There were plenty of stealth opportunities in my demo of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey at this year’s E3, but something a little more epic left the most lasting impression. Last year’s Assassin’s Creed Origins transitioned the series’ stale, counter-dependent combat system into more skillful, dynamic swordplay, and Odyssey runs with this evolution in its new Conquest battles, rolling out some of the largest skirmishes ever seen in the franchise.
Conquest battles are a new mission type that players will come across in both the open world and the story campaign. The battles will occur when the resources of one of the region’s warring factions—Athens or Sparta—drops too low, forcing them to engage their enemy in open warfare. The result is dozens upon dozens of soldiers from each side meeting on a massive battlefield. Conquest battles give players more opportunity than ever to flex their reactive combat skills, as they must dive into the fight and chip away at the enemy reinforcements.
Players seeking to manually trigger these battles will want to take contracts, which allow them to tip the resources of one side or the other, inciting conflict between them. Being a mercenary, the player’s allegiances can flip between either faction, but this also means other mercenaries will try to influence the outcome of the war by taking contracts and jumping into battle themselves. The enemy mercenaries are powerful adversaries that can turn the tide of a fight, but defeating them in Conquest battles will reward some of the game’s best gear, which players can actually observe them wielding in the very fight they were beaten.
To get the upper hand on these enemies, players can employ a variety of new special abilities. These abilities are bestowed upon our protagonist by his Spear of Leonidas, which is a mystical artifact from the universe’s First Civilization. There will be a variety of abilities to equip, but those shown off in the demonstration included health regeneration, a shield-disarming maneuver, a Spartan kick, and an area-of-effect knockback.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey may be straying a little far from its stealth roots, but at least it’s making up for it with some over-the-top historical action. Hopefully, fans see more on Conquest battles leading up to the game’s October 5th release date.