Ubisoft bids farewell to this behemoth of a game with a fittingly excellent expansion.
Ubisoft’s support for the incredible Assassin’s Creed Odyssey since it launched toward the end of 2018 has been exemplary. Rather than making another yearly sequel, Ubisoft have instead decided to continue to update and add to Odyssey. From tweaks and minor improvements, to free quests added through the Lost Tales of Greece, to the Master Levels that add a completely new layer to the game’s progression mechanics, to the Story Builder mode, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s post-launch support has been nothing short of amazing.
And that’s just the free stuff. Two full-fledged expansions – with each of them being split into three episodes – were also part of Ubisoft’s roadmap. And while the first expansion – Legacy of the First Blade – turned out to be a bit of a disappointment in some regards, expectations from The Fate of Atlantis were still high. Blessedly, it lives up to those expectations, and serves as a fittingly excellent conclusion to a game that truly lives up to its name in every respect.
"The Fate of Atlantis lives up to expectations, and serves as a fittingly excellent conclusion to a game that truly lives up to its name in every respect. "
The thing that surprised me the most about Fate of Atlantis was just how content-rich it is. Being a $25 purchase, you’d expect it to be a meaty experience, but even so it surpasses expectations. Every episode is easily 8-10 hours long each, and if you stick around to do everything each of them has to offer, you can get roughly 15 hours from each of them. Collectively, you’re looking at at least 30 hours of gameplay- a few years ago when Assassin’s Creed games were notoriously known for their bloated runtimes, this could just as easily have been a full-fledged sequel to Odyssey rather than an expansion.
That runtime not only makes sure that there’s plenty for you to do and see, it also helps with the aforementioned issues with bloat that Odyssey suffered from immensely. Each episode takes you to a new location, and while these are all still, of course, open world locations, they’re all the perfect amount of “large”. Rather than being littered with meaningless markers and a barrage of side activities, this compact size helps each location be densely packed with meaningful content that you can thoroughly enjoy. Whether you’re just beelining through the critical path, or occasionally taking a break to tackle some of the side-quests, or just flat out making it a point to sync with every single synchronization points and clear out every enemy fort and encampment, Fate of Atlantis never feels too big for its own good.
That density and richness of content would mean very little, however, if it were marred by repetition or a lack of quality- thankfully, The Fate of Atlantis succeeds emphatically in both those areas. There’s a lot of stuff in here that you’ll be doing that harkens back to the base game itself – which is to be expected in a DLC. But what’s surprising is just how much new stuff the expansion adds on top of all the returning gameplay loops and mechanics.
"Collectively, you’re looking at at least 30 hours of gameplay- a few years ago when Assassin’s Creed games were notoriously known for their bloated runtimes, this could just as easily have been a full-fledged sequel to Odyssey rather than an expansion"
There’s new enemy types that change combat encounters significantly, there’s new upgrades and ability improvements to unlock and master, there’s new weapons, armour and gear to loot and spec yourself with. Beyond all of that stuff, which are more expected improvements, there are new boss battles against some truly formidable foes (which is all I can say about them without veering into spoiler territory), while the sheer verticality of each of the three new areas also opens up some interesting new traversal methods.
Each episode of the expansion also makes sure to keep mixing things up as far as quest design is concerned, and there’s a good mixture of platforming, combat, exploration, and stealth-based stuff throughout its meaty runtime. It also helps that you’ll be making some pretty tough choices every now and then- especially in the final chapter, Judgment of Atlantis, which presents some proper moral quandaries for you to mull over.
The only complaint I have with the main quests is with the second episode- Torment of Hades. Though the overall quality of quests and side-quests (the latter, especially) is solid in the expansion’s second chapter, one particular main quest – which makes up for a significant portion of the episode – sees you tracking down four different characters across the Underworld and convincing them to do something that will help you in your own goals. But rather than taking this opportunity to introduce and flesh out these four characters, the entire affair devolves into something very rote and fundamental, with these characters barely even getting any dialogue or background to help you get invested. In the absence of any narrative context, it feels like there’s a disconnect between what’s going on in the story and what you’re doing in the game.
"Each episode of the expansion also makes sure to keep mixing things up as far as quest design is concerned, and there’s a good mixture of platforming, combat, exploration, and stealth-based stuff throughout its meaty runtime."
But this expansions biggest strength by a mile is the locations it takes you to. Elysium in the first episode, Hades’ Underworld in the second one, and the eponymous lost city of Atlantis itself in the final chapter- they’re all excellent locations that are immensely different from each other. Elysium is a beautiful paradise with large, rolling fields covered in vibrant and colourful flowers, the Underworld is an imposing hellhole (literally) being choked in fire and poisonous fumes with ominous spires and pillars of smoke towering over the landscape, while Atlantis is a wondrous mixture of ancient and futuristic, with lovely water canals running through a city of pure white marble with sharp and angular architecture. Visual design and artistic flair has always been a strength for this series, but each location in The Fate of Atlantis – especially Atlantis itself – represents this series at the peak of its powers. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call these some of the best settings we’ve ever witnessed in an Assassin’s Creed game.
Fate of Atlantis also takes its position as the final piece of major content we’ll be getting for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey very seriously, and serves up a surprisingly satisfying conclusion to the story of Kassandra or Alexios. Not only is the expansion an engaging story in and of itself, it also wraps things up nicely for the misthios- but most importantly, it also weaves in some surprising stuff about the Isu – the First Civilization that has been at the centre of this series’ meta-narrative for so long – that feels like it’s helping the series move forward in a meaningful way like it hasn’t moved for years.
That said, though the in-Animus story told in The Fate of Atlantis is an interesting and satisfying one, in true Assassin’s Creed fashion, the present-day stuff, to put it bluntly, still blows. A lot of that (most of that) is down to Layla, the modern-day protagonist, who has only continued to get progressively more annoying and difficult to root for as we’ve seen more of her. She hasn’t really done much in all the time she’s been around, and yet she never lets go of an opportunity to drop a groan-inducing one-liner. On top of that, she continues to make bad decisions, continues to react to them in the most jarring way possible, and continues to be unbelievably naive and poorly written (an assassin who, in one scene, very heatedly insists that she doesn’t kill people- seriously now?).
"Visual design and artistic flair has always been a strength for this series, but each location in The Fate of Atlantis – especially Atlantis itself – represents this series at the peak of its powers. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call these some of the best settings we’ve ever witnessed in an Assassin’s Creed game. "
At the end of your journey though, the unsurprisingly disappointing present-day storyline will have done very little to sour your overall experience, if anything at all, simply because of how little of it there is in the grand scheme of things, if nothing else. What you’ll remember once you’re done is the amazing new locations you’ll have visited, the art design which shows Ubisoft at the top of their artistic game, and the vast amounts of meaningful and varied content. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has firmly planted itself as one of the best games in this series’ history, and The Fate of Atlantis is a worthy conclusion to it in every way possible.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox One.
An extremely meaty package with a surprising amount of content; Mission design is varied and enjoyable; Doesn't suffer from bloat issues thanks to compact and dense locations; Each new location you visit is a visual marvel, especially Atlantis; Excellent art design; Thrilling new boss encounters; Interesting new content additions, like new enemy types and upgrades; A satisfying conclusion to Kassandra/Alexios' story.
One disappointing main mission in the second episode; Present-day storyline continues to be the worst part of the series, made even worse by a protagonist that's hard to root for.
Packed with content and brimming with incredible artistic and creative flair, The Fate of Atlantis serves as a more than satisfying conclusion to this massive Greek odyssey.