Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey exists in a constant battle for the position of my second favourite game of all time. Like its adversary Dishonored 2, not only does it deliver on an essentially perfect main game experience, it also delivers on post-game expansions, a trait we see less and less of nowadays.
Spread across two arcs comprising of three episodes apiece, Legacy of the First Blade and The Fate of Atlantis, each of them are far from quick cash grabs on Ubisoft’s part, a welcome change from their usual practices! The first three episodes take place within the original games map, exploring areas the main story didn’t spend much, if any, time in. The biggest benefit of this is that it provides Odyssey with ample opportunity to offer new adventures in its picturesque Greek environments, allowing us to spend more time with Alexios or Kassandra.
The latter three all take place in simulations created by the Isu, previously known as Precursors, where the player can explore the rolling hills of Elysium, the depressing depths of the Underworld and the ancient civilisation of Atlantis. As I have recently completed my second playthrough of the expansions; this week I’m going to pit them against each other in a good old fashioned ranking feature.
6) Hunted – Legacy of the First Blade
All stories have to start somewhere, and this is where the story of the first Assassin to use the hidden blade is told. Set in the northern mountainous region of Makedonia, after receiving a mysterious letter inviting her to the region, Kassandra meets a hooded man who introduces himself as Darius, and his son Natakas. They are locked in a fierce battle with the Order of the Ancients, a name which will be very familiar to anyone who has played Assassin’s Creed: Origins, and in the first episode are trying to locate a sadistic member known only as the Huntsman.
Enlisting Kassandra in their struggle against the Order, it is very much business as usual for the eagle bearing misthios, who in my game had eradicated every member of the Cult of Kosmos a dozen gameplay hours ago.
I’m putting this episode at the bottom of the list purely because it mainly serves as an introduction for Darius, Natakas and the Order of the Ancients, and aside from exploring the relatively boring area of Makedonia, it doesn’t add much of anything beyond that and a new fast travel location.
5) Bloodline – Legacy of the First Blade
The finale of the Legacy of the First Blade trilogy, this episode sees Kassandra coming face to face with the head of the Order of the Ancients as they and their Persian henchmen directly attack Kassandra’s home in Dyme. Travelling to Messenia for this episode, the battles against some of the Orders top enforcers take place against thrilling high altitude backdrops, similarly to the final fight of the main story.
Messenia is a huge and beautiful region which you would likely not have visited during the events of the main game, and as there is so much to see and explore here you will gain a deeper appreciation of the expansions.
4) Torment of Hades – The Fate of Atlantis
The first new region on this ranking, and while I understand the art direction Ubisoft clearly wanted to take, it ultimately doesn’t do much for me. Everywhere you look the senses are assaulted by the range of sickly greens and earthy brown tones on display, which make me feel slightly nauseous if I play it for too long. Every NPC you find is caked in dirt from the dust storms that plague the landscape every couple of minutes, and after a while it really bothered me how none of them seemed aware of this in any way. There are only so many conversations you can have while getting a mouthful of sand every few seconds that you begin to wonder why nobody seems to be spitting it out. Don’t tell me they’re swallowing the stuff!
I can hardly mark an expansion down for doing its job too well, but the afore mentioned nausea aside the story just feels padded here, with Kassandra tasked with finding four mighty warriors to guard each of the Underworld’s gates. What they need to be guarded from is anyone’s guess, though the climactic showdown at the end with Hades and his massive scythe / spear was a clear highlight of the episode for me.
I won’t go into specifics but there are plenty of reunions that occur throughout Torment of Hades, some of which I loved to see, but others I could very much have done without..
3) Shadow Heritage – Legacy of the First Blade
This is the one with the controversial ending, where your protagonist ends up having a child with Darius’ offspring regardless of how you have played the game thus far. Aside from the outrage this plot point sparked with some fans, Shadow Heritage is easily the best episode in Legacy of the First Blade mostly thanks to the fact it is set in Achaia, one of the most beautiful locations in Odyssey’s open world.
The introduction of a new weapon for your ship was entirely unexpected, and after acquiring it it became my primary method of attack in all naval combat that followed. Want to know what the weapon is? You’ll have to play it to find out!
2) Judgment of Atlantis – The Fate of Atlantis
The final piece of Odyssey’s expansions takes Kassandra to Atlantis (finally!) to discover what led to the collapse of this ancient and magnificent Isu society. Presented with the title of ‘Dikastes’ by Poseidon himself upon arrival, the era appropriate name for a judge, Kassandra is tasked with passing judgement (unapologetic UK spelling) on the city and uncovering a mystery surrounding disappearing humans. The story is not the reason for the high placement on this list however, as the true hero of this expansion is unsurprisingly the setting.
Atlantis is absolutely gorgeous, and every enemy stronghold you infiltrate feels like it has been deliberately crafted to be as cinematic as possible while you obliterate all opposition as you burn your way through it. The combat is given room to truly shine here, and I would say that arguably Judgment of Atlantis has the highest replayability potential of the six episodes.
1) Fields of Elysium – The Fate of Atlantis
The top spot could have been nothing else. The first time you leave Greece and find yourself transported to a mysterious new land, the majestic backdrop of tumbling waterfalls and fields of flowers of every colour never fails to take my breath away. New abilities unlocked gradually through discovering Keeper’s Insights as you play build on the already tremendously varied and satisfying combat, and the introduction of new enemies blends seamlessly with the combat options the Insights grant.
The story brings you to the aid of the small ragtag militia who only wish to leave the paradise of Elysium, where they are trapped by its vain and erratic ruler Persephone. Meeting key figures from Greek mythology such as Hermes, Adonis and Hekate bring childhood stories to life through Fields of Elysium, and Kassandra’s reunion with an old family member was as incredible to witness as it was surprising.
Fields of Elysium is the best of the best when it comes to Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey’s expansions, and should serve as a lesson to other developers that this is what a proper expansion should look and play like!
Have you played Odyssey and its expansions? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments, and you can click here to read my recent celebration of all things Odyssey as I hit the 300 hours played mark while exploring the Underworld. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you again next week.