Americans can get Assassin’s Creed Odyfree from Google

If you play an hour of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey before January 15th, you can keep it forever – but there are two catches. One catch is that you have to play it on Google’s Project Stream, and the other is that you have to live in the US to do so. Project Stream is one of those cloud-based clients that lets you run games on hardware that’s many miles away, so you’ll probably need a faster connection than a VPN would provide.

Some might say another catch is that Odyssey is a vaguely compelling time-murderer that fills up lives that could be spent with better videogames or loved ones. I disagree.

Head on over to the Project Stream website if you’re eligible (or ambitious). Like I said, you need to play an hour before January 15th if you want it for keepsies. Odyssey is currently the only game on there, and the giveaway is a promotional tech test. So uh, I guess catch number three is that it’s not guaranteed to work. That’s more catch than is ecologically acceptable in the fishing industry.

Project Stream started streaming projects on October 5th – though only in the US, and only for a select few invitees. It works by running games on beefy computers, then piping the results back to your own PC. Other companies such as OnLive have tried this before, but it’s never caught on. We’ll see if Google can buck that trend when the service launches for real, though I couldn’t find any estimation of when that might be.

I’ve played Odyssey all the way to its proper end, where Herodotus goes ‘well that’s an Odyssey I’ll never forget’ and winks at the camera. I have no regrets – unlike Katharine, who stuck around to polish off all the cultists while telling everyone about what a waste of time that was. I get it. Compulsion can occlude fun.

At times, my Odyssey was like that too. Then I walked away from it for a while, and came back and finished half the game in half a week. Sure, near the end the combat flagged and the story disappointed. But I still got a little thrill from clambering up to my 95th synchronisation point, and a pleasant buzz from cresting my bajillionth hill. It’s like spending 80 hours in a warm bath, but with more stabbing. So what if I look like a prune.

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