It is finished. Over the weekend I was able to get the last lingering trophies needed to get the platinum trophy for Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. The biggest challenge in getting the platinum trophy for the game lies in the time required to do everything, more than traditional difficulty of the tasks. The first word I think of to describe the game would be epic; the Ancient Greece depicted in the game as immense as it is beautiful with its vast amount of area to explore, quests to undertake, and mythical beasts to slay. I hadn’t planned on writing up an exhaustive summary of my thoughts on the game, but there is a particular moment from the game that I wanted to write about briefly.
The main storyline in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey begins with either Kassandra or Alexios, depending on which character you select at the beginning of the game(I chose Kassandra). During Kassandra’s childhood years, a prophecy is foretold by the Oracle of Delphi declaring that her younger sibling, Alexios, will bring untold doom to Sparta and must be cast from a cliff overlooking Mt. Taygetos. During this fateful night, Kassandra’s life is shattered as she tries to stop one of the priests from sacrificing her baby brother, only to knock the priest from the cliffside(along with Alexios). Kassandra’s father Nikoloas(revealed later to be her adoptive father) is devoted to strict adherence of Spartan law and drops her from the edge of the cliff, leaving her for dead as punishment for her murder of the priest. Kassandra survives the fall and washes up on the shores of a nearby island where she is raised to be a mercenary, or misthios. Years later, she is hired to take on an assassination of a Spartan general who goes by the nickname – The Wolf of Sparta. Kassandra locates her target only to realize that it is, in fact Nikoloas, who when confronted by his former daughter, informs her that her mother Myrinne is still alive and looking for her. This begins Kassandra’s epic quest across Ancient Greece to reunite her broken family…
During the course of my playthrough, my choices resulted in Myrinne being killed by Kassandra’s brother, Alexios(who was taken in by the shadowy Cult of Kosmos after the oracle’s prophecy) during the confrontation on Mt. Taygetos in the final moments of the Odyssey storyline. The following scene shows Kassandra and the remaining members of her family, her adoptive father, Nikoloas and her step-brother Stentor, sitting at the dining table in her childhood home back in Sparta. Depending on your choices of actions or dialogue in earlier moments of the game, it is possible to “save” your mother and convince your brother to return back to your “home” in Sparta, this results in the “happy ending” in which we see all the members of Kassandra’s family laugh and talk over a meal together. The scene is not the joyous banquet that Kassandra had envisioned, but merely a quiet awkward meal between three people. This moment served as one of the most poignant in the entire 100+ hours I had spent playing AC: Odyssey. Since the start of the game, Kassandra’s goal had simply been to reunite her family as she has been an orphan with no one, feeling incomplete and without a true home. She took her revenge against those who broke up her family and eliminated the Cult of Kosmos(or did she?), but there is no respite from the pain brought upon her; very much as in real life, there isn’t always going to be a “happy ending” to every story. Relationships with family, as well as friends, aren’t always something that can be “willed” into existence and can become irreparably damaged.
One of the things that bothered me over the course of Kassandra’s Odyssey was the frequent insistence on adherence to certain traditions or actions simply because “Sparta is your home”. Kassandra was thrown off the edge of a cliff and left for dead by citizens of Sparta and was after all these years expected to get over it and still abide by Spartan law just because it was the location of her birth? She has gone on an epic journey across Ancient Greece and impacted many lives, surrounding herself with a family already, not in a biological sense, but those close to her and are willing to risk their lives for her out of mutual concern for one another. She has already “found” what she is searching for, yet, doesn’t see it as she still deals with guilt and feeling responsible for the loss of her family.
My main takeway from Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is this: Home isn’t just the four walls and roof in which we once lived, just as family isn’t exclusive to those with whom we share the same DNA. One’s family can be comprised entirely of those close to you, who we care about, not out of obligation, but of genuine concern and the bonds formed. It’s also up to you(and no one else) to determine where and with whom that is. Your odyssey is what YOU make it.
Thanks for reading!