Assassin’s Creed Odyssey gives you two ways to navigate its world — Guided Mode and Exploration Mode. You’re given this choice fairly early in the game, but there’s some wording in the descriptions that makes the choice less clear than it should be.
While the in-game description says that Exploration Mode is the way the game was meant to be played, the choice really just comes down to how much help you want Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to give you.
Guided Mode versus Exploration Mode
Both Guided Mode and Exploration Mode come with a robust HUD. You’ve got a compass with points of interest and hints about controls, as well as information about the region, bounty hunters, your level, and your current quest. Both game modes have all of this information. The difference between the two lies in how you use the map to discover the next story marker.
In the top left corner of the screen, you’ll see the mini quest log and objectives. This is a handy reminder for what’s going on, but it also gives you a series of hints (when appropriate) about what you’re going next. This is usually the information you got from the quest giver — or the follow-up questions you ask.
In Guided Mode, you’ll automatically get a waypoint on both your HUD and your map based on those hints. In Exploration Mode, you won’t and you’ll have to use those clues to suss out where you’re headed. Usually, the hints will help you narrow down the name of the region — which helpfully present on your map — and an area of that region — north, south, east, or west. You’ll still have ? markers on your map that indicate points of interest (which is usually where your waypoint is).
You can turn Guided Mode on and off whenever you want from the Options menu under the Gameplay tab.
Even finer control
It’s important to note that Exploration Mode is not simply turning off your HUD and heading into the wilds. It’s a little more immersive than Guided Mode and requires a little detective work from you, but there’s still a ton of information on your screen.
If you want to immerse yourself more fully, you’ll want to turn off some or all of the aspects of your HUD. In the Options menu, under the HUD tab, you have the option to turn on or off every piece of information your HUD displays. Everything from Fight Damage Numbers to your Oxygen Gauge to the Compass is covered here. Even with everything off, you’ll still have your map to guide you.