Reflections on an Odyssey

In detail What makes the latest offering in the Assassins Creed franchise so good

By Author  |  Published: 1st Dec 2018  7:42 pmUpdated: 1st Dec 2018  12:47 pm

The Assassins Creed (AC) franchise has always held a special place in my heart for the simple fact, that it combines two of my longest held interests — playing video games and reading about past events. When I was enrolled in a boarding school for the fear of getting addicted to video games, I spent endless hours poring through books that whispered to me of myriad places steeped in historical significance.

Thus, in 2007 when I first played the adventure of Altair, I was awestruck to be able to not only watch the holy crusades, but, to inimitably be a part of them. This week’s column is examining a few things from the AC universe that are unique in their own way.

Subversion of history

Assassins Creed made history seem suddenly cool again, as the creators of the game find interesting ways to connect events of historical importance into their tale of two endlessly warring factions. The war between the Templars and Assassins has re-interpreted everything; the game’s database lists both Gandhi and Da Vinci in the assassin order (Illuminati anyone?).

Hidden blades and darts

Over the years, these games have allowed players to use some highly unconventional weapons as you pilot tanks, zip-line across cities, poison an unassuming guard from a distance or fire a bullet from your wrist. From Katanas to Flintlock pistols and Blunderbusses, the franchise has offered them all.

Insane parkour skills

Scaling buildings like the iconic St. Peter’s basilica to the Great Pyramid of Giza, synchronising the game world atop the most spectacular places has been a standard theme of the AC franchise. In Odyssey, you scale atop gigantic statues and buildings like the Parthenon, the gigantic statues of Zeus and Athena to marvel at the amazing digital recreation of ancient Greece.

Meeting historical icons

An activity that is my absolute favourite is the game’s various protagonists engaging with history’s greatest luminaries in a variety of ways. Be it helping Karl Marx find lost notes for the Kapital or watching the assassination of Robespierre, this franchise always makes special missions around key figures. In the 11 years with the franchise, I have met Voltaire, Lavoisier, Napoleon, Ben Franklin (flew his kite), Darwin and Cleopatra to name a few. In Odyssey, this continues as Socrates, Herodotus, Pericles and Pythagoras are all a delight to converse with.

Odyssey seems like the culmination of 11 years of merging history with fantasy as the game has reached a narrative pacle. The incredible story coupled with its superb design and beautiful colours elevate everything. The skies of ancient Greece here are on par with the magnificent chroma rendering of the movie 300. The game builds upon the tale of Leonidas and seamlessly optimises on the aura of the film.