Gaming

Engaging content in new Assassin's Creed

Just a year after the much revamped Assassin's Creed Origins was released, a sequel that expands the franchise further is here. Set in ancient Greece, Assassin's Creed Odyssey winds the clock further back and adds a couple of new mechanics and enhancements.

Origins explored the beginnings of the Assassins and premise of the game's signature Hidden Blade weapon, which requires the sacrifice of the ring finger to use it.

Odyssey goes back to a time when this sacrifice is non-existent. Instead, you wield a broken spear believed to be a property of the Spartan legend King Leonidas.

Interestingly, the main character you play starts off as a mercenary rather than an assassin. By the end of the story campaign though, you will be able to see how it connects to the lineage.

Most of the past Assassin's Creed games have players taking on the role of a male protagonist. Odyssey introduces the franchise's third female assassin, Kassandra. However, players have to pick either her or male assassin Alexios from the start and stick with their choice.

In Syndicate, one of the two previous titles with a female assassin, you can alternate between a male and female lead.

Origins has a huge map, but Odyssey's map is larger - about double the size. There is much content within the base game to be discovered and conquered. As with the previous game, you will encounter base camps, secret areas, fast travel points and plenty of items to scavenge and loot.

Similarly, you have to prepare for threats from various wildlife creatures and mercenaries attracted by the bounty on your head.

  • SPECS

  • PRICE: From $76.90 (PC; Xbox One; PS4, version tested)

    GENRE: Platform adventure

  • RATING

  • 8/10

Being set in ancient Greece allows developer Ubisoft to showcase its renditions of mythical beasts such as Medusa and Minotaur.

You can choose the traditional Guided mode, in which markers and waypoints become available as you discover them. Or you can go for the new Exploration mode, which removes these markers on the map and requires players to pay attention to given directions and landmarks.

The new mode feels more engaging and realistic, but players may need some time to explore. My tip is to switch between the two modes, depending on how much game time you can afford.

A new dialogue-based interaction mode is a nice addition. Some dialogue choices lead to an action. For instance, when I interviewed hostages in an early mission and chose a dialogue option that led to the release of hostages, it resulted in me facing hostile soldiers later.

You can also lie or say something flirtatious. Yes, you have an option to develop personal relationships.

I'm pleased to note major improvements in the naval combat feature. You can now enhance the look of your vessel and its attributes, including the outfits of your crew.

In Odyssey, there are more areas that are covered by sea so expect as many hostile encounters and buried treasures out at sea as you would on land.

Upgrading your ship and recruiting high-ranking mercenaries will enhance its attack and defence properties.

If you want to enhance your character immediately, there are micro-transactions to get you up to speed. However, with a constant stream of quests and challenges that offer loot such as unique armour and weapons, players should find the action fresh and interesting regardless of their progress and rank within the game.

• Verdict: Assassin's Creed Odyssey offers a terrific adventure for a single-player game that is packed with oodles of content.

• Mohd Nizam is a freelance writer.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2018, with the headline 'Engaging content in new Assassin's Creed'. Print Edition | Subscribe