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!

Moggie

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!

Moggie

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!

Moggie

Snakes in the Dark

They’ve escaped from their jars.

Sneakily slithering with sinister intent in the inky darkness of ancient tombs, relentlessly biting your shins should you be foolish enough to explore such places. I’m not sure who has introduced these snakes to these environments, or how the snakes have remained alive, as there’s no sustenance of any kind in these crumbling halls, but they’ve got a sense of humour. They sometimes leave bundles of rope around to make you eternally paranoid about being bitten. I’ve finally begun my adventures in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and it’s just as impressive as I’d hoped that it would be.

It’s an incredibly content-dense experience.

After thirty hours of rambling across the Greek countryside I’m still finding new mechanics, which makes the experience more linear than Assassin’s Creed: Origins, as following the main campaign unlocks the potential of the Spear of Leonidas, and allows you to realise the misthios’ true strength.

Without unlocking that potential you’ll rapidly grind to a complete halt, which makes me wonder why it’s locked behind main campaign quests. I’m naturally inclined to explore each new region as I find it, and I’ve found many, but exploring them and completing side quests is less rewarding than it could be, when I can’t upgrade certain abilities until I’ve begun to upgrade the Spear of Leonidas. Acquiring the first upgrade introduces an entire progression system which fundamentally changes your chosen misthios. Upgrading further relies on you assassinating key targets found throughout the world, who remain hidden until they are discovered by various means. You’ll also encounter mercenaries who reward progression once they’ve been defeated, and who utilise the bounty system to follow your wrongdoings.

Kassandra’s confidence never fails to impress.

You’ve also got the Adrestia and her crew to tend to. Not only will you need to gather raw materials to upgrade this fine vessel, but you’ll need to scout new crew members and recruit them to your cause. Mostly by kicking them. It endears people to you for some reason. You’ll also be using those raw materials to upgrade your equipment or customise it by engraving it. Not that I’m criticising the wealth of content present in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, I’m just surprised by how much there is to do, and I’m reasonably sure that there’s more out there, as I’ve yet to access the DLC.

I’ll admit that I grossly underestimated it.

I was under the impression that it would be more grandiose than Assassin’s Creed: Origins, but it has exceeded every prior expectation. In the best possible way. Not only is it brimming with a ludicrous amount of content, but exploring the beautiful landscapes of ancient Greece is immensely satisfying.

I’m also glad that the misthios is a mercenary in every sense of the word. They have no inherent allegiance to Athens or Sparta, despite what their familial ties might suggest, and can freely fight for either when engaging in conquest battles, which gives unprecedented freedom when exploring the world. You really can go anywhere and do anything. Certain actions and activities are frowned upon, though. Which is where the aforementioned bounty system tries to make you accountable for your actions. Not that it’s wholly irreversible, as you can either pay a fine or murder the bounty sponsor. Both of which solve the problem. Or you can fight three mercenaries at once because the Overpower Attacks are (as the name would suggest) overpowered. That’s my preferred approach now that I have a shred of proficiency in combat.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

The Last of the Medjay

He who swore to protect all of Egypt.

Devastated by overwhelming grief and unrelenting in his vengeance, our remorseful protagonist, Bayek, tenaciously hunts those responsible for the death of his son. Once the proud Medjay of Siwa, now the unyielding protector of the oppressed throughout Egypt, he remains noble in his intentions despite bloodying the sands. Assassin’s Creed: Origins is an extraordinarily satisfying narrative-driven RPG, which is experienced through the breathtaking scenery of ancient Egypt in an ever-evolving open world. You’ll find outposts to infiltrate, caves to explore, tombs to raid, and dozens of snakes in jars.

Snakes in jars that wait endlessly with no nourishment.

Snakes in jars that require someone to actually smash the jar before they can be released. Yet, somehow, innocent bystanders manage to be bitten (and killed) by these snakes. There are many mysteries- the Papyrus Puzzles and Myths of the Pharaohs- but this is the greatest mystery of all.

Mysteries of the snakes aside, Assassin’s Creed: Origins has been a truly magnificent experience. I never grew of tired of exploring Egypt and I spent over a hundred hours doing so. Even when exploring the Sinai and Thebes during The Hidden Ones and The Curse of the Pharaohs, respectively. With the latter being a perfectly executed supernatural excursion, allowing you to venture into the afterlife and face the newly-risen Pharaohs. They were challenging boss encounters, too. I could have easily been defeated were I to make a mistake while fighting them, despite being Lvl 55 and having fully upgraded legendary equipment. That’s not something I’ve said about many RPGs. Especially when fully upgrading Bayek takes considerable effort, as Carbon Crystals and Shards of the Star are not exactly easy to acquire.

The Pharaohs have been roused from their eternal rest.

The Hidden Ones also reintroduces numerous characters from the main campaign which creates excellent continuity. Rather than being an entirely unrelated expedition, travelling to the Sinai builds on the character traits exhibited by Bayek prior to this point. Weaving more tales into his rich tapestry of human experiences. I had wondered if certain characters wouldn’t make an appearance if you hadn’t met them prior to starting to the DLC, but I doubt that they would (or could) as each character holds a certain significance in the story to follow. Which wouldn’t be as engrossing were they to be replaced.

Regardless, they’re both among the best DLC that I’ve ever played.

I’ve written before of the absurd attention to detail present in the world and the interactions with other characters are no exception. Seeing how certain characters develop throughout the story is as fascinating as exploring any tomb, and seeing how Bayek responds to that is just as fascinating.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Assassin’s Creed: Origins but I couldn’t have imagined that it would be as astounding as this. You could tell that the developers were passionate about their creation, and that they were intending to create a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Perhaps not just with Assassin’s Creed: Origins but with the entire Assassin’s Creed series. While I enjoyed much of the experience The Curse of the Pharaohs was definitely my favourite DLC, and it makes me more hopeful for the prominently featured mythological beasts of Assasin’s Creed: Odyssey. But I’m also excited to be exploring the colourful locales of ancient Greece. If you enjoy deeply engaging RPGs with meaningful character development then I can’t recommend Assassin’s Creed: Origins highly enough. It really is something special.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie