The Dragon Has Three Heads
The story of the protagonist (or hero, but let me remind you, I played as Cassandra) is divided into three "odysseys. Each touches on a different theme and differs in characters, mechanics, setting, and emotions experienced by the player.
The first odyssey can be tentatively called "about kin." This is the story pivot of the project: the story of a single family in the general history of ancient Greece. No matter how many other adventures you may be distracted by, it is this odyssey that takes you around the world by the hand.
Fortunately, the script straightens out by the middle of the narrative, so berating the plot for creepy stamps is less desirable. Unfortunately, however, I reached the finale of this odyssey at level thirty-nine, whereas the two remaining adventures were recommended to end at level fifty. Obviously, I raced through the story at a gallop and didn't get distracted by side effects at all, if the level allowed me to continue the main story - but it was almost twenty hours of boring grind in the final phase of the game that paid off.
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The second odyssey is "about the conspiracy. The personal is personal, but no one has cancelled the great and terrible enemy. In this case, it is the Cult of Cosmos, the conditional "proto-templars. The cult consists of forty-odd influential characters of varying degrees of elaboration, and they, bad as they are, want to rule the world. Of course they all have to be killed. And if the first odyssey is responsible for the story side of the project, the second, in spite of the close scripted relationship with it, embodies the pure and unconcealed grind. Swing, level up, kill about forty targets, most of whom you won't even talk to - and you'll get the bonus of a secret chief creep, another plot twist (really not bad) and... and you're done.
To be fair, some of the cultists did get at least some characters and lines of dialogue. The stories associated with them weren't bad, and at times seriously immersed me in the events. Some I really wanted to kill for everything they did to Cassandra or her friends.
But these characters came to me in the quests of not the second but the first odyssey, so here I should rather praise the screenwriters, who more or less skillfully blended one story into another. Or scold them for not fitting everyone in. Because none of the "independent" cultists were interesting. The maximum appeal in killing them was that they lived in some substandard fortress, where they let the level designers run wild.
I ended up cutting out half of the cultists after the main story finale. If Assassins Creed Odyssey had been some kind of jRPG, this would have been great post-game content. But there is no "j" here. All I had to do was semi-unconsciously rush between sync points looking for clues as to the next cultist and then curse loudly because his level is still too high.
Finally, the third odyssey is "about anti-science. It lurks when you're not expecting it, and skillfully catches the player off guard with a roof-top plot twist. Just when I thought: well, that's it, the main story is straightened out, and there's empathy, and even a couple of cultists caught with characters...
And then I was immediately reminded: here, damn you, Assassin's Creed. This series has never been just about Assassins and Templars - except maybe the first part. Oh no! It was about universal conspiracies, ancient civilizations' artifacts, and so much "huckleberry" and incredible script decisions that Tom Clancy and Dan Brown could have signed up for a refresher course.
You wanted worldly stories? Go to hell! Thought you'd live in a role-playing game? You'll get over it! All those choices in dialogue, trying to waggle, it's all "Animus." The game. Virtuality. Your job is to stop the evil twenty-first-century Templars from snatching up the magic trinkets of the divine aliens (or whatever they are), kill some monsters, and see what's in Atlantis at the same time.
And before you write about spoilers in the comments, look at the names of the DLC for the game. The second one in particular is called "The Fate of Atlantis. Do you remember, I already wrote, that the game spoils itself? Well, if the developers aren't trying, I don't see the point. And it's been a while since it was released.