For the first time in the series, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey will give players branching dialogue choices and divergent narrative choices. You can flirt now! And it's pretty forward.
Press were given access to the first two episodes of Odyssey at Ubsioft's Sydney offices recently, taking players from the start of the game to the first major split in the plot. I was only able to spend about four hours with the game, which was enough to get off the first main island and encounter some of the factional aspects of the game.
More importantly, it was also enough time to start getting down to real business.
The first time Odyssey goes full Bangfit is shortly after your character—Alexios or Kassandra, depending on who's DNA you want to explore at the start of the game—clears out a small house by the shore. It's supposedly occupied by newcomers who attacked your guardian as a child, although it quickly becomes apparent that the employer of the brigands a) doesn't really give a shit about them and b) is a bit of a creep.
Elpenor and his campy accent aren't from these parts, and since it's part of the main quest line, you're quickly convinced to nick a shroud from a nearby island. It's a short trip, and upon landfall you're quickly tasked with cutting down a bunch of soldiers.
Eventually you'll slice the poor sod carrying the shroud, after which point you can nip back across the water. But if you circle around the back of the ruined palace, you'll come across a young fighter called Odessa. She's imprisoned in a cage, and after taking her away from the palace, she decides that she wants to go for walk through the middle of it.
She's Odysseus's namesake, or so she believes, and wanted to understand the historical figure with a quick tour through the grounds. To the surprise of no-one, it doesn't. So it's back to the shore, upon which time Kassandra—and presumably Alexios if that's your chosen character—wants to rummage through a different kind of palace.
You can miss Odessa entirely if you take a different path, so it depends on how much you want to clear out the base and where the enemy holding the shroud wanders off to.
Whatever advice you offer, Odessa accepts and you go your separate ways. I told Odessa to look after family—makes sense, given that was the primary motivator for Kassandra in the opening hours—and when you run into her on Megaris, that was where I found her.
Odessa wasn't happy about it.
I love that two out of the three options here don't actually give two shits about Odessa's situation. Your dad's sick? That's nice. And by the way, your'e cute and we should bang.
(Alternatively, you could be sympathetic, but whoever wrote this quest clearly understands what the priorities are.)
There could be more romance quests in Odyssey's first few islands, but Odessa's love life is the one that most players are likely to run into. It's difficult to go through the ruins without either seeing or hearing Odessa directly, and as a result, this whole quest line essentially communicates to the player: Hey! You can romance people in Assassin's Creed now.
And that's cool and all, but it'd be nice to see a little more subtlety and substance. The way Kassandra so brazenly cracks onto Odessa is funny at first, but hopefully Odyssey has some love lines that are more fleshed out, too.
I'll have some news about what the rest of Odyssey's opening entails soon. But I just wanted to call out one of the bigger narrative changes with Odyssey first: yes, several people in Odyssey are DTF. I'm just hoping Kassandra doesn't take the Tinder approach to all of them.
(Also: you can't bang Socrates. Sorry.)