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Assassin’s Creed Origins

Posted by GG Goblin On November - 14 - 2017

Hey AC! You look rested after your break.

 
Another year, another game in a popular series. That is the way of things for many of our biggest game franchises, and to be honest, it doesn’t really do the games any favors. After feeling fatigued with the most recent Assassin’s Creed entries, it was quite a surprise to hear that Ubisoft were going to take a break for a year, giving their developers an extra 12 months of development time on what would be the next game in the series. I wish that other popular series would make the same decision, because the result is easily one of the best Assassin’s Creed games so far. And, for Assassin’s Creed Origins, we go back to the beginning.

 
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As is hinted at by the title, Assassin’s Creed Origins is all about the origins of the Assassin’s Brotherhood. So back we go to ancient Egypt where we find a new hero, Bayek, and follow his personal tale as he gets tangled up with the Order of the Ancients and an artifact known as the Apple of Eden. It is a really deep and engrossing tale which will carry the player through a good 60+ hours when the huge number of side quests are taken into account, and the depth of the main character, Bayek, makes the whole journey thoroughly enjoyable. Bayek is easily the most likable and enjoyable Assassin’s Creed hero to play as for a long time.

 
But surely all of that extra development time couldn’t have been spent simply creating a likable protagonist? While this could be considered to be a soft reboot of the Assassin’s Creed series, and many aspects of the game remain the same as the previous entries, there are some notable changes that seem to be trying to make the game better.

 
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The combat in the game is the most obvious change, the one that players will notice immediately. The quick flowing, almost invincible style of the previous games has been toned down and made more realistic, as befitting someone who has perhaps not been trained as an assassin. There is more threat to the combat and it is easy to get overwhelmed, forcing Bayek to regularly consider other approaches. There is no counter now, leaving the player to rely on blocking or dodging in between attacks. It flows really well and feels new and exciting, with the early game before Bayek has improved his skills being more of a challenge, making the progression more meaningful as well.

 
When it comes to the stealth aspects and the parkour-style running and climbing, which are perhaps the most useful when avoiding combat, there don’t seem to be any huge changes. It does feel quite familiar, although the setting obviously tones down the cool gadgets that the assassins would be accustomed to. Eagle Vision has had a big change though, with Bayek actually having a pet Eagle to use for all of that spotting and enemy marking. Swapping to Senu, the Eagle, is quickly done with the press of a button, and then the player can guide it around the area to check out where enemies or targets are and even, later in the game, get involved. It’s a nice addition, although feels a little cumbersome and difficult to control at times.

 
The setting is where the real changes have been made. Bayek’s journey will take him to a massive number of different locations, with a wide range of different environments to explore. And exploration is the order of the day, because players are given much more freedom in how they experience the different areas of the game. There is a huge amount of freedom here, with something new to look at or do around every corner. Standard side quests litter the maps, and interesting distractions that occasionally come up offer something a little different, such as the exciting chariot racing. As always, the amount there is to do can be a little overwhelming, but the great setting ensures that players will want to keep coming back.

 
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A healthy skill tree will keep players busy as Bayek levels up, and the huge amount of loot that he gathers will add teeth to is progression, with a variety of different rarities of weapon and such giving players that push to find more. There is a crafting system to improve equipment, or make your own, further adding more for the player to do.

 
Visually, Origins is absolutely beautiful, even on a standard console. I can only imagine how good it would look on the Pro or X. The environments really compliment the game, and offer plenty of moments where just standing and looking is enough, and the character models are also well made. There are the occasional bugs, but these are what we come to expect in an Assassin’s Creed game, so we shouldn’t be surprised that even with that extra year, some slipped through the cracks.

 
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I don’t know if it was the break for me, or the extra year for the developers, but Assassin’s Creed Origins has made the series fresh and exciting again. Black Flag was one of my favorite AC games, and Origins compares well in scope, and actually rates higher with some of the improvements made. It is still an Assassin’s Creed game and in the grand scheme of things, the changes are only small. Assassin’s Creed Origins offers a huge game world and plenty to do in it while discovering the origins of the Brotherhood of Assassins and there age-old battle with the Templars. I wouldn’t say that I missed Assassin’s Creed last year, but I am glad it is back.

 

 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 



 

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