Few words for a few (dozen) hours.
A few words on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey doesn’t seem fair considering that it is one big mother of a game.
I am late to the party. It came out early October ‘18, but I didn’t get around to it until just before Christmas day. I’ve put over 50 hours into the game, yet sprawling sections of the map remain unexplored. Kassandra edges towards the nexus of her powers, yet hundreds, probably thousands, of enemies remain undefeated. There is also likely a lot of shagging to be done. Strangely though, it is not the sort of game that I feel particularly driven to write about, yet when I think about how much of my time it has eaten up, and the intention of my project, it seems natural to create something in respect of it. Especially as it gives me a reason to spend more time in photo mode.
It is a playground for my tired mind at the end of a long day, and the perfect attention puller for when the right time-killer isn’t presenting itself. It is like a stress ball. It is malleable, custom. The game doesn’t punish you for altering the playing field, no achievements are barricaded by difficulty. The game is so insistent on not forcing you to trudge throughout its enormity that it offers paid speed boosts to experience and currency gains. This is a controversial move, but I intend this post to practise brevity – I’ll not explore it further here.
The game is a web of systems laid upon systems upon systems, creating the sensation of natural flow between one task and the next, often overlapping into each other, leading you into the next challenge. These tasks are often repetitive, almost exclusively revolving around killing someone/something/lots of ones or things, for one reason or another, through your favoured means. Thankfully these are satisfying to achieve and are presented with big publisher gloss.
There are more interesting games to play, although it is my favourite Assassin’s Creed game. Despite its inspirations, and aspirations, from and towards games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and the Mass Effect series, for me it fails to make the emotional connection necessary to truly commit me to its narrative like those games did. Side characters build to disappointing crescendos, filtering down into set dressing and minimal side-grades for my ship, whilst the pace of the central tale is ruined by my own insistence at clearing each area of tasks as I go.
Yet, I know I’m not done with it. I don’t really care about the overall story, but I don’t care that I don’t care. Writing about it makes me want to boil the kettle and turn off the lights and wrap myself in the dusky Ancient Greek tones for the night. It is a game-y game. It is checklists and inventory menus and infinite upgrades.
I don’t know that I’ll ever finish it.
I don’t know that it troubles any of the great games that I hold in my mind on that ascendant ledge where the masters rest.
I know exactly what I’m doing when this is published.