All we are is dust in the wind, dude
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is killing it. As one of the strongest entries in the series, Ubisoft managed to actually find a DLC model that works, delivering slow but steady episodic content that augments the game proper.
While the actual execution was lacking in some areas with the Legacy of the First Blade chapter, the more out-there Atlantis angle came on strong right out of the gate. It’s time to continue that journey.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – The Fate of Atlantis: Torment of Hades (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])
Developer: Ubisoft Quebec
Released: June 5, 2019
MSRP: $24.99 for all three chapters; $39.99 for the season pass
The second stop on this Bill and Ted, Dante-inspired ride is the very brown, very depressing plane of Hades. It’s a stark contrast to the beautiful Elysium (one of the most gorgeous open world spaces in Ubisoft history) both aesthetically and practically.
I was initially torn how on I felt about the world shift, but the more I played it the more I was into it. While a lot of Elysium was technically constructed with open planes, I actually dug that. Riding my horse down avenues of flowers, plotting how I was going to climb a massive multi-story mountain top to take down a captain was enthralling. That sense of scale is lost in the second episode, but there’s a significantly positive tradeoff here.
It’s just easier to find things to do in Hades. Although the tired “kill underlings, locate the big dogs” formula is re-used yet again, the more intimate map allows for more constant skirmishes and spelunking romps. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey makes you sing for your supper (especially if you have the more vague “exploration” setting turned on) more than most open world games and it’s better for it.
The three regions of Hades (poisonous fields, a scorched mountainous prairie, and a chasm) are distinct enough, and have some of those signature Odyssey caves to duck into and meaningful sidequests to take on. Slowly but surely Hades reveals its true colors and becomes a fairly large chunk of DLC. This is still a lived-in world. Running past the long line for Charon’s ferry is great, as is the art direction for the dead husks that inhabit Hades.
On the flipside I’m not as attached to Hades, the man and God, as I was to the denizens of Elysium. To that end, the designers should have kicked up the hellish feel a notch here, as there are a few speckles of ash every so often and some exposition to remind you that “the air is hard to breathe,” but it never truly feels suffocating. Hades is just as trickster-oriented as most of the other Gods in this sub-universe and it’s just not captivating enough.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: Fate of Atlantis‘ track record isn’t too shabby so far, with two out of three of its add-ons delivering. While you can take or leave Legacy of the First Blade, this wacky romp through heaven and hell is just seamless enough to fit. It’s great to see Ubisoft fully embrace the wilder, more mythical side of the series.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]