Atlantis: Myth, History, or Both?

Atlantis: myth or history? Growing up, I believed that Atlantis was entirely mythological and held no place in history. As a child, I loved the Disney movie ‘Atlantis’ which explored the Ancient City with its advanced knowledge and wisdom that was lost after a disaster. As it happens, I seem to have been drawn to this idea of an advanced civilisation that was lost, either to a natural or man-made disaster. Assassin’s Creed would be one example of such a storyline. Graham Hancock’s work would be an example of something more academic.

But today I’m going to explore the idea that Atlantis not only existed, but its footprint can still be seen today. Whenever I’m drawing from someone else’s research, I will provide a link to the source.

What is Atlantis?

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via Science Rumors

It’s possible, all be it unlikely, that you haven’t even heard of Atlantis. The origins from the story of the Ancient City are often traced back to Plato’s dialogues: ‘Timaeus and Critias’, which were published around 360BCE.

“Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power, which held sway over all the island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent…”

“…Fifty stadia (6 miles/9km) from the coast was a mountain that was low on all sides…the central island itself was five stadia in diameter (0.57miles/0.92km).”

“But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea. For which reason the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is a shoal of mud in the way; and this was caused by the subsidence of the island.”

Solon and Egypt

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via The Famous People

It is possible that Atlantis is entirely fictional, meant only as an allegory for the stories of Plato. In Timaeus, a few passages stand out as being relevant to what I’m going to discuss:

“…if Solon had only…completed the tale which he brought with him from Egypt…”

“I have told you briefly, Socrates, what the aged Critias heard from Solon and related to us.”

“And whatever happened…they have all been written down by us of old, and are preserved in our temples. Whereas just when you and other nations are beginning to be provided with letters and the other requisites of civilized life, after the usual interval, the stream from heaven, like a pestilence, comes pouring down, and leaves only those of you who are destitute of letters and education; and so you have to begin all over again like children, and know nothing of what happened in ancient times, either among us or among yourselves.” (1)

Arguably, this is simply a part of the narrative that Plato was creating, but we must consider Solon if we are to explore the origins of the Atlantis legend further. Solon was an Athenian statesman and poet who was born in 636BCE and died in 558BCE. According to Herodotus (484BCE-425BCE), a historian, Solon travelled to Egypt (2). As we’ll soon see, this journey fits in with Plato’s tales.

It is said that during his time in Egypt, he visited with Pharaohs and priests, learning their history and philosophy. According to Plutarch, who was a much later biographer/historian, Solon visited with two priests in particular: Sonchis of Sais and Psenophis of Heliopolis (3). Seis is an Ancient Egyptian town that no longer exists, with very little trace remaining. Why is it important?

Seis, Egypt

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via Jean CLaude Golvin

The Goddess of Seis was Neith. There is a connection here that I am willing to chalk up to coincidence, however, I still find it interesting. The Goddess Neith was believed to appear in many forms, but one of her most common non-human depictions is as a cow, connecting her to Hathor or Mehet Weret whose name literally means “Great Flood” (4). The importance of a flood within the story of Atlantis will become clear later.

The worship of Neith dates as far back as the Pre-Dynastic Period of Egypt (6000-3150BCE) and it is said that Sais was the ancient birthplace of the cult of Neith which allegedly dates back as far as the First Dynasty of Egypt (3100-3050), with Sais being officially formed in around 3000BCE (5).

Interestingly, Diodorus, Plato, and Herodotus all compared the Goddess Neith to Athena. Diodorus even connected Sais to Athena in another way: stating that while all Greek cities were destroyed during a great flood, Egyptian cities such as Sais survived.

Unfortunately, no traces of the town’s ancient routes from before 1100BCE have survived. This is due to the farmers recycling materials: anything that wasn’t currently serving a function was demolished and used.

Back to Atlantis

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via Ancient Patriarchs

So, now that we have an idea of the origins of Atlantis, we can get back on track to exploring whether it exists. Plato stated that Atlantis existed 9,000 years before his time, so about 11,500 years before now. This just so happens to put Atlantis and its potential destruction at the end of the last Ice Age, which ended very rapidly and led to global flooding, possibly due to the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis.

This hypothesis proposes that one or several asteroids impacted or burst within the Earth’s atmosphere between 12,500 and 11,500 years ago. The idea was dismissed due to the lack of an impact crater, something that has only recently been discovered under the ice of Greenland.

Atlantis translates from Ancient Greek as ‘island of Atlas’, referring of course to the God of the same name. The Ancient Greeks believed that Atlas had been condemned by Zeus to stand at the Western edge of the world (6).

Why is this relevant? Well, we must consider what the edge of the world was to the Ancient Greeks. I’m going to be referencing several maps throughout this article, the first of which is by Herodotus. First, let’s recall a passage from Timaeus:
“…and there was an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Heracles…”

b9ba39fc182a170ccffbd0594164ec89

image via Pinterest

As you can see on this map, the Atlas Mountains (M. Atlas) stretch across Northwest Africa. This map is from 450BCE and represents the known world according to Herodotus. You will see that just below the Pillars of Heracles (between Spain and Africa) are the Atlas Mountains, and below that sits ‘Atlantes’.

This could reference the name for the top part of the river, but as this is the Nile (named Nilus on this map), it could also be the name of the area or people, much in the same way that ‘Garamantes’ is used on this map to describe a “very great nation”.

Just to demonstrate the timeline here: Solon visited Egypt prior to 558BCE, this map was created in 450BCE, and Plato didn’t publish any mention of Atlantis until 360BCE.

Exploring Maps

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via Ordnance Survey

The location of Atlantes/Atlantis, as described by Herodotus on his map, is important when we consider maps that appear much later in time. There are two in particular that I’d like to explore: The World Map by al-Idrisi (1154CE) and The Piri Reis map (1513CE).

The map created by Muhammad al-Idrisi (sometimes spelt as al-Edrisi), known as the ‘Tabula Rogeriana’, is considered the most accurate map of the world to have existed within medieval times (7). Al-Idrisi compiled a collection of maps from those brought by Norman voyagers, as well as those held in Sicily, in order to create his version.

tabularogeriana_upside-down

image via Alrahalah

Above is a picture of the full map, but below is a zoomed in aspect with a rather bizarre detail. Keep in mind that Herodotus described Atlantes as being south of the Atlas Mountains.

capture2

image via Alrahalah

Another interesting map was made much later, in 1513. Similarly to the al-Idrisi map, the Piri Reis map was created using a number of other maps, somewhere between 20 and 34. He used Ptolemaic maps, the Arabic map, 4 maps from Portugal, and even the map created by Christopher Columbus. It’s also believed that Piri Reis used maps that had been moved to Constantinople from the Library of Alexandria centuries earlier. These ancient maps have led many to believe that Antarctica had been explored long before originally believed.

pirireis

image via Ancient Origins

As you can see, this map shows parts of Europe, Africa, and South America, as well as Antarctica. The general accuracy of these maps has been confirmed in the modern day. If we zoom in, we can find one area of great interest: you’ll notice it circle in red. A city surrounded by water.

InkedPiri_reis_world_map-e1379556898352_LI.jpg

image via Ancient Origins

Eye of the Sahara

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via Intrepid Travel

So, what does all this mean? Well, it suggests the location of Atlantis and explores the origins of the legend, offering a possible explanation for why it hasn’t been discovered: it has long since been destroyed. As such, it would appear on earlier maps (such as those used by al-Idrisi and Piri Reis), either as a ruin or possible even a city that was rebuilt on the ruins of what was once Atlantis.

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via Google Maps

So here you can see the same rough area that I’ve pointed to on the other maps. I’ve just taken screenshots from Google Maps and so I can only apologise for the unprofessional appearance of these. If we switch to the satellite view, you will get a better idea of what I’m talking about and why I’m referencing Google Maps.

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via Google Maps

If you look from the upper right corner of the image, through Mauritania, and down to Noukchott, you can see that the sand appears to have been swept away, almost as if a large body of water was either permanently or temporarily flowing over the land. However, there is another detail here that is of much higher importance: notice the circular disk just above the ‘Ma’ in ‘Mauritania’?

Let’s take a closer look!

capture5

image via Google Maps

The Richat Structure

The Richat Structure, which also goes by the name ‘Eye of the Sahara’, Eye of Africa’, and ‘Guelb er Richát’, is described as a geological formation that has existed since before the emergence of homo sapiens. The structure is essentially on a dome of magma which is causing it to be pushed upwards in a similar manner to what is currently happening with Antarctica.

So far, no major archaeological digs have taken place in or around the structure, but some smaller digs have unearthed many Acheulean artefacts. This is the term given to the manufacture of stone tools by a typically non-homosapien species such as homo erectus. There have also been fish skeletons and even whale bones discovered, which means that water flowed over this area recently enough for these remains to not have fossilized.

However, while searching around the area on Google Maps, I did notice something. This was already mentioned by BrightInsight, whose videos on this topic are deeply informative (he connected almost all of these dots), but I happened to stumble across it thanks to somebody marking it as “unknown structure”.

capture6

image via Google Maps

I can only imagine (without any knowledge of archaeology) that this structure is modern, certainly within the last 1,000 years. But I’m not basing that on anything. So, if this is the location of Atlantis then why aren’t there more buildings or structures? If we assume that Atlantis was washed away by a flood or destroyed by an earthquake, these are only minor details when compared to the fact that it would have existed 11,500 years ago.

To put it in perspective, if humanity died out today, it is estimated that the Hoover Dam would be one of the longest lasting structures. Estimates put its lifespan at around 10,000 years (although its turbines would stop after just two years) (8). But how long would it last if an earthquake brought the structure to the ground or an immense flood caused it to crumble?

It’s likely that given the various levels within the Richat structure, that it would have formed natural rings of water and land. This could easily have been adapted to become a city for a civilisation.

In Summary

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via Letter Box D

So, do I believe that Atlantis was in this location? Did it exist at all? Frustratingly, we’ll probably never know. I think that the body of evidence that suggests that early humans are not exactly how we once believed them to be is expanding every day. We’re learning more about our past and one day we might have a much clearer idea.

For now, I think that it’s certainly something interesting and fun to consider and explore. I think that the worst thing we can do, is turn down an idea before exploring it simply because we’ve been led to believe that the notion is ridiculous. Was Atlantis a civilisaiton that powered flying vehicles with crystals like in the Disney movie? I highly doubt it! Does that mean we should rule out its existence entirely? Absolutely not!

Wouldn’t it make a lot of sense if Atlantis was an advanced civilisation of some description that allowed smart minds to grow and prosper? After all, the Ancient Egyptians seemed to have access to some sort of technology that we don’t fully understand. The Pyramids of Giza certainly weren’t tombs and we don’t even know exactly when they and the Sphinx were built. Maybe a group of survivors of the Great Flood passed this information and knowledge on, leading to some of the flood myths that exist around the world, varying from culture to culture.


Thanks for reading! Do you believe that Atlantis could have existed? Could it have been in Africa all along? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!


1) http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/timaeus.html
2) http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0126%3Abook%3D1%3Achapter%3D30
3) http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Solon*.html
4) https://www.ancient.eu/Neith/
5) https://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-africa/pharaonic-royal-city-sais-leaves-few-clues-researchers-002352
6) https://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/gods/atlas/
7) https://archive.org/stream/historyofmoorish03scotuoft#page/461/mode/1up
8) https://delzottoproducts.com/2017/03/15/long-will-take-concrete-hoover-dam-cure/

Glass: A Review

So, I went to see Glass recently and, in all honesty, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. When a movie like this comes out, especially with M. Night Shyamalan at the helm, pretty much anything could happen. Unbreakable was a decent enough movie, Split was better (in my mind), and so Glass could very well have been the cherry on top of the cake, or a soulless cash grab. I’m going to start off with a spoiler-free review, followed by a spoiler-ridden review. So, if you haven’t seen Glass yet, you can still get an idea of what it’s like.

Spoiler-Free Review

Glass Review

image via The Sun

So, what can I say about Glass without spoiling anything? Well, unlike many sequels that have brought back characters from decade-old movies, Glass does an excellent job of not making it feel forced. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about Jurassic World, Ghostbusters, Star Wars, or Blade Runner, most movies have to shove the old characters down your throat, usually through some ridiculous situation that leads to them appearing. There is no heart!

Glass has heart and stays true to all the characters we’ve been introduced to in previous movies: David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and his son have the sort of relationship you would expect. You don’t feel like you’re watching some silly comic book movie, as for the most part, Glass feels semi-realistic. You find yourself imagining this world and concluding that this is how these characters would behave. David Dunn isn’t as young as he once was, something that the movie plays on.

Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) grew up relying on his mother and having been “defeated” by David Dunn in Unbreakable, the situation we find him in is completely expected. I enjoyed seeing the character on the screen again and seeing his mind at work was one of the excellent aspects of Glass.

Keven Wendell Crumb may have only joined us in Split, but James McAvoy shows us once again that his acting ability is incredible. I worried that they’d tone the character(s) down a bit for Glass, but the exact opposite was true. I felt like the movie offered us a deeper insight into the life and mind of not just Kevin, but actually all of the main characters.

Ultimately, I enjoyed the fact that Glass managed to be a cliched comic book movie without feeling like it was part of the same franchise as Marvel or DC. I didn’t feel like I was watching a movie that I’d already watched a thousand times (which is saying something since I actually love Marvel and Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy).

Spoiler-Full Review

Glass Review

image via Pop Culture

OK, so you’ve been warned. From this point on I am going to be sharing my views on almost exclusively spoilers.

For a large part of this movie, I was worried. In the back of my mind (and actually what I’d mentioned in an article I wrote for a different site) I knew that with this being an M. Night Shyamalan movie, there was no way that Glass would end in the manner you’d expect.

I would like to personally thank M. Night Shyamalan for not being afraid to take an unorthodox approach to his ending (perhaps something that can always be said about him). I’ve longed for a superhero movie that breaks free from the formula that we see 5-6 times a year from other franchises. Again, I say that as a fan of Marvel, but their movies are repetitive as fuck!

Glass spent a large section of its run-time leading us to believe that Mr. Glass and Kevin/The Beast would be teaming up to take down David Dunn in a public place. One funny thing I noticed related to the magazine that Mr. Glass had that showed the tower. On the front page it stated “A True Marvel” which is clearly a nod to Marvel and this being a true version of it. By the time audiences realize that there isn’t going to be a big boss battle at this random-ass tower (perhaps another nod to Marvel as it’s basically how Avengers Assemble ends), it’s too late. As soon as the camera pans in on that 3-leaf clover, it’s all over.

The big reveal is that DR. Ellie Staple (played by American Horror Story’s Sarah Paulson) is actually part of this ancient society that not only knows of the existence of these super-human individuals but tracks them down. If they can’t convince you that you’re “normal” then they have no choice but to kill you. This society isn’t evil by any means. As DR. Staple says to David Dunn: they were going to leave him alone because he didn’t have a nemesis to fight. It wasn’t until The Horde showed up that they realized the potential death and destruction a fight between the two could cause. This 3-leaf clover organization just wants to avoid what we see so often in superhero movies: collateral damage. Just look at Batman V Superman or Captain America: Civil War, where a similar issue is raised.

The Uniqueness of Glass

Glass Review

image via The New York Times

So, why did I enjoy Glass so much? I love the idea that people in this movie aren’t inherently evil. Nobody is a villain for the sake of being a villain and all the characters are likeable. You watch the movie kind of hoping that everyone wins. Let’s consider the main characters:

David Dunn is your typical good guy. He’s a vigilante who just wants to protect and avenge the common people. He isn’t looking for fame or glory, in fact he prefers to stick to the shadows. His backstory isn’t ridden with tragedy, but he did hit a few bumps along the way, such as nearly drowning/being drowned, crashing his car, and surviving a train crash where everybody else died.

Mr. Glass is a different story. Is he the bad guy? Of course, but consider why that’s the case. He was born with brittle bone disease and suffered frequent breaks from day-to-day tasks. He grew up living a sheltered life where his only coping strategy was comic books, which suggested to him that if he breaks easily, there must be others at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Sure, Mr. Glass crashes a train and causes a pile-up on a highway. He murders a lot of people and for that he is the villain…but he was doing it to reveal a hero, to bring a superhuman into the spotlight. His methods may have been a bit reckless, but his mission wasn’t to kill hundreds of people, it was to discover the one who survived.

Kevin Wendell Crumb is undoubtedly a victim. I don’t want to view each of his other personalities individually, although that would give the best representation of his character, but he suffered a traumatic past. As we learn in both Split and Glass, his mother abused him. She was mentally ill with DID and just as his father sought help, he died in the train crash that Mr. Glass had caused. The very same train that David Dunn survived.

Many of Kevin’s other personalities simply wanted the world to know that they exist. Even ‘The Beast’, who is certainly the villain of The Horde, has a certain sense of just purpose. Yes, he also kills people (and violently) but only because he is the product of suffering. To him, only the pure can survive and you’re only pure if you’ve suffered.

Dr. Staple and her band of not-so-merry men aren’t evil. They may seem a little twisted and it was annoying that they murdered all the main characters, but they were in the right. They simply wanted to avoid the destruction and chaos that would have inevitably been caused if The Horde and David had had a showdown that Avengers Tower, or whatever the tower was called.

In Summary

Glass Review

image via Movie Web

So, overall, I think that Glass was an incredibly refreshing take on a rather milked genre. I was incredibly happy to be able to watch a superhero movie without being able to guess how it will end. The entire cast were excellent, and I must commend M. Night Shyamalan once again for creating something that felt unique. I’m not always a fan of his twists because sometimes they are just ridiculous and unnecessary. When your gimmick is being unpredictable, you ultimately become predictable.

I had just recently watch Unbreakable and Split in preparation for this movie, but I’m already looking forward to watching all episodes of this trilogy back to back.


Thanks for reading! Have you seen Glass? What did you think? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

My Hopes (and Concerns) for 2019’s MCU Movies!

With the bog-standard triple threat of MCU movies coming out this year, there is a lot to look forward to…which also means there is a lot to be concerned about. In just a few months, Captain Marvel will hit theatres, followed swiftly by Endgame, and finally: Far From Home. With the end of a 10-year story on the brink of ending, what are my thoughts on the run-up to these movies being released? Let’s take a look!

Captain Marvel

Marvel 2019

image via Geek Tyrant

With Captain Marvel due to hit theatres shortly before Endgame, I have many hopes and concerns towards Marvel’s next release. Surprisingly, my concerns aren’t so much with Captain Marvel herself but rather with Nick Fury. I mentioned in another article that Captain Marvel could be the movie that explains all of Nick Fury’s rather un-Fury-like decisions and actions during the MCU movies that follow this one (chronologically at least). I’m not going to explain it all again but click here if you’d like to read it.

Suffice to say, Winter Soldier painted a picture of a young Fury being ruthless, merciless, and ultimately ready to sacrifice whatever it takes in order to win the Endgame (roll credits…oh wait, wrong movie). I worry that Marvel are instead going to give us this sort of “cool dude” Fury. I guess I’m sort of hoping for more of a Pulp Fiction Samuel L. Jackson role, which I can’t imagine Disney would be in favour of.

I am looking forward to seeing Coulson on the big screen again though. It will be interesting to see the relationship between the two of them in the early days, prior to later interactions. Of course, I want to see Fury losing his eye…pretty grim, I know. Not only that, I want to see him losing his eye entirely because he trusted someone, just like he claimed in Winter Soldier. It could be the case that he trusts someone (maybe even Coulson) only for them to be revealed to be a skroll…but I hope that there is a deeper level of betrayal than that, perhaps a rogue Captain Marvel. There’s always the possibility that they “…I lost an eye” in Winter Soldier was entirely for effect rather than providing backstory.

Endgame

Marvel 2019

image via BGR

Endgame is only a few months away and with trailers most likely misleading us (I don’t think Tony is randomly floating through space on the brink of death), we really have no real idea of what to expect. I am happy that Marvel are revealing very little about the plot because previous movies (Thor: Ragnarok, I’m looking at you) revealed WAY too much information. I’ve already ranted about that aspect of the MCU in the past, so I won’t go into too much detail about it now.

So, what are my hopes and concerns for Endgame? Honestly, I want death…a lot of it, which I know isn’t a likely outcome of this movie. Again, this is something I’ve already gone into, all be it prior to Infinity War. So as much as I’d actually like Hawkeye (definitely him!), Thor, Iron-Man, Black Widow, and Cap to all die (the latter of which is probably going to be Endgame’s only casualty), I am a realist and there’s just no way that Marven (and Disney) are going to take such a Game of Thrones approach.

So, if I can’t get deaths then I at least want sufficient closure on all the original Avengers. We know there is going to be a Black Widow movie which will most likely take place prior to the first Avengers movie but they wouldn’t kill her off in Endgame if there is a prequel movie coming out. I just want all the arcs completely tied up: no loose ends, to the point that never seeing ANY of those characters again on-screen wouldn’t feel odd. Is that too much to ask?

I think, more importantly, we also need a good set-up for the new Avengers. Far From Home apparently follows immediately after the events of Endgame and so there HAS to be some sort of PTSD-style shit going on in Peter Parker’s life, especially if the departed (if you haven’t seen The Leftovers, it’s the name given to the people who vanish) actually remember fading from existence. Similarly, Black Panther is going to need to be given a direction to go in.

Obviously, with rumours and hints towards there being a time-travel element in Endgame, I have my concerns surrounding that as well. Doctor Strange used the time stone in Infinity War, and even though part of me feels like Marvel are trying to misdirect us with the trailer, I think that time travel is the most likely route for bringing the dusted back.

But…will Marvel/Dinsey address any butterfly effect? After all, changing one thing in the past could have major implications for the future. If Cap isn’t frozen in the ice during WW2, he wouldn’t be there to help in Avengers, he wouldn’t stop Bucky in Winter Solider or reveal Hydra as still existing within Shield, and it’s possible that the events of Civil War would never have taken place.

A similar effect can be found by changing any character’s backstory, even if only a tiny bit. I’m worried that Marvel/Disney might gloss over any changes without really addressing there having been any impact. Stuff changes in the past but only has an effect in the present and so everyone is where they were but alive and existing.

If I could have one wish regarding Endgame, it would be this (aside from all the character deaths): If there is any sort of dimension/universe hopping, I want a Rick and Morty reference. It will NEVER happen, I mean why would it? But that would be my one wish.

Spider-Man: Far from Home

Marvel 2019

image via Bullshit Express

Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of things that I’m certainly looking forward to in the Spider-Man sequel: Ned, the Peter/Fury interactions, Aunt May, and of course, seeing Jake Gyllenhaal step into the comic book villain role of Mysterio.

However, there is a certain concern that only seems to stem from Sony and their Superhero movie, and it’s something that I found in both Venom and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 (but also Green Lantern and even in Infinity War to a lesser extent) and that is these beings who don’t hold a physical shape but instead morph themselves into any shape they like. I really struggle to lose myself in a movie that uses this approach. When Iron-Man was fighting Thanos and kept just making these shields and shit, it broke the illusion that cinema usually holds over me.

So, if you’ve watched the Spider-Man: Far from Home trailer you may have some idea of what I’m referring to (although there is a very obvious explanation, but more on that in a moment). In the trailer, we see these “elemental” creatures or beings who are wreaking havoc across Europe. I hated it in Spider-Man 3 when Toby Maguire’s Spider-Man faced off with Venom (was that actually meant to be Venom? I always forget) and Sand-Man, and I hated it in Venom when they two symbiotes fight each other using various make-shift weapons.

My hope, but also my concern, is that this is all just Mysterio. I mean we know he’s going to be the villain, obviously…but wouldn’t that be the laziest twist in the world? I hope that is is Mysterio because if those creatures/being are real then I’ll be disappointed. However, I also hope that there is more going on than just Mysterio desperately seeking the admiration that the Avengers get and so he fakes attacks. He’s basically being Syndrome in Incredibles: using technology to fake an attack so he can be the hero, all to demonstrate being more powerful than the heroes he is actually jealous of.

One aspect of the MCU that I have thoroughly enjoyed has been this move from fantasy to sci-fi. I guess fantasy might be the wrong word…let me give you some examples: Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming wasn’t some bird-winged man but rather a regular guy making use of technology. Similarly, elements of “magic” have instead been given more scientific (and I use that term incredibly loosely) explanations. The exceptions being perhaps Loki, but even Doctor Strange dived into the idea of harnessing energy from various other dimensions, of which there are an infinite number.


Thanks for reading! Are you looking forward to these three MCU films? What are your hopes and/or concerns? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey Review!

So, despite my shouts of protest over the latest Assassin’s Creed game, my pride was crumpled by a 50% off sale on the X-box store. So, over the holidays, I managed to squeeze in about 60 hours of playing and as such, I’m here to share whether my original hatred for the game was justified or whether I need to take back my statement and announce my new-found love for all things Ubisoft!

I’m going to try my best to keep this post at least somewhat concise. I feel like I say that nearly every time I write a new one, but then 3,000 words later I’m staring back at a novel! In order to keep this short, I’m only going to look at two aspects of the game before drawing a conclusion: gameplay and storyline. To me, these are the two major elements of any Assassin’s Creed game.

Gameplay

image via GameAxis

So, I’m going to start off with the gameplay element. Even when I was ranting about my disapproval of this game many months ago, I always said that the gameplay would probably be great. Why wouldn’t it be? The gameplay in Origins was awesome and I completely loved it!

Combat

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

image via Instant-Gaming

Origins offered a fluid, more interactive, and ultimately more enjoyable fighting ability and system. Especially when you compare it to the rigid fighting style in the previous games. Odyssey matches Origins in that regard, taking many elements a step further and allowing for your fighting, hunting, and assassinating styles to be upgraded via the skill trees. This useful feature allows players to choose elements that match the way they play the game.

I loved fighting in Odyssey and I’ve always, always said that Assassin’s Creed needed RPG elements, even way back when I was writing about Rogue. Fighting higher level enemies is rarely impossible but always a challenge which makes you feel more involved in the game itself.

I also loved the mission aspect of Odyssey. The idea that the game never truly ends, due to there being at least 3 separate endings, allows players to feel like there is justification for staying in the Animus. This is something that always felt forced in previous games. Being able to jump between massive quest lines allows players to move from one story to the next whenever one grows a but tiresome or becomes too challenging due to the level difference of enemies.

Choice

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

image via Mashable

The choice aspect of the game was a concern for me. Again, it’s something that the games certainly needed, and in many ways I feel Odyssey did a great job of hitting the nail on the head. It had been suggested in Origins that Leia (or whatever the modern day character’s name is) would find a way to use the Animus as a sort of time machine, whereby she isn’t just reliving memories but actually altering the true event OR running a simulation of how things could have turned out IF those decisions had been made (as is suggested by the Isu in Odyssey).

However, while I did enjoy making certain choices and having that level of freedom, there was a major downside. It rarely felt like there was a right choice. Instead, it felt like every choice was either wrong or had no real bearing on the events of the game. I think Ubisoft tried too hard to force the players to make “difficult” decisions instead of focusing on how these decisions would change game events.

The same goes for choosing which side to fight for: Athens or Sparta. Ultimately, you must choose different sides in different situations in order to follow quests or to hunt certain cult members. This made the battles seem hollow in the grand scheme of things.

The Cult of Kosmos

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

image via AllGamers

The cult idea stems from a similar notion used in Origins whereby players “track” targets and essentially count down members until all are dead. Odyssey certainly stepped the game up here and hunting down cult members was fun and challenging. I enjoyed having to find clues or hunt other members before I could kill leaders. It actually felt like you were working your way through a hierarchy.

I do have an issue with the cult aspect though, but this relates more to the storyline than to the gameplay itself.

The mercenary aspect of the game seemed quite exciting at first but as I got more into it, I found it rather redundant. By the time I’d ranked up a couple of tiers, I stopped feeling the need to hunt down mercenaries and instead I just killed them whenever they crossed my path (when in an aggressive manner). I still think this was a great part of the game, particularly when your bounty shot up and you suddenly had 4 bounty hunters chasing you down. It worked well within storylines but also during free roam. Speaking of storylines…

Storyline

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

image via GameRevolution

While my opinion on the gameplay is almost entirely positive, the opposite is true when it comes to the storyline. I’d read many great reviews about Odyssey, with many stating that the emotional journey topped any of the previous games. Honestly, I found it all a bit much. Aspects of it were great and really made me feel like Ubisoft were back in the game, but other areas just couldn’t be ignored.

Good vs Bad

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

image via Wikia

To keep this balanced, I’m going to start with the story elements that were great. Firstly, I loved the way Odyssey blurred the lines between good and evil. In previous games, it’s been one group of people against another. In Assassin’s Creed III, for example, all of the Brits were the bad guys while all of the soon-to-be Americans were the good guys. Previous games typically take the approach that those in power are evil while those under the boot are the good guys.

Odyssey throws that to the wind by having cult members literally everywhere. There’s no reason to trust anyone (and as the game progressed I found myself trusting nobody). Sparta has cult members, Athens has cult members, your own family has cult members, and even the mercenaries have cult members. You don’t feel like the idea of good vs evil is being divided into two clear-cut groups.

Family Connections

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

imag via IGN

I have mixed feelings about the family storyline. On the one hand, I loved the connection to the ISU and the idea of a sacred bloodline. It explains WHY this family are so special, rather than it simply being a case of them being at the right place at the right time. It also explains all the different pieces of Eden floating around in Ancient Greece (more on that in a moment). However, I felt that some of the story arcs were just a little bit too far.

I’m sure we all knew from the start that Kassandra survived the fall because it just made sense…but then to learn that she was kidnapped by an evil organisation after surviving the fall, after her mother taken her to doctors, after her family had allowed her to be dropped from a ledge in the first place….after, after, after…then to learn that you mother was a pirate and your adopted father is the leader of the Spartan army while your biological father is a 120 year old man living at the gates of the lost city of Atlantis while he tries to decode an ancient language…and you’re descended from Leonidas!

Again, it sort of makes sense when you consider the bloodline element and so it’s hard for me to hate it completely but at times I felt like I was watching some awful tale of a broken home. I think the Pythagoras element was just one step more than I could handle.

The Pieces of Eden

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

image via Polygon

For me, the pieces of Eden were the major downfall of this game. Although, in saying that, they are the downfall of most of the Assassin’s Creed games. I get why they need to be in the story. Without them, it wouldn’t really feel like as Assassin’s Creed game…but then Odyssey really wasn’t an Assassin’s Creed game. You CAN assassinate people but you’re not part of the order.

Here is why the pieces of Eden annoyed me: there were at least 7 in this game! There are 4 apples of Eden, although it seems like none of these are apples that we’ve seen in previous games which means that there are at least 6, if not more in the world. The staff seemed a bit pointless and I don’t really understand its purpose. Why would a piece of Eden have been created to extend human life?

Then you have the spear which on its own I didn’t have a problem with. The same goes for the weird pyramid which requires all the various triangle segments. Now the pyramid may not have been a piece of Eden but rather just Isu technology (although I’m inclined to believe that it is indeed a POE) but it’s how the two interacted that I don’t understand.

Why would you need to use part of one piece of Eden in order to randomly upgrade another piece of Eden at a forge which apparently serves no other purpose beyond upgrading said POE? Why would the Isu NEED to upgrade the spear at all? When a civilisation has literal mind-control devices, what need to they have of a crazy-ass spear that can only be upgraded by cannablising another POE?

Mythical Creatures

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

image via RockPaperShotgun

So, when I first encountered the Sphinx in Odyssey, I was both intrigued and disappointed. On the one hand, I had always said that Ubisoft should just stop labelling these games “Assassin’s Creed” and instead make similar style games about mythical aspects of ancient time periods. On the other hand, I enjoyed this somewhat twisted idea that these mythical creatures were people who had been used by the Isu or by the pieces of Eden themselves, in order to create these abominations that now guard the POE.

So that element on its own was fine because I could see why it would make sense within the Assassin’s Creed world. However, you then discover a cyclops on Andros who isn’t connected to a POE and is serving no real function whatsoever. It’s just there to fight you and nothing else. Why bother giving the other creatures explanations when you’re then going to create the same creature but have it just there…doing fucking nothing!

I’ve also been led to believe that there is a Kraken somewhere in the game which I can only assume follows the same illogical premise as the random-ass cyclops. There’s also the random-ass island called Angry Caldera of Arges which contains what looks like an Isu temple symbol labelled “Cyclops Arges” but is actually just empty space. One can only assume that Ubisoft are going to throw creatures there (presumably a cyclops) once they decide to finish the game.

Atlantis

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

image via YouTube

Atlantis was without a doubt my BIGGEST disappointment in this game. When I first headed into the temple and met Pythagoras, I was so excited. I personally love the story of Atlantis (although it’s more likely that the site of Atlantis is on the North-West side of Africa which would have once been mostly underwater but I can see why they wanted to include it here) and so being able to connect it to the Isu riled me up.

To then learn that you’re not going to get to explore Atlantis at all, was a let-down. This would have been the perfect opportunity to give players more information on the Isu, maybe even a vision or insight into the goings on of Isu history and life. Instead, we get the same old messages to the Animus user and cryptic symbols and subtext. I’m getting pretty bored of utterly meaningless Isu messages and their mindless squabbling between one another. You’ll notice that Juno still hasn’t conquered the world!

I don’t see any point in waving Atlantis in front of the player’s face, only to tell them that it needs to be blocked to outside interferences. Something that didn’t even happen because Alexios keeps the staff for himself until Leia (might not be her name) takes it from him. I think Ubisoft are not only running out of ideas, but they also have no real direction for these games. I’m not sure they ever had any real direction for the series as a whole. Up until Assassin’s Creed III, the story made some sense. Then it got ridiculous and nonsensical and ultimately pointless until Origins which almost opened the door for Odyssey but then Ubisoft went through a different door entirely.

Summary

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

image via Mashable

So…do I need to retract my original statement about Odyssey being the final nail in Ubisoft’s coffin? Yes and no. The truth is, Odyssey was a great game to play. I certainly can’t deny that after spending 60 hours playing it. However, for me at least, gameplay only makes up a part of any game. I much prefer a game with a GREAT storyline but poor gameplay rather than the opposite.

That’s not to say that the story for Odyssey was awful. I think Ubisoft made some tremendous progress and it was undoubtedly better than I expected it to be. In fact, I can break down my opinion on the story a little further. I found the storyline for Ancient Greece and the story of Alexios to be a little ridiculous but still entertaining and interesting (for the most part).

My problem lies mostly with the Isu elements of the game and the modern-day storyline as we follow Lelu or Leigh or whoever. Neither of these made a great deal of sense and I feel like Ubisoft needs to have a meeting where they sit down and decide where to go. They need to STOP churning out games and instead have a discussion where someone says “what the fuck are we doing in the modern day? What is the end goal? Will the story ever come to a conclusion? Will we ever see a proper Isu storyline? Will players ever get to use the Animus to access Isu memories?

What does annoy me (but is also something that at this stage doesn’t shock me) is Ubisoft including content in DLCs that seems vital to the overall storyline. DLC content should be additional. Why are we seeing the creation of the Brotherhood or the origins of the hidden blade in DLCs? That is shit that should be happening in the main game!



Thanks for reading! What did you think of Odyssey? What do you hope Ubisoft’s next step will be? Let me know down below! 

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