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Opinion: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Exploration Mode Is A Game Changer

Mycenaean Tomb Of Ajax

When you boot up Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for the first time, you’ll be greeted by a choice – you can opt to play Ubisoft’s latest in ‘Guided Mode’ whereupon all the UI objective markers and location elements are present, or, you can opt to play it in the new ‘Exploration’ mode that strips out all the bits and pieces seen in the former mode.

But let’s rewind a bit first.

Way, way back in the day (we’re talking the 1980s here), navigating around massive game worlds was very often achieved through your own resourcefulness and moxie. Typically, you’d use clues, landmarks and other points of interest in the environment to navigate your way to the objective that you have been tasked to reach.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Exploration Mode Gives New Life To Open World Exploration

Some of us *cough* even scribbled and sketched entire maps on massive sheets of paper in order to thoroughly orient ourselves – we did this because we found it useful – and not because we didn’t have lives or anything. Nope, definitely not that.

Anyhow, I digress. Exploration mode in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey feels like a game changer, albeit a familiar one, simply because it relies on the player to do more, think more and explore more beyond what the point-to-point shenanigans of the series watertight waypoint system typically allows.

The very idea of Exploration Mode also plays directly into the fact that with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Ubisoft has crafted its most expansive and compelling world to date; one which is generously stuffed with activities to do, secrets to find and lots of pretty vistas and Ancient Greek architecture to gawk at.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey Exploration Mode 01
The world of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is so vast and packed with nuanced detail that it is a pleasure to stumble across new locations.

Indeed, you could be tasked with locating an Athenian diplomat but on the way there you could find yourself drawn further into Odyssey’s rendition of Ancient Greece, as roadside quarrels, secret caves and ancient structures all compel you to wander off and explore.

Essentially, by removing waypoints and all those other UI crutches that we typically rely upon for navigation, exploration in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey feels refreshingly organic in a way that open-world exploration just hasn’t been for a very long time.

Ostensibly, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Exploration mode won’t be for everybody, but for those of us looking to explore Ubisoft’s evocatively depicted Ancient Greek realm in all its unrestrained beauty and freedom, it turns out to be an odyssey well worth undertaking.