Now let's talk about ships for a moment. I think every major mechanic of Odyssey has been honed to near perfection (well despite the glitches and bugs and such) and ship-to-ship combat and ocean exploration, are no exception.
Aboard my ship, I feel like Odysseus setting out on some grand adventure. I can sail across the Aegean into the fog of myth, or choose to sink merchant ships for precious loot, or simply drink in the beauty of a setting sun. I can check out a nearby isle for treasures or goodies. Or I can take on multiple mercenaries in an epic, spear-throwing and fire-arrow blasting fury that sets the very waves on fire (yes, mercs will find you at sea too).
Ship combat is exceedingly fun and sailing across the waters is always entrancing. The waves crash, the tropical isles speak of hidden secrets, and the splendor of ancient Greece rolls by in a kind of hypnotic beauty. Cities like Athens come into focus, resplendent in regality and incredible monuments, and the playground itself just unfolds at your discretion. If, of course, you can survive the dangerous waters that are teeming with high-level sharks and enemy ships ready to chew your bones.
Ships are also tied to crafting material gathering (or buying, if you'd rather spend money in the Ubisoft store than time) and are another part of the game's cycling engagement ecosystem. Players can upgrade the ship in a variety of ways, including the hull to add more health, or make it more vicious by upgrading attack prowess. There's a lot of things to upkeep in Odyssey, and your ship is one of them. The world is gated off behind level barriers that can be broken with consequences, but if you earnestly want to push into certain areas you need to level up, fortify your loot, and build up your ship.
Another nifty part of your ship is your crew. How you complete quests can actually unlock lieutenants and first mates that boost your ship's efficacy in various ways. You can also recruit new members by sparing them after sneaking up on them. Doing so is imperative to rounding out your ship's strength.
If that wasn't enough, Odyssey has a splendid mix of main and side quests. Every side quest feels hefty and has a little weight. Some are obviously more meaty than others, but the game will definitely surprise you at times. I found myself actually caring about certain characters because of their dialog and their situations, and I'd react accordingly with my own dialog choices.
Other times though I actively despised them. This is the sign of good writing, and it's something Odyssey does often. There were NPCs where I understood their motivations and what they were trying to do, but disliked how they were doing it, and it actually affected how I interacted with them.
The quest-line is a great jaunt through the heart of ancient Greece lore and ties lots of history together with legend with deft grace. The cultist system, in particular, is quite enjoyable and acts as a propellant to explore the world and unlock more secrets behind this weird, shadowy snake cult.
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