Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – Fate of Atlantis – Episode 1: Fields of Elysium is the first entry in the latest batch of DLC and takes us to never-before-seen places to meet unimaginable friends, partners, and even ghosts of the past. Let’s take a look and see if the DLC is worth the experience.
+Astonishingly well-designed areas of exploration
+Choices feel as if they come at a hefty cost and matter
+Character development is well-paced for an 8-to-10 hour story
+Absolutely stunning visuals
-Exploration can feel a bit overwhelming without the Wings of Hermes
One of my favorite tales from the Greek mythos just happens to be about Elysium, the home to the Goddess Persephone, the wife of the God of the Dead, Hades, and her forced entrapment in the world that he created for her. However, the story that we experience, a follow-up to the core game itself, but also The Legacy of the First Blade expansion, is a worthwhile successor.
Our story unfolds shortly after the Atlantis story-arch, meaning, you’ll want to do all those mythological hunts, taking out creatures such as the Cyclops, with many more to come right behind it. If you’ve done these, you’ll notice that things unfold rather quickly, and your time to meet the first civilization, also known as the Isu, has finally arrived. However, the Isu isn’t what you might think, and to really discuss this, I want to warn you here.
STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS. We’ll only warn you a few more times before you hit the spoiler territory.
Aside from visiting the Isu and learning of their past, their turmoils, and who they are, you also have an amazing Greek underworld to explore, which will only last 8-10 hours as far as the story is concerned. Along with the first episode of Fate of Atlantis comes something even bigger: New abilities, new visuals, and a seemingly unexpected upgrade to the games overall performance, which shipped with the content patch.
There are also a few things collectors will get to enjoy, but first off, let’s talk about the latest additions to the game.
New items to enjoy, appearances to equip, and sets to use – Here’s your first spoiler warning.
During your time in the Fields of Elysium, the home to the goddess Persephone, you’ll find that you’ll be tasked with taking out her guards, weakening her overall control over the realm, and preparing for all-out-war against an unforeseen foe. As you do, you’ll find that there are new items to collect, including a brand-new never-before-seen item set that actually comes with a powerful punch – we’ll leave this one for you set-lovers to explore.
Along with the new gear and equipment, all themed from those you encounter in Elysium, you’ll find a few new toys to enjoy. Namely, the appearances of those toys rather, as I did stick with my Artemis’ set due to the fact I play a hunter-turned-assassin build. As much of the gear in Elysium is aimed more towards Warrior builds, I opted to stay with my classic gear. I did, however, take on the chance to snag a few of the legendary quality weapons that managed to drop during my stay.
Luckily, the weaponry you find does stand-out among their peers as far as design choices go. They are something we’ve never-before-seen in the series, which I’ll admit, is quite impressive and gives us a decent idea of how the First Civilization functioned and looked as a whole. Oddly enough, you won’t be disappointed, but rather, saying the standard “I saw that coming from a mile away” once it actually begins to unfold.
Some items, unfortunately, can only be obtained through completing a set of quests, which hopefully you do before the “Point of No Return” begins. Trust me, I did that, and I’m having to rewind a good three hours due to my poor decisions. Luckily, I got the set, which I’ll admit, is rather fun due to the loadout system, allowing me to have to separate builds.
But there’s something that sticks out quite a bit. The design of Elysium as a whole. It’s not something we’ve seen yet in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and honestly. It’s a talking point.
Elysium’s design choices are spectacular, precise, and encourage exploration
Remember those warnings? You’re running out of chances to avoid spoilers. Like, seriously, stop here if you don’t want any spoilers, this is your second warning.
As you already know, Elysium is the home to Persephone, the world was created in her vision, her paradise if you will, but it’s also her very own purgatory due to her entrapment in the world by her husband, Hades. Because of this, her world was carefully crafted. A place of beautiful fields that span almost as far as the eyes can see, a place where darkness rarely touches, and the sun always seems to shine.
The realm is crafted carefully enough that every building, every fort, every little noteworthy place, is high above the clouds, as far as the eyes can see so that those who call her land their home and enjoy the splendor of the beauty she created. However, just like anything beautiful, the amount of decay is just below the surface. Buildings are toppling, crumbling even, ruins have begun to litter the world around the inhabitants, while the fires of a rebellion burn deep within the hearts of few.
Traversing the lands comes in a multitude of ways from scaling the sides of massive cliffs to using new mechanizations called “The Wings of Hermes”. These transportation devices move Alexios and Kassandra, or the inhabitants of the world, from one point to another, often moving them to higher elevations without the need for scaling the side of a massive cliff or even the sides of the ruins that lie buried deep within the world itself.
However, there’s a lot more beneath the surface. Elysium isn’t just a massive climbing extravaganza. You’ll also find yourself diving deep within the hidden waters of Elysium, searching through caves for the secrets that they hold dear, finding out more truths to the deception and fables of the First Civilization than you thought. Deep within these caves also comes the ability to obtain artifacts for the Staff of Hermes, allowing you to unlock new abilities by enhancing previously established ones.
Which, with the verticality of the map, comes in use as you play. You’ll want to take advantage of them, allowing you to quickly launch enemies off the side of a cliff, or make use of the limited space you’ve been given. Trust me, you’ll frequently find yourself struggling to find space in and out of combat, forcing you to make the best of a tough situation.
As luck would have it, these areas aren’t troubling, but rather, they are meticulously designed areas, each one benefiting another play style over another, allowing and even encouraging a sense of exploration not just through the world about you, but through the skills you also have. It’ll encourage you to explore the use of different armor sets, allowing you to adapt to any encounter that you’ve had placed before you, and facing them down to the best of your ability.
But now, you’re wondering, what about those abilities, how do they reflect the experience? Let’s talk about those briefly.
Let’s discuss the changes made to combat
One of the best parts of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is that it always changes. It grows more epic with the more time you spend in the very world you’ve come to enjoy. That doesn’t change. Fields of Elysium is an epic within an epic, one that wants to change, encourages change, and with it, encourages that exploration that I mentioned up above.
One of the biggest changes comes the change to four abilities within the game. Most noticeably is that each branch has received a new form of a former ability to be enhanced and can be reverted at any given time. For hunter’s, the ‘Rain of Destruction’ ability has been changed, causing it to become ‘Might of Artemis’. For Warriors, you have ‘Battlecry of Ares’, which turns into ‘Ares Madness’, and ‘Ares Bull Charge’, an enhancement for the ‘Bull Rush’ ability.
Assassin’s will see that ‘Slow Time’ has been changed to ‘Kronos Time Warp’ if they choose to enhance that ability, allowing players to take advantages to the changes made. Out of them all, it seems that the ‘Might of Artemis’ and ‘Ares Madness’, both of which enhance the previously used abilities into something entirely new. Due to the fact we want to experience these on your own, we won’t spoil what they do, but we will say this: They’re probably the most useful out of the four enhancements possible, all of which have to be earned through exploration.
Some of them must be earned through the very next section we will discuss, but before we get there:
This is your last and final warning. The next section contains the main story spoilers and is highly advised that you avoid unless spoilers are not an issue.
Lady Persephone, the Gods, and… The First Civilization.
When it comes to Assassin’s Creed, we’ve been at a loss for what to expect from the Isu, the Gods, and The First Civilization as a whole. We’ve only been given small hints and clues about what they were, who they were, and why they were wiped out over time. We’ve had rare chances to even encounter them, which came in the form of holograms, data recordings, and Isu artifacts.
With Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – Fate of Atlantis: Episode 1 – Fields of Elysium, that’s no longer the case, and we get to meet the Isu before their disappearance. In this DLC they appear as gods, each of them noticeably taller, wiser, and even as deceptive as the humans they controlled. Among them comes several large-name figures from Greek mythos including Hermes, Persephone, Hekate, and Hades.
Among them comes their mind-controlled followers, each of them forced into submission by Persephone as the flames of rebellion begin to burn within those that call her realm home. Due to her stance on letting souls leave, aiding those who need it, and keeping control, there are those who would seek to disrupt her paradise, driving it into ruin for those that they wish to stand side-by-side with in the afterlife.
Doing so, you’ll uncover more than meets the eye, you’ll find truths about family, choices that will come at a heavy cost, and even the lasting effects that they will have. Story elements remain heavy and will draw in from past events such as the death of Phoibe and the chance for her to come back from the dead. Unfortunately, choices have consequences, and you will be forced to choose more than once with a heavy heart.
Nothing with the Isu comes free of charge and there’s always a toll that must be paid in order to obtain what one truly wants. For some, it’s freedom at the cost of their memories, for some, it’s the fires of revolution, and for some, it’s at the cost of everything they know and love. It’s a reflective design choice made by Ubisoft in order to make their story even bigger, pushing it forward in ways they never had before, and ultimately, making a players choice once again feel as if they matter.
A wise decision if I may say so myself. But now, without too many spoilers, let’s conclude this review.
There’s so much more to explore, but the wait begins – Concluding our visit in Elysium
Whether it’s taking down nefarious attempts to destroy all of which Persephone loves, assisting in igniting the flames of rebellion or exploring the vastness of Elysium, Fate of Atlantis: Episode 1 – Field of Elysium is an admirable step in the right direction for the series.
Let alone does it fill in a lot of plot holes we’d wanted to come to a conclusion, it also adds in some much-desired features including more verticality, stealth gameplay elements, and choices that come with implications that are all-too-real and will force players to choose between one of two greater evils. The only thing I wish it hadn’t come at a cost to, was our previous experiences in Legacy of the First Blade.
Assassin’s Creed – Fate of Atlantist – Episode 1: Fields of Elysium
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Version Reviewed: PlayStation 4
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date: Available Now
Cost: $24.99 (Contains all three episodes)
But for what it’s worth, this is a novel step in the right direction, and its story gives us more background than we’d ever received about the Isu in the previous games. Now, the wait begins for Episode 2 as we hope to see more about what the Greek Gods (Isu) have to put before us and what trials await us to seek their approval.
Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the publisher of the game. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.
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