I've played about eight hours of Assassin's Creed Odyssey, and I'm really enjoying it so far. Continuing the RPG-ification of Assassin's Creed started with Origins, we've got XP, levels, and a big ol' world full of loot to find, MGSV-style enemy bases to clear out, and scary enemies of varying strengths. But where Origins was all the XP with none of the benefits, Odyssey branches out into a cheeky little bit of choice and consequence, and even has a really interesting optional... kinda sorta difficulty mode? Rather than your standard modern AAA video game thing of having you follow a waypoint at all times, Odyssey has a mode where quest markers are replaced with just listening to the quest giver tell you "I need you to go to this place, it's west of *insert landmark here*, south of *a certain town*", and then you just find it yourself. It's not quite as hands-off as Breath of the Wild was, and it'd be hard to really get lost, but it is a really nice change of pace.
So I'm playing as a muscular Greek lady named Kassandra, who has thick eyebrows, a husky voice and just a liiiittle bit of that good Greek 'ssh' on her 'ss' sounds, and I really like her as an RPG protagonist. Honestly a great video game face and a voice will take me a long way in a game like this, but Kassandra has a really enjoyable wry sense of humour to her, too, and she's just a big ol' bruiser. Her first scene has her getting clocked right in the jaw by a loan shark's cronies, which was a great intro; she reminds me a lot of our ol' pal Xena, to be honest. She also calls anyone she doesn't like "malakes", and I love that
I was impressed to see that the skill tree customisation is actually really in-depth this time around, too. It isn't seem like the standard Ubisoft skill tree where you're basically just buying all the abilities you should have had from the beginning and eventually you get them all; here you actually have to spec yourself down certain paths, and the active abilities themselves have to be mapped to hot-keys so you can only have four melee and four ranged ones total. So far I have one ability that lets me permanently destroy an enemy's shield, and one that is just the famous "THIS IS SPARTA" kick from 300 which is absolutely wonderful for knocking people off ledges. You still have the annoying thing where high-level enemies can't be killed in one shot from an Assassination stab, but now there's an ability that lets you hold the button for a more powerful stab, and if you can Sparta kick them off a ledge afterwards you can really turn the tables.
I found a good ol' Assassin's Creed cave full of ancient-past-sci-fi stuff, so that's still there, and all the naval battle stuff is back again so we've basically got a Greatest Hits of Assassin's Creed game here. I had a little look at the overall game map, and I had a moment of existential dread when I had to zoom out one step further than I thought I would to see the whole thing, only to find another zoom out after that. This place is absolutely gigantic, and every quest I've done so far has been pretty in-depth, too; no "fetch 10 things". I'm impressed, and pretty intimidated, too.