v6.2.3 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Assassin's Creed Odyssey | Done!

I feel like I've been playing this game forever but I can say that I am done with it (for now anyway).  While I haven't finished the 3rd (and final) chapter of The Fate of Atlantis, I'd like to savor the final 8-10 hours of gameplay without rushing through it.  I also feel like I need a bit of a palate cleanser.

The short version of the story is this: You start off a child (although admittedly we don't see very much of you growing up) in Ancient Greece.  The bulk of the story takes place during the Peloponnesian War, where you, as a misthios (mercenary) can fight on both sides to earn some coin.  There are a few underlying stories in the world.  You trying to find your way through it helping Sparta and Athens at different times, there is a Cult Order, sort of like the templars (but not) that have raised your sibling since he/she was a child and poisoned their mind, so you have to kill the entire order and rid Greece of their influence, and there are a variety of first civilization artefacts around Greece that are wreaking havoc (medusas, and sphinxes, and minotaurs - oh my!).  If you get them all you can meet your father and become the staff-bearer.  The Legacy of the First Blade brings in the Persians, and their version of the Templars, and finally the Fate of Atlantis is a trippy exploration of Elisium, Hades, and Atlantis (populated by the first civilization), on your quest to train against to corrupting influence of the staff of Hermes, that you must safeguard until you pass it on to someone in the future.

Here is the plot synopsis of the main story from wikipedia, if you want a little more:
During the Battle of Thermopylae, King Leonidas leads the Spartan army against a Persian charge. The battle is won, but Leonidas is informed by a captured enemy soldier that the existence of the mountain path has been revealed to the Persian army, which is moving to surround the Spartans by morning. Nevertheless, Leonidas resolves to hold off the Persian advance.

In the present, Layla Hassan recovers the Spear of Leonidas and together with Victoria Bibeau, extracts the DNA of two individuals from it, the siblings Kassandra and Alexios. With help from the Assassins, Layla picks one of the siblings (the "Misthios") and activates the Animus to find the location of the Staff of Hermes.

The Misthios started as a young Spartan child, raised by their parents Nikolaos and Myrrine, and inherited the Spear of Leonidas from Myrrine as one of Leonidas' descendants. However, one day, both the Misthios and their siblings are thrown off a mountain due to an oracle's prophecy, with the Misthios being dropped by Nikolaos himself. The misthios survived the fall and fled to the island of Kefalonia, where they grew up performing odd jobs until the Peloponnesian War begins.

The Misthios is approached by a wealthy man named Elpenor, who hires them to assassinate "The Wolf of Sparta". The Misthios later discovers that the Wolf is Nikolaos himself and confronts him. Nikolaos admits that he regrets what he had done, but did so for the good of Sparta. The Misthios has the choice of executing or sparing Nikolaos and finds out that Nikolaos is actually their stepfather and that Myrrine is in danger. The Misthios then returns to Elpenor and confronts him over the revelation. Elpenor reveals he knew Nikolaos was their stepfather, and wanted him dead in order to drag out the war. He then offers another job to assassinate Myrrine, but the Misthios refuses and Elpenor flees. The Misthios then travels to Delphi to ask the Pythia the whereabouts of Myrrine, where they encounter Herodotos, who recognizes the Spear of Leonidas the Misthios carries. Upon meeting the Pythia, the Misthios is warned about the Cult of Kosmos, who seek to kill them and their families. The Misthios further investigates the Cult by assassinating Elpenor and using his disguise to infiltrate a Cult meeting. They find that the Cult plans to take advantage of the war to seize control of all of Greece and that their enforcer Deimos is, in fact, the Misthios' sibling, now brainwashed to follow the Cult's orders.

The Misthios continues on their journey all over Greece, clearing out Cult corruption from both Sparta and Athens and befriending powerful Greek figures such as Perikles and Aspasia. They are unable to stop Perikles' assassination at the hands of Deimos but are able to reunite with Myrrine and find their true father, Pythagoras. Myrrine and Pythagoras explain that they conceived Alexios and Kassandra to preserve Leonidas' bloodline, as he and his descendants have a special connection to Precursor artifacts, such as the Spear of Leonidas. Pythagoras tasks the Misthios to recover several Precursor artifacts needed to permanently seal the hidden Precursor city of Atlantis so that its knowledge cannot be misused by enemies like the Cult. Afterward, the Misthios manages to avenge Perikles' death by assassinating his political rival, Kleon. Depending on the Misthios' actions, they can convince Deimos to abandon the Cult and rebuild their family with Nikolaos, Myrrine, their sibling, and their new stepbrother Stentor living happily together in their old family home.

With war averted and the Cult virtually eliminated, the Misthios heads for the Cult's secret meeting place under the Temple of Delphi to destroy the Precursor pyramid the Cult was using to influence Greek politics. Touching it, they receive visions of future conflicts to come before destroying the pyramid. Aspasia then arrives and reveals that she was the original leader of the Cult but disagreed with its actions as its members became more corrupt, and she thanks the Misthios for destroying the Cult. The Misthios has the option of killing or sparing Aspasia, but cuts ties with her regardless. Finally, the Misthios after defeating various Olympos Projects based on monsters from Greek legend (the Minotaur, cyclopes, Medusa and the Sphinx) and collects all of the artifacts needed to seal Atlantis from their bodies, and activates a recording from the Precursor Aletheia who pleads with the Misthios and Layla that Precursor knowledge and technology is not meant for humans and must be destroyed in order for humans to reach their true potential. Pythagoras reluctantly passes the Staff of Hermes on to the Misthios, dying in the process. The Misthios then continues their adventures.

In the present, Layla uses the data from the Animus to find Atlantis and activate it. As the Assassins analyze the data within, Layla is shocked to find the Misthios, kept alive until modern times by the Staff of Hermes. The Misthios warns Layla that the world needs a balance between order and chaos, the Templar Order and Assassins respectively, and either side prevailing over the other will result in the world's doom. The Misthios also explains that Layla is the prophesied one who will bring balance to order and chaos and gives her the Staff of Hermes, sacrificing their life in the process. Layla, however, states that there is so much of the Misthios' life they have not seen, and re-enters the Animus.

Anyway... I played through as Kassandra and I got what constitutes the "good" ending.  Your father (Nikolaos the Lion of Sparta) is alive, so is your brother has been freed of the corrupting influence of the cult, you found your mother, and you're all having a family meal (along with Stentor). I almost jumped with joy when I saw that Kassandra made it to modern-day and handed off the staff to Leyla.  I think that there would be an entire spin-off series of Kassandra (or Alexios, if you will) games that allow you to play through that character in different time periods.  Going through this game, I also feel like Ubisoft should retcon Price of Persia to fit into the Assassin's Creed universe. A lot of what is seen and done in the "modern" PoP games could be explained by first civilization junk that is still around.

From a gameplay perspective, the game handles pretty much like Assassin's Creed Origins, so there wasn't much of a change in terms of learning new controls.  Many people have said that the maps is HUGE...and it is!  Much of Greece is beautiful to roam around in, but at some point, I got tired of going to each and every fort, temple, and miscellaneous location to loot treasure chests, kill captains, and capture forts.  It is fun the first couple of dozen times, but near the end, I really felt the grind.  I just captured all synchronization points to enable fast travel and revealed the entire map, but  Macedonia and Thessaly are pretty much left open to completion. This makes me wonder whether a game really needs to be this large?  With the next AC game reporterly having a map that is larger than the one in Greece...I might just take a break from the series until I can give my brain a little break from the hack-and-slash :-)

One more thing here: while the AC movie was m'eh (it was fine, but not in the true spirit of the game IMO), I think that Ubisoft should really look into creating a TV series.

Despite the burnout, I am giving this game a 10/10.  It was freakin' awesome.

Gamerscore: 1500/1850
Achievements: 77
Player level: 81
Distance Travelled: 1,935
Time played: 8d, 12h, 41m

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