Welcome to Ancient Egypt
After a one-year hiatus, Ubisoft’s flagship franchise is back with Assassin’s Creed Origins. Playing as Bayek, in the game you’ll learn how the brotherhood of the Assassins was born. The story takes us way back to Ancient Egypt for another large-scale, open-world adventure. Let’s dive in together and explore this beautiful and grandiose experience!
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One
The birth of the Assassins
Assassin’s Creed: Origins tells us how the Assassins were born, and also how Bayek survives the death of his family. The story begins with some pretty brutal cinematics showing that fateful day when his family was slaughtered. It’s barbaric, but does the job of showing us why Bayek is so vengeful.
To ease you into the revamped Assassin’s Creed controls, there’s a touching sequence of events where Bayek reminisces about combat taught to him as a child. It’s a great way to get familiar with the controls while also adding character depth at the same time. I also loved the quests where you align stars in the sky to form constellations paying respect to Bayek’s family. This was a promise he made to his son and intends to keep!
A more personal story
In many ways, I found this Assassin’s Creed game more personal than others. On top of meeting great figures of the time, you’ll also interact with cousins, nephews and friends of Bayek. Plus, you’ll regularly lend a helping hand to those who need it, whether they are royalty or simple peasants. It’s part of Bayek’s work. Since the Assassins do not yet exist, your job as a Medjay is to protect the people and the pharaohs. You therefore accept a variety of quests all in the spirit of helping your community live and thrive.
Your journey across Ancient Egypt consists of a host of missions, both side and main quests. Each one helps your progress, offering you better equipment and crafting materials needed to make essential tools. Several different types of weapons can be found, like swords and bows, letting you experiment to find ones you’re most comfortable with. The bow in particular is interesting as it also doubles as a hunting tool. You can chase down a lion, tiger, and other animals each offering unique crafting materials to aid in your journey.
A living world
Assassin’s Creed: Origins offers a massive open world to explore. This living, breathing place is filled with settlements, enemy camps, and other points of interest. When you arrive at the outskirts of an enemy camp, it’s important to be discreet as guards are on the watch. If you get detected, they’ll rush all together attacking you with a bevy of swords, clubs, and arrows. Enemy animations are exceptionally lifelike, and the artificial intelligence has greatly improved since the last Assassin’s Creed.
Villages are built in the desert or bordering lush rivers and lakes. It’s incredible how alive and ever-evolving this world can be. You can see the population travelling between towns, or milling around as they go about their business. Guards tread the roads on horses or camels, which is something to watch out for. Wild animals are everywhere, too. I constantly got distracted by birds flying overhead, and when you dive underwater the fish move out of your way. You have to be careful in the wild though, dangerous animals like crocodiles and hippos lurk about, usually in groups!
Familiar, yet improved gameplay
The gameplay in Assassin’s Creed: Origins will be familiar to fans of the series. I felt comfortable from the start, despite the changes to combat mechanics and the introduction of Senu. This eagle ally of Bayek accompanies you everywhere, being your in-the-sky eyes and ears. Presumably, Senu is the precursor to the Assassins’ eagle vision, since she locates enemies’ location and helps plan your strategy. She also gains new skills and you develop Senu’s skill tree.
Fast travel returns in Origins, and is done by climbing to the top of a building to synchronize the area. This will activate fast travel making it easier to navigate the map as you go. Speaking of climbing, it feels way more natural this time around. You can climb pretty much everything and the grip points blend in perfectly with the decor. Climbable surfaces no longer seems artificially placed.
Challenges and daily missions add to the adventure
Each month, Ubisoft is offering Test of the Gods challenges for big rewards. They usually revolve around taking down a formidable foes, be it Anubis, Sobek or Sekhmet. As well, a street vendor will offer you a special quest daily. You have a deadline to finish it, so make sure you focus on not get distracted.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins is a solo adventure but those who crave competitive play can take part in fun chariot races. For these, you need to go to the racecourse in Alexandria. There you can compete against your friends’ best times to see who’s the fastest on a chariot. The races are not very easy to win, but I still enjoyed them a lot. It’s too bad the races weren’t full-blown multiplayer as that would have been even more fun.
I am a big fan of the Assassin’s Creed series, so I had high expectations for Origins. Despite the new controls, I quickly got into the groove like I’ve been used to for years. Origins improves on pretty much everything, and plays even better than the previous title. I also really enjoyed how personal Bayek’s story was as compared to past entries. No doubt about it, Assassin’s Creed is back this year in a huge way.
+ Huge number of quests to complete
+ Senu is a great companion
+ The new skill tree allows you to customize your experience
+ Total freedom to do what you want
+ Egypt is stunning to look at
– Combat takes a while to perfect
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5