Generally speaking Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is doing pretty well for itself. It’s getting positive reviews from almost every corner and while its sales for physical copies are reportedly down, digital sales have apparently picked up that slack. The only place where the game is being dinged is on the topic of microtransactions. There’s a feeling from some that the game is designed to entice you into spending money on experience boosts, but Ubisoft says that’s not the case. According to a rep from the company…
So there you go. If you think that Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is a bit too grind-y for you, just lower the difficulty setting you wimp. As with pretty much every video game that has been released in the last few years, Odyssey has an in-game economy and more stuff to buy than you can shake a spear of Leonidas at. In addition to all the standard swords and shields and horse armor and whatever else, there is also a collection of “Time Saver” items, like the ability to give yourself a permanent 10% boost to experience for the low, low price of $10. Some who have spent the money say that the game progression flows much better with the bonus, as it feels a bit too slow without it.
At this point, this conversation has simply become part of the standard release cycle. Developers claim that games are too expensive to make and since base game prices haven’t increased for several years, they need to make money in other ways. Microtransactions are implemented in the game but since they’re “optional” as Ubisoft predictably told Kotaku, nobody is supposed to be upset about it.
And if the game is fun, nobody would be. Sure, the map of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is littered with so much stuff to do that getting those precious levels is possible, but if a portion of your audience is at least considering spending $10 to skip that, it means they don’t find the game fun.
By comparison, look at a game like Insomniac’s Spider-Man which will have some DLC, but has no available option to spend additional money for anything else. That game is seeing significantly more people reach Platinum Trophy status than your average PS4 game. People are happy to spend time with it, to complete its various challenges, and to, one would assume, try them over and over again in order to be successful. People are having fun. Nobody wishes they could skip playing the game.
Overall people do seem to be happy with Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, but at the same time, the idea that the game doesn’t want you to spend money is crazy. While maybe the game wasn’t technically designed with experience boosters in mind, it surely also wasn’t designed without considering them at all. If the 10% boost made the game far too easy, that would be a problem too, so they had to be part of the consideration.
If you enjoy the grind of leveling up, then it’s not really a grind, and that’s fine. If, however, you need to spend $10 more to enjoy Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, then the game doesn’t actually cost $60 anymore.