Who knew it was possible to be a little Assassin’s Creed starstruck? It turns out that meeting Brotherhood royalty after eleven years of stabbing your way through endless time periods and cities will get you right in the hooded feels. If it’s not clear from the title, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s first gory slice of DLC, Legacy of the First Blade, is all about the iconic weapon that you don’t even get a sniff of in Ancient Greece.
The spring-loaded murder gauntlet was originally worn by a man called Darius and, in this first of the three episodes in the story, your misthios actually meets the legendary stabber himself. While this means Christmas for AC lore fans, the good news is that even if you don’t care whose tomb you may or may not have been in in Assassin’s Creed 2 - #OMG - this is another healthy chunk of what makes Odyssey brilliant in the first place.
Taking place in an existing chunk of Ancient Greece, the triple peninsula-ed Macedonia in the north east of your sprawling map, episode 1 adds another few hours of main campaign, a stack of new sidequests, and, most importantly, introduces you to Darius and his son. As referenced in plenty of AC lore (and yes a tomb in AC2) despite the Brotherhood officially not being organised until thousands of years later, as the slayer of King Xerxes with the hidden blade in 465BCE, Darius is officially recognised as the very first sneaky stabber.
And he very much looks the part. In comparison to Kassandra or Alexios, blinged up in the gold demigod attire of late game legendary weaponry, meeting the hooded and cloaked Darius feels a little like going to Assassin’s Creed summer school and realising you’ve forgotten your hidden blade on your first day. Changing your giant red shoe brush of a Spartan helmet for a hood is, of course, optional but you might feel like you fit in a little more when you offer to lend a Broken Spear holding hand to the original Assassino.
There’s been no shortage of Assassin’s Creed DLC over the years but for AC Odyssey, it feels like Ubisoft isn’t just using this as a chance to add more content but to take the lore bull by the horns and wrestle it into submission. The big bad in this first episode is a nefarious villain known only as the Huntsman, the leader of an organisation called The Order of the Ancients.
If that name sounds familiar, it should. This is the same group of proto-Templar masked murderers that Bayek hunts down in Assassin's Creed Origins hundreds of years later. If you’ve already run out of Cult of Kosmos members to hunt down in the main game, this helpfully adds another screen to your ‘Cultists’ menu with a new handful of mask-obsessed psychopaths to add to your kill list.
It’s a slick upgrade that shows exactly how Odyssey has been built with more quests in mind and is another quiet reminder that gone are the years of AC games ignoring the whole ‘Assassin’s Creed’ part of things and running around in simulations. Story is very much back in business and, for the first of three episodes in this particular arc, there’s an excellent chunk of lore discussion around the importance of Kassanda and Alexios’ bloodline and what your misthios means in the grand scheme of things.
And if you don’t care about whose DNA means what, that’s absolutely fine too. Legacy of the First Blade comes with plenty of murder, a trip out to sea on the Adrestia, an enjoyably challenging end game battle, and of course choice-based missions. It won’t change the way the DLC pans out - at least for this episode - but there are plenty of decisions to be made that will definitely change how many people have to die at your boot via your probably now truly super-powered Spartan kick.
One particular choice that appears in a mission here is so morally stressful that I’m intrigued to find out what can happen if you react differently to how I did. Not that you’ll have run out of Odyssey content already but it’s simultaneously a pleasure and slightly frightening to see how easy it is for more missions to appear in that quest list.
And finally, there’s a tiny gamechanger hiding in here too. Given the size of the existing skill tree with its multiple upgrades and new mastery section, you wouldn’t think there was room for anymore murder toys. Then you upgrade to the DLC’s lone shiny new ability upgrade and realise you’ve suddenly seriously upped your Assassin game.
The Death Veil skill means that once Kassandra or Alexios stealthily takes down an enemy, they’ll disappear into dust meaning that no one can find the body and sound the alarms. Whispering ‘shhh, sleep now’ is entirely optional. If you’re more of an Ezio than an Edward Kenway, this is an absolute boon and a fitting tribute to Darius who sneers at your misthios’ inability to leave a scene without murdering everyone in sight. Or maybe that was just me…
The first episode of the Legacy of the First Blade DLC then is an excellent start to the promised glut of Odyssey content on the way over the next year. Knowing we won’t have a new Assassin’s game until at least 2020 makes the knowledge of these three episodes and next year’s mythical creature-packed Fate of Atlantis DLC a little less overwhelming in terms of a to do list. This is a seriously confident beginning to what could be a vital cog in the Assassin’s Creed story. Fingers crossed for at least a quick try of the hidden blade in the next episode…
Make love, not war, and bonk your way across Ancient Greece before Legacy of the First Blade's impending release with our Assassin's Creed Odyssey romance guide.