The Realms of Atlantis

Simulations designed to perfection.

From the golden fields of Elysium, to the haunting desolation of the Underworld, to the sprawling cityscapes of Atlantis there many trials for Kassandra to undertake before she meets the Heir of Memories. By understanding the triumphs (and failings) of the Isu, she will learn to resist the corrupting nature of the Staff of Hermes Trismegistus. Known mostly for its confusing pronunciation. The Fate of Atlantis is a magnificent post-release DLC for Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, in which you experience the Isu civilisation at the height of its cultural and technological developments.

Their fondness for humans is endearing if not slightly concerning.

Content is once again delivered (and experienced) in an episodic format and (counting The Lost Tales of Greece) took roughly forty hours to complete. While there are quests aplenty, the majority of content encourages swift character development as Kassandra embraces her role as Keeper.

Destroying Marble Maiden Tributes, sealing Tartaros Rifts, and scanning Isu Data Caches all afford an abundance of ability points. As does uncovering the Keeper’s Insights, which also allow you to fundamentally alter the functionality of certain abilities. Each quest awards an absurd amount of experience, too. Completing any (or all) of the above rapidly accelerates Kassandra’s progression, and exponentially increases her fighting prowess to such an extent that combat becomes somewhat trivial. Upgrading equipment quickly becomes prohibitively expensive, though. But there are numerous legendary equipment sets available if you’d prefer to use those, and one is actually required for progression. Or you could simply engrave that legendary perk onto your boots to continue unimpeded with your existing equipment.

Terrifying beasts roam this desolate landscape.

I was surprised (and impressed) by the diverse means required to progress through the second and third episodes. In the second episode, Tartaros Veils could only be traversed were to you acquire a legendary equipment set. In the third episode, certain locations were only accessible after filling the Isu Knowledge Sequence. New mechanics were continually introduced even as The Fate of Atlantis drew to a close, resulting in an incredibly satisfying conclusion to what had already been an indescribable journey through breathtaking scenery and stout opposition.

The beginning of which is barely recognisable now.

While Legacy of the First Blade was spectacular in its own way, The Fate of Atlantis featured the best iterations of existing mechanics in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and focused solely on exploring its vast simulations. It also featured no mercenaries whatsoever. Or naval warfare of any kind.

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey may not be the most loved entry in the Assassin’s Creed series, but it is an extraordinarily enjoyable and delightfully engaging one-of-a-kind RPG experience. I have nothing but the highest praise for its mechanics. For allowing me to build (and develop) Kassandra as I saw fit. For the meticulous attention to detail present throughout its vast ever-evolving open world. And for the many other things that it does so incredibly well. I was never really sure what to expect from it, and while it may have felt insurmountable at times, there are few RPGs that have nearly two-hundred hours of content, and that makes it an experience that I won’t soon forget. Having concluded my adventures with Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, I can’t recommend it highly enough to those enjoy expansive RPG experiences.

Have a nice week, all!


Origins of the Order

They’re out for blood.

Specifically the blood of the Tainted Ones, of which the storied Eagle Bearer, Kassandra, is one. It really wouldn’t be the same if she wasn’t. How else would she find herself embroiled in the nefarious scheming of a secretive organisation? Besides accidentally assassinating one of them in a cave somewhere in Messenia. Not that they noticed nor (seemingly) cared about that. Legacy of the First Blade is an exhilarating post-release DLC for Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, which tasks Kassandra with uncovering the true reason behind the Order of the Ancients’ sudden appearance in Greece.

Sadly, it has nothing to do with the lovely weather.

Content is delivered (and experienced) in an episodic format and took roughly twelve hours to complete. Unlike the main campaign, there are less reasons to diverge from the story, while most quests are fairly linear, and hunting down the Order of the Ancients’ operatives is greatly simplified.

There are only a handful to discover in each region compared to the impressive numbers in the Cult of Kosmos, with most being discovered while undertaking quests. Others can be discovered by exploring and/or searching for clues. However, unlike the Cult of Kosmos, where defeating cultists resulted in a Sage being revealed, there are no such requirements with the Order of the Ancients. Magi are revealed at the conclusion of an episode. But that’s not to suggest that you shouldn’t mercilessly hunt their operatives, as doing so often results in the acquisition of legendary equipment. The perks on which can be utilised (albeit at a lesser potency) via engraving, or invested in through the Mastery mechanics, affording the opportunity to make use of their unique benefits regardless of existing equipment choices.

It’s always the ones we love we hurt the most.

Despite the obvious flaw with legendary equipment, which is that it has only two inherent bonuses, while epic equipment has three, it’s still surprisingly useful and definitely worth pursuing. Due to the equipment customisation mechanics, you can effortlessly combine the unique benefits of countless pieces of legendary equipment into one heavily augmented set. Having legendary equipment perks that affect mechanics (rather than just abilities) certainly helps, too. Allowing you to build the character that best suits you, rather than the one that best suits your equipment choices.

It’s a simple concept but one often absent from modern RPGs.

Following the completion of Legacy of the First Blade it was finally time to begin my journey through The Lost Tales of Greece. I won’t be attempting to complete them all before The Fate of Atlantis, though. As I’d previously decided to distribute them between the two major post-release DLCs.

Doing so will balance the remaining content, while allowing me to do everything there is to do without it becoming stagnant. Which doesn’t mean that I haven’t been enjoying The Lost Tales of Greece. It’s just that there are dozen of quests to undertake across numerous regions, and I don’t want to rush through them to reach Atlantis. I’ve been looking forward to exploring that sunken city since I first discovered it. I’m just so curious about what exists there. Being an entirely separate map makes it difficult to guess which locations other than Atlantis (if any) that you’ll be able to explore, and whether there will be more mythical beasts to defeat. I’m hoping that there will be. I’d also be appreciative of new legendary equipment. Not that I’m likely to equip it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t hoard it to sate my irrational hoarding tendencies.

Have a nice week, all!


Haunted by the Ghost

One who seeks to destabilise the entire world.

Kassandra only seeks to destabilise the political leadership of a region for fortune and glory, which means that she has the moral high ground. She also doesn’t abduct and indoctrinate children into a twisted cult. She tends to solve more problems than she creates, too. Even if the events surrounding Supideo’s parents suggest otherwise. But that was mostly his fault. Mostly. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is a delightfully engaging narrative-driven RPG in which you explore the breathtaking scenery of ancient Greece through a vast ever-evolving open world, while sometimes following the main campaign.

The title isn’t an exaggeration, either- it’s a literal odyssey.

In my folly I had believed that after exploring countless regions, upgrading the Adrestia to legendary status, hiring legendary lieutenants, conquering mythical beasts, defeating hundreds of mercenaries, and dismantling the Cult of Kosmos that the content (and mechanics) would be exhausted.

But there were new mechanics and content aplenty. Besides Legacy of the First Blade and The Fate of Atlantis, two sizeable post-release DLCs, there are also the Lost Tales of Greece, and Mastery mechanics which became available after reaching Lvl 50. Not to mention the fabled Forge of Hephaistos, which I’ve yet to significantly invest in but probably should. I’m also reasonably certain that there’s another cult waiting to be discovered. I knew that it was going to be incredibly content-dense, but I hadn’t anticipated that the density would grow exponentially as the main campaign unfolded. It’s certainly a one-of-a-kind experience. Exhibiting an unparalleled attention to detail which manifests as an absurdly enrapturing single player RPG, strengthening my positive opinion of the Assassin’s Creed series as a whole.

We’re still not sure who calls her that besides Barnabas.

My only criticism is how monotonous the mercenaries become. They’re not necessarily difficult to defeat, especially once you’ve invested heavily in your chosen combat style, and they’re not particularly interesting, but they’re everywhere. You could defeat hundreds (as I have) and there will always be more. I’d hoped that they would be as significant as the Phylakitai from Assassin’s Creed: Origins, but instead they’re little more than a nuisance. Lacklustre at best and frustrating at worst. The rewards for defeating them are worth pursuing, though. I just wish that they were better implemented.

Thankfully, it doesn’t detract from the experience.

But it doesn’t really add to it, either. It’s just there. Much like the abundance of quest items that I’ve yet to find a use for. I’m assuming that the majority will be required for the Lost Tales of Greece, as I’m rapidly running out of quests to complete and yet the items remain in my inventory.

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is such a complex experience that it seems insurmountable at times, which is brilliant, but it can be overwhelming if you’re not prepared, and I’ll admit that I wasn’t prepared. Not in the slightest. I was hoping that my time with Assassin’s Creed: Origins would afford enough insight, but Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is the gift that keeps on giving. Incredibly satisfying combat mechanics, meaningful character progression, impressive equipment customisation mechanics, challenging boss encounters, and much more. Due to its ridiculous content density, I’ve decided to write about Legacy of the First Blade and The Fate of Atlantis in separate posts. I’ll be covering The Lost Tales of Greece in those, too. Regardless, I highly recommend Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey to those who enjoy complex RPG experiences.

Have a nice week, all!


Tempestuous Savagery

Seething with rage unabated.

I would advise against making Kenork angry, but he exists in a perpetual state of unbridled wrath and I don’t think he knows how to relax. So I’d advise against making him angrier than he already is. Not that I’m sure that’s possible, either. So maybe it’s best if you avoid contact with him at all times. It’s better for your health if you do. Chronicon is a delightfully engaging and tremendously enjoyable ARPG featuring four character classes, satisfying character development, numerous locations to explore, thousands of items to find, dozens of quests to undertake, and much more.

It’s a deceptively content-dense experience.

One that doesn’t end once you’ve completed the main campaign. Allowing you to further refine your build and face the challenges present in Tinka’s Realm, while pushing further beyond Legendary difficulty. Unlocking the Mythic difficulty levels which are significantly more challenging.

Conceiving that build won’t be easy, though. The Berserker, Templar, Warlock, and Warden all have four distinct skill trees. Each specialises in a different damage type and affords bonuses to certain skills, offering unprecedented freedom when developing your build. You won’t need to invest in skills that don’t interest you. Nor will you be limited to a handful of equipment choices, as myriad equipment sets exist that cater to every aspect of your chosen character class. It’s an amazingly rewarding (if not slightly daunting) experience. One that isn’t tarnished by the usual frustrations encountered when farming items, because if you find something that doesn’t fully meet your requirements you can customise it. Either by adding new (or altering existing) enchantments, adding new (or altering existing) sockets, or by transmuting it.

I did advise against making him angry…

Besides the four distinct skill trees, there’s a shared Mastery tree that is available (and partly tailored) to each character class, which primarily affords character development after Lvl 100, but its benefits can be felt long before then. It has basic modifiers (such as +%Lightning Damage) alongside unique modifiers (such as immunity to trap damage), and is customisable to an extent. Allowing you to focus on specific aspects of your build. While simultaneously having complete control over when you invest, how extensively, and which benefits become available as the branch develops.

It’s the superb execution that makes this concept work.

As is true of many concepts present in Chronicon, which might suggest that I’ve got nothing but unending praise for it and its developer, and that is somewhat true, because it’s so refreshing to have meaningful character development that actually influences how your build develops.

I’ve followed Chronicon through Early Access for nearly four years anticipating the full release. Naturally, I had high expectations for it and it has exceeded those expectations in every conceivable way. I wouldn’t say that it’s reached its full potential, though. There are ways to improve the experience or expand existing content, and I’d be surprised if the developer didn’t already have plans to do just that. Regardless of what may (or may not) happen in the future, Chronicon is currently an entirely capable ARPG, built with dedication by its ambitious developer, and delivers an experience that’s wholly engrossing because it’s truly fun to play. Few ARPGs have shown as much promise as Chronicon has, and that’s why I highly recommend it to those who enjoy ARPGs and value purposeful character development.

Have a nice week, all!


Personal Demons

William Carter has them.

He also has the ability to lift aliens into the air and control their minds, which no-one ever finds surprising or suspicious. It’s a perfectly normal ability for someone to have. If only the other agents weren’t slaves to their nicotine cravings, they might be able to make slaves of the Outsiders. But instead they’re only known for their ability to run aimlessly into danger. The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is an incredibly interesting and perfectly executed third-person strategy experience, which features exhilarating fast-paced strategic combat and diverse agent classes with unique talents.

I’m particularly fond of Engineers.

Good situational awareness is vital in real time combat, and being able to build turrets or lay mines restricts how freely the opposition can move around. They can also flush enemies out of cover. Which renders aliens that entrench in fortified positions vulnerable, and allows you to eradicate them.

Agents are fully customisable (or can be created to your specifications) but you can only have two of each class. This isn’t a significant restriction, unless your agents are dying in the field with frightening regularity. Not that it costs anything to recruit a new agent should a space become available. However, there are limited opportunities to gain experience, as a finite number of Dispatch Missions and Minor Operations exist, so you can’t endlessly grind to advance rookie agents. I’d advise filling out your roster immediately, and assigning every agent that isn’t on active duty to any available Dispatch Missions. Taking less experienced agents on Minor Operations is viable, but more dangerous as you’re required to participate in those. Experienced agents can also be acquired when completing certain objectives or missions.

Not when they take a surprisingly long time to bleed out.

These missions often appear as a result of completing various investigations between Minor or Major Operations, which makes exploration integral to your continued success. Schematics and alien technology can be found by searching the battlefield. While interacting with your fellow agents often tasks you with everything from deciphering radio transmissions to fixing fuel leaks. You won’t be researching or fabricating new equipment, though. Nor will you be recovering alien corpses for autopsies. Which means that you’ll usually have more to do in the field than when returning to base.

As a result, main campaign progression becomes more fluid.

The only drawback to acquiring new technology sporadically is ammunition. You won’t always be able to acquire enough in the field, which makes utilising some weapons difficult, and often means you’ll run out of ammunition, which was also a prevalent issue with the Hangar 6 R & D DLC content.

Which does make some encounters more frustrating than they would’ve been- especially when dealing with multiple pods of alien reinforcements- but it’s not noteworthy enough to substantially detract from the experience. You can always rely on the other agents to deal the majority of the damage. Doing so even earns you a rather interesting achievement. Which becomes substantially easier once you’ve learned Mind Control, as you won’t directly be dealing damage but the controlled alien will. Not that their damage output is anywhere close to yours. I regret taking six years to return to The Bureau: XCOM Declassified as it’s been an wonderfully engaging experience, and one that I highly recommend if you enjoy action-orientated real time strategic combat. It really is a one-of-a-kind experience.

Have a nice week, all!