Assassin's Creed Odyssey: What You Need To Know
Last year fans of Assassin's Creed were rewarded for their two-year wait for a new instalment with an adventure that took us right back to ancient Egypt to examine the origins of the long-running battle between the Assassins and the Templar Order. But if you thought that's as far back as the story goes then think again: this year's iteration takes us back another 400 years, this time to ancient Greece.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey is due to make its arrival in stores on Friday (October 5th), here's everything you need to know about the latest chapter in the Assassin's Creed story...
So whats the synopsis here?
Assassin's Creed Odyssey is set in 431 BCE during the conflict between the rival city-states Athens and Sparta, commonly referred to as the Peloponnesian War. Like other games in the series, the game also features a storyline set in the modern day involving Layla Hassan, introduced in Origins, but for the most part you'll be taking on the role of a mercenary – named either Kassandra or Alexios, depending on your choice - who can choose to side with Athens and the Delian League, or their enemies, the Sparta-led Peloponnesian League. While the Assassins and the Templars are not referenced by name here, there is a proto-Templars type organisation known as the Cult of Kosmos, who serve as the game's main antagonists.
What's the gameplay like?
In very broad terms, Odyssey follows the same kind of gameplay mechanics as its predecessor, but in many cases it takes many of the improvements introduced in Origins and expands on them. One example of this is in combat, where a skill tree system allows you to unlock specific abilities and apply these individually to any of the three different types of combat – stealth, rage and melee – making for a much more customisable experience. You can also reconfigure these at any time if you want to boost certain aspects of your fighting skill set in certain situations.
One of the other main things you'll notice is sizeable increase in cutscenes in this year's instalment. Ubisoft says it has recorded more than 30 hours of these for Odyssey and while inevitably some of the dialogue is bound to be a bit clunky, these cinematic interventions are more than just window dressing. An updated storyline system means that choices you make in these conversations (and other parts of the game) have real consequences, even resulting in multiple different endings, which feels much more realistic.
Any new features added since Origins?
While it's not exactly 'new', Odyssey does feature the return of proper naval combat for the first time since Black Flag, but it's worth counting as a new feature since Ubisoft have given the system a complete overhaul here, allowing you to take control of warships in the Aegean Sea and battle for naval supremacy.
The naval combat also feeds into a 'War System' which enables you to take contracts from mercenaries to engage in large-scale battles with opposing armies and hostile factions. Tip the balance between warring factions far enough and the effects could completely alter the storyline and the way your adventure pans out.
The other new addition in the field of combat adds special 'finishing moves' to the game's hitbox system, which allows you to do things like raining arrows on your enemies or giving them a Gerard Butler-style boot in the chest to knock them off balance.
What's all this about a version for Nintendo Switch?
Unfortunately, while Nintendo have announced a cloud-based version of the new game for its Switch console, it seems that this will only be accessible in Japan, so as things stand Switch owners in the UK, Europe and North America won't be able to play. However, this might be encouraging news in the long run – if a Japan-only launch is being used as a test then it could eventually lead to more games from third party developers being available on Switch in the future.
Can I see a trailer?
Of course, check out the one below...
Assassin's Creed Odyssey is available in hmv stores from Friday October 5th - you can also find it here in our online store.