44 Hours In…
By now I’ve found a missing person I’ve been looking for, killed a few “Templars,” found the lost city of Atlantis (sort of), and now have to win a war and compete in the Olympics. That’s right, I have four main quests to play on top of all the side quests I’ve been accumulating. The islands you can sail to in this game always have great side-stories that are totally optional. Now that I’m 44 hours in, I can safely say I might be done with one third of this game. Maybe. It’s possible. Give or take. The unfathomably popular Stealth/RPG (stealth optional) series developed and published by Ubisoft is now at its tenth main series game. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey adds even more elements to make it an even further evolution from the roots of the franchise.
This game is absolutely stunning, even on my sub-par Xbox One S. Stable frame rate, great coloration, variety, it’s all there at the baseline for a good looking game. What makes it look better is the sheer marvel of the whole thing. Ubisoft didn’t just make a few cities in Greece for their game. They made ALL OF IT. And it feels like they did, too. Everywhere you go there are gorgeous busts and statues, temples, altars, and residences that are all fully realized. I want to know where they got the time machine so they could take photos of Ancient Greece and use it as references for the designs. It’s the empire in all its glory. An absolute marvel to stand at the top of a mountain and look in every direction. In the distance, you can see all the ships in the water going about their business in real time. You can see other landmasses across the water and know that if you can go there if you want to. There… might be a few minor hiccups and glitches in some of the animation, but that is literally the only bad thing I can think of. And the sheer beauty and aesthetics more than excuse that.
I admit, at the beginning of the game, it’s hard to get into the plot. You are not really sure what you are supposed to be doing. The grand scheme of things is boiled down to simply leaving your home island to go on an adventure because you’re sick of being at home. There’s a goalpost, sure, but it’s far and not too tantalizing. This is definitely the type of game that you have to spend time with to get into the swing of things. The overarching narrative becomes far more clear well towards the 15-hour mark of the game. Once it does hit, it does so with ruthless efficiency. The way the game’s campaign works is the prime form of dangling the carrot in front of the player. It’s hard to imagine you would run out of things to do after being far enough in the game to really open up to the “go wherever you want” phase. Four main storylines. Every location story has its own stuff going on. I was on an island where I helped a young child make some friends while also meddling in “The Bachelor: Greece Edition”. Then I had to overthrow an evil ruler running another island ragged while hooking up with the sexy leader and her boyfriend if I so pleased. Hell, I had to take part in a gay orgy with a goat just to advance the plot. I’m not even remotely joking. A goat was involved. And Sokrates turns out to be the world’s first internet troll. Good times.
I’m going to mention one prevailing bug in the game that hurts the audio quality in a way. On a regular basis, around twice or more per hour, when you talk to an NPC, you or the character will interrupt each other mid-sentence and say lines on top of each other. It’s annoying. Some of the secondary characters don’t seem really committed to their parts, while other characters go full ham. The voice actress for the soundtrack gets old really fast. With such a big scope, I really, REALLY get tired of hearing the same music every time I open the menu. And the main “Assassin’s Creed Theme Leitmotif” is sprayed over every other song too. It gets old fast. I may eventually have to turn the music off and just play my own tunes or a podcast over it instead. Which would be great because I’m in the perfect setting to put my ｖａｐｏｒｗａｖｅ collection on full blast. But still, this is just the soundtrack I take issue with. The actual sound FX and quality of sound is tremendously satisfying. I will give the full grade because I’m being too personally harsh on the OST, even though it’s objectively decent.
There are many on the internet who say this game has become too action oriented. Sure, the formula has been changed, but it’s been heading this way for a while now. The fact is, you can still play this game stealthy if you want to. There are just more rules to it because you can’t assassinate people who are at a higher level than you. The majority of the EXP you earn will be from completing quests, not kills. So if sneaking in and out of an enemy base is your idea of fun, there’s plenty of that to be had. Yes, open conflict is a bigger part of the game now. It’s the play-it-your-way model that prevails. But everything in the game works and does accommodate for all play styles. Shoot everyone with a bow, bludgeon people with a hammer, death from above, and Sparta-kick your enemies of a cliff. There’s plenty of gameplay to be had here, as iterated above.
Ship combat makes a return to the game and I boldly welcome it as a delicious appetizer to sate my hunger for a good pirate game until Skull & Bones arrives. But that said, it’s a bit more minimalist than it’s predecessor, as there was less maritime war tech in this setting. They have also implemented a mercenary hierarchy that mimics Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis system, but it is also bare bones by comparison. Hunting down a devious death cult is the replacement for the assassination quests, but you have to put in the legwork to identify who they are. There’s also a conquest mode where you can take part in a big fight between the Athenians and Spartans. You can also change whichever team you’re on for every battle. You can also fight mythical beasts from Greek folklore, because hey, why not? This all may make it sound like it’s quantity over quality. And to an extent, yes it is. But set in this game, it’s actually not a big issue, it just works.
And now for a bit of controversy. Ubisoft has no problem putting expensive microtransactions in their fully priced games. It gives them big money, they have a right to. However, as an experience, they nearly broke their goodwill on a portion of this game. That’s the progression system. In order to level up or afford things, you have to do more than just missions to get enough EXP to progress. You’ll have to do a lot of mundane-out of the way stuff like exploring caves and attacking small camps at question marks dotted all over the map. I found myself in a position where I was two levels too low to progress through the game because the game is harsh if you are under-leveled. Ubisoft remedied it by offering a buff that will get you 50% extra EXP and money for the whole game, including new games. You have to at least buy the 20 dollar helix credits pack to get this. If you don’t, the game can get very grindy. Plenty to do is one thing, being forced to do everything is another. I caved and bought this buff, and it feels like this is the way the game was supposed to be played. It seems as though this was intentionally done to goad extra cash from the player.
I am willing to forgive this transgression because it was on me to make that choice in the end. I could have bucked up and cleared out every single icon on the map to take the game nice and slow. But, be that as it may, I cannot stop playing this game. Even with the buff, I did manage to get myself into another situation where I was under-leveled. But I kept playing and playing and playing. I told myself I had to stop at 11 PM, then 2 AM rolls around and I’ve conquered another city. I am willing to accept that the price I paid to make this game more enjoyable is worth it because of the amount of fun I’m having with it. Before tax, I paid a total of $68 for the game with the helix credits. That is an acceptable price for this game. I don’t know if I will finish any time soon, and I’ve had plenty of time to play.
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: aesthetic, assassins creed, assassins creed odyssey, google, greece, Microsoft, official, opinion, pc, playstation, ps4, review, shadow of mordor, skull and bones, Sony, sparta, ubisoft, vaporwave, xbox, xbox one
Just Dance 2019
- Oh right. Just Dance. Featuring a live marching band. It’s long. Coming October.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
- Got a CGI trailer featuring a section of the game.
- Jade is revealed to be a character in the game.
- Pre-alpha gameplay was showcased after.
- The Space Monkey Program got a feature where you can upload your own art to the game.
- Joseph Gordon Levitt from HitRecord came on to introduce a collaboration that adds lore from writers, artists, and producers.
Rainbow Six Siege
- Justin Kruger came on to talk about the community for the game.
- Boasted 35 million players on Rainbow Six Siege.
- E-Sports Documentary was going to be released for Siege players.
- A dev rode in on a motorcycle into the stage and then jumped on a collapsable podium to introduce the new Trials game.
- A gameplay trailer showed after.
- Then “Professor Fat Shady” came on to talk about the game.
- There’s a closed beta coming out.
- It’s coming February 2019 for all platforms including Switch.
- They then dropped a hilarious fail compilation.
The Division 2
- Julian Gerighty comes on to talk about the plot of the game, setting it up to be after the infection is over.
- The trailer was a one-shot that basically gave it the same setup as the first game but placing it in Washington DC.
- Will now feature even more customization, 8 player squads, and RAIDS.
- Episodic DLC was confirmed for a year, and it will be completely free.
- An additional trailer came out afterward.
- The date is given, March 15th, 2018.
Mario Rabbids x Kingdom Battle: Donkey Kong Adventure
- Senior producer Xavier Manzanares came on to introduce the game.
- DLC confirmed for June 26th.
Skull & Bones
- A story trailer was dropped with full CGI.
- Justin Faren came on to talk about the game.
- The game takes place in the Indian ocean.
- The game map will have a lot of variety featuring changes to factions and weather affecting gameplay.
- A gameplay reel showing the game experience was shown off.
- It resembled an upgraded version of the ship combat from Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag.
- The date given was just 2019.
- Elijah Wood from SpectreVision came on to talk more about their VR game.
- A game demo came on with a date of Fall 2018.
- Seems to be in the Sci-Fi Horror genre.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas
- A toys-to-life game came on with a trailer showing the theme of the game.
- Another trailer came on, revealing Star Fox is in the game Starlink.
- Shigeru Miyamoto came on to receive a model/award to celebrate the occasion.
- Launching October 16, it will only have Starfox on the Switch version.
- The Viking guy did not come on.
- A starter Edition was announced for free between June 11 and June 18.
- A CGI trailer played shortly after for the add-on, Marching Fire, adding new factions and warriors for the game.
- A new mode was implemented, Castle Siege, with an in-engine trailer.
The Crew 2
- An open beta will be open.
- We were treated to an in-engine demo reel of the game’s activities.
Assassins Creed Odyssey
- An in-game engine story teaser opened.
- Jonathan Dumont came out to talk about the game.
- You get to choose between two protagonists at the start.
- A gameplay reel showed a varies of excellently crafted special attacks.
- After talking about making choices, a final gameplay sequence demo was shown.
- Everyone from the show came back on stage. No “one last thing.”
Posted in Articles Tagged with: assassins creed, assassins creed odyssey, beyond good & evil 2, for honor, more rabbids, rainbow six seige, skull and bones, transference, trials rising, ubisoft
Delays, delays, delays, also delays.
E3 is around the corner so you know how antsy I’m getting. I’m sure you’re feeling it just as much. I’m here today to hit you with all the bad news this week. It sucks but it is what it is. This one is going to be short so don’t miss it flying by. Behold the most negative LGR to date:
1. Shenmue 3 delayed to 2019!
I think it’s fair to say that I warned everyone reading that this was going to be more of an UnLucky recap. Rip the band-aid off quick and tell you out the gate, Shenmue 3 has been delayed. It was originally planned to come out fall of this year but given the lack of marketing and development progress you would be a fool to be surprised by this. Honestly, I have my doubts that it will even make it to release next year. Call me a pessimist (actually please don’t) but Shenmue 3 is quite a long way out. Good news; we are still getting the remastered versions of 1 and 2 this year.
2. Metro Exodus delayed to 2019.
This delay on the other hand is super unexpected. If you don’t recall, Metro Exodus was the first game to show us a zombie bear in action at E3. It was terrifying. The game looked incredible and I’m pretty sure it had a playable demo as well. THQ Nordic bought Deep Silver which means this delay is most likely to make sure the marketing is labeled and handled properly. In this case I feel like this is more of a winning situation for fans of the series. You know, cause Red Dead Redemption is going to outshine everything this fall.
3. Bio-Mutant & Darksiders 3 release window uncertain?
By now some of you have realized that all these delays come from the same company. If you didn’t, it’s pretty clear now. THQ Nordic buying Deep Silver has put a big shift on the way the game release schedules are working. So the interesting new IP, Bio-Mutant, and the revival of an IP that should never have died, Darksiders 3, are both under revision for release. Fear not, this doesn’t mean these games are going bye bye, it just means they gotta cook in the oven a little longer. Still thinking this is good thing. Also thinking, news about THQ in 2018? Man if I could time travel, the old me would be all messed up.
4. Skull and Bones delayed to at least 2019-2020
Not all dogs go to heaven and not all delays come from THQ. Sometimes they come from ridiculously incredible publishers with a ton of great IP’s. In this case the culprit is Ubisoft. And as much as I love to entertain the idea that this delay is to make room for the more exciting return of Splinter Cell, that’s probably not true. Skull and Bones is essentially the boat parts of Assassin’s Creed. Ubisoft saw how terrible Sea of Thieves release was and they said “Uh oh, maybe we need more.” Boom and that’s how games are delayed, next question. Damn! 2020 though?
5. Okami HD Comes to Switch.
Because we are a small team and I’m terrible at finishing video games we had to pass on reviewing this when it released late last year. It’s okay though, now that it’s officially releasing on Nintendo Switch, Chet can experience with fresh eyes what I played on PS2. This is light news, but it does a little making up for all the delays right? Right? Please, just say yes. Oh and I just remembered a version of Okami came to Wii as well. Look at that. And Okami HD comes to Switch August 9th.
6. Stalking will be cool again starting 2021.
Well, stalking has never actually been cool. It had a brief moment when the classic survival series, S.T.A.L.K.E.R, last title was released in 2009. That didn’t stop the announcement of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 from happening. Well technically happening again because the game was previously announced and then canceled in 2011. When this game releases it’ll officially have been a full decade since the last title. The funny thing about it is, that seems to be working for games pretty well lately. Examples include: Final Fantasy 15 & Last Guardian but not Duke Nukem. Absolutely not Duke Nukem.
7. The Kingdom holding your heart will be yours, soon.
I couldn’t be a complete ass and give you only bad news. Here I saved the best for last. Only the greatest news makes it to the end this week. Are you still with me? Alright here we go. Kingdom Hearts 3 will be officially arriving next month to tell you when it will be releasing for your gaming pleasure. That was fun. Yea so Square decided to indulge in the hype of this game by teasing a day they would provide a release date. Pay attention though folks, this month is May which means next month is June. June is E3. Half-Life 3 confirmed.
Posted in Articles Tagged with: action, Bethesda, biomutant, darksiders, deep silver, ea games, editorial, first person shooter, fps, gamer, hearts, kingdom, let's play, metro, Microsoft, multiplayer, nintendo, nintendo switch, okami, pirates, playstation, playstation 4, ps4, s.t.a.l.k.e.r, shenmue, shooter, skull and bones, Sony, square enix, stalker, switch, the nordic, third person shooter, thq, ubisoft, video games, videogames, xbox, xbox 360, xbox one