Assassin's Creed: Crossover Stories - Review
Sorrosyss, December 21st, 2021

Note: Minor Spoilers present

Assassin's Creed: Crossover Stories is a new piece of content for both the games Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Assassin's Creed Valhalla. Whilst we have seen some previous games directly overlapping, such as the events taking place in the Palace of Versailles within Unity and Rogue, or AC3 and Liberation where Connor and Aveline briefly interacted, this is the first time where a dedicated crossover has been released as downloadable content across two of the franchise's games simultaneously. Given the popularity of crossovers in popular culture, most notably from the likes of Marvel and DC movies, it is not that surprising to see Ubisoft jumping on the bandwagon.

The Odyssey portion is probably the stronger of the two halves. This was a huge but welcome surprise for fans of the original game, considering its last released content was a few years ago now. Players can once again take control of their Eagle Bearer (Kassandra or Alexios), where they find themselves yearning for a vacation from the dramas and plight of the Ancient Greek world, ultimately choosing to head to the island of Korfu for a break. With Barnabas and Herodotus seeking out their favourite misthios for another grand adventure, our main protagonist is dragged into a high stakes tale where their sense of duty battles an inner weariness for resolution. As a Kassandra player myself, I was thrilled to have one of my favourite characters back in the franchise, and Melissanthi Mahut once again delivered a wonderful voice performance for her. I actually found the narrative aspect to be pretty strong here too, with noticeably improved dialogue and pacing compared to the storyline of the main game, so I can only give kudos to the teams involved here as I genuinely enjoyed it. Without going into specifics, any Isu content will always put a smile on my face too.

In a similar fashion to the mainline DLCs of Odyssey, the island of Korfu has its own isolated map away from the main game world. This too helps with delivering a more impactful story, as you are rarely far away from a quest driving the narrative forwards. Naturally there is some re-use of art assets here, which is pretty understandable, but on the flip side at least it keeps the style consistent with the rest of the game. That all being said, I still found it quite picturesque and interesting to explore, with Odyssey's graphics still holding up pretty well in comparison to its newer sequel.

Speaking of, the Valhalla half of the crossover really is the meeting of protagonists that the trailers and
promotional artwork promised. Eivor initially travels to the Isle of Skye in Scotland, seeking out the source of a strange affliction that plagues the local people. There, she comes across none other than Kassandra herself, whom as players will recall is essentially immortal thanks to the Staff of Hermes Trismegistus extending her life span. The interactions between these two protagonists are immediately impactful, but I really loved the dialogue between them as the story unfolded. Many fans had previously speculated about what might have happened if the two characters had ever met, and it was with a modicum of excitement that we finally got to see this play out for the satisfaction of much of the fanbase.

All in all, the crossover will probably last you four or five hours over the two games, especially if you choose to
do the entirety of the side content that is available. For a piece of content that is ultimately free, Ubisoft have actually done a really superb job with this, especially when compared to the likes of the other free content such as the desperately dull River Raids or copy/paste season festivals. Not only did Ubisoft fulfilled a desire from the fanbase, but they also helped to legitimise the canon of Kassandra which has been a bone of contention ever since Odyssey was released. By featuring both of the canon female protagonists within the marketing too, it actually feels like the fan movement of the ACSisterhood is starting to directly impact on the decision making in the halls of the game developer. In light of the slew of internal issues the company has very publicly gone through with the treatment of its female employees in recent years as well as the detriment to its own fictional female characters, let us hope that this is a sign that things will start to go in the right direction.

But what next? Well, suffice to say, the general sentiment from the fanbase has been one of overwhelming positivity towards this crossover. It's been such a tremendous success, that even some of the older guard of fans have come out in support of it. It's also been really lovely to see so much love for Kassandra as well. In all honesty, the character of Kassandra could be used for future cameos and crossovers for many years going forwards if Ubisoft chose to. Certainly there is already a sizeable number of fans now calling for her to cross paths with Aya in Egypt next, which would be pretty popular amongst players who loved Origins. It would be a nice time to drop that 60fps Origins patch with it too, as everyone seems to be calling for that of late.

But I digress. I've been banging on about my crazed theory that Kassandra is also not actually dead for a few years now. As you will recall from the main game of Odyssey, when she relinquished the Staff to Layla in the Modern Day, she evidently released a surge of energy that supposedly expired her on the spot. As with her father before her, Pythagoras, her lifeless body was laid to the floor seemingly fully intact. After Layla returns from an Animus session a short time afterwards, the body of Kassandra has completely disappeared. This is strange for a few reasons. Firstly, there was no-one else present to move the body away anywhere. Secondly, and more importantly, there is no trace of her body at all. Layla even comments on this if you click on the spot where Kassandra had laid. To this day I have found this extremely questionable. Even if her body and DNA had broken down, some of her clothing was not in direct contact with her skin. There would have been something left behind, surely? But nothing...? Hmm! To my mind, it almost seems that she got up and simply walked away. In short, if there was ever someone who could make a surprise return in the Modern Day to give Basim something to think about, it would certainly be Kassandra.

Moving back to the crossover template itself. To my mind, this experiment has been a huge success by Ubisoft and they deserve the plaudits for when they get things right, which they certainly did here. This shift to a smaller map and self contained story has been pretty well received overall. One of the key issues with the main stories of both Odyssey and Valhalla is simply how disjointed the narrative is when your questline is stretched across endless miles of map space. With rumours abound that the upcoming Assassin's Creed Infinity could possibly move us to smaller scale, yet seemingly more frequent storylines, I for one will certainly look forward to it.

comments powered by Disqus