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Assassin's Creed Odyssey weapons guide: the best weapons and skills for open combat

Assassin's Creed Odyssey is a big world full of splendor—and more importantly, lots of stuff to kill. As you chew your way through lions, Spartans, and cultists, you'll find a huge variety of ancient weapons to wield in battle. Knowing which weapon to use, though, is half of the battle. That's where our Assassin's Creed Odyssey weapon guide comes in.

Once you get a dozen hours into the game, Odyssey throws an ample supply of Legendary-quality weapons your way. And thanks to the flexible upgrade and engraving system, you can always spend resources to upgrade their damage and traits to stay relevant all the way to level 50. So don't worry about finding the one best weapon because it really depends on your playstyle and what traits you engrave into your weapon of choice. The best weapon depends on what kinds of enemies you're facing and what skills you've unlocked. Here, we'll break down each type of weapon, with a few recommendations of what skills complement these weapons.

For all of these weapons, though, we recommend unlocking Overpower Attacks as soon as possible. With the press of a button, your character will spend three stamina bars to unleash a deadly, unblockable combo that changes depending on your weapon while also healing you for a significant amount. It's insanely powerful, and you build adrenaline so quickly in fights that you can make use of this skill several times in prolonged fights.

With that out of the way, here's our Assassin's Creed Odyssey weapons guide.

Bare fists 

With so many swords and spears to use, you might overlook the value in bare knuckle boxing your opponent into submission. Your character in Odyssey is pretty handy with a punch, and damage from fists won't kill characters but instead knock them unconscious. If you want to recruit an enemy for your ship, tame an animal, or have a quest from a character who doesn't want you to kill anyone, going unarmed is always a good option. 

Swords 

Everyone starts out with a sword, and for good reason: it's the most versatile, flexible weapon in the Assassin's Creed Odyssey arsenal. Sword attacks in Odyssey are most effective at targeting a single enemy and they're also one of the faster weapons, which makes them useful for fighting higher-level enemies. When an enemy uses an unblockable attack, dodge to get behind them and then unleash hell.

Best skills for swords:

Sparta Kick: The shorter reach of the sword and dagger make them a good fit for the Sparta Kick. Since you'll already be in close, assigning the Sparta Kick to a melee hotkey is an easy way to finish off a combo with a brutal kick to the face. Don't forget that kicking enemies off of ledges is a great way to kill higher-level opponents.

Hero Strike: Your character's assassin damage is insanely high, but you can only use it when you're being sneaky. Hero Strike takes that high damage level and lets you use it in the middle of a melee.

Shield Breaker: Enemies with shields are a huge pain for swords. Heavy attacks will work, but they're slow. Get in close with the Shield Breaker to tear the shield off your enemy and fling it away. 

Daggers 

Daggers specialize in speed and getting up close. Focus on one enemy at a time and use the rapid-fire combos to kill them before they can respond. If you're facing a heavy-hitter like a brute, dagger attacks will carve them up while they're working on their big, slow attacks. When you do have to dodge or block, daggers are the fastest weapon to resume your attacks.

The downside is that you need to get real close to an enemy, which is dangerous. And their single-target style makes them especially bad choices for Conquest battles, where you'll always be fighting three or four people at once.

Best skills for daggers:

Flaming Attack/Venomous Attack: Both the fire and poison skill upgrades take a few hits to start doing extra damage. That's why they're perfect for daggers: you're already landing a dozen strikes a second anyway, so you can light people on fire or poison them fast.

Vanish: This skill blinds nearby enemies so you can escape, but dagger users can employ it offensively to distract groups of enemies so they can focus them down one at a time. Just know that any enemy you hit will become unstunned, so be careful to only damage one target at a time.

Call to Arms: You can't use this ability while in combat, but if you're about to take on a pack of bad guys, use Call to Arms to summon an ally to distract them while you get in behind with your daggers and carve up enemies one by one. 

Spears and Staffs 

Fighting multiple opponents is almost a certainty, which makes staffs and spears very handy. The long reach and wide swinging style of Odyssey's combos make them great for crowd control. Spears are usually better for getting the longest reach and staffs are better for fighting while surrounded, but they're very close to identical.

Generally, spears do more damage while staffs have more knockback power. Which one you prefer will probably come down to the situation: If you're fighting a few enemies on top of a building, the staff will send them flying to their deaths. If you're fighting an angry lion or a mercenary with a poisoned dagger, the longer reach of the spear will keep you from getting punctured.

Best skills for spears and staffs:

Flaming Attack/Venomous Attack: Staffs and spears don't hit as fast as daggers, so it will take a little more time to get a fire or poison bonus going. On the other hand, adding a bonus to staff or spear attacks gives you the unique ability to light everyone in the room on fire at once

Charged Heavy Attack: If you get a moment to breathe, charging up a heavy attack will give you a huge damage bonus and a big, sweeping target area. Use the staff and spear's range to get some distance, then swing for the fences.

Ring of Chaos: If you're already surrounded anyway, the Ring of Chaos skill lets you stun everyone within a few meters of you. This skill is mostly wasted in one-on-one fights, which makes it a good crowd control companion for staff and spear users. 

Heavy Bladed and Heavy Blunt 

These two-handed monsters are huge, slow, and powerful. You won't have to worry about enemies with shields, since these attacks will stagger anyone with a shield. That said, heavy maces and axes are the hardest weapons to use, and they seem to be a good fit only in the rarest of occasions. Their long, slow wind-up makes it hard to get hits in without also taking damage from faster enemy attacks. If you can stun or trick an enemy long enough to get swinging, though, there's almost nothing in the game that can do more damage.

Best skills for heavy bladed and heavy blunt:

Bull Rush: Charging through enemies and dealing a lot of damage is somewhat wasted on the other weapons, but for the heavy hitters it's a great way to get in close, stun your opponent, and leave yourself free to demolish the opposition.

Charged Heavy Attack: If you can see an attacker coming but they haven't gotten to you yet, using the charged heavy attack is one hell of a way to say "hello." The heavy attack also has a big throwback bonus, so if you use it with a heavy mace, you might fling enemies farther than even the best Sparta Kick.

Ring of Chaos: Even if you're not surrounded, the Ring of Chaos can reliably stun anyone nearby. For heavy weapons, time is the most precious commodity. Use the area stun and then flatten any nearby enemies before they can get themselves back together. 

Bows 

I'm not going to lie, the entire hunter skill tree feels like a bit of a waste of time. I've had great success specializing in both the warrior and the assassin skill trees, but the hunter skills are comparatively weak—too weak to make them worth focusing all your ability points in, anyway. Instead, hunter skills are good companions to the other, better skill trees.

Bows also get short shrift in the design department because they all handle the same way, and they're a terrible option if you're being attacked up close. That means they're often used outside of combat to snipe unsuspecting enemies or soften a target before going in for the kill.

Best skills for bows:

Sixth Sense: This skill slows time and auto-locks onto an enemy's torso any time they spot you while in stealth. Rather than letting that one guard blow the whistle, you have a chance to take him out fast and keep sneaking.

Rain of Destruction: Launches a massive flight of arrows straight up and straight down onto the heads of anyone in the targeted area. Upgrade it to use explosive arrows and then unleash carpet bombings on groups of enemies.

Overpower Strike: Overpower Strike is like shooting cruise missile with fletching. Unlike a lot of the other shots, the overpowered shot is strong enough and big enough to successfully assassinate a high-level target from a distance.