Assassin's Creed Odyssey: Naval gameplay guide

One of the most contentious features of the Assassin's Creed franchise is undoubtedly its naval gameplay. Whether you love it or hate it, you likely have a strong opinion on its inclusion in any entry. To some's dismay, naval combat and gameplay made a return to the series once again in Assassin's Creed Odyssey. If you're one of the people who happens to loathe this, we'll give you some tips to make sailing the Aegean Sea as painless and unobtrusive to your adventure as possible.

Upgrading your ship

Assassin's Creed Odyssey isn't quite as naval-focused as Black Flag was, but you'll still want to take good care of your ship, the Adrestia, for when you do run into trouble. Like in previous Assassin's Creed games, you can upgrade your ship with various resources found throughout the environment. The upgrade system isn't as deep as the one found within Black Flag, so this makes doing so a whole lot easier.

Over on the Ship section of your menu, you'll see it's divided into five parts: Arsenal, Weapons Damage, Ship & Crew Endurance, Special Lieutenants, and Ship Cosmetics. The main categories you'll want to focus your upgrades in are Ship & Crew Endurance as well as Weapons Damage. Special Lieutenants give minor stat boosts, but none that make a noticeable difference if you try your best to avoid confrontation on the water. In regards to your Arsenal, you get by most of the game just keeping it at the bare minimum.

With Ship & Crew Endurance, focus on the Hull. Boosting this stat will improve the Adrestia's resistance to damage by increasing its overall health and armor. If you find yourself under heavy fire a lot, also consider upgrading your Crew Armor to improve your bracing damage reduction.

As for Weapons Damage, focus on the Arrows and the Ram. While upgrading your Arrows may seem like a no brainer, the Ram is just as important. In Odyssey, players can cleave ships in half by ramming through them. A better Ram means a better chance of doing so, completely ending some fights before they may even start.

If you're still having trouble after focusing on those upgrades, that's when you should turn to upgrading your Arsenal, which will give you additional Arrow Volleys and Javelin Throws along with Fire Braziers.

Gathering resources

Though you can gain resources like wood and iron metal from plundering ships, you can also do so by just wandering around on land. Resources are abundant in the world, you can hardly go a minute without running across some olive wood and various stones. There's enough to snatch up while you're out exploring that you shouldn't need to go out of your way too often to get them. And there are plenty of animals you can hunt and kill in one shot to obtain soft leather.

The only resource that you may need to worry about are Ancient Tablets. These contain long lost engineering wisdom that boost the Adrestia's power when used in upgrades, and usually, every upgrade will consume a few of them. These can be found in ancient ruins or temples, making them more difficult to obtain as they will be guarding by a few enemies.

Avoiding conflicts

You can avoid the sea for as long as possible, but certain sections are unavoidable. You will be required to sail your ship one way or another, and even take out some blockades. Because Odyssey is set during a time of great conflict at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, you'll find yourself frequently attacked by pirate ships. You won't often encounter friendly ships to come to your aid; everyone is out to get you. Luckily, you can mitigate this problem and avoid naval combat for the most part.

You can boost the Adrestia to its top speed for a short amount of time, allowing you to outrun any threats. It's quite simple to just skirt around most ships and continue on your way. They will give chase for a brief period and you may need to brace your ship for arrows every so often, but your enemies eventually give up without you being any worse for wear.

Battle Tactics

If you find yourself surrounding by several enemy ships, target the weaker ones first or whichever already has less health. Don't try to take them on all at once or you'll easily become overwhelmed. Doing small bits of damage to several ships is less effective then dealing a big dose of damage to one. Maneuver your ship and pick them off one by one and your time on the Aegean Sea will be a lot less painful.

So long as you don't sink a ship, you can board it just like in Black Flag. After killing its crew and looting its cargo, the Adrestia will gain back its health, meaning you won't be stuck battling the rest of your enemies with only a fraction of health.

It's a bit of a slow process, but it's one that makes the whole ordeal less frustrating and more manageable. Take out one ship, replenish the Adrestia's health, rinse and repeat.

Sparta Kick

What would a game set in ancient Greece be without the good ole Sparta Kick ability? It's more useful than just letting you live out your 300 fantasies. By kicking an enemy off of a ship you'll avoid needing to fight them. While soldiers can technically swim and will stay alive after you do so, they will not rejoin the fight onboard, letting you complete the entire boarding process without breaking a sweat.

And let's be honest, it's just a fun ability to use.

In our review, we called Assassin's Creed Odyssey "another win for Ubisoft's leading design team."

Jennifer Locke

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life, and is very happy Xbox is growing a stronger first-party portfolio. You can find her obsessing over Star Wars and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.