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Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Special Playthrough; Assassin’s Creed

In this, the finale of FBT’s epic playthough, he chooses his favourite AC, argues which is the true Creed and picks the best Assassin - all he has to do is go on an Odyssey …

Part Ten, Odyssey

And I thought Origins was epic at 50-plus hours. Those are rookie numbers! This makes Origins look like a DLC. But the end is in sight. Oh, no, that’s not the ending, it’s another twenty missions. Okay, now the end is in sight! Oh, no …

This! Is! Sparta! Modern-era Layla recovers Gerard Butler’s spear and finds DNA for her uber-Animus. Hold up, that spear is thousands of years old and DNA is still on it? You dug it up out of the ground! We could be about to relive the life of a passing earthworm. It’s not Leonidas’ DNA either, it’s two siblings but the same memory. How does that work? We’re a long way from Altair’s ancestor being an ex-barman.

431 BCE and we’re Kassandra, a Rhona Rousey-looking Misthios, or mercenary. Offered a contract to assassinate a Spartan general during the war with the Athenians, Kass is thrust into an epic journey where she chooses between her Spartan heritage and carefree life as a Misthios, chooses to reunite her family or not, chooses who wins the war, chooses to ignore or destroy a Cult manipulating events, chooses to embrace her Isu-related legacy or not, and we chose to ignore how we influence the outcome of a memory.

The AC story was always just an excuse to run about in the past, but it had rules, logic; if we didn’t follow history, we desync’ed. But this is a choice-driven RPG so the AC structure becomes jarring, and when we reach the end of this Greek tragedy and it tries to tie into the AC narrative, the whole thing disappears up its own arse. And it takes so long to get there.

And if you wanted proof this isn’t an AC game, we don’t have a hidden blade. That was kept for one of Odyssey’s DLCs (what, we have to pay extra to see the origins of the series’ most iconic image?) Instead, we have the Spearhead, an Isu artefact. Kass uses it for some brutal kills, easily pushing it through then pulling it out the other side of hapless guards and a perk lets you fling it like a mid-range sniper rifle and chain kills; it’s beyond cool but it ain’t a frickin’ hidden blade is it! But we’re not an assassin either.

As a Misthios, you roam the lands doing deeds, but it doesn’t resonate like Bayek’s wandering Medjay because his need to help, and desire to avenge his son kept you satisfyingly committed and distracted. Plus this isn’t an AC story, it’s background and it’s so far in the past to have no real relevance to what we did in prime AC games. Kass’s journey is a lot more slow-burn, and the world is just overwhelmingly big it becomes a slog. This is a gigantic Far Cry meets Jason and the Argonauts. Black Flag had a similar approach, in that Edward got pulled into the Assassin’s world and away from a Pirate’s life, but there’s no Creed for Kass, just tons of plots pulling her every which way. So much going on.

And at sea it’s even bigger. Kass gains a ship, the Adrestia and you can hire lieutenants - as in pressgang them, offer safe haven or blackmail them into joining. I was asked by a woman to off her ex-girlfriend, but I offered the ex a spot on the ship instead. Returning for my reward I invited the woman aboard too. Awkward. Each has a perk to aid the Adrestia, which has upgrades that would make Kenway proud.