Could have gone smoother.
When Assassin’s Creed Origins came out in 2017, we thought it had taken as as far back in the series’ timeline as it possibly could. Obviously, we were wrong- Odyssey came along just a year later, and took us even further back, all the way to Ancient Greece, to deliver what is probably one of the best games in the series to date. But other than some thematic similarities and a few loose connections, the story of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was, by and large, pretty far removed from the rest of the series.
Legacy of the First Blade attempts to bridge that gap as it attempts to connect the story of Kassandra or Alexios with that of the origins of the Assassins Brotherhood. It puts the spotlight on a fascinating new character by the name of Darius, who is, for all practical purposes, the first Assassin ever (predating even Bayek and Aya). A story like that obviously has a lot of potential, especially when you jot down its setup on paper like that- and being an expansion rather than a new main instalment in the series, narrative developments is mostly where Legacy of the First Blade had the highest expectations to meet anyway, rather than introducing new mechanics or gameplay elements. Sadly enough, the expansion’s three episodes combined just don’t ever do justice to their initial premise.
"Legacy of the First Blade’s plot fails to do justice to its initial premise. "
Episode 1 of the DLC sets up some interesting things. In introduces an enigmatic new character, teases at some interesting bonds, and brings an antagonist force that fans of the series will be familiar with back into the fold. By the time the first episode ended, I felt excited to see what lay ahead, not only to learn more about the mysteries of Darius, who is undoubtedly the star of the show in the entirety of Legacy of the First Blade, but also because for the first time in many years, I felt like the larger arc of the series actually mattered.
All that potential, sadly enough, goes to waste. With the remaining two episodes, Legacy tries to take some big narrative steps, as the stakes continue to grow, but sadly, it fumbles with most of its attempts. The largest narrative beats of the entire package feel very removed from the personal tale of Kassandra or Alexios in the base game itself, and Legacy never really attempts to reconcile the two. It feels very isolated, almost like its going out of its way to ignore Odyssey’s own tale, to the point where it almost ends up feeling like fanfiction.
This is exacerbated even further by the fact that some of the things that do happen throughout Legacy are very momentous, and not seeing them connect with or even call back to Odyssey’s base game in any meaningful way feels a bit jarring. Many of the biggest moments also feel unearned. Relationships between certain characters develop far too quickly at times, and this insistence on jumping from one plot point to the next without first laying down enough groundwork feels rushed. All of this is made worse by the fact that by the time Legacy’s third and final episode comes to an end, it doesn’t make good on the potential of the mysteries and enigmas it had hinted at- most of all, Darius is a character I was hoping to learn a lot more about than I did. Considering how much time we spend with him, it feels all the more baffling that Legacy doesn’t really delve deep into his past as much as it could and should have.
"It feels very isolated, almost like its going out of its way to ignore Odyssey’s own tale, to the point where it almost ends up feeling like fanfiction."
It’s not all bad, though. While the larger narrative itself ends up being a disappointment, there are some isolated plotlines and characters that manage to impress. For starters, Legacy of the First Blade keeps introducing great new antagonists on a consistent basis, who’re written and developed quite well for the most part. They range from enigmatic to conflicted to sympathetic, and the fact that they’re so well developed makes it easy to get invested in the immediate conflicts at hand, even if the larger story doesn’t progress the way it probably should have.
With all that said, if you’re not really in it for the story, and all you’re looking for is more of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Legacy of the First Blade won’t disappoint you. The biggest strengths of the base game – the fast-paced and exciting combat, the deep progression, the engaging naval segments, the joys of exploration – are all present here, and in many cases, have even received some much welcome additions. In combat, there are a couple of new skills to unlock and make use of (with one of them in particular being ridiculously overpowered, and an absolute blast to use every single time), while naval warfare also gets a particularly fiery new enhancement.
There are also a few new weapons to forge, gear to craft, forts to clear, and new cultists to hunt down. Each new episode also offers plenty of side quests as well- as far as content is concerned, then, Legacy of the First Blade isn’t lacking by any means. If you stick to the critical path, all three episodes will collectively last you between eight to ten hours, while if you end up tackling all the new side activities and quests as well, that number can jump up to fifteen or sixteen.
"As far as content is concerned, Legacy of the First Blade isn’t lacking by any means. If you stick to the critical path, all three episodes will collectively last you between eight to ten hours, while if you end up tackling all the new side activities and quests as well, that number can jump up to fifteen or sixteen. "
In terms of delivering more quality Assassin’s Creed content to the player, Legacy of the First Blade succeeds in the way you would have expected it to, delivering similar mechanics and adding a few neat new wrinkles here and there. Narratively though, the DLC is a missed opportunity, and for anyone with even the vaguest investment in Odyssey’s story, to say nothing of the series’ larger lore, that will probably nag at your enjoyment quite a bit.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox One.
Some neat new combat abilities; Naval combat receives a great new feature; Well-developed villains; Darius is a very interesting character; Plenty of content.
Many larger plot points feel rushed and unearned; Squanders initial potential; Ends unsatisfactorily.
Legacy of the First Blade stumbles with attempts at some large story beats and squanders the potential of others.