Reviews - Updated on April 11, 2022

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey offers the largest open world in Ubisoft’s history. Having chosen the gender of the protagonist, the player, after the introduction, finds himself on the island of Kefalonia in the east of the Gulf of Corinth and begins his many-hour journey through the vast territory of Ancient Greece. The passage of the story campaign with the gradual completion of side quests will take about 50 hours, and during this time a lot of quests will accumulate in the menu. However, the map will not be littered with hundreds of icons associated with them – quite the contrary. And all thanks to the special mode “Explorer”, which first appeared in the series in this part.

Forward to the unknown

When Layla Hassan (the player’s character in real time) enters the Animus, the player not only needs to decide on their preferred difficulty level, but also click on one of two game modes. “Hero” makes Odyssey similar to other similar games: every time you take on the next task, the next goal is instantly marked on the map and visible in the open world. You can turn around the old fashioned way, mount your horse, and set off, watching the distance between you and your destination shrink.

In the “Explorer” mode, this does not always happen. Very often, the character you are talking to will only give hints – the marker will not magically appear on your map. Of course, some tasks do without such complications – during the passage of the same side quest, a minor hero can move from one area to another, but Kassandra (or Alexios) can easily find him on his own. At the same time, many side missions and story sequences force you to follow the prompts, and Ubisoft claims that Odyssey is designed to be played in this mode.

The main advantage of the “Explorer” is that it will never cause any difficulties, but it will revive the open world. If someone gives you a task, he will describe in detail the place where his comrade or nemesis lives. Or hints where to look for the necessary materials. He knows where to go and explains everything in detail. And thanks to the ability to choose replicas in dialogues, the player is free to ask the interlocutor about the details, although this is not necessary to achieve success.

Fortunately, you do not need to write down each phrase in a notebook and constantly refer to it – hints will hang in the upper left corner of the screen, and this text will not disappear when you open the world map. In the vast majority of cases, there are three clues, although there are quests with one or two. In the mission “Heart of Stone”, where the mercenary is asked to find the ingredients for a love potion, there are only two positions with an indication of their approximate location. “They can be found in the Cradle of Myths on Sephiros,” says one of them. So, you need to go to Sephiroth and walk around its territory.

Assassin's Creed: Odyssey - markerless mode changes everything

Sometimes even the icon is drawn in the third hint – if the region has already been visited, it will be easy to find a place.

ancient greek detective

Some multi-stage side quests consist entirely of quests with these hints. Take, for example, the quest “Daughters of Artemis” – in it the player needs to find seven legendary creatures in different areas and bring their skins to a certain place. The first and weakest of these will be the Calydonian Boar, and the clues are as follows:

• The Calydonian boar lives in Phocis,
• It’s in the northern part of the Sacred Lands of Apollo,
• He was seen on a swampy plateau.

Phokis is a region of Central Greece, where you will need to go more than once in the story. Usually, the task must be completed in the same location where it was issued, although sometimes you will have to look into neighboring zones. The first line almost always lists either a major region or an island, so you can look at the whole map without getting confused.

The Sacred Lands of Apollo is one of the districts of Phokis, whose name can be seen on the map if you point the cursor at it. And usually such areas are indicated in the second line, so there are no problems with this stage either. In addition, you can see a clarification in the list – the boar lives in the northern part of these lands. It’s easier to search.

Assassin's Creed: Odyssey - markerless mode changes everything

The boar must be around here somewhere.

Finally, the third line makes the research process even easier, though not always. In some cases, you will be pointed to an outpost or a cave – then everything becomes quite elementary, such objects are often hidden on the map under “questions”, if you have not been to this region yet. And sometimes the player needs to find a small hut or – in the case of a boar – find a swampy plateau. Here you already have to run from one tree to another and literally read the hint.

As a result, it is impossible to get lost for only one reason – when there is about 150 meters between you and the target, a huge inscription appears on the screen offering to summon an eagle. With this “pocket drone” you can quickly locate the target and get to it, thus completing the next stage of the task. This inscription is not always needed – you can go to a cave or a fortress yourself, defeat all the animals and guards and find what you came for. However, the offer to summon an eagle will hang until the very end of the quest. Completely disabling the interface (there are a lot of settings in Odyssey) does not help to remove it, which is a pity.

The innovation seems to be insignificant and does not change the formula much – in fact, the label does not disappear anywhere, you just put it yourself. Not always accurate, but still. Just get on a horse or a ship, or even use teleportation. But at the same time, the world seems more alive, it ceases to be just a beautiful scenery in which you run from one marker to another, ignoring everything around. In English, there is an excellent phrase busy work, which describes the monotonous actions necessary to move through the plot. In the Explorer mode, the monotony disappears, the study of the area is organically woven into the process of clearing quests.

In the task “Age is not a hindrance”, I was asked to get animal organs in the north of Mount Parnassus. It was easy to kill a deer: they are found literally at every turn, but with a bear there was a small problem – clubfoot could not be found anywhere. But I explored the whole territory, opened a couple of questions on the map, found Kratos’s cave (yes, there is one here), and at the same time I collected a lot of materials along the way to improve weapons and the ship. If the marker had been there from the very beginning, I would have simply defeated the bear, clicked on the “triangle” on the gamepad above its corpse, ran back to the character who issued the task and would never have returned here. And so – spent time with benefit, admired the beauties of the surrounding world and was able to improve the quality of the ship.

Assassin's Creed: Odyssey - markerless mode changes everything

Ancient papyri from Origins are back in the form of ostraca – treasure caches should also be searched for by their descriptions.

***

Of course, the Explorer mode can hardly be called an innovation – in Morrowind, the player was also given hints, hinting in which direction to go. But some of the quests took too much time because of this, fans still remember some tasks with pain, and there were even more difficulties with the Russian localization. It’s impossible to get lost in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. The developers wanted you to appreciate their painstaking work and at least take a little walk around the neighborhood, and not run headlong to the next marker. The creators of Odyssey clearly borrowed some ideas from competitors and successfully used them, but the game also has its own ideas that deserve a place in other RPGs – and this mode can easily be called one of them.

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