Some spoilers for things along the main plot in AC: Odyssey
I forgot it’s Monday.
Sums up this wonderful family weekend.
But I finished the Lagos bit and I have many, many thoughts.
Even got to play more!
Went over to the next main quest line, met a couple of blasts from the past, killed, what, three dudes, spent a great deal of time looking for Thebes (you’d think she’d know where that is), finally found it, called it a day.
So if you did any of that, or Lagos, I got thoughts. Hoowhee, do I have thoughts.
Ah, Lagos! See, I tried to do it Brasidas’ way–ignored all mom’s tasks about burning things and killing people and went right to Lagos. But he attacked me anyway (although he did say “thanks for saving my family”) so I had to kill him, and then Brasidas got all mad. I wanted to say “dude, I tried, back off!” but whatever.
The thing is, I had previously killed a couple of his captains and burned some stuff just while passing by, because they were location objectives, so maybe he heard about that and that’s why he didn’t trust me. You won’t have killed captains in passing–you tell me! Did you get him to renounce the cult?
I also did some other stuff, we we can start there.
I did not, but lord knows I tried. I did burn his stuff because I didn’t want to deal with bodyguards, so he was pretty dejected when I found him.
Here’s how it played out for me.
I go in, all “denounce the cult,” trying to be nice. He says “You expect me to believe that after what you did to the Monger?” Like, whoa. An NPC reacting to how I decided something all those levels ago, in a way that MAKES SENSE. I tried to be all “Dude, not this time. Really. Leave the cult,” and he’s all “I can’t trust you…but at least you are giving the honor of dying like a Spartan,” and he attacked me. Brasidas was all “Great, we’re gonna starve.”
So, here’s really my story line, as I did stuff in a different order than you did: I did the brother’s blue quest (remember that? Way back when?). The big nasty loan shark was all “I’ll only forgive the debt if the Monger dies in public.” So I decided to kill the Monger in public TO HELP THE NICE GUYS one of whom I slept with. ONLY that reason.
Fast forward to now, and, all of a sudden, I can’t talk my way out of a situation, people are going to starve, because of a decision I made to help a couple of brothers in a side quest.
MAN that’s good.
First, it’s so non linear. That quest was a DLC. You didn’t have to do it at all. You could’ve done it whenever. So I’m sitting here, having this experience of “Dude, I just doomed people to starvation because I was trying to be nice to this poet guy,” and you’re not. Few people are. That’s damn good non linear storytelling.
Second, and this is the big one, games usually tip their hands on the consequences of Weighty Game Choices. I had absolutely no fucking idea that killing the Monger in public would lead to any impact later on, especially an impact that would prevent me from peacefully saving Spartans from salvation. Usually, when a player is all “Hey…wait…I didn’t mean….” there’s a way to let the player off the hook. This didn’t.
It also goes WAY back to when we were talking on the helpful load screen tip “Save before you make Weighty Choices” and our discussion on when, or if, it’s cool to reload, and how people want their game to be THEIR game. Here, the only way I could prevent Spartan famine and do what I wanted to do was to reload a save from, like, 35 hours ago and who’s gonna do that? We THOUGHT this game was one of those “Hey, save, pick an outcome, it’s cool, whatevs” and maybe it isn’t.
This game is like a toxic girlfriend. Every time I’m this close to breaking up, she does something awesome.
That’s true, he did say that to me too! I was too busy being annoyed at Brasidas for acting like we didn’t even TRY, but you’re absolutely right, that was a very good callback.
In my case, I killed the Monger in public to please the hetaerae, not to help the brothers, but same deal…my long-ago decision, made with absolutely no awareness of any possible connection, comes back to haunt me. Well, not me. I’ll be fine. It comes back to haunt the Spartans, I guess. But it’s very true, that’s a nifty way to make something a long time ago actually mean something now. Like the bit with the plague on Kephallonia.
So we’ll give this game that: it’s good at making stuff we did come back in different (yet logical) contexts.
And also speaking of decisions we made a long time ago…did you go after the Boeotian champions? And run into…someone? I thought that was interesting too.
I ran into two someones! More on that in a bit, I’m still on Lagos.
But how Lagos is even better than the plague is that the plague, at least, was transparent enough that you could guess a possible outcome. Letting sick people go could make people sick. That’s a logical connection, so, when it happens, you can be all “Yup, kinda knew that was a possibility.”
But “If I kill this guy this way instead of that way, people will starve to death” isn’t anything you could even begin to predict. That’s very, very rare in games.
True, the plague and people getting the plague connection was logical. Less so was the reaction of the Pythia when you arrive (either “you saved those people!” or “you let them die!”), although that didn’t really have a huge impact on the game overall since she still gave you the information you needed.
Though we could also argue that this bit doesn’t have a huge impact on the game overall either, if by that we’re referring simply to our own experience as players. I feel bad–sort of–that a bunch of Spartans may starve (I mean, we’ve talked about our mixed feelings regarding the Spartan Way before, and if they’re too hungry to attack Athens with as much vigor, am I really that broken up about it?), but I doubt it will mean anything terribly significant to the way the game winds up for me.
I could of course be wrong! Maybe we’ll end up reviled in our native land because we left so many people hungry, where we could have come out of this as heroes.
On the other hand, we DID win Sparta an Olympic wreath, so they’ll probably forgive us. “Hey everyone, enjoy looking upon my pankration wreath as you watch your children suffer and die! Feels better, right?”
Or, maybe they’ll be so hungry they’ll attack Athens with MORE vigor to get their food, and this will turn out to be the thing that propelled Sparta to victory! After all, as the load screen tells us, the Peloponnesian war ended with Sparta occupying Athens. (Thanks for the spoiler, GAME.) Whatever we do or don’t do, we’re not going to change that history.
Regardless of the level of the impact on gameplay, though, I do agree with you in terms of respecting the way this game has given us a completely unforeseen consequence of a decision made far away while we were thinking about something else entirely. It’s a nice example of the interconnectedness of things.
Well, gameplay aside, I do feel kinda bad. The whole starving, famine thing isn’t just limited to soldiers. We’re damning kids and whatnot to starve. That’s not very nice.
Another nice touch that I just thought of about the whole interconnectedness of things was Brasidas’ little “Told you so” moment. “If you had just done what I said….” Usually, “told you so” moments are eye rolling. Like:
“If you do that, my planet will explode and I will be sad.”
“See? My planet exploded. I am now sad.”
Here, Brasidas gets in a “Had you done what I said, this wouldn’t have happened. I, important game character, was trying to guide you and you done fucked up” thing, but it wasn’t explicit. Back with the Monger, he never said “Wait! We might have to talk a cultist into leaving the cult! They’ll never trust you if you do this!” Never. His “Told you so” moment was, kinda, not really one, cuz he never told us THAT.
That, too, is a subtlety you rarely see in games.
I dunno, man. Now I’m starting to think that things might matter re the endgame. After all, we didn’t expect the whole Monger thing to matter. We were all “What, he was gonna die at the end of this quest anyway, so what?”
But, as you want to talk about the dudes we ran into, this would be a good segue, unless you want to do the segue yourself.
You mean Stentor? And stepdad? How about them, right?
Man, Stentor does not like us. But stepdad was chill. It was kind of cool he showed up again, and presumably if we’d actually killed him way back in the day, we would have had to kill that one champion ourselves, so that was an impact (if, again, not a huge one). I was perfectly happy to have him killing people for me–I can share the work. And his talking about how he could help Stentor be a better commander than he (the Wolf) ever was…maybe that’s some delayed impact as well, since presumably the Spartans will be better off now.
Maybe partially making up for all the people we doomed to starvation.
See, I didn’t like this (so far, I’m not finished with the quest). I had the same reaction I had to the lameness of the end of Markos’ “story. When we see Stentor, the game obviously wants us to be all “DUDE! It’s the GUY!” and care a lot, but it’s hard to do that when we haven’t seen the guy since what was effectively the tutorial. It has been a very, very, very long time since we saw ol’ Stentor. The whole “step brother I never had who hates me” dynamic wasn’t particularly established in the twelve thousand hours between when we met him and now.
It almost read like Stentor was a bigger character in some earlier draft of the game. When we met him, gold armor, early in the game, he sure as hell felt like he was going to be a main character, more than just someone who pops up again in the endgame. The whole idea of dad leaving the Spartan army to him, the fake son and not his real (but still fake, complicated, AC, you know) daughter… That all seemed like story line that got left on the cutting room floor.
I felt the same way about dear old dad. Sure, he finished a quest for me and, at this point of the game, anyone who finishes quests for me is a-OK. But he kinda got the Markos treatment. He shows up out of nowhere, there’s a pat little conversation during which things are rather summarily tied up, and scene. Not “Oh hey! I found mom! And did you know my real dad was all freaky and has seen Atlantis? And DUDE why didn’t you tell me that bro was, like, a cult weapon?”
None of that.
And one would think that Kassandra might want to chat with him about that, at least a little.
We kinda sorta but not really let the whole “why didn’t she talk about Phoibe?” thing with Markos go because it was possible that you could get to Markos before the whole Phoibe dying bits (I still think they could have changed some dialog, but I digress). Here, there’s absolutely no fucking way that you can get to this point of the game, seeing dad, without knowing about mom, real dad and brother. None.
Thus, this should’ve been a more fleshed out scene, which is a let down.
Wait…I told him I found mom. He said “you found her! where?” and I said “ruling Naxos” and he said “that sounds like her,” or something, with this kind of reminiscent smile. So it wasn’t a huge conversation, but it definitely came up and we shared something. Which was more than we would necessarily expect considering we’ve only seen him the once since we were 8 years old and he tossed us off a cliff. I mean, Morkos raised us, I think the lack of any kind of follow up/closure with him was way more egregious.
As for Stentor, I felt that Kassandra, like me, had to remind herself who this dude was, and that she was a little startled he seemed to feel so strongly given I’ve barely spared him a thought the last six months. I played it kind of jokingly (but perhaps not such a joke) cocky, like “the gods have answered your prayers, I’m here” or whatever, which probably didn’t exactly endear me to him.
I dunno, it worked all right for me.
Really? I didn’t do anything like that. Indeed, we talked about Stentor, which I thought would be the last thing Kassandra would want to talk about with him, considering all the other shit. I mean, come on, Kassandra got thrown off a cliff trying to stop the Wolf from throwing her brother who is now a cultist off a cliff. Wouldn’t you think a “do you know that the kid you chucked off a cliff is now kinda a bad guy?” might have come up. Instead, I get five minutes of dialog about some dude I met in the tutorial.
And yeah, her caring about some dude I, too, had forgotten about was jarring. All the more reason I think that three or four scenes between then and now that would’ve set this up didn’t make it into the final cut. The game sure acted like Kassandra and Stentor had some kind of relationship, but given that it’s established she met him in the tutorial and, thus, has seen him a grand total of twice in her life, I didn’t buy it.
And this on the heels of such a well thought out, interconnected series of events.
This game is so fucking inconsistent.
Well, did my day playing.
Rescued a horse. Got distracted by Hippocrates. Did his shit. Killed the last champion.
Pro tip: Don’t bother rescuing the horse unless you want to help a nice shopkeeper.
Not much to say, unless you, too, got distracted by Hippocrates.
That’s weird that you didn’t mention mater to stepdad. Maybe there are mutually exclusive conversation trees, and we just got onto different ones. Because we did talk about Stentor, but certainly not only Stentor.
Also interesting that it’s coming across to you as Kassandra caring about or having some kind of relationship with Stentor, which is not supported by the text (so to speak). I really don’t have the impression that she gives much of a damn about him beyond vaguely knowing who he is and that he’s a big deal in Sparta, which makes much more sense given what we’ve seen. Perhaps also different dialogue options?
Of course I rescued the horse. The merchant gave me helpful information about where to find Drakon! Of course, the lover gave me exactly the same information, so I could have just done that. Did you talk to the lover? That was interesting. Quite a twist on the usual cute romance tale. “Here, I’ll get you this potion and pretend I’m doing it to be helpful but really I’m planning to kill your true love while he doesn’t have his armor.”
Of course I also got distracted by Hippokrates. I got distracted by him TWICE, in fact. So if you’re doing the one where he’s torn about whether or not to treat an evil slave master, be aware he has another quest in Thebes to come. Which is quite interesting, actually, but optional, so I’ll respect if you’re just not in the mood by then.
Well, “relationship” to the point where she seems to have a strong opinion of him. My reaction was “The fuck is this guy?” whereas she has some deal of emotion. I dunno. She seems to give more of a fuck than she does about other people.
No! I missed the lover! What could I have done?
I will say that flammable oil didn’t do me any good. I chucked a torch, missed, ran, just did a fight.
I rescued the guy, freed the slaves, told him we can’t judge (which is ironic, as we do all the time). I do wonder if his “Only the gods can judge” to us, given we’ve been judging all the damn game long, was a loaded line. Are we a god?
Is there another thing for him?
You really only needed to talk to one person–the lover or the guy who lost his horse–to get the information, so you saved some time only getting the horse. But the lover was interesting…you go to the exclamation point and it’s in this gym where a guy is training and making mournful noises about how he’s afraid he’s losing Drakon’s love.
So you chat with him and he says “if only I had such-and-such ingredients, I could make a potion that I can smear inside his armor and it will soak into his body and make him adore me forever! But I would have to keep his armor for a while…”
And Kassandra says “are you sure he’ll be OK without his armor?” and he says “oh, he’s mighty like the gods, he doesn’t need armor!” or something, and then you can offer to go get the herbs he needs. Then after killing some bandits on this lady’s farm you take the herbs back to him and he does this gleeful dance about how great it is that Drakon is going to love him, and sings a little song about how close Drakon’s training location is to this other spot where they can meet. He’s totally doing the “dorky-but-adorable-young-person-in-love” thing, and it’s kind of funny, but with this weird ominous undertone of “by the way, I’ll be taking this information and using it to murder your lover.”
Which I then immediately did. So the moral is, don’t trust random helpful strangers? (Except in 90 percent of the game’s quests we’re a random helpful stranger who doesn’t actually mean any harm.) Or, don’t take your lover’s armor? Don’t try to keep your lover through magical trickery?
Anyway, I felt a little bad about it, although just to be clear, I DON’T really condone trying to keep a lover through magical trickery. It’s interesting, too, that this is the second time we’ve had a “love potion” quest, and also the second time it’s gone horribly wrong for the person wanting the potion, because love potions don’t actually work and are just someone (the “witch” in the previous quest long ago, or Kassandra herself here) trying to use someone else’s desire for their own ends. I’m sensing a strong anti-potion theme here.
Did Drakon have armor when you fought him? He didn’t for me. It was a very quick fight because I snuck up and backstabbed him and then used a couple of abilities whose names I don’t know. I didn’t even try the flammable oil.
As for Hippokrates, I did wonder about that “only the gods can judge” line. Is he saying Kassandra is a god (or a demigod, at least), or is he pointedly reminding her that she’s NOT a god, and that she in time will also be judged? Anyway, I told him he should heal the guy, and then–I thought this was amusing–knocked the guy out and ‘recruited’ him for my ship. That’ll keep him from abusing any more slaves!
It was a fairly interesting philosophical question, though, and quite relevant to today given all the ‘conscience clause’ arguments we’re having about whether pharmacists can refuse to give out birth control and so forth.
SHOULD a physician treat all patients regardless of how horrible they are as people? I mean…yeah. Of course. But…what if they’re REALLY horrible? Wouldn’t it be super tempting to refuse? “Screw you, slave-torturer, I’m not treating your boar injuries!” And yet, once you start drawing lines, pretty soon you’re refusing to treat someone because they worship the wrong god, or have the wrong color skin, or want the wrong pill, and then people start judging YOU.
This is only one of the many reasons neither I nor Kassandra are doctors.
And yes, Hippokrates has another quest, also on a topic that’s still controversial and relevant today! Not abortion, I don’t know if they’d dare to touch that. A different hot medical ethics topic. Good for some discussion, if you want to spare the time. But it does involve the usual three things to fetch, I won’t lie.
Man, I didn’t even see the lover quest.
Whoa, man. That’s some cold shit. “Sure….I’ll get him to love you….IN HADES!” I’m kinda glad I did it my way. I didn’t sabotage young love (knowingly) and got a dude his horse back. He really seemed to like that horse.
Hey, you don’t know the potion wouldn’t have worked. You killed the guy before he could come under its effects.
As for trusting helpful strangers….remember way back when when I met the lady claiming to be the Monger’s fiancee? Well, I finally killed the mercenary she wanted me to kill (because in Arkadia they ALL CAME AFTER ME).
It had….an ambiguous ending, and trust was kinda a theme.
Two way trust. I’m still not sure about what I did…. You never did that, did you?
He had armor. Yes, yes he did. Big, tough, pain in the ass armor. It was a fairly long fight, actually. You did it right.
HA! That’s fucking awesome that you recruited that guy. I always forget you can do that. I wonder if you can do it to cultists.
Don’t you work at a medical school? Scary.
Well, the only line I know of the Hippocratic oath is “First, do no harm.” Hippocrates didn’t do any harm here, per se. That was the bear. So he wouldn’t have broken the part of his oath that I know.
Of course, for all I know the second line is “Second, treat everyone, even evil slavers.”
I, too, am not a doctor.
Three more things…Jesus, really? I already DID three things for Hippokrates in this game. One’s in a fort, too, isn’t it?
Ah, so the armor did make a difference. Hm. Well, at least you didn’t cruelly take advantage of young love. My fight was shorter, but your conscience is cleaner.
Actually, librarians have a similar code of conduct: help people get the thing they want (if it’s legal) even if you disapprove of it. If that dude comes in looking for literature on 500 Reasons It’s Good and Right to Torture Your Slaves, I have to help him find it if we have it in the collection, and let him check it out if it circulates. That’s my job, and it’s not my business to moralize about it or try to prevent him from seeing it.
And I’m not sure if it’s in the dude’s oath or not, but the logic likewise goes that if it’s the doctor’s job to treat people, the doctor needs to treat people and not moralize about it. But I’m sure when they’re terrible people, it must sometimes be kind of tempting.
The things you have to get for Hippokrates’ next quest are not in a fort! I don’t think so anyway, because it just said “a wealthy house” or something. But I’m not completely sure which house, because I got the quest to steal some things and then it turned out I already had them, so clearly it was some location that had a question mark on it that I had already looted in passing. But the good news is, it’s in Thebes, so you won’t have to go racing across the map.
Oh, and then you have to go find some more herbs, but that just involves riding out of town a ways, you don’t have to get into any fights unless you run into wolves or something.
Oh, and I did not do the Monger’s fiance quest–I told her “yeah, I killed him” and got a red FAILED noticed, and we went our separate ways. You can spoil.
Just when I thought we were making progress….three pronged herb quests return.
There’s a librarian’s code? That’s…..kinda awesome.
“I DESPISE YOU! But, you did fill out your hold form correctly, so here’s your fucking book. And, as tempted as I am to say it’s due in two weeks…..I have to tell you three. But I’m not happy about it.”
As for the financee…So I think I got tricked.
We’ve talked about merrily killing dudes, but not taking quests that are about selfish personal feelings (“Kill her lover so I can step in!” etc.).
So if you get the quest, it’s called “Grieving Widow to Be.” I figured that was a play on “wife to be.” But, when I killed him, I go back and I can recruit the quest giver to my crew. I did (as one does) and she’s all “Well, I’ve always wanted the freedom to sail the seas” or something about freedom.
Which got me thinking. What if it’s “Grieving widow to be” as in, she’s going to be a widow? After all, why the hell didn’t she know I killed the Monger? Everyone else does. Why was she so “sure” that mercenary did, when he obviously didn’t? She never offered money; she was playing on the guilt angle, the “avenge the fiancee” angle.
I don’t think she was the Monger’s fiancee at all. I think she tricked me into killing her husband.
But I’m not sure……
Especially as, when I went to read the bios of the mercenaries I killed one was “He never wanted to be a mercenary…his wife made him do it. Maybe she should have been one, as cold hearted as she is…” but I don’t know if THAT’S the one cuz so many came at me!
So I’m not sure.
You got the failed quest because you obviously weren’t gonna fall for the trick. YOU know the mercenary didn’t kill the monger, right?
I mean, we have professional ethics, man. I’m sure lawyers do too (all the jokes aside).
And interesting about the monger! That’s cold, all right.
A bit roundabout, since if she’d just said “my lying husband cheated on me and then ran off with my great-grandfather’s handaxe” we would have been all HE MUST DIE, but…cold. And that backstory is suggestive. Hm.
Maybe she just didn’t realize she didn’t need such a complicated lie.
Also, we ARE making progress! Real, serious progress! I swear!
Right after Thebes, basically, I went back to Sparta, talked to the kings, dealt with the cultist king, fought my brother…the end is near!
Well, less far, anyway.
Do you have to serve the people who…..
….I can’t even say it…..
refuse to whisper? Or is that beyond the pale?
Oh dude, WE don’t even whisper anymore. Whispering is so done. I’m more likely to not serve someone who does whisper, because I can’t hear what the hell they want.
“SORRY, DID YOU SAY YOU NEED A BOOK ON TORTURING SLAVES? COMING RIGHT UP!”
Nothing is sacred. Nothing.
I knew we lived in troubled times, but this is it. The surest sign yet of the end of civilization.
I’M SORRY, DID YOU SAY YOU NEED BOOKS ABOUT OVERTHROWING CIVILIZATION? LET ME SHOW YOU TO THAT SECTION IN THE STACKS!
Dude, whispering in the library is the very cornerstone of civility! If we, as a nation, nay, as a species cannot rely on librarians holding the line against such unbridled barbarism, what can we rely on????
But I’m STILL only level 44! I can’t fight the brother!
Shit. I’m gonna have to magpie, and this will infuriate me. If I have to do busy work to progress, I just might rage quit.
But yes! I think she tricked me! And, what’s more, I reloaded to do the quest cuz fuck I’m not failing a quest and missing out. I reloaded to do a quest that I wouldn’t have done had I not been tricked!
That’s pretty great.
Well, I’m exaggerating, we do still speak quietly. Because people are studying! But seriously, actual whispering is counterproductive. I’m not even deaf yet, and I can’t make it out when people come up to the desk with that.
And you’re good–the recommended level for that battle is 38.
Oh, it’s not a question of deafness. You just can’t hear them over the fan.
Ha! Good point. I really need to upgrade.
The game is taking pity on me.
That said, I should be able to kick Minotaur ass rather handily, and that isn’t happening.
Is it a shitty, annoying, throw the controller in fit of rage fight?
The minotaur? It’s a long, chipping-away-at-a-giant-robot type fight, yeah. I didn’t find it that terrible once I put it on easy, just lots of running around healing while shooting at him, but it was definitely not a piece of cake.
Here’s a tip: I wrapped up the Atlantis bit and afterwards the dialogue basically says “in case some people don’t complete this quest, let us never speak of it again.” (Not in so many words, but that’s the gist.)
So it was kind of interesting, but it apparently has no real bearing on the main story, and if it’s driving you up the wall, you can just abandon it.
The brother fight, on the other hand, is not that bad.
Wait, Pythagoras didn’t tell you shit out of deference to me?
You did all that for nothing?
SO glad I’m letting the Minotaur be.
Man…..a chip and chase fight. I…don’t like those.
No, no…Pythagoras told me stuff, and things happened, then at the end I said to Herodotos and Barnabas “OK, I’ll tell you what happened, but we can’t tell anyone else because Atlantis secrecy mankind whatever.”
Which I interpreted as “in case someone didn’t finish this questline, there will be no major impact on the main story.”
I’ll ask you later. And I’ll go “Ooooooookaaaaaay.”
And then suggest we take a long break from Assassin’s Creed.
Sounds like a plan. Progress!