Assassin's Creed is a legendary gaming franchise, enabling players to warp back in time to dramatic historical moments and use their stealth and fighting prowess to defeat a globe and time-spanning enemy.
It's also been a huge success, with the original PS3 game alone selling 5 million copies, and spawning lots of subsequent titles, as well as a popular movie and hordes of Assassin's Creed merchandise.
Devised by Ubisoft, Assassin's Creed features first person exploration and fighting, as well as a healthy dose of stealth which sets it apart from many similar titles. There are always plenty of characters to get to know, who weave complex storylines. Add in gorgeous recreations of historical settings, and it's easy to see why Assassin's Creed has become a cult classic.
Assassin's Creed: Odyssey is the 11th edition in the series, and had a release date of October 5, 2018 for Windows PCs, PS4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch.
A Quick Intro to the Saga
If you aren't familiar with the Assassin's Creed series, a short introduction to the game's themes and storyline will definitely help you hit the ground running. At its heart, the series deals with a seemingly endless conflict between a group called the Assassins (who you belong to) and the Templars (your sworn enemies). The battle between these forces has been raging since a cataclysmic solar storm destroyed an even more ancient civilization many thousands of years ago.
But there's also a sci-fi aspect to the tale that makes things even more complex. A shady company names Abstergo Industries has been looking for the so-called “Pieces of Eden” – historical items that possess the immense power of that long-destroyed civilization.
In the first Assassin's Creed game we learn that Abstergo created a tool known as the “Animus”, which lets their agents assume the form of their ancestors (as long as they have a genetic connection). By doing so, the company aims to reunite the Pieces of Eden, giving them endless power to shape humanity.
The Templars are essentially allied to Abstergo, and seek to dominate the world throughout history. So we find them kidnapping people in the present day who might have useful genetic ancestors, helping the Templars locate the Pieces of Eden. While they seek to control the world, the Assassins mobilise to thwart them, freeing the planet in the process. So it's a pretty cosmic scenario all-in-all.
Throughout the series, players have generally had to use the Animus to teleport into different historical contexts, whether that's in the Crusades, Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, the era of colonialism, revolutionary France, Imperial China, Mughal India, the Russian Revolution, or Victorian England. By now, if you play them through, it's actually a unique history lesson as much as a gaming experience, so feel free to download earlier instalments.
Where Did Assassin's Creed: Origins Take the Series?
The instalment before Odyssey was called Assassin's Creed: Origins, and as the name suggests, it took players right back to the beginning of the saga. The action took place in Ancient Egypt, just before the Roman conquest, with players taking the role of a “Medjay” named Bayek (an officer in the elite special forces of the pharoah Ptolemy).
Featuring a serpentine plot full of twists and turns, Origins was a huge success, with reviewers focusing on its complex but accessible storyline and impressive game world. It seemed in 2017 like Ubisoft has reached their peak, delivering a satisfying resolution to the series. But Origins wasn't supposed to be the final word in the Assassin's creed story. Instead, the developers intended to take players even further back in time – to the Peloponnesian Wars of Ancient Greece. And that's where we enter the action in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey.
Bringing the Assassin's Creed Narrative Up to Date
While Assassin's Creed: Origins was set during the Ptolemaic Kingdom, which succeeded Alexander the Great's conquest of Egypt, Odyssey shifts the action to Ancient Greece, long before Alexander was even born.
This time around, players have a choice. They can either play as an Athenian or a Spartan hero, replicating the historical contours of the actual Peloponnesian War. Unlike previous editions in the series, gamers also have more opportunities to customise their character. Odyssey is more like a role playing game than a pure stealth adventure, representing a shift in the pace and nature of the gameplay.
As usual, the storyline involves a shift between the present and the past. After heroine Leyla Hassan discovers a book by the Greek historian Herodotus referring to a mysterious artefact, she realises that by taking the form of a Spartan warrior, it might be possible to acquire this item. One half of the story deals with the quest for this artefact, while the other is a kind of secret history of one of history's greatest conflicts.
Playing as either an Athenian mercenary or a Spartan prince seeking to restore their reputation, gamers can join the fray, helping their side toward eventual victory while carrying out their core and side quests along the way.
Introducing Some of the Key Characters in Odyssey
There are two main assassins to control in Odyssey, and choosing either will lead to a different set of adventures.
Kassandra – A female Spartan mercenary, Kassandra is thought to be the grand-daughter of Leonidas, one of the city state's greatest rulers. While fighting as a mercenary, she becomes embroiled in a conflict with a shady group known as the Cult of Kosmos – who are closely related to the Templars we know from previous AC games. Part of her narrative arc involves restoring her lost honour, which she sacrificed by attempting to prevent the religious killing of her brother, who we'll get onto in a second.
Alexios – The brother of the game's other leading character, Alexios was saved by his sister from a grisly sacrifice as a child but came under the influence of the Cult of Kosmos. Seeing him as the descendant of the Ancients, they groomed him to be a weapon to use against their enemies, causing him to come into conflict with his sister.
How the Gameplay Works in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
As usual with Assassin's Creed, the action takes place in the first person, and the ancient Greek game world is enormous (around 100 square miles), featuring environments like Athens, Kephallonia, the Forest Islands, and the Peloponnese – home of Sparta. You can get a great feel for the scope of the game at the Ubisoft website, where you can find a guide and map to the game's locations. And if you need any extra info, there's a very informative Assassin's Creed wiki page – an essential bookmark for all fans.
Another feature that will be familiar to players of previous AC games is the use of skill trees to unlock new abilities. The root of this system is the fabled Spear of Leonidas, which both assassins possess at the game's beginning. As the game proceeds, gamers can fine tune many other skills though, such as stealth, archery and pure strength.
The hitbox-based combat system returns, with a few new finishing moves to take care of enemies, while Odyssey sees naval warfare make a return as well – which makes sense given the Ancient Greek context. All of the combat is set within the ebb and flow of the actual Peloponnesian War, which you can influence as you fight, changing the sequence of events in the game. So no single play through will be the same.
Character interaction is also a major element of Odyssey, even more so than in Origins, which introduced the most complex NPCs yet. In Odyssey, you can kindle romances or spark fierce vendettas, and the way you treat NPCs has a major influence on how the action plays out.
For instance, if you start killing innocents, you can attract the interest of 50 “mercenaries” who hunt you down, seeking the bounty placed upon your head. It all adds up to a complex, fascinating kaleidoscope of relationships which drive the story forward.
How Has Assassin's Creed: Odyssey Been Received by the Gaming Press?
Assassin's Creed: Origins was a massive success, causing many commentators to question whether Ubisoft would be able to raise their game to surpass it with Odyssey. The signs are that they succeeded.
IGN praised the “magnificent and beautiful open world”, from rocky coasts gleaming in the Mediterranean sunshine, to stunningly evoked city states with dazzling golden statues. They also noted the high-quality acting and character animation, as well as the freedom to determine what kind of personality your character possessed.
For Gamespot, Odyssey represented a step up from Origins, with its immensely detailed environments and more satisfying characterisation. The game world was doubled in size, there were more side quests to complete and with nine different conclusions, the main storyline offered remarkable depth. But they weren't so taken with the romance elements, calling them “bizarre shows of affection that have no real purpose.”
PC Gamer gave the game 90% and basically loved almost everything about it. For them, the key improvement was the structure of the narrative, with various quests looping into the main storyline, and the game feeling more like a cohesive tale than a series of events one after the other. And they also appreciated the move to a classically RPG-style setup, which allowed for more complex character development.
There have been some critics, who have cited the sometimes repetitive questing and glitches like tamed animals suddenly “untaming” themselves when you reload a saved game. But overall, there have been very few dissenters,with the PS4 version of Assassin's Creed: Odyssey achieving a Metacritic rating of 83%.
The Power of Choice in Odyssey: Trailer for AC:O
Assassin's Creed: Odyssey – Buying Options
If you'd like to make the journey back to ancient Greece, there are a number of ways to purchase Assassin's Creed Odyssey. Here are the major ways to buy the game:
Standard Edition – Simply comes with the game itself, and is available for PC, Xbox One, and the PlayStation 4.
Deluxe Edition – Includes the game as well as several add-on packs to get you started, such as the Kronis Gear Pack, the Herald of Dusk Gear Pack, the Capricornus Naval Gear Pack, as well as a hit point and Drachma currency bonus.
Gold Edition – Features the main game as well as the first bonus quest, known as Secrets of Greece, along with free copies of Assassin's Creed III and its add-on Assassin's Creed III: Liberation. In the Standard and Deluxe editions, the Secrets of Greece mission can't be unlocked before you reach Level 18, so buying this edition gives you a major head start, while the bonus games are both classics. Only available for PC.
Ultimate Edition – Includes the game, Secrets of Greece, the two bonus titles, and the various gear packs, as well as an Assassin's Creed Season Pass, giving you access to all DLC as it is released.
Spartan Edition – This collector's edition comes with a huge amount of extras, including a steelbook, a Spartan statuette, the Season Pass, an art book, a limited edition lithograph, the game's soundtrack, and a handy printed representation of the game world. Released for PC, Xbox and PlayStation 4.
Pantheon Edition – The most expensive edition of all, it adds an extra statuette, alongside everything else you'll get in the Spartan Collector Edition. Available for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox.
Medusa Edition – Not technically available in the UK (but available from various online sellers in any case), this edition comes with the Season Pass and add-on gear packs, as well as a 33cm high fallen gorgon statue.
There are significant price differences between the various packages. So always look out for discounts if you've set your heart on obtaining one of Ubisoft's collector's editions.
If you just want the Standard version, remember that extra content will only become available with a Season Pass. For instance, more expensive packages provide access to Secrets of Greece as well as the Blind King. If you want to play the latter, you'll need a pass. These can often be purchased cheaply via merchants like GAME, but you may also find them bundled with the game itself, so keep your eyes peeled.
What Are the Minimum and Recommended Specifications for the Windows Version?
If you're buying Odyssey for the PC, be sure to check the minimum and recommended specs, as this is definitely a game which performs at its best on powerful systems. Firstly the minimum specs:
Operating system: Windows 7 and upwards
CPU: 3.1GHz Intel Core i5 2400 or 3.8GHz Ryzen AMD FX 6300
As noted above, there will be plenty of extra content for Odyssey players to enjoy, starting with the Secrets of Greece and the Blind King, which comes bundled with the Season Pass and many expensive editions of the game. Actually these aren't technically DLCs, as they can be unlocked by playing up to a certain level (level 15 for the Blind King and 18 for Secrets of Greece). But by spending a bit of extra cash, you can unlock them straight away.
When you've finished those quests, the next round of proper DLC will probably have landed, including:
Legacy of the First Blade – A story which promises to unfold some of the mysteries of the Assassin's order, as you team up with an ancient Spartan warrior, the wielder of the first blade.
Fate of Atlantis – Perhaps it was inevitable in an ancient Greek-themed game, but this DLC pack will see you penetrate the mysteries of Atlantis.
Both DLC packs should deliver 10-20 hours of additional playing time, and are available to all Season Pass holders.
Is There Any Assassin's Creed Odyssey Merchandise to Think About Buying?
As ever, the new AC title has been accompanied by a burst of merchandising. Aside from the content that comes with the various editions, there's no shortage of buying options for serious fans who want to enhance their gaming experience.
Apparel – Ubisoft have set up the Assassin's Creed Workshop to accompany their flagship series, and it has created plenty of clothing for fans of the game. From hoodies and t-shirts, to messenger bags and coats, you can kit yourself out head to toe (if you wish) in Odyssey-themed apparel.
Figurines – Few games lend themselves to statuettes as well as Assassin's Creed, and this edition is no exception. Fill your shelves with Spartan and Athenian warriors, ancient gods and monsters, and really feel part of the action.
Jewelry – Ubisoft have also come up with a Spear Necklace for gamers to loop around their neck. It doesn't technically give you any extra powers, but it might provide the inspiration to complete every quest.
The Broken Spear of Leonidas – If you really want to show your love for the AC series, this replica spear is a must-have, and should be available from retailers like Amazon.
How to Purchase Assassin's Creed: Odyssey at the Best Price
Travelling back in time to battle the forces of evil is never cheap, but we can cut the cost of buying the version of Assassin's Creed: Odyssey you desire.
Most importantly, check out the HotUKDeals Assassin's Creed: Odyssey listings. We bring together all of the UK's major gaming retailers, including merchants like Amazon, Very, Smyths, Tesco, GAME, Argos, CDKeys and many others. If it's on offer in the UK, you'll find it in our listings.
If you know you'll want to access the DLC episodes, be sure to pick up a Season Pass as well. This is often cheaper if you buy the game and pass together, so search for the right deal. And you might also be able to save if you time your purchase cleverly. Black Friday in November is sure to see big reductions, but the run-up to Christmas in general is a good time to look for promotional deals.
Battle Your Way With the Assassin's Creed: Odyssey Offers at HotUKDeals
Ubisoft have created another masterpiece in the form of Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. Available for PC, Xbox, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, this historical adventure brings Ancient Greece back to life, in all of its beauty, mystery and intrigue. So strap on your breast plate, take hold of your dagger and dive in. But be sure to save money by buying the game via the HotUKDeals Assassin's Creed: Odyssey listings.
Posted 21st JulPosted 21st Jul
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