The old man and the sea.
The second episode of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Legacy of the First Blade DLC, Shadow Heritage faithfully follows the formula Ubisoft laid out in Episode 1: Hunted. Fortunately, that formula works just as well this time around, drip-feeding us small doses of faction backstory, while focusing on the drama of its characters. With another branch of cultists to track down and murder, a couple of new tricks of the trade to put to use, and some well-delivered moments between characters, Shadow Heritage is yet another good 3-5 hour serving of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Shadow Heritage picks up shortly after the events of Hunted, and you’re once again working with the mysterious character from Assassin’s Brotherhood lore. This time around there’s less historical backstory to enjoy, with the focus shifting toward the current machinations of the Order of the Ancients in their pursuit of Alexios or Kassandra. Like Hunted, this episode doesn’t add much to Odyssey’s now-defined gameplay recipe: help the people of Greece in exchange for clues, track down targets, and kill cultists. But it still works.
Shadow Heritage does a good, subtle job of hitting home with its themes.
The majority of its plot revolves around The Tempest, Shadow Heritage’s new mythical, tyrannical antagonist, a master naval commander and part of the Order of the Storm, the next branch of cultists to dismantle. Though I ultimately didn’t find her as menacing as The Huntsman from Episode 1, The Tempest sets the stage for a naval centric episode where ship-to-ship combat gets an equal share of the billing, and you’re given a new tool with which to terrorize the Aegean: an unsurprisingly devastating frontal flamethrower.
But Shadow Heritage does do a good, subtle job of hitting home with its themes of identity – as numerous characters come to terms with what kind of life they want for themselves with the time they have left. This allows for some touching personal reflection alongside some surprisingly light hearted moments. But as is tradition in Odyssey, just as many of these moments are delivered over the top.
Shadow Heritage takes place entirely in the sunny region of Achaia.
And similarly to episode 1 – can you see the pattern yet – Shadow Heritage takes place entirely in one area: this time it’s the Summery region of Achaia, its coastline, and the glassy water that surrounds it. But like Episode 1’s Macedonia-focused experience, your mileage may vary depending on how much time you’ve already spent there.
Finally, Shadow Heritage does add a new skill to the Hunter Skill tree called Rapid Fire, allowing you to consume adrenaline to fire your bow in quick succession. It’s another tool in the mercenary toolbox though I didn’t find particularly useful, but outside of a couple new Legendary weapons and the aforementioned flamethrower, it’s the biggest change introduced to the gameplay.