It took a couple months, but I’ve finally managed to complete Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. There were beautiful vistas, fun combat, and historical/mythological references peppered through the world map of Ancient Greece. I hung out with Socrates, Hippocrates, Pericles and… uh, my dad Pythagoras. I liked how myths and legendary monsters were tied into the First Civilization lore of the larger series.
Some weird things exist in this game as well. The homeland of Kephallonia became riddled with a terrible plague, and this drove me back to the island to try and solve the expected quest line. But there was nothing to be found. No cutscene. No dialogue from the main character. It’s as if the quest was never finished by Ubisoft’s developers. After the main story line ended, the cult hunt became very monotonous. Investigate clues for 15 seconds, infiltrate a camp or fortress, ride in the ship, kill a mercenary, pick flowers for an old man, repeat.
Despite these gripes, I did actually like Odyssey. Not as much as the Ezio-central games, but it was nice to return to a series I was getting tired of. Which brought me to this thought: where does the AC team go now? I don’t just mean in terms of setting, but also with where they are taking the gameplay. Anyone who has played Odyssey will notice how much the series had drifted from a stealth adventure to an action RPG. The originals were all about blending in with the crowd, stalking an assassination target, and employing hidden blades, poison, traps and distractions to get your way. Nowadays, we have three skill trees for combat, a huge variety of armor pieces, and fiery maces. Stealth does exist (and my whole playthrough of Odyssey was stealth focused), but now it’s one option among many. so, should the developers at Ubisoft return to the old formula, with perhaps a couple new gameplay additions? or should they continue on their current path of straying into the RPG and action territory? honestly don’t know the answer to this. I enjoyed playing both versions of this franchise. Assassin’s Creed is experiencing a second wind as of Origins, so maybe this change is what the series needs to survive.
Where do they go, setting-wise? Another difficult question to answer. There are many time periods and places to choose from. Here are some that could be fun for another installment:
This is a hugely anticipated setting for Assassin’s Creed. The benefits are obvious: ninjas, samurai, a variety of weapons and playstyles. The downside to this is that we have seen video games set in feudal Japan many times over. It might feel a bit redundant to experience a time and place many gamers are already familiar with.
An alternative to Japan would be its neighbor, China. This culture has seen comparatively less attention by game developers, and is filled to the brim with historical and mythological content. China has everything from cities to mountains to deserts. I would like to see this game take place during the Qin Dynasty (some time between 221 – 206 BCE). The first emperor of Imperial China, Qin Shi Huang, ruled during this time. He was eventually assassinated. The terracotta army, the beginnings of the Great Wall and Confucianism were all prevalent during this time. Oh, and crossbows would come back to the series!
Between 474-480 AD, the Western Roman Empire dissolved after the assassination of the last Emperor Julius Nepos. Ravenna was the capital, and the empire encompassed Spain, France, England, Italy, Carthage and parts of central Europe. This is a period of history that changed the face of the world, ending the Ancient Era and ushering in the Middle Ages. One could interact with Romans, Carthaginians, Greeks in Sicily, and the numerous tribes scattered throughout the continent. Italy would be vastly different to what we experienced in the Ezio Trilogy, so there should be no worries about retreading the same ground.
So those are my thoughts on the matter. The next game releases in 2020, so Ubisoft has plenty of time to find this blog!