Assassin’s Creed Odyssey launches this Friday and the reviews are already pouring out.
The question on everyone’s mind is whether Odyssey is just a rehash of last year’s Assassin’s Creed Origins, or if it’s a good game on its own right, meriting another purchase and dozens of hours of your game time.
I’ve played some of the game (but not all by a long shot) and will have my own first impressions out later this week. But for now, let’s take a look at what the critical consensus is.
Metacritic Score: 86/100
Open Critic Score: 86/100
From what I can tell, this is higher than all but a handful of titles in the series: Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag all scored higher.
Last year’s very well-received Origins received an 81/100. This means that Odyssey is one of the best-reviewed Assassin’s Creed games of all time, ranking near the very top of the totem pole.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not at least partly a retread of last year’s completely revamped game. Origins made a ton of changes to the Assassin’s Creed formula, and many of those are present in Odyssey as well. The setting, also, is quite familiar.
Here’s our own Paul Tassi, who gave the game an 8.5/10:
I feel like this game is just…a bit much. A bit much so soon after Origins, and a bit much where it literally takes almost 60 hours to complete all four main questlines and hit level 50. That’s without 100%ing the map in the least, which would take a few dozen more hours I’m sure. For some, especially the “dollar per entertainment hour value” crowd, that’s a good thing. For others, this may be a game that you may not finish by next summer, given how much time it requires. For me personally, it was a tad exhausting, even with a generous 10 day window with my review copy.
Again, it’s more cake. Origins was delightful and Odyssey hits almost all the same notes, so there’s a lot to like about it as well. But this series needs a bit of breathing room, and I hope it gets another bit of rest after this.
Destructoid’s Brett Makedonski is quite a bit more enthusiastic, giving the game a 9/10:
Alexios is one of the most memorable protagonists in all of Assassin’s Creed, even if I never once actually thought of him as an assassin. In a lesser game, he’d probably be forgettable. But Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is superb in nearly every aspect. It’s the most impressive Assassin’s Creed, even though sometimes it feels like it’s Assassin’s Creed in name only. It’s as broad as Atlas’ shoulders and as strong as Hercules. This time, Ubisoft hit a real Homer.
While he doesn’t hand out a score, Eurogamer’s Tom Phillips certainly recommends the game, calling it “Colossal in size, lavish in scope, Odyssey feels like a series landmark and Ubisoft’s biggest ever game.”
He goes on:
I was wary Odyssey would begin to feel bloated, but despite its length that’s not a word I’d use. It’s vast, there’s no getting around that, but optional goat-hunting bounties aside the majority of your time with Odyssey is well respected. You’re always a few hundred XP off a new level and new skill, or a mission away from completing an island’s questline, or one Cultist kill behind upgrading my spear. Tonight I may finally track down a First Civilisation monster, or unlock another map region just to see what lies over the horizon. Odyssey is an enormous game – certainly one of the biggest, if not the biggest game Ubisoft has ever made. It’s an astonishing creation, extraordinarily generous and solidly crafted, and like its namesake is something that will live long in the telling.
Others share some of Paul’s concerns while also enjoying the experience.
Perhaps the harshest review (at least in terms of score) that I’ve seen is that of The Escapist’s Arthur Gies, who gave the game a 6/10 and described it as exhausting—an experience he’d more than likely have to pay real money on to boost XP rates just to get through the slog:
Too much of Odyssey’s later game story content is locked behind a murderous progression wall. Every quest in the game has a level attached to it, and while there’s some wiggle room, anything more than a couple of levels above your character is intended to be beyond your capability — more simply, you just can’t do enough damage to fight effectively.
As the game goes on, more and more quests are required to be completed to move on and frankly, I’ve found it exhausting. It’s hard to shake the feeling that Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a game obsessed with making the player eat their vegetables.
And here’s Joe Juba of GameInformer, awarding the game an 8.25/10:
The game doesn’t have a shortage of content; Ancient Greece is filled with activities like clearing camps, infiltrating forts, and waging war. I enjoyed those objectives, but I was hungry for more scenarios that felt less random and more carefully designed. Instead, Odyssey feels like an ecosystem set up and left to run on its own with little authorial interference. Too many quests send you sneaking around cookie-cutter compounds to contend with a standard assortment of patrolling guards as you loot chests, burn war supplies, or kill specific targets. With some notable exceptions, even the main story missions and key assassinations rely on these tasks, so your actions during major beats often don’t feel distinct or special compared to the rest of the experience.
Still, despite these problems, most critics were blown away by the game’s scope and attention to detail. An interesting system of choices also separates this game from the rest of the series, with nine different endings possible depending on what you choose throughout your run-through.
For instance, there’s one point in the game where you come across a group of priests about to kill a family sick with some kind of plague. You have a choice: Kill the priests to save the family, or let them do their bloody business to prevent the sickness spreading. If you kill the priests, the entire area will later be wiped out by the plague, but of course you don’t know this at the time. Choice matters in this game and that’s a new frontier for Assassin’s Creed.
Indeed, the game is much more of an RPG than any in the series before it, including Origins. For better or worse, perhaps, but it’s still enough to keep things fresh and different—indeed, perhaps fresh and different enough to warrant a new IP rather than continue on with this one ad infinitum.
Look for more coverage of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey here at Forbes Games in the coming days, and thanks for stopping by!