ASSASSIN'S CREED: ODYSSEY
Assassin's Creed Odyssey is a 2018 action role-playing video game developed by Ubisoft Quebec and published by Ubisoft.
Despite the fact that I (now) have three shrines for video games, I am in fact not really much of a "gamer" these days. I don't know that I'd really consider myself to have ever been a "gamer", to be honest. I think of a "gamer" as someone who plays videogames more than they don't, is absorbed in the news and advancements of technology and hype on new consoles and titles and such. That ain't me. In fact, I probably wouldn't even have gotten a more recent-ish console and picked up videogames after my mid-20s if it weren't for the fact that I had kids and one of them ended up becoming and being very much a "gamer".
One of the games my youngest played that I thought looked interesting, interesting enough to try out, was the predecessor to the game that this shrine is for, Assassin's Creed: Origins. In fact, if Assasin's Creed: Odyssey (or Assassin's Creed: Valhalla after it) hadn't come out, Assassin's Creed: Origins would probably be the focus of this shrine. For me, it's Odyssey then Valhalla then Origins, in terms of favorites. I have played all three through to completion, but it is Odyssey that I actually wanted to pick up and play again - and which I am currently doing with what little free time I have outside of life and this little old website.
While all three titles are absolutely breathtaking and unbelievably enjoyable to play, it is the main chaaracter for Odyssey which, ultimately drew me in and drew me back. There are several reasons, really, but primarily it is due to the main character. In this case, Kassandra. There's a number of reasons, too, behind why I find the character so wonderful. Unlike typical videogames out there that have women in them, Kassandra is tall and muscular and her ass and tits do not reach for the heavens and jiggle with even the slightest movement. While the designers of the game did manage to make her beautiful, it is in - again - atypical game design fashion. In addition to throwing the sexist visual trope out the window when creating Kassandra, they also managed to get an incredible voice actor for her in Melissanthi Mahut, a (fittingly) Greek-Canadian actress. The accent is superb and the emotion is palpable. And lastly, Kassandra is downright funny. Lots of games over the years have tried to have funny moments or characters and failed miserably, but with Kassandra the game developers hit the sweet spot. She is witty and clever and her timing is impeccable.
Assassin's Creed: Odyssey begins in Greece during the year 480 BC. Peloponnesian War times. There's some family drama and the region is a mess. We are given some history about her and the region upon beginning. Kassandra is a mercenary during current times - time of gameplay, but we find out so much more about her and her family and her past as the game is played. I don't want to give too much away, even though most all of it probably has already been given away elsewhere online by now. In game, as her story unfolds, she finds odd jobs and goes where the money and information are, only to discover there's a cult involved in the mess that is her family and history, as well as the war in Greece and the armies fighting it. Kassandra's personal story plays out within the turmoil and war and players are also treated to quite a bit of history and geography while playing.
With the game being set in the time and place that it is, we get to meet fictional representations of many a famous and perhaps not-so-famous figure from history in the region. Socrates, Leonidas, Hippokrates, and Herodotus are but a few noteworthy names to mention who appear in game and are wonderfully developed, robust, complete personalities. In addition to building wonderful personas for these famous names from history, the developers also borrowed heavily from historcial artwork and sculpture for their inspiration in designing the visual representation of them, while also exorcising a good deal of artistic license and creative freedom. All to come together in these really enjoyable and unique characters in game that the player returns to and revisits often.
I think the coolest got damned thing about these recent Assassin's Creed titles is the open world dynamic, wherein you can walk, climb, swim, crawl on 99% of the environment, no matter what it is. Some trees and other items are not climbable, but by and large you can walk on, jump from, swing to, scale up, and swim through damn near anything. Like, L I T E R A L L Y. Shit is mind boggling. See a building? Climkb to the roof. See a pond 1,000 feet below? Jump into that sumbitch. When you throw in just how visually stunning and detailed the graphics are for every detail of the landscape, it is even more enjoyable to just explore.
I was not at all into the sailing parts of Origins, the gameplay was just not enjoyable for a number of reasons. I thought the ship controls were wonky and clunky and the camera angle and view was off more than it wasn't when you wanted to shoot arrows and such. Odyssey worked on that bit of the gameplay bigtime, and it shows. The ships respond faster and more accurately to your control, but also a little more unrealistically - which I understand was a thing for some people. I ain't mad at it, in fact I quite like it. The sea graphics and physics are far better in Odyssey, too, and boarding ships and engaging in combat are some of the most fun battles with mutliple enemies in the entire game.
The one on one battles are so enjoyable, I can't even explain it. Especially as you level up and get better gear and more powers. The most fun battle gameplay is at, like, forts or military bases, though. You, as Kassandra (why anyone would be Alexios, I'll never understand), are endeavoured to assassinate the enemy, hence the game's namesake. The stealth route is loads of fun and as you progress you learn more about the landscape and environment and how it can help - or hurt - you in your attempts to assassinate the enemy without being noticed. Inevitably you get discovered, however, and often find yourself battling multiple enemies of varying strengths. And man... It is SO fun. When other mercenaries come after you due to an enemy hiring them it gets even more interesting and fun - and difficult.
There are plenty of boss level fights and you even get to fight some mythological creatures, as well. Hunting and gathering are very much a part of the process, especially with regard to getting your ship leveled up and capable of enduring some of the inescapable battles, but it is just the right amount of passive versus active resource gathering that it doesn't feel like a milstone around the neck like so many other hunt and gather games.
The fine line between hero and villain, as a protagonist, is so much fun, too. But Kassandra...
Here is a Stamp I made.