I must have replayed Assassin's creed odyssey a dozen times, all the way through. I loved the RPG elements, combat, and story, graphics. To me, ACO was nearly the perfect game.
And then there's Valhalla. Instead of following the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach, Ubisoft made a number of changes that made the game feel very underwhelming. After playing through once, back during release, I feel no need to replay. I check after every patch to see if certain changes were made, and always come back feeling disappointed.
The biggest issues to address:
AI: I don't know how after six months this hasn't been addressed. You can still walk up to a camp or village and have nearly every target present their backs to you as if to say, "please assassinate me!" Most of them don't even walk around. In zones where you use your cloak, you can be seen walking up to a building, unlock a door and walk in. Soldiers might alert to your presence, but even if they see you walk in they don't go "hey, you aren't allowed in there!" You would think they would at LEAST question you?
Skills and abilities: You get skill points for nearly every encounter regardless of challenge. You get so many skill points that by mid game you have almost the entire skill tree filled in. You get so many skill points, that despite the hardest difficulty level, you will become a Norse God and slay everything with ease. Almost every encounter is boring; there's no risk of losing. The amount of XP and skill points received in areas that you are of a higher power level need to be significantly reduced to avoid becoming so overpowered and so early on in the game.
Then there's the abilities. Most are just lame; where as in ACO you had a skill for poison or fire that affected all your weapons, ubisoft went lazy (couldn't think of more abilities?!?!?) and made a SEPARATE skill for both melee and ranged for poison and fire. But don't stop there- there's two different axe attacks for both ranged and melee that basically do the same thing- throw an axe!! Summon your pet for an attack, he comes in for one bite and then leaves. What.... the.... hell.
Raids: This could have easily been one of the best features of the game, and yet it feels like so little attention was put in to it. You can literally walk around and spend all the time you want on a raid. There's no risk or excitement of what it should mean to get in, pillage, and get out. Imagine this scenario: You raid a village. You have to get in and get out before reinforcements arrive- perhaps you can't pillage the whole monestary or military outpost because there's a patrol nearby that will arrive after a certain amount of time. On top of that, those viking raiders you hired- if you linger too long or the area is too strong, they might actually die. This would actually encourage the use and management of the barracks at your settlement which to me at this time is pointless. You can raid with the default vikings just as well as you can hiring others. Then after a certain amount of time, that raided area will restock, become harder and more well defended the next time you come back. The more challenging the raid, the better REWARDED the player would be!
Gear: I, like a lot of players I presume, enjoy the risk versus reward system. If there's a higher challenge, I expect to be rewarded better. As it is, there's very little reward for anything. Am I alone in liking having gear as a reward, especially when fighting a boss? Why in gods name would you take this away? The gear is so limited, my first play through I picked one gear set and used it the entire game. This meant taking away a reward, and replacing it.... with just xp and skill points. The in game available gear is so lacking, and this was a huge mistake taking away a great reward system.
Contracts: This system seemed like so little work went in to it. Contracts are just random targets to assassinate in the middle of nowhere or rescue the same peasant over and over gain, literally at the same camps. While admittedly these weren't much better in ACO, this could have really been expanded to make them a little more interesting to take up. At least make it a CHALLENGING target to go kill every once in a while, or someone you actually have to hunt for.
The Order: Another one of ACO great systems were the mercenaries who would hunt you down if you did something wrong. It was a great risk feature where you couldn't just steal or kill right in front of a witness. Or occasionally, you would [censored] off the wrong guy and have two or three mercenaries hunting you, following you all over. I thought this was a great system. Instead of keeping that, the Order guys just... walk around in a specific zone. They are meaningless. At one point early in the game it makes it appear that they will hunt for you, but they never do! What was the point of putting them in? The order guys need to at LEAST hunt for you when you're in their area to spice things up a bit!
And a minor irritation: Who thought it would be fun to make EVERY SINGLE building some sort of mini puzzle to get inside?
I'm not even going to mention the lack of one handed swords- it's been beaten to death and supposedly is getting added at a later time. But there are so many game features missing or gameplay that could be improved and hasn't. I feel like the bare minimum was done for most of the game and the team just doesn't care. I'm not even excited about upcoming DLC because unless the core game isn't improved, it's going to be just as boring- a one and done playthrough.