ConclusionPlaying Assassin's Creed Odyssey feels a bit like The Witcher 3, which is a good thing. It seems Ubisoft took ideas from many successful games in the RPG genre and melded them into Odyssey. The world is richly detailed with tons of side quests that will keep you busy for a long time. The equipment system has been improved, too, and it's a ton of fun dealing with equipment to ensure you're running the best build for your play style. Naval combat is back for all the pirates out there, and it has some RPG elements, too: you can upgrade your ship's capabilities and assign lieutenants that give additional improvements. Those lieutenants have to be recruited in the game world by knocking enemies unconscious.
The game world is more open-world than ever, with barely any loading screens. It's also much bigger than before, and the map display feels a little bit like in World of Warcraft. A first for Assassin's Creed is that you're now free to choose between a male or female protagonist, no doubt to lure female players to the series, which is now more an action-RPG than the action-adventure that Assassin's Creed: Origins was. While searching for good benchmark scenes, I ended up playing way too much; the "just one more quest" effect is in full force here.
However, what I miss a bit are the good old stealth techniques that used to be so important in the past. Most of the time, you'll just end up charging into the mess to fight enemies, without much finesse, which isn't completely surprising given the physical build of the main character. The large game world does tend to get a bit boring at times, especially with all the quests that sometimes are repetitive and might trigger slight episodes of "grind-o-phobia".
Graphics are richly detailed and look impressive at the highest ultra setting. The game seems to use the exact same engine as Assassin's Creed: Origins, with some upgrades to model and texture richness. Just like the predecessor, high-end graphics are demanding, and the CPU is taxed quite a bit, too. We tested Assassin's Creed Odyssey on a large variety of graphics cards, including NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti... no RTX effects in Odyssey, and it doesn't look like Ubisoft plans to add them in a later patch.
Performance on the highest settings is very demanding, with 60 FPS 1080p gameplay only possible on cards like the Vega 56/GTX 1070 Ti and above. For 1440p 60 FPS gaming, you better have a GTX 1080 Ti or GeForce RTX 2080/2080 Ti. 4K 60 FPS isn't possible, even on the RTX 2080 Ti, which only manages 45 FPS in that setting. It's great to see a large number of details settings options included in the game, which makes it easier to tune the graphics fidelity to your hardware and the FPS rate you desire. I also have to praise Ubisoft for giving us options for field-of-view and to remove any FPS limits.
Graphics memory usage at "ultra" is high: even 1080p uses 4.8 GB of VRAM, which results in a performance hit for cards with 4 GB VRAM or less. Of course, settings can be adjusted to accommodate cards with less memory. On the other hand, for higher resolutions, memory requirements are very reasonable because today's high-end cards have plenty of memory—the game doesn't even get close to exhausting the 8 GB that are the minimum on such cards.
In terms of the CPU, you absolutely want to at least have a quad-core CPU (two cores with HyperThreading is fine). When we tried to start the game on a dual-core CPU, it wouldn't even finish loading the level. Higher core counts are rewarded with more FPS as long as the GPU isn't the bottleneck.
Overall, Assassin's Creed Odyssey is a refreshing change from the established system, and is definitely worth it if you are looking for an RPG that gives you more than just a few hours of gameplay.