With this third and final episode in Assassin's Creed Odyssey's The Fate of Atlantis saga, the story of Alexios or Kassandra comes full circle. Judgment of Atlantis ties everything together more effectively than we thought it would, and although we can't say the same for the modern day stuff -- more on that later -- this is a fitting end to the grand adventure of the Eagle Bearer.
As the title suggests, this finale takes place in Atlantis, a city where Assassin's Creed's godlike Isu race live in harmony with lowly humans. Or at least, that's what Poseidon -- Atlantis' ruler -- has printed on the tourist brochures. The reality is that beneath its pristine exterior, Atlantis is succumbing to the kind of corruption that's destined to end in catastrophe -- and that's where your hero comes in.
After fighting their way through Hades' underworld in Episode 2, the Eagle Bearer finds themselves escaping to Atlantis alongside Poseidon. Once there, the trident-wielding king tasks you with "judging" the city and its inhabitants as its "dikastes". Basically, you're judge, jury, and executioner all rolled into one as you go about Atlantis, solving problems and dishing out death to anyone who dares stand in your way.
This premise leads to a number of quests that involve moral quandaries. Do you let the Isu bring order to their human neighbours, even if it means that blood has to be shed? Or do you incite rebellion among the lesser citizens of Atlantis, even though it could all end in disaster? The DLC offers up a number of surprisingly tough decisions, but ultimately, they don't make much difference to the overarching plot.
Much like previous episodes, you're railroaded into certain story beats regardless of your actions, which is disappointing given the weight of the events that transpire. That said, Judgment of Atlantis does do a better job of telling a more cohesive story than its predecessors. Snappier character dialogue can make scenes seem a little rushed or even forced, but it keeps things moving and frees the plot of any unnecessary padding. As a result, all of the episode's main missions feel like they serve a purpose -- they're not just there to keep the Eagle Bearer busy.
Indeed, there are some enjoyable quests on offer here, topped off with a number of tricky combat encounters. The newly introduced Isu Commanders can be a particular pain until you learn their attack patterns, while powerful generals can be found deep within fortified Isu encampments. As we've come to expect of these DLC episodes, there's a good amount of optional content to chew on, and the rewards are definitely worthwhile. You'd be mad to miss out on the all-new legendary weapons -- which look like they've arrived straight out of Star Wars -- and the new dikastes armour set is borderline cheating. It's always nice to have something to work towards.
As for Atlantis itself, this is yet another case of the environmental design team flexing its creative muscles. The lost city looks stunning at times, with its angled, futuristic architecture rising out of idyllic blue waters. It's both visually gorgeous and intricately put together -- a virtual space that you can easily lose yourself in. It's simply a joy to explore, and the accompanying, tranquil musical score really helps sell it as an otherworldly place.
Our only real gripe with Judgment of Atlantis -- and the Fate of Atlantis saga as a whole -- is how it handles the consistently crap modern day storyline of Assassin's Creed. To be blunt, present day protagonist Layla Hassan is a hollow, poorly written, wholly unlikable character -- and the game desperately tries to make us feel as though she's earned her place at the centre of the narrative. Without spoiling anything, Layla's made some shockingly bad (and baffling) decisions during her time in the spotlight. She's reckless, incredibly naive, and you could even argue irredeemable, yet she still delivers action movie one liners and acts like a spoiled child whenever her integrity is questioned.
Thankfully, the modern day stuff adds up to just a fraction of the episode, so its quality isn't a huge issue. However, it's becoming increasingly clear that something needs to change. Being torn from the Eagle Bearer's odyssey just to catch up with Layla is and always will be frustrating, and it's a trend that we pray doesn't continue in the next Assassin's Creed title.
All in all, Judgment of Atlantis is probably Assassin's Creed Odyssey's best DLC episode. As a standalone adventure it feels the most complete, the setting is superb, and the finale does a great job of tying the Eagle Bearer's story together. While the modern day plot, complete with its awful characters, continues to be the worst part of the experience, it ultimately takes little away from the memorable adventures of Alexios or Kassandra. The Atlantis saga hasn't been perfect, but it has added some welcome weight to an already huge game.