After spending more than 100 hours in Assassin's Creed Odyssey and its expansions, it's time to conclude Alexios and/or Kassandra's story in the final episode of The Fate of Atlantis. Ubisoft has spent the last nine months polishing the technical side of the game and making some great changes for free, while also offering some new and intriguing lore, fresh environments, and cool loot for those who were willing to spend some extra cash for the final expansions. Happily, the French company has outdone itself in terms of adding value to the game this time around, and we're glad to report that there's a strong finish for those invested in the post-launch content.
The first thing that caught our eye when this chapter was announced was obviously the setting. Both Greek mythology and stories about Atlantis have always been an easy way to get us into cinemas, book stores and game shops throughout the years. This was no exception, especially as the first concept art made it clear that the yet-to-be-lost city of Atlantis offered a completely new visual style. Even these high expectations didn't stop our jaws from dropping to the floor as soon as we laid eyes on the astonishing city and its marvellous design, and Atlantis is without a doubt something the developers should put on the very top of their portfolio. Greece, Elysium and Hades were all beautiful in their own way, but the way Atlantis mixes up things with a blend of futuristic and classic architecture is in a league of its own. We can understand why the series' mysterious Isu race has decided to take root here even if they're surrounded by pesky humans. Not that they're very happy with the situation.
To that end, Poseidon, the god of the sea, has brought us to Atlantis to resolve the tension between the godlike Isu and the humans. As going into detail about how you do this would spoil some very interesting moments, we'll just say that there's a lot of difficult choices, world-building, and reading involved. Those of you who are exclusively there for the action might find this a bit tedious, but most of it is optional and mostly meant for those of us who have thought deeply about lingering questions after Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed III. Sure, it's been kind of frustrating playing as a person with a seemingly thin connection to the Assassins and Templars, but Judgment of Atlantis will actually answer some questions you probably never thought you'd get the answers to while also bringing a bigger focus back to the thread that ties all of these games together, making for a surprisingly satisfying ending to the Odyssey.
That's why it's all the more disappointing to see that there are still problems with long load times, frame-rate drops, and that the modern-day setting is still the weakest part of the game. Layla Hassan didn't get much spotlight in the core game, and we can understand why after spending more time with her here. Where Alexios and Kassandra's story mostly does a great job of balancing the semi-realistic with absurdity, Hassan and the contemporary sequences feel like Hot Tub Time Machine in comparison. Her one-liners and naivety makes her feel like little more than a character whose only reason for being there is to shake things up, which lessens the otherwise great pacing of the expansion.
It's a good thing, then, that most of the expansion takes place inside the Animus and its reality-bending world. As Atlantis is a city made and inhabited by Isu you'll come across some new enemy types that are more than happy to use magic or supernatural abilities against you, which definitely increases the challenge, especially for those of you who jump straight into The Fate of Atlantis without playing the other expansions. Fortunately, you'll also get a few new weapons, armour pieces, and abilities to play around with. We aren't the only ones who've enjoyed dodging and parrying at the right time to enter slow-motion, so some of the new time-bending abilities and special effects from the armour sets are sure to make your dream of becoming a superhero come true. Just don't get too confident, as some of the bosses and elites will have no problem showing you why the Isu have survived all these years.
It also shows why Ubisoft doesn't need to release Assassin's Creed Kingdom this year, as Odyssey has done a great job of filling that void with expansions that could easily be smaller, stand-alone games in the franchise. Fair enough, they don't change the formula in a significant way, but the new environments, characters, equipment and story makes them well worth our money and time. Assassin's Creed Odyssey hasn't just reminded us that the franchise is more than running around killing people, it also shows us that the core concept is still lingering under the surface just waiting to break through with full force sometime in the future. Ubisoft just has to rethink how they handle the modern setting to make it more engaging - and those of you longing for a return to the classic, less RPG-focused formula should probably just give up as Ubisoft seems to have found a few special ingredients that make sure the experience doesn't get stale. Assassin's Creed Odyssey - Judgment of Atlantis shows how far the franchise has come in just a few months and we can't wait to see what Ubisoft will do when they get years to polish, tweak some of the less than stellar mechanics, and introduce some new ideas to the series.
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