When you think back at franchises that have taken the gaming world by storm, Assassin’s Creed ranks right up there. With an open world, a strong narrative and innumerable things to do in a world set in the most amazing time periods, it’s a series that has gamers going back to it time and again.
But while that sounds good on paper, I ended up feeling that the games had, over time gotten diluted in a sense. A big open world filled with things to do eventually became a world that would overwhelm you with tasks, making it all feel a little too tiresome in the end.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins, however, tackles the issue in a sublime way. It made the world a living, breathing one where you connected with every NPC, not just the major characters. That said, the major characters are fleshed out and you feel like you want to know more about each of them than just get quests for XP. I felt a similar connection to the world in Assassin’s Creed Unity, but with Origins, they’ve mastered it. Making every interaction, side quest or even fending off bandits during your travels memorable.
Bayek is a good choice for a protagonist that is fleshed out and the player immediately connects with. That connection only deepens as more of the story is revealed to show why a man sworn to protect goes on a warpath against masked villains only known with nicknames like The Scarab, Snake and so on who are puppeteers pulling the strings for Ptolemy.
Aya his wife is another strong character and provides some temperance to Bayek, keeping Bayek’s mind on their end goal and ready to go to any extremes to get it. If Lady Macbeth was a good woman, I’d imagine Aya is what she would have been like.
Loot chests do make an appearance but it is implemented in the right way. Well, I’m not sure if there is a right way to implement loot chests but it’s done in the least annoying way with it being more about short cuts than things that you need to have.
In a lot of ways Origins feels like the final version on a list full of prototypes, you’ll see familiar things from previous series done in better ways. You have large open world of Unity, stretched and expanded to give you the biggest map in an Assassin’s Creed game yet, what’s surprising is that it never feels tiring to travel.
So much so that this is the first ever Assassin’s Creed game where I’ve completely ignored the fast travel option, riding through the desert and seeing what it throws my way was just too much fun to pass up by a lengthy right click.
The modern day story has Layla trying to uncover the secrets of a tomb she’s investigating which turns out to be of Bayek’s. The breaks between the ‘Animus’ world and that of the ‘real world’ isn’t too frequent and even when it is, it’s not forcing you into doing things right from the start. It’s a gradual increase that will have Layla chat with her friend over the comms and reveal more of the story and characters.
I’ve stopped caring about the outside ‘real world’ story in Assassin’s Creed games, right around the time they went all alien gods on us. But it’s nice that it’s not in your face right from the start.
The battle mechanic has been changed up and feels more like an RPG than the ‘counter’ friendly way of the old Assassin’s Creed and Batman games. While you felt like you could take on numerous enemies in the previous versions, Origins makes it a little bit more difficult, making sure the enemies are quite capable of playing the numbers game with you with tougher enemies called ‘Phylakes’ entering the game as the story moves on picking your fights is more strategic than ever before.
You can kill Phylakes, but unless they are a level below you, I’d advice you to turn tail and run. Phylakes are given a defensive buff over that of their level so picking a fight with a Phylake that’s the same level as yours can itself be a very challenging task, let alone fighting a higher level one.
Being a fan of Egypt and the lore that comes with it, Origins was an incredible experience as it does an awesome job of bringing this world, lore and all, to life with the quests, side quests and even things like crafting. Meeting Cleopatra was awesome and
While it was introduced in Assassin’s Creed 3, crafting and hunting was more of a bother than it was a feature I was excited about, that changes in Origins with it never being something you’re forced to do, but still enjoy when you’re travelling across the world.
The game is far from perfect, Hard mode, just doesn’t feel like hard mode. As the difficulty feels normal at best and I honestly think they just put ‘Hard’ as a label on normal difficulty to stroke our egos.
The game also has mission breaking bugs like getting trapped between a ladder and a wall or your horse getting stuck somewhere so that you have to move a bit further away and ‘Whistle’ for it again.
Optimization isn’t the best with frame drops being an issue even on a machine that’s well above the recommended specs. I personally had a few frame drops, they weren’t frequent, but they were still annoying. I also noticed some issues when capturing with OBS, the game itself ran well but the captured content, as can be seen in a clip or two in the review, suffered from stuttering. This may not necessarily be a fault of Assassin’s Creed: Origins, it is to be noted that it’s the only game that had this issue.
All that said, Assassin’s Creed: Origins is a massive step forward for a series that had become bland and dry. It’s funny how Origins feels more alike Assassin’s Creed I and II than the editions that followed.
Even with the bugs and other issues that haunted me throughout the game, this was the first time in a long time I felt I couldn’t tear myself away from an Assassin’s Creed Game and that’s a testament to how good a game Assassin’s Creed: Origins is.
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