LOADING ...

Assassin's Creed Odyssey's New Atlantis Expansion Is Jaw-Dropping

Stephen Totilo Jul 17, 2019. 8 comments

I’ve spent 20 minutes playing the new Judgment Of Atlantis add-on to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and already just as much time snapping pictures in photo mode. As a colleague said, Ubisoft’s art directors are just showing off now.

Everywhere I turn, I’m seeing something cool.

There’s this spot...

There’s this one...

And there’s this!

Everything you’re seeing is part of the game’s rendition of Atlantis, or at least a simulation of the city of Atlantis as rendered by a member of the Isu First Civilization in order for the modern-day researcher Layla Hassan to learn to use the Staff of Hermes to something or other Assassin’s Creed. Does that fully make sense even to me, a person who is the kind of Assassin’s Creed player who gets nostalgic about the Auditore crypt in Monteriggioni? Not really! But that’s okay for now.

I’m busy gawking at the sights—while diving through them.

I’m also currently agog over the potential of this final big episodic expansion to this ridiculously grand game. The Fate Of Atlantis, of which Judgment of Atlantis is the third episode, appears set to be the episode most tailored to fans who love the series’ deeper lore. The first two chapters, set in Elysium and Hades, were “simulations” that our main character seemingly role-played through while dealing with Isu, who themselves appeared to function as Greek gods such as Persephone and Hades. It was fun but confusing in terms of how consequential it is supposed to be, or how “real” we’re supposed to consider it.

In Judgment, we’re in Atlantis and we’re dealing with an Isu who doubles as Poseidon, but we’re also being told that this is an actual city for the Isu, not some Greek realm of the afterlife. We’re being told that there is Isu knowledge to gain and Isu technology to deal with. Hell, this Metroid Prime fan over here was delighted to discover that much of Judgment of Atlantis involves scanning Isu lore and, because this is a Ubisoft game, filling a meter in the process. Doubtless it’ll unlock some stuff.

The promise of this premise is that, as we play this episode, we’ll learn more about the Isu, the race that set off so much of the sci-fi-tinged questing and feuding of the assassins and templars in pretty much all the other Assassin’s Creed games. Odyssey has been criticized by some of the franchise’s most hardcore fans for ignoring much of the series’ trappings. After all, it doesn’t even star an Assassin, nor does it feature the Creed. In all of this Atlantis DLC, the developers have had a chance to indulge those players with more connections to the series lore, but had largely used the Isu in Elysium and Hades to simply tell stories about figures of Greek myth. Here, in Atlantis, the Isu and their origins and motivations may finally get featured more prominently.

Some fans likely already know how well this turned out. People who have Odyssey for Xbox One have been able to play since yesterday (supposedly just setting your system clock to New Zealand time did the trick). PlayStation patrons like me had the privilege of waiting much later, so I’m only scribbling about potential here while others have hit the ending and already figured out how into the lore this thing gets.

That said, even if it doesn’t tell me all I need to know about the Isu, even if it doesn’t make the Layla modern-day saga more interesting, Judgment still looks like it’ll at least be an interesting adventure in a gorgeous place.

The Elysium chapter hadn’t done much for me. It was pretty, but I wasn’t that interested in the overall structure of doing missions for Persephone and her rivals. What worked for me was that it introduced new special abilities and freshened up combat by adding statues that turned into powerful foes if you didn’t effectively use stealth to sneak and assassinate your way through enemy territory.

The Hades chapter was great, charging me with hunting down or helping characters who had died in the main game and were now reappearing in the underworld. It added its own combat wrinkle by adding ethereal enemies who you couldn’t hurt until you found portals that made them corporeal.

I don’t know what Atlantis’ twists will be, aside for the hunt for Isu knowledge (gotta fill that meter) and something I stumbled on about a special weapons forge.

I do know that as I play through, I’ll be pausing to use photo mode a lot, and having a good time with an October 2018 game that I’m 140 hours into and somehow still not tired of.

I’ll have more impressions of Judgment of Atlantis once I finish it.

8 Comments

Other Stephen Totilo's posts

'We Know We’re Not Taking It Far Enough': A Ubisoft VP Wrestles With Politics In Games 'We Know We’re Not Taking It Far Enough': A Ubisoft VP Wrestles With Politics In Games

A couple of months ago, in a meeting room on the outskirts of the Los Angeles Convention Center during the E3 gaming show, Ubisoft’s Tommy Francois described what he thought would be the ultimate video game.It would be “a matrix where you get one thousand lives, where you get one thousand mistakes and within these thousand mistakes you get...

The Division 2 Devs Remove New Mode Weeks After Launch To Make It Better The Division 2 Devs Remove New Mode Weeks After Launch To Make It Better

Adding stuff to a game months after release? That’s usually good news. Removing it a few weeks later? That tends to not go over as well.Members of The Division 2’s community have been expressing confusion and aggravation since late last week following confirmation that the game’s Expedition area, which was released just last month, is being cycled out tomorrow.A...

Months After Labor Controversy, Rockstar Converts Game-Testers To Full-Time Months After Labor Controversy, Rockstar Converts Game-Testers To Full-Time

Workers at Rockstar Lincoln, the British studio that does the lion’s share of testing for the Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption games, are being converted from contractors to full-time employees, three sources familiar with the studio have told Kotaku.The move will remove the uncertainty of working on temporary contracts, a positive turn at a company with notoriously...

The ESA, the lobbying group that also runs E3, acknowledged today that information for media attende The ESA, the lobbying group that also runs E3, acknowledged today that information for media attende

The ESA, the lobbying group that also runs E3, acknowledged today that information for media attendees of two E3s in the previous decade was on a third-party website and has “either been taken down or are in the process of being removed.” For more on all of the ESA’s bungling of attendee info, check our updated post from the weekend....

Suggested posts

Sony Buys Spider-Man Developer Insomniac Games Sony Buys Spider-Man Developer Insomniac Games

Sony has purchased the independent developer Insomniac Games, best known for last year’s Spider-Man on PS4.

Cyberpunk 2077 And More Games Coming To Stadia Cyberpunk 2077 And More Games Coming To Stadia

CD Projekt Red’s anticipated Keanu Reeves vehicle Cyberpunk 2077 is coming to Stadia among other games, Google said today in its second Stadia Connect livestream.Orcs Must Die 3 is coming exclusively to Stadia. The previous game in the series, a free-to-play game called Orcs Must Die: Unchained, released in 2017 but was shut down earlier this year after developer...

Upcoming Exploration RPG Greedfall Has My Attention Upcoming Exploration RPG Greedfall Has My Attention

When I was first asked to preview Greedfall, an upcoming RPG by Spiders, I didn’t really know what to expect. Its vast world, packed with ruins and frontier towns, captured a sense of discovery but also evoked a strange apprehension in me. Greedfall brims with potential and clever ideas, yet even after playing it, I can’t tell if it will...

Everything Microsoft Showed On Today's Inside Xbox Everything Microsoft Showed On Today's Inside Xbox

Microsoft showed off Gears of War 5's horde mode, NBA 2k20's career mode, and the new games coming to Game Pass during its latest episode of Inside Xbox.The episode spanned over an hour and a half, and while it was mostly full of new trailers for games we already new about, there were a few interesting bits of new...

Playing PC Building Simulator On My Switch Feels Weird Playing PC Building Simulator On My Switch Feels Weird

Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we're playing.  I’ve been installing motherboards, CPUs, memory sticks, hard drives, power supplies, and video cards into computer cases for nearly three decades. With last week’s console release of PC Building Simulator, now I’m putting together gaming rigs on my Nintendo Switch. It’s surreal. Demoed in 2017 and released...

Minecraft Is About To Start Looking Much Better On PC Minecraft Is About To Start Looking Much Better On PC

Your browser does not support HTML5 video tag.Click here to view original GIFGIF: Nvidia (YouTube)It turns out that Minecraft is getting a visual update after all, just not the one that was originally promised. Over night, graphics card makers Nvidia announced a new update for the game that will add Minecraft to the growing list of PC games that support...

The Week In Games: Totally Rad The Week In Games: Totally Rad

Yo, this upcoming week is totally tubular and rad. Like, you know it is just super rad. Very gnarly. Other 80s slang and phrases. Rad is coming out next week. I love the look of this game, but it doesn’t sound like it is very......rad . See what I did there? Moving on. Next weekend I won’t be here....

GTA V Speedrunning Has Changed A Lot Since 2014 GTA V Speedrunning Has Changed A Lot Since 2014

Your browser does not support HTML5 video tag.Click here to view original GIFGIF: FriendlyBaron (YouTube)Grand Theft Auto V speedrunner FriendlyBaron recently released a video comparing how different GTA V speedruns are today compared to the first world records set back in 2014. Like older games, such as Super Mario 64, GTA V speedrunners have learned new and improved ways to...

No Man's Sky Players Are Really Excited About Sitting In Chairs No Man's Sky Players Are Really Excited About Sitting In Chairs

The universe of No Man’s Sky is huge. Like genuinely huge. Billions upon billions upon billions of planets, galaxies, and solar systems. And the latest update to the game added a ton of new features to this already massive galactic sandbox, including VR support. But the most exciting feature might just be the ability to stop traveling, take a...

Mario Maker Contest: International Cat Day, Winners! Mario Maker Contest: International Cat Day, Winners!

Last week I asked you wonderful people to create some cat-themed Mario levels in celebration of International Cat Day. It was time to honor our cats by turning a plumber into a cat and throwing him at some enemies and jumps. It is the only way to celebrate cats.I got..some levels. Compared to previous contests, this was a smaller...

Language