Assassin's Creed Odyssey - It's time to Greek out


More obnoxious to me was turning them into these stalwart defenders of freedom, when from all I read they were murdering bastards who slaughtered their slaves for fun and who kept an entire population subjugated along lines that would have made American slave-owners complain about the inhumanity. There’s a brief gesture in this direction in one quest I recall, but for the most part the game keeps repeating how they preserved Greek freedom.


Actually all of the greek world held slaves, often people who lost a battle here or there. The Spartans were exceptional in that they had an entire stratum of their society in slavery, the helotes.

But not that exceptional, because the same sort of societal organisation is found in medieval Japan, pre-industrial Russia, everywhere the peasantry or serfdom was bound to their land and property of their lords who had complete discretion in how to deal with them including selling them like cattle or murdering them on a whim.


I’ll probably deal with all of those issues sooner or later! I actually had a bit about the clothes in this first article all ready, but I scrapped it to save for later. For example, Markos has some really weird golden “buttons” that keep his chiton together!


Of course almost the entire world held slaves during this period. But the Spartans were renowned in Greece for their cruelty as well as for sending their young men out on slave murder sprees in order to inure them to slaughter.


The Spartans weren’t any more or less cruel than most other ancient Greeks when it came to slavery. They did enslave the Messenians (as helots), but the situation is complicated in that they weren’t so much privately owned slaves, but public property, used to till the land of the Spartiates (i.e. the Spartans with full citizen rights), since the latter were a leisure class prohibited from doing any kind of work.

As regards the “slave murder sprees” – I assume you’re referring to the so-called krypteia. According to Plutarch, these men hunted and randomly killed helots to keep the servile population in check. But Plutarch wrote centuries after the fact and is not exactly the most reliable when it comes to this kind of stuff, so one should take it with a pinch of salt. (Which is to say: it’s almost certainly rubbish.)

(Edit: as an aside, we hear of servile peoples similar to the helots from elsewhere – e.g. the penestae in Thessaly and the clarotae in Crete. So even in this case, Sparta wasn’t as exceptional as is often believed.)


Hit the 40 Hour Mark, level 30 and am at 50% Story from the stats. So far my favourite game of the year. It is so good. I can’t play often or long but it makes it easy to just jump in for an hour or two and immediately have stuff to do that is more them icon hunting on the map. Kassandra as a character and her voice actress are a big reason I love this game. I also like that for the first time ever I feel the pace I am playing in and they release new content fits very well. It’s exciting to see all the constant improvements and new content I have not reached yet. I can never replay a game of this size but I will sure savour this one as much as I can. Truly a masterpiece of the series and an especially great game from Ubisoft. I sincerely hope it pays off for them.


$29.99 at BestBuy for PS4/Xbox right now.

Think it is also going to be $27 at GameStop for Black Friday.


I’ve been avoiding this thread until I’ve finished the game. And man this is the most enjoyable AssCred I played for years. Last one I played was 4 and it was a bust, with all the usual Ubisoft busy work and little payoff. 3 was good as a historical critique of the Amercian Revolution (i.e. myopic colonists were happily oppressing the natives and slaves while demanding their freedom from the British.)

The historical fiction bit is a bit shallow. I doubt Socrates would be as straight forward as he is in the game. Kleon is almost a parody of Trump. Probably with a MAGA (Make Athens Great Again) helmet at hand, made in Sparta.

The structure is more free form with overlapping questlines, making this a real odyssey. This game is looooong. They learned a lot from MGS5 stealth gameplay, which is that you can ghost your way to victory but if you are discovered, it wouldn’t be a total loss and needs reloading. I also like the non-lethal option. Some quests you have to kill but most of the time you can just KO or recruit the enemy without killing.

And the world. What a beautiful world. In Ghost Recon Wildlands, the star is the environment, from lush jungle to salt flat. Here again the star is the environment, specifically the historic locations in ancient Greece: the statues, temples, even the Olympic Games. They are all theme park version of the real thing, the scale is all wrong and the accuracy is questionable, but they are enjoyable enough.

And Kassandra is probably one of the most progressive female protagonists. She got muscles like any self respecting warrior would. Lara Croft in comparison is still too skinny and boney to make me believe she can be a serial hand-to-hand murderer. Kassandra can enjoy a bit of sapphic love, possibly even in Lesbos. This alone can make any history geek faint in excitement.


Was thinking of picking up this game for my daughter but she hated the naval elements of prior ACs (III, Black Flag, Rogue, and Origins). How prominent is the naval combat in this game, given that the Aegean and all those islands is a big part of the map?


It’s… probably avoidable if you don’t like it. There is the odd mission that requires it I think. It’s a bit different from Black Flag, rather faster. If you’re just sailing from island to island you can avoid combat though.


Awesome, that doesn’t sound too bad. May scoop it up while it is at about $40 on the One right now.


There’s a few battles you have to do in the water (intentionally vague for spoiler reasons) and you need to explore using the boat to find all the islands, but once you have you can fast travel everywhere. Other than that, as Alistair says, there’s a handful of missions that mandate boat use. I sail around a lot, but I’d estimate it amounts for significantly less than 5% of my current game time.


When I’m in charge of this series, I’m going to have a little boat carried by the Adrestia that you can have lowered to reach or explore the shore. I think that will de-emphasise the official docks (whose only purpose seem to be sparing me an annoying swim) and enable a really nice phase of coastal exploration by ship. We’ll also need inlets and navigable rivers to explore in either boat, and probably catapult and trebuchet defenses to worry about. We can limit on-ship repairs by carpenter skill and only have full repairs at docks.

And of course, introduce fog of war to the map. You need to go find these islands yourself. Maps of varying style and accuracy can feature as in game objects like armour, to be bought, found, upgraded and quested for.

And while we’re at it I’d like an effect in game where major features like islands or cities can be labelled with their names above them in the sky in some elegant script.

Someone get on that please.


I’d be happy if that Medusa bitch just fucken died already.


Just finished the questline of Kyra and her rebels. What began as a normal side quest had substantial content, I was surprised. Will I ever see Kyra again? Who knows. My question: Are there more “extended sidequests” like this around? I hope so.


Yes there are and they are almost all great fun.


Here’s the second instalment in my series on Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. A note on clothing (I’ll write a fuller, separate article about ancient Greek clothing later), some comments on architecture, statues, etc.

Next up is Megara – the city is not called “Megaris”, despite what the game might want you to believe – and a fuller exploration of ancient Greek cities, fortifications, those silly Third Reich-style banners that are everywhere, and an introduction to the Peloponnesian War ca. 431 BC. That’ll probably be published on Monday.


As someone whose main interest in the AC series is historical locale tourism, I just want to say how much I appreciate these.


Thank you!


How many HP do these monsters have anyway? And do they really expect players to be running in demented circles taking arrow potshots for 15 minutes to beat them? Because for me a random melee weapon attack does way less damage than an arrow to the head, plus I don’t get mauled firing arrows from behind pillars…