Of the recent blockbuster games I've tried (including Marvel's Spider-Man and Red Dead Redemption 2), Assassin's Creed: Odyssey is my favorite. Granted, I've only played for 7 hours and made 2.67% progress, and it's difficult for me to put my finger on why I enjoy it most, but it's the one I look forward to returning to more than the others.
Part of the explanation might involve my having played for 7 hours despite only completing less than 3% of the game. I love open world, free roam games, and Ubisoft has crafted an inspired playground from the Classical World. Of course, I might tire of repetitive quests the further I progress, if that's the case, but for now the lure of exploration and adventure is tough to beat.
Point of fact, I think I've completed the missions/quests So it Begins, Debt Collector, Spear of Leonidas and Shark the Vagrant and mostly finished the Hungry Gods quest. I've also slain one mercenary (Talos the Stone Fist). In 7 hours, that's it. Mostly I ride around the countryside or swim the ocean, exploring and fighting soldiers, cougars, wolves, sharks, etc.
It doesn't hurt that the worlds above and below the waterline are beautifully detailed. I'm only on the Kephallonia Islands but the hills and ocean depths are believably rendered, colorfully realized, and fun to explore. This includes the terrain but also fauna, foliage and sea life, all detailed and well animated. Buildings and ruins, too, are impressive to behold, given their classical style and painting.
Traversal is fairly intuitive and well-implemented, allowing Kasandra (in my case) to scale most cliffs or buildings with relative ease, and to swim without impediment. In many ways, she's the natural world's Spider-Man, without the gadgets, that is. Truly, moving through this world feels fluid and exhilarating. Even on horseback or in boat, controls are well-implemented.
Of course, this series has featured quality traversal since the beginning, but has steadily improved that feature since then. There is almost an arcade feel to how one can get around, though animations and movement are still grounded enough, so to speak, that navigation doesn't feel artificial or too over the top. Combat in this sense likewise flows in a way that is entertaining but not outrageous.
Much has been made of how combat was more streamlined with the prior entry Origins, and this outing likewise makes good use of that with fluid heavy or light attacks and defensive movements including rolls. Switching between targets is a snap, assassinations are quick and easily triggered, and fighting on horseback or underwater is nearly just as intuitive (save for minor adjustments given the context).
Weapons also handle well whether swords, daggers, staffs, spears or bow and arrow. Item consumption is helpful though I have to remind myself/figure out how to efficiently make use of an item whether mapping to a button or otherwise accessing. (Hadn't really needed to until I ran into Talos.) Though regardless of title I often neglect boosts, fortifiers, etc.
At least they're there and, in the meantime, I can rely on my attributes. At level 5, I've spread my points among each class to include the Sixth Sense hunter ability (hold LT to snap aim), Charged Heavy Attack warrior ability, Revelation assassin ability (hold up to reveal secrets) and the Weapons Master skill. The option to select from each class so gamers can play how they want is always appreciated.
In my 7 hours I'm not sure what exactly grips me about Odyssey compared with the other titles, though the well-realized Classical setting, interesting characters, variety of side quests to this point, fluid and intuitive exploration/combat, general polish and plain fun gameplay (plus awesome camera mode) combine for an entertaining and alluring title that I look forward to spending more time with.
(SEE "ABOUT" PAGE FOR LINKS TO SPECIFIC BLOGS.)