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Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s magic is its sense of pure fun

There are plenty of things wrong with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but I do find it ever so hard to care. I’ve spent the weekend falling in love, jumping off hundred-foot statues and galloping around the island of Mykonos dressed as Wonder Woman. I could’ve spent that time thinking about all the cluttered menus and superfluous UI elements, and wondering why, for some reason, so many people love this game when it so proudly displays just so many obvious flaws.

And in doing so I’d have probably had a pretty good point – but it’s not the point, is it? The point is Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is fun. Unbelievably fun. Picking at it for all the ways in which it lacks the poignancy of a Breath of the Wild, or the earthiness of The Witcher and all that austere frowning of Red Dead Redemption 2 would be mistaking those things for things this game cares about. Odyssey’s not just fun, it’s a game about fun itself, and it cares about nothing else.

It feels wrong to think too hard about having fun. Obviously it’s not something you think about so much as just do, in the moment, independent of thought entirely, and so thinking about it directly feels a bit like trying to think about your thoughts. You end up spinning on the spot trying to catch the back of your head. But then at the same time, here’s Odyssey and its hundred-and-something-hour ode to fun itself, a game that seemingly manages to have plenty to say all about it.

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