Ubisoft's Assassins Creed: Odyssey was released in 2018. Part of the wider Assassins Creed franchise Odyssey is a historically based action role-playing video game set in Classical Greece. While much of the game is set in modern-day, following a protagonist who uses a machine called 'the Animus' to explore the memories of their ancestors, the majority of Odyssey follows a mercenary's adventures throughout the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC).
From a historian's perspective, the game truly excels in its world-building with its ability to transport the player into a living, breathing ancient world (more specifically the Peloponnese, Attica and numerous islands of the Aegean sea). Despite inevitably being scaled-down due to processing limitations, the explorable sandbox map of Odyssey is immaculately detailed and rich. Using both surviving monumental evidence and literary sources, the developers have created a frankly incomparable depiction of ancient Greece, walking through the bustling Athenian Agora, for example, is just one of many breathtaking experiences this level detail allows.
The storylines of Odyssey are fundamental in both providing entertainment and educating the player on the period this game takes place. On the protagonist's many journeys the player encounters numerous Classical figures; including philosophers such as Socrates, politicians like Pericles, and historians such as Herodotus, these characters are often exaggerated and stylised, yet still, provide a factually grounded and commendable vision of each historical figure. The storylines are also however where the game falls short. In order to diversify the missions and activities within the game, the developers have, on many occasions, taken mythology and legend into literal senses, with the player being able to hunt Heracles' Erymanthian Boar, wield the magical spear of Leonidas and, in DLC content, travel to the enigmatic city of Atlantis. The malleable nature of fact and fiction in this game is most prevalent in the storylines and ultimately limits its historical accuracy.
As for gameplay Odyssey has well-refined combat mechanics with a diverse range of weapons and armours, although often unrealistic and exaggerated for aesthetic purposes, as well as a noteworthy naval combat system which presents an eye-opening glimpse into ancient trireme battles, rarely presented in related media. However, despite a levelling system which increases the difficulty of the game as the player becomes more adept, the combat in particular quickly becomes somewhat repetitive and stagnant at times, significantly limiting the game's replayability.