Assassin's Creed games

Antimatter

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It was a bit difficult to decide, whether this should go into RPG or non-RPG discussion since the last 3 Assassin's Creed games were RPGs, while the previous entries were action-adventure games with stealth.

I'll admit, that it's exactly the RPG aspect that brought me into the world of Assassin's Creed games with Odyssey. I bought Odyssey in 2019, played through it until ~50% of the story, and then got sidetracked. My initial impressions were very positive, I loved the world, the characters, the exploration, the humour, the stories, the combat, and the stealth. The game was just so big that I most likely stopped because of another game.

Now, when there were announcements of new Assassin's Creed games this month, I got that vibe to continue with Odyssey. I plan to post occasional photos from my adventures there with some commentary.

Here is some beautiful music to set the tone:



Have others played Assassin's Creed games (old or new)? What's your experience like?
 

Antimatter

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If Ubisoft Connect (the Ubisoft game launcher) is good for anything, it's the statistics from your games. When I launched it, Assassin's Creed Odyssey showed 95 hours in-game with the main plot completed for 49%, and the world explored for just 45%. Considering I still had the seafarer mood, I decided to just travel across the game's vast world and enjoy the scenery. There are many islands in Greece, and each of them has its own secrets, storylines, and places of interest. The main quest stopped at the stage where I had to look for Kassandra's mother.

And yeah, my main character is Kassandra. I picked her, and not her brother Alexios because I was charmed by her voice (Melissanthi Mahut) and appearance.

Kassandra explored the island of Anafi, one of the most authentic Cycladic volcanic islands that one can visit. All the photos below were possible due to the in-game photo mode (enabled by hitting a specific key), which I'm enjoying greatly.

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This game is great at least because it gives me a chance to visit Greece and learn more about its history and geography.

Here is Argolis, where Kassandra arrived to defeat the Nemean Lion. She has to fight mythical creatures in the Daughters of Artemis quest. The difference between Argolis and Anafi is striking and exactly contrasts such as this one provide a unique feel to different landscapes. Kassandra has lvl 44 now and can start handling these beasts. A few sites online mention AC: Odyssey has a lot of grinding, but (so far) I played naturally, and just postponed quests marked as high-level (the journal shows the approximate level of each quest) until later.

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Odyssey's combat has 3 sides to it: open combat, stealth assassinations, and bow. I have 3 different item sets for each case, switching between them freely when I need them (yes, Kassandra can swap her clothes even while in combat). Fighting against the Nemean Lion resembles a boss fight from other action RPG games where you have to time your attacks and dodge enemy moves.

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Antimatter

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Kassandra travelled across different regions of Greece hunting down these legendary beasts. Against the likes of Kalisto the Bear, The Hind of Keryneia and The Kretan Bull, she didn't have many issues. The strongest of them all was The Erymanthian Boar due to its poison attacks. Thankfully, Kassandra had the maxed-out healing ability to cancel out the poison status effect.

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When sailing towards Lesbos, Kassandra noticed a huge statue of Poseidon from afar (very, very afar). No quest marker, no special adventure here (yet), just full exploration, and nicely rewarded (Kassandra found an item giving her Waterbreathing here).

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Cahir

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I have played only following Assassin's Creed games so far (first 3 many, many years ago):
  • Assassin's Creed II
  • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
  • Assassin's Creed: Revelations
  • Assassin's Creed: Valhalla
While I'm probably in the minority, but I prefer the old style gameplay, less role playing influenced. Granted, my only experience with a role playing heavy Assassin's Creed game was Valhalla, and it's possible it's the world, not the gameplay, that was the reason I didn't like it much, but this series was always felt for me more as an action/stealth game, than rpg. It's possible I'll give Odyssey or Origins a spin though, especially both are on solid sale right now on Steam.

I never liked the modern storyline much, felt like the one that takes place in the past was enough to make the game great.
 

Antimatter

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The story of a pair of revolutionaries from the Silver Islands of Mykonos and Delos has probably been the best side-story in the game so far.

Apparently, some people around the net also think that way:




The story had everything in it: a mystery, some detective work, a tragedy, multiple meaningful choices and a romance.

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Cahir

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Again, due to devious actions of an individual named Antimatter, I had an irresistible urge to play some Assassin's Creed game ;). My choice fell on Origins, as I figured Odyssey has more advanced gameplay, and it would be more difficult for me to play it after a less sophisticated brother.

I must say, I'm digging it so far, the game is beautiful. And what's more important, I have discovered a Photo mode, something that I haven't employ so far in any game I played. Here are some results.

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Antimatter

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More people should give modern Assassin's Creed games a chance! The more I play Odyssey, the less agreeable I become with common points of criticism towards Ubisoft narrative designers, storytellers and UI designers.

This game has quite a huge number of unique twists in side stories and the main story, lots of memorable characters, and its world is not only "full of forts and outposts" but actually provides a lot of exploration, "wow" and "feels good" moments when you find nicely hidden orichalcum ore or climb a mountain to get a breathtaking view.

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Antimatter

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More Odyssey screenshots. I think I only have a few quests in Greece left, plus the Atlantis DLC. It feels like a very good vacation coming to an end. The last time I got such a feeling was in The Elder Scrolls Online.

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Cahir

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So... for the past couple of months I've been doing a 100% playthroughs of Assassin Creed: Origins, Odyssey and Valhalla. Initially I haven't planned to play all 3 games in a row, but my positive experience with Origins, and comments from Antimatter and Urdnot Wrex made me start Odyssey right away and close to finishing Odyssey I decided to go back to Valhalla (I played it a bit over a year ago on PS4 Pro). I still haven't finished Valhalla, but I believe I played it enough to be able to write a comparison of all three games for all who are interested in trying them out. Since I haven't finished Valhalla's story yet, this part of comparison is not yet finalized and my final opinion about it may change.

I'd divide the comparison for several different factors of the game, I think that would be easier for me to express myself.

Main Story

This section may contain some minor spoilers of the main story, so anyone doesn't want to get spoiled can skip it. I'll try to be as spoiler-light as possible, though. Also, I'm not yet there to assess the main story of Valhalla, so this whole section is not yet a fully fleshed comparison. I will modify this section, when I finish Valhalla.

Origins: There are a couple of elements of the main story that make it the best of the three games for me. Firstly, because of the fantastic relation between the main protagonist, Bayek and his wife, Aya (who I personally consider the best written character from all 3 games) and the emotions I felt when Bayek recollected the most cherished moments with his son. Secondly, the story has a twist that took me by surprise and shows the real events from a completely different perspective. Thirdly, there are parts of the game that are a real rollercoaster ride, that I haven't experienced in Odyssey and so far in Valhalla. It was really intense, not jut for Assassin's Creed game standards. Both DLCs fits in the same scenario as in Odyssey - one DLC is more closely tied to the everlasting conflict of Hidden Ones (later Assassin's) and the Order of Ancient (later Templars), while the other DLC is disconnected from the main story and more supernatural in nature. There is one major drawback about the role playing aspect of the game that is a major drawback of Origins, that doesn't impact of the main story quality itself, but does hamper the overall game reception a lot - there is not possible to select the dialogue responses, Bayek will always say his line, no matter what. There were so many moments where I wished I could say something differently, that it's hard to count.

Odyssey: The story in Odyssey is more slow-paced, steady and calm. It's very even in (good) quality, but lacks of such impactful moments as Origins. You can play male or female version of protagonist, Alexios and Kassandra, respectively, although Kassandra is officially considered as canon protagonist. I have played as Kassandra and boy oh boy, I don't regret it a bit. Kassandra is my second favourite character in all 3 games. The voice actress that played her, Melissanti Mahut has done a fantastic job in making Kassandra a real breathing person, showing deep emotions (especially in The Legacy of the First Blade DLC). Contrary to Origins, the main story is branched to two story arcs, first is about destroying the ominous cult of Cosmos (an evil group akin to the Order of Ancients or the Order of Templars) who tries to impose their rule over Ancient Greece, and the second is about uncovering the truth behind protagonist legacy as member of an ancient race, that predates humankind. Similarly to Origins, one DLC is related to the order of Hidden Ones, but the other DLC is not completely disconnected from the main story, but is instead connected to the second story arc.

Valhalla: The story in Valhalla starts with a bang, with the most chaotic beginning from all three games. It becomes steadier quickly, introducing you to a rather lengthy tutorial area, Norway, where you can learn the basics of the gameplay and get acquainted with members of your Raven Clan. Later the game takes you to England, where I think the majority of the game takes place. I know one of the DLCs (Wrath of the Druids) takes you to Ireland, but I haven't started it yet. From what I saw till now, the story is similarly slower paced, as Odyssey, although generally slightly more intense. You can play as male and female protagonist, both called Eivor and from what I understand there is no difference in playing one or another, story-wise (contrary to Odyssey, where playing Kassandra is a completely different experience than playing Alexios). I will update this section when I finish the main story.

Overall verdict (so far): I enjoyed the main story of Origins the most so far, with the story of Odyssey and Valhalla being ex-aequo on the second place (although this can change when I know the full Valhalla story). Although, a huge minus for Origins for lack of dialogue responses.

Side Quests

I'll avoid spoilers in this section, so you can safely read it.

Origins: There is not much to say about side quests, most of them were generic and boring, with one or two exceptions (one side quest got me emotional). This is the weakest part of the game, story-wise. I can't say I remember even one NPC related to side quests, which tells a lot of their quality. Also, there is quite a lot of recycling of voice actors in those side quests.

Odyssey: A massive improvement versus Origins. So far I'd say side quests in Odyssey are the best from all three games, with quite a few memorable characters (Alcibiades, Socrates, Kyra or Xenia) and many of them are quite long. What is also a novelty versus Origins is that your main character can romance with other NPCS, although it's not as emotional rollercoaster as in some other games (with some exceptions).

Valhalla: Ubisoft designers decided to change a philosophy behind side quests in Valhalla. In Odyssey most of the side quest can be given by NPCs spread around the whole map, while in Valhalla all side quests I've got started in your main settlement, and on the whole map you can find something that is called "mysteries" instead, a sort of super mini quests, often with a puzzle, that are not added to the journal and are sometimes hard to follow. Overall, I think I like Odyssey's approach to side questing more, but that may change, depending on the quality of Valhalla's side quests that I'll encounter later.

Overall verdict (so far): So far, Odyssey triumphs on this field, with its classic way of introducing side quests and some memorable characters. Second place goes to Valhalla, although this still may change. Origins is far behind - it's evident this is a first take of Ubisoft on making a fully fledged RPG game.
 

Cahir

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Combat

This section is obviously spoiler safe.

Origins: Combat in Origins and Odyssey are quite similar, although there are some significant differences. Firstly, you can use shields in Origins, while in Odyssey you can't. In Origins bows are deadly, often allowing to one hit an enemy. I relied on bows heavily, even more than on stealth combat. I engaged in melee more in later stages of the game, where I got a bit weary with ranged on stealth combat. I also found horse combat a good way to fight with bounty hunters. Enemies in Origin does not scale with your level, so there are parts of the map where you will get your ass kicked and others where you will feel overpowered. I kind of like this approach more. What I didn't like is that the armour (or rather outfit) is purely cosmetic in Origins, there are no armour parts (like helmet, gauntlets, main armour or boots), but rather the full outfit, that doesn't have stats and is only a cosmetic thing.

Odyssey: There are three major differences for me in combat system versus Origins. Firstly, you cannot use shields. You can block with a secondary weapon, but I haven't use blocking at all, instead relying on dodging and dashing. Secondly, there is a good variety of combat abilities (which Origins had implemented marginally), that you can put to great use (Sparta Kick!). There is a part in one of the DLCs where you are locked out from using your combat skills, and this was one of the most difficult time I had in this game. Thirdly, Odyssey is more stealth oriented than Origins, in my opinion. Seeing the game statistics on Ubisoft Connect, my assassination ratio was much higher than in Origins, which speaks of the more fun I had killing enemies silently. Besides the fact, that bows are less deadly than in Valhalla in Origins, they work differently than in those two games. There you have 4 different types of bow, each working differently and with separate types of arrows. In Odyssey you have one type of bow, but through skills you unlock new ways to use a bow, akin to other types of bows in other games.

Valhalla: Combat in Valhalla is a different story. It's much more melee oriented, with its almost cinematic finishers and fast pacing. You can of course play stealthily, but it's much more difficult, with enemies tend to be more perceptive, harder to be taunted by whistling, and larger in numbers. While I usually prefer a stealthy approach, I must say that with melee combat done very solidly and the fact that I use stealth heavily in both Origins and (especially) Odyssey, I welcomed this change and enjoying melee combat immensely. There is a good number of different types of enemies, that requires using different combat tactics (archers, shield bearers, hulking brutes, pikeman, dual-wielding berserkers). There is a fair share of special combat abilities, that you can unlock by finding a special knowledge tomes around the map, which is on top of regular feats/skills you can take by levelling up. Ranged combat is deadly in Valhalla, even more deadly than in Origins. You can do wonders with bows, so much, that you don't really need stealth kills. Similarly to Origins, you can use different types of bow, with different properties and a way of shooting.

Overall verdict: Despite preferring stealth combat the most I must say, combat in Valhalla is superior. There is so much fun with killing enemies in melee or with arrows in this game, that it beats the fun of stealth combat in Odyssey for me. Combat in Origins is just slightly inferior version of Odyssey.

Exploration

No spoilers in this section either.

Origins: From the two games (Origins and Odyssey) I was looking forward to plundge into ancient Egypt more, simply because I knew less about Egypt than Greece, and wanted to learn as much as possible. And I must say, Ubisoft did the setting a justice. Although there are some parts of the map that consists of desert, where there are lack of map markers to explore, even exploring the desert can be fun, with desert storms and the feel of the sand under your horse's (or camel's) heel. The rest of the world is gorgeous, you can visit Alexandria, Memphis and other Egyptian sities of old. You can climb on top of a pyramid, take a good view of the land standing on the head of Great Sphinx. This was so great, intense experience. Even greater, since it was a fresh one. What I don't like is the constant reuse of assets and very few types of encounters. After time, exploration was becoming more and more tedious (with the exception of scenery, which was the main seller for me). There is a rudimentary naval battle system in Origins (very similar to Odyssey), but it's only in retrospected scenes. You can sail boats, though.

Odyssey: Antimatter once said, that playing Odyssey is like being on a vacation, and I wouldn't phrased it better. The setting is so chilling and beautiful, full of historical places and people, with lots of islands, each with different ecosystem (not the flora or fauna, but rather history, plot and poilitics) and heavily expanded naval battle system. I also like that the game tags the historical places, omn which you can reed about on your map screen. Similarly to Origins, you can visit many ancient cities (like Athens, Thebes, Korinth or Sparta). Unfortuntaely also Odyssey suffers from asset recycling, especially when it comes to forts, dungeons or ruins. Many of the have exactly the same design, which made me weary of exploring them at the end (unfortunatly my completionist approach denied me from skipping them).

Valhalla: Graphics in Valhalla is just fantastic. It was already great in both Origins and Odyssey, but Valhalla was able to up the bar quite a bit. Unfortunately the setting, the land is not as interesting as in Origins and Odyssey. Norway and France are simply not as interesting as ancient Greece or Egypt. Where Valhalla is major step forwrd, though, is the design of locations. There are of course reused assets, but in significantly less degree than in other games. Most locations are unique and there is a great deal of pleasure exploring them. Valhalla took completely different approach to exploration than Origins and Odyssey, though. Here, instead of picking up side missions accros the whole map, your main activity will be to hunt hidden treasure, solve mysteries you run into while exploring or find a hidden items. This lead a bit to a collectible simulator, to a degree, which is a bit problematic to me. It's not like it's some kind of a dealbreaker for me, but I'd prefer more organic exploration, with loot to be found during exploration, instead of exploraing to find a treasure.

Overall verdict: I'd say it's a tie. Both Origins and Odyssey have great settings, that I love to explore, while Valhalla is much more unique in location design, even if the terrain itself is not as fun as in other games.

Gameplay

No spoilers here.

Origins: Again, it's evident this was Ubisoft's first take on full RPG, because Origins lacks of many intresting gameplay features. You don't find many mini games or other special events, that are the great part of fun in Odyssey and Valhalla. The side content of Origins is not something that you would remember fondly.

Odyssey: This aspect of the game is a lot more fun that in Origins, although there are some features that I find completely unnecessary, like timed quests and Sparta/Athens conflict. Timed quests are boring, and except couple of conflict where there was a cult of Cosmos member to be killed, I havent really do conquest battles, since there is no difference from a story point of view if the region is in the hands of Athens or Sparta. I think this game mechanics is a wasted potential.

Valhalla: Ubisoft designers definitely looked closely to other games when designing Valhalla. there are many gameplay mechanics that have been seen in other games. You can experience various mini games (like driking comtest, a sort of dice game, or fleeting contest). You can have a sort of alliance system, where you need to do some questing to allied your clan with other regional leaders. And there is of course your settlement, which is the center of your activity (and quest givers) that you can expand with new buildings and new NPCs during the course of the game.

Overall verdict: Valhalla wins, with Odyssey on second place, and poor Origins last again.
 
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Cahir

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Itemization

I wanted to write about it separately, because there are major differences in all games.

Origins: The system is rather rudimentary and crude. First of all, you don't use armor, your aror doesn't do anythig except being a cosmetic thing. Period. Secondly, although your weapons does have special properties, those are not especially impactful, you can get away using any of the legendary items, in my opinion. Thirdly, in reality you can use a single legendary weapon for the entire game, just upgrading it once couple of levels and be done of it. This takes away most of the fun from finding a new weapon, unfortunately.

Odyssey: There are couple of improvements in Odyssey, that makes item handling much more fun. Firstly, you can use armor and armor does impact your defence. You cannot use shields, unfortunately, but you can block with your weapon. Scondly, each item have one or more engravings, which is kind of weapon special ability. Eeach new engravings you encounter is added to the list of engravings you know and you can basically use change it in any weapon you use, basically crafting your own weapon. Legendary weapons and armours use two engravings, though, one is unique to the weapon/armour and cannot be changed, but the second one can be changed and you can use any of engravings you learn. This is both fun and not fun, because you can customize your gear, but on the other hand it strips this gear of an uniqueness a bit. Thirdly, transmog option was added to the game in Odyssey, where you can basically change the look of your armour based on the types of armour you already encountered. Again, this is both fun and not fun, because you can totally customize your look, but it strips your armour from uniqueness. Another think I don't like much is that you can get a ton of weapons and armour in the course of the game, that is mostly scrap, which you sell or scrap for materials. Basically all you want is to hunt legendary items. Fortunately there is much greater variety in legendary items, and you have interesting choices to pick.

Valhalla: Again Valhalla totally changes the approach to itemization, comparing to Origins and Odyssey. First and foremost, there is drastically less loot (weapons and armours) comparing to Origins and (especially) Odyssey. You can basically find new gear by finishing the map markers that leads to it. Usually it requires to solve some mini puzzle or find a way to get to it, which is mostly fun, but at times also frustrating. Many items are a pert of a set (as the legendary items in Odyssey), that gives you additional bonuses with full set equipped. Contrary to Origins and Odyssey, you are not set with the quality of the item you find, but you can increase it with the help of your smith, by giving him a special materials you can find in the world (coal and nikel ingots, for example). Additionally, you can upgrade your gear using more mundane materials, but only withing a limit that the quality of gear allows.

Overall verdict: Valhalla wins, with Odyssey on the second place, and Origins last again.
 

Antimatter

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Found this on Ubisoft's LinkenIn today:

History comes to life with Assassin's Creed!

The incredible depiction of Knossos in Assassin's Creed Odyssey is based on the excavation work of Sir Arthur Evans in the early 20th century. This reconstruction features in the Labyrinth: Knossos, Myth & Reality exhibition at Ashmolean Museum, Oxford!

Visitors will see projected scenes from the game alongside behind-the-scenes details from devs and historians about how Ubisoft Quebec City built the in-game environment using historical data and Evans’ own archive.

What have you learned through games like Assassin's Creed? 🤔


It's been already 6 months+ since I visited Knossos in Odyssey, but I still remember it as if I were in Greece in RL.

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Antimatter

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Usually hitting the Community tab on Steam is a bad idea, as it's full of spoilers. It's true for any game (e.g. The Witcher, Dragon Age, etc). But in this case, though, I bet it's not the detective work for the main "villain" that is the most fun part of Odyssey, it's... the odyssey itself.
 

mlnevese

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Yeap I pretty much avoid going to the community tab on any Steam Game I don't want to be spoiled. Reddit seems to be better at that, they often spoil tag even post titles.
 
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Antimatter

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I am... actually excited for the next game. They managed to capture the tone I wanted for such a game. And look at those costumes and armor! Looking forward to future gameplay reveals.



And seems like the black character will suit right in, he looks (and sounds) badass in the cinematics.

Both main characters are very intriguing, and they separated stealth from open combat:

 
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