Following on from the disappointing Legacy of the First Blade story line, Odyssey’s second episodic expansion embraces the series’ more fantastical side as you venture into the afterlife. While regretfully The Fate of Atlantis is not a faithful adaptation of Disney’s seminal Atlantis: The Lost Empire, this lengthy inaugural episode tells an engrossing tale of political intrigue set against the stunning backdrop of Elysium.
Sent on a quest by Aletheia to learn how to wield the Staff of Hermes’ true power, Fields of Elysium picks up Layla’s story as she and Kassandra endeavour to uncover the secrets of the Isu tech. While these brief flashes forward make a worthy effort to bring relevancy to the modern Abstergo narrative, this thread is as dull as ever.
Thankfully, Kass’ adventure in Elysium proves to be anything but dull. This idyllic isle is painted in regal hues of gold and azure and encircled by a cascade of waterfalls, ambling waterways thread their way through towers of stone, atop which townships and palaces sit facing skyward. Elysium is a stunning, unique Utopian vision.
Yet all is not well in paradise. Persephone, queen of the underworld, rules Elysium under a totalitarian regime, bending its people to her will and recruiting them to the ranks of her Isu army. Your quest to track down Keeper’s Insights, ancient tablets which enhance your staff, soon gets side-tracked as you find yourself embroiled in the affairs of the gods. Persephone, Hermes, Hekate and Adonis each recruit you to aid their plight, building layers on a finely crafted tale of skewed loyalties and personal agendas.
Striking a balance between assisting each side while serving your own goal keeps the narrative consistently intriguing and makes for some tough choices and tense situations. Yet, I ultimately felt like this story was carrying me along with it, preventing me from truly shaping the course of events or choosing my allegiance. Minor pacing issues which make this 8-10 hour expansion feel a little bloated and a frustrating cliff hanger ending also hinder the episode. Despite this, little can detract from this first chapter’s quality writing, nuanced characters and intricate storytelling.
Mission types are a familiar affair, but Fields of Elysium introduces enough new gear, abilities and enemy types to keep the experience fresh and engaging. Powerful Isu warriors, Overseers and Kolossi present a tough challenge with agility to rival yours and the ability to freeze your adrenaline bar, forcing you to adapt your tried and true tactics. These new foes, paired with new mechanisms like Marble Tributes and Torches of Hypnos to weaken Persephone’s control, bring new life to the common task of clearing forts. The added verticality of the world adds variety to combat and traversal, while the Wings of Hermes, teleporters which take you from point to point, help cut out too much tedious climbing.
Tracking down Keeper’s Insights, the primary goal of your journey to Elysium, unlock some powerful and visually striking augmentations to existing abilities. These four enhancements, which significantly bolster each ability’s strength, add a stunning golden flourish to Rain of Destruction (above), Slow Time, Battlecry of Ares and Bull Rush. While I experimented with the revised version of each ability, I found little incentive to deviate from my set loadout. Although these particular skills did not compliment my build, the decision to enhance existing abilities rather than add to an already extensive skill tree is a wise and welcome design choice.
Fields of Elysium is an excellent start to Odyssey’s second expansion. Persephone and her acolytes are a compelling cast of characters and the schism they have wrought on this troubled paradise weaves itself into a fascinating thread. This tale feels like an extension of Odyssey’s world, cleverly utilizing its afterlife setting to conjure affective ties to Kass’ personal story, while being distinct in its sense of place. However, Elysium is the true star of this episode, encapsulating Ubisoft Quebec’s expert eye for art and level design, making it a true joy to explore from its nethermost depths to its highest peaks.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey - The Fate of Atlantis: Fields of Elysium PS4 Review
- Overall - Fantastic - 8.9/108.9/10
Fields of Elysium tells an intriguing tale of politics among the Greek pantheon, headed by the autocratic Persephone. Despite some pacing issues, this opening episode offers an excellent balance with strong storytelling, challenging combat and a wealth of content, all set against the stunning, troubled paradise of Elysium.
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Reviewed using PS4 Pro.