Trouble in Paradise.
The first episode of Assassin's Creed Odyssey's next major DLC, The Fate of Atlantis, is out now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. In order to play the next major arc in the story, following The Legacy of the First Blade, you'll need to own the season pass and complete the Lost Tales of Greece free DLC mission Heir of Memories. Here are our impressions of the first episode for The Fate of Atlantis.
The steady stream of post-launch content for Assassin's Creed Odyssey has made the already massive open world game into one of Ubisoft's largest titles to date. With the upcoming Fate of Atlantis expansion, you'll now be able to take a break from the world of Ancient Greece and venture out into a new setting that goes even further with its admiration for Greek mythology. Just ahead of the first episode's launch on April 23, we played through the 8-10 hour DLC, which focuses on the mysterious Atlantis and its larger connection to the Greek underworld.
Following The Legacy of the First Blade expansion, casting a light on one of the earliest assassins in the series, The Fate of Atlantis puts its sights on the fabled lost Isu civilization--otherwise known as the first civilization--which was referenced heavily throughout the main story. In order to access the first episode, titled Fields of Elysium, you'll first need to finish the Lost Tales of Greece quest Heir of Memories, which acts as a prelude. In Fate of Atlantis, Alexios/Kassandra will unlock a secret portal in the Atlantean ruins on Thera island, transporting the protagonist into the realm known as Elysium--the first of three entirely new areas to explore throughout the new story.
Odyssey's post-launch content has built upon a continuous story, introducing new events and plot details that seem to set the stage for what's to come in the series moving forward. The DLC's director, Hugo Giard, reflected on how much it has grown since launch.
"I think we're up to about eleven title updates at this point, and each of them has brought in the usual bug fixes, but a lot of quality of life improvements," said the director. "It's been a lot of fun. Recently we gave players five different slots for gear loadouts, and it's great to see all that stuff go out along with the new entries in the Lost Tales of Greece series. I was involved in making some of those story packs, including [The Heir of Memories], which leads up to this DLC. This has been the most successful AC I've had the chance to work on, and I think it speaks directly to the support that we've given to the game post-launch. I think it's a great way to move forward [for the series]."
In Elysium, your mercenary-turned assassin will rub shoulders with Greek demi-gods and humans co-existing in what appears to be an idyllic world. However, it quickly becomes clear that there's trouble in the so-called paradise, and you'll have to pick a side in the ensuing conflict between the humans and the gods, with both sides seeking control of the realm. Throughout the episode, you'll engage in side-quests, take part in objectives that have that weaken the Greek god Persephone's influence over Elysium, and witness some unexpected encounters with some familiar faces.
The first episode scales gameplay back to fit a more confined setting. With key characters at odds with one another and several regions under occupation, the larger objective in Elysium is to pit each side against one another to suit your needs. Occasionally, the general gameplay can fall back into the tedium and trappings of a familiar open-world title, leading to periods where you have to clear out some by-the-numbers missions and wear down progress meters to see the next story beat. However, the smaller scale of the world makes for a more interesting and digestible space to dive into. In this way, the first episode of Fate of Atlantis comes across in similar vein to classic AC games, and there's a sense of cause and effect from your choices that feels meaningful for the larger story.
The new location is made all the more interesting by Elysium's dreamlike mystique. Set in perpetual daytime and with a lush landscape surrounded by an enclosed row of cascading waterfalls, the new area is otherworldly and mysterious when compared to the familiar Greece, which made exploring all the more enticing. It's easily Odyssey's most visually pleasing and exciting location to explore, which is saying a lot given how rich in detail Ancient Greece was. Though Elysium is set in a more enclosed space when compared to the expansive size of Ancient Greece, it will allow you to get more accustomed to the area as you make your moves and dismantle the power structure.
Throughout Elysium, you'll encounter soldiers and elite guards from the first civilization, all of whom possess magical skills and buffs that make them more powerful than the average foe in Greece. One of the more challenging enemies in the realm are the imposing Collasi, statues that only attack once you've caused too much chaos in certain areas. Breaking from their docile position, the Collasi are aggressive and highly durable enemies, utilizing both laser attacks and heavy weapons. Though it's often better to use stealth and finesse your way around encounters to avoid them, you're still free to use brute force if you want--you'll eventually gain powerful abilities and loot that can even the odds. Some of your current skills, such as Battlecry of Ares, can be upgraded with first-civ power to amplify their effectiveness, allowing you to wield powerful weapons and conjure up Isu projections to fight off the new enemies.
The role-playing aspect of Odyssey is one of the game's strong suits, and it still plays an important role in Fate of Atlantis. Choices made throughout the first episode will carry over into the next installments, which could potentially lead to some unexpected moments with returning characters. However, the reception Ubisoft received from the second episode of Legacy of the First Blade prompted the developers to be more mindful of the type of situations they to put players in. At the mid-point of the story in the last DLC, you were placed into an intimate relationship with another character, regardless of whatever choice they made prior, resulting in many within the AC community to speak out in protest. This is something that the developers kept in mind while forging the Atlantis DLC, which--as far the first episode goes--keeps most romance options flexible and not necessary for the larger story.
"We make no secret of the problems that arose from the second episode," said Giard. "I think we dealt with it correctly [in the following updates], but it was disappointing that happened none the less. But at the end of the day, I thought the [story arc] was really fun to be able to see the first Assassin and the Hidden Blade. We weren't disappointed by it in any way shape or form, but we are more mindful of that going forward."
The Fate of Atlantis gets off to a pleasant start with its first episode. While The First Blade story arc felt more like a side-story, The Fate of Atlantis comes across as an endgame event, offering up a solid opportunity to use some of the more high-end skills and weapons against some challenging foes. Though the first episode doesn't introduce anything particularly new or innovative, it does set the stage for some interesting events and places to come. It's been fascinating to see how Odyssey as a game has changed since launch, and the new expansion could prove to be an exciting turning point for the story at large.