noticeable. You can catch opponents one at a time, use special attacks, but it works with a more or less equal level of your ward and opponents. Otherwise, even duels are almost doomed.

And this is despite the fact that before the battles took place in a completely different pattern – more gentlemanly or something. We watched the enemy, waited until it opened, instantly dealt with those who could not stand it and rushed to the attack. Odyssey is not at all like that. The priorities have shifted: before, everything was decided by the player’s ability to apply the available techniques, and now the outcome of the battle for the most part is determined by the difference in the levels of the hero and the opponent.

This state of affairs is especially offensive, because the system’s poor at first is actually worked very deeply. First, there is a tree of skills development broken into three branches – with new hits, combos and effects like poisoning or ignition. Secondly, there are a lot of items available with different capabilities (this menu, by the way, is organized exactly like Destiny’s MMO shooter). Thirdly, the weapon can be engraved, which activate or enhance the effects. All together it gives a multifaceted system in which it is interesting to understand and learn new abilities.

A large part of the huge map was flooded with water, which promised room for sea battles. Battles on ships compared to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag almost did not change: shoot, butt, go to boarding, or immediately sink a vessel. Is that all looks less impressive, because there are no cores. Such fights are still catchy, especially if you run up to a major battle involving five or six ships.

Visual performance shines not really. Yes, the territory is huge, but one area cannot be immediately distinguished from another – what’s the point then? Similar architecture, suspiciously similar interiors. Forests and rocks, too, that here, that there seem to be the same. Justify this size card can be open space for sea battles, but not to say that in a more compact Black Flag was closely. Add to this useless animation, passing through the small fences of the hero, too powdered skin of the characters, and it will be very sad. At the same time, the nature and distance of drawing are worked out at a very decent level.

If you close the words Assassin’s and Creed in the title of the game, and leave just Odyssey, then it turns out that everything is not so bad. Role system is quite a curve – so where is it perfect? Monotonous quests – well, even in The Witcher 3 some of the tasks are similar. But the fact is that Assassin’s Creed was a completely different thing, and new elements are perceived too alien. You can not play by the usual standards, here are completely different rules. Fans will be disappointed (on the other hand, the series is moving somewhere), the rest will get a great action / RPG in ancient Greece – which is, in principle, quite good.

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