Remember when folks wanted all the supernatural stuff axed from Assassin's Creed? Thanks to expansions like Assassin's Creed Odyssey: Torment Of Hades, which launched today, they're a bit quieter now. Continuing the story arc kicked off in Fields Of Elysium back in April, Kassandra (or Alexios) is headed down to the underworld, which means going through its three-headed, fire-breathing guard dog. Turns out that Hades doesn't appreciate strangers doing a Kratos on his pets, and presses you into his service. Below, a story trailer and Alice Liguori's video report on the underworld.
While I hope to make time to hack through hell itself this weekend (assuming I can get my next mod column finished early), Alice Mk.3's video below should give you an idea of what to expect. As with the previous expansion, you're off to an entirely fresh and surprisingly large environment. This rather grubbier, more torment-focused layer of the underworld is the polar opposite of the glorious floral blooms of Elysium, and reminds me a bit of Hell from Doom 2016, only a bit more personal. All those characters that you murdered in the main game are here, and largely unhappy.
A large chunk of this DLC is dedicated to following in Kratos's footsteps, hunting unruly, incorporeal dead folks via the Tartarus Rifts. Activating one lets you beat up ghosts, at the cost of halving your maximum health, making for some interesting challenge missions. It also encourages stealth, as if you get spotted before getting to the rift, you'll be hunted by invulnerable ghosts until you activate one. It's still sneaky-stabby AC action, but with a fun supernatural twist, and an excuse to use another three super-powers, which replace normal skills, but can be toggled off if wanted.
There's also an increased focus on boss fights here. As well as kicking the god of death's dog (you monster), you'll be tracking down and brutalising a bunch of dead heroes in order to convince them to fill in for the pummelled pup. Some of the cult, mercenary and big story villains get a second lease of (un)life here too, via a reworked mercenary system. While nothing revolutionary, it's a clever remix of existing systems. Alice didn't think the big-name hero battles worked so great (Achilles's heel isn't even vulnerable), but liked the returning baddies, and reckons it'll take you a good seven hours to get through this chapter, or more for 100% completion.
Torment Of Hades is out now, and available as part of the larger season pass, or the Fate Of Atlantis expansion. In order to go to hell, you'll have to finish Fields Of Elysium. If you've still not finished Odyssey's main story arc, you can at least skip straight to The Fate Of Atlantis if you so wish, but as Alice warns, you'll miss out on a lot of the impact of meeting the people you sent to the underworld. You can see the accompanying patch notes here. Fingers crossed that Ubisoft can stick the landing on the third chapter - Judgement Of Atlantis - later this year.