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For over a decade, Assassin's Creed has been an escapist fantasy of silent violence and bloody intrigue. After a yearlong hiatus, they produced Origins, an extraordinary re-imagining of the formula and built a brilliant new phase for the series. Odyssey has continued this rebirth and succeeds in most areas. Unfortunately, Odyssey is also a regressive performance in a number of ways. These failings are detailed below.
Tragically Poor Combat
The combat system is a travesty that rivals Oedipus, who blinded himself after killing his father and shagging his mum. It is not combat it is an exercise in futility. The combat designers clearly lost their nerve when they were coming up with new mechanics.
The Spartan Kick, for example, allows you to kill much more powerful enemies than you WHICH IS THE POINT OF ASSASSINATING PEOPLE NOT FIGHTING THEM. When they realised that this little workaround might be too powerful and fun, they magically make more powerful enemies impossible to kick off balance. The same goes for the shield-breaking shove. I want to be a level 1 noob and be able to skilfully dispatch a level 50 cult member through skill, not grinding and repetitive fighting.
Furthermore, it does not matter how far in advance you start your attack; any enemy can start an attack after you have and still hit you before you hit them. Everything about the combat system is designed to limit you for no good reason. The combat has nothing to do with skill. It is literally hit, dodge, repeat until their health is gone.
Fetch Quest and Interchangeable Boss
I put in ship at the Isle of Lesbos, home of the lesbians (boom-boom) and was told tales of the "Writhing Dread." This excited me greatly. This fearsome creature could only be Medusa and I was going to have an epic battle with a legendary creature. Sadly, what I fought was an enemy with two attacks that just looked like Medusa.
It took 20 minutes to defeat her because she also has a ludicrous level of health. I finally killed her and got an artifact. Huzzah, hitting and dodging for 20 minutes and I get an artifact. This fight is not anomalous in its disappointment. Every boss fight in the game follows the same formula. I considered writing a list of the worse bosses, but they are all so uniform it would be a pointless endeavour.
The Assassins Creed method of boss fight creating is:
1. Create two Boss Attacks
2. Make boss do said attacks until half health
3. Make boss do attacks faster
4. Give boss massive amount of health and hide it from the player so they don’t just grind for three hours to kill a more powerful enemy.
The purpose of the levelling system is only to slow you down. This is not a new side effect of levelling systems, but I have never felt so restrained by one. It feels impersonal and implausible, not to mention insulting. Every boss in the game is just a glorified hurdle in a fetch quest, players deserve more than the bare minimum window dressing.
Photo Icons on the Map
This is probably the pettiest peeve I have with the game. On the map screen, you can hover over icons that will show you the artistic snapshots taken by other players. This was a charming feature in Origins but has become a profoundly irritating monstrosity in Odyssey.
One of Assassins Creed’s core elements is syncing viewpoints across the world. These points are often elevated and offer stunning views of the map. It is only natural that everyone with two thumbs takes a picture at the viewpoint locations.
However, this means that the photo icon on the map screen appears directly over the viewpoint icon. This gets in the way EVERY TIME YOU TRY TO FAST TRAVEL. You hover over the viewpoint and hold square to initiate fast travel but every time you accidentally highlight the photo icon instead. So, every single time I fast travel I am hindered by this dreadful poorly thought out mechanic. Of everything in the game, this has offended my common sensibilities the most.
Ubisoft have humiliated themselves with all the combat in this game. I was skeptical of Origins' new system but it grew on me. Odyssey is a step backwards because of the catastrophic level of nerfing Ubisoft has indulged in. I am not saying don’t play the game, I am suggesting you lower your expectations. There is plenty to enjoy if you can overlook the aforementioned flaws.