Assassins Creed: Origins hadn’t particularly been in the forefront of my mind for this year’s Christmas rush, despite me having played nearly every one of it’s predecessors, however Ubisoft taking an extra year to develop Origins has really paid off.
Although at its core it’s still an Assassin’s Creed game (Making silly jumps and some spammy combat), I quite often forgot that I was playing a game that takes place in their unique world and timeline; Origins feels more like an RPG set in the Egyptian times, which is as good as it sounds.
There are times where I feel like this is the game I always wanted from the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and the more I play it the more I want to play it – As soon as I started the game it felt different… Much grander than ever before, more richer and full of life.
Gameplay & Combat
First off (And something which has been of much focus pre-release), the combat is much more refined and requires a lot more than button bashing to survive. You have a huge array of weapons at your disposal so you can fight in any way you desire, depending on what suits you, and each weapon requires some getting used to. There are 4 different types of bows from a normal hunter bow (My preferred choice) to a sniper bow, to other variants – You unlock an ability later on to equip two, and switch between them swiftly; very handy depending on if you’re sneaking or brawling (You can equip a rapid fire bow for close encounters, and a long range hunter bow for instance).
The melee weapon choice in Assassin’s Creed: Origins is absolutely nuts, there are 2 types of sword to use with a shield, dual swords, maces/blunt weapons, spears and more. These all drastically change how you fight. I’ve stuck with sword and shield as I find this is most effective, plus I kind of feel like a Spartan with my shield tactics! The shield itself is useful as you can properly block arrows and deflect attacks.
Alongside this you have a pretty thorough combat system which sometimes still makes you attack the air but most of the time is fun to use (Heavy attack to break shield, light attack to slash and destroy) and a new special attack which you build up whilst fighting, unleashing by holding R1 & R2, killing an enemy in one hit (And they’re badass). You’ve also got the random awesome finishers which are always fun to watch.
Not only the combat but everything has had an over haul. The crafting has completely changed, for example you can increase your health by upgrading your breastplate, and the only way to improve this is with acquiring materials such as hard leather (Croc or hippo skin). This then brings in a very very enjoyable hunting element to the game, I spent hours just hunting goats and crocodiles. As you’re exploring the world these animals can also randomly attack you, I was decimated by a lion when hunting some hyenas for example.
The other ace part of this game is making use of Senu, your pet eagle. Senu is your eye in the sky and you need to use him (Her? It…?) to scan your objectives and tag your enemies, I actually spent ages just flying around admiring the vast intricate world that’s been created. This is a really fun way to pre-empt your attacks and plan how you’re going to take down a group of enemies leading me into the stealth element…
Stealth is one thing Assassins Creed has always got right in my eyes (Except those god awful eavesdropping missions) and this improves on a proven formula. The game punishes you if you don’t take the time to plan your attack and, if you’re like me, there’s much more satisfaction in successfully completing a planned stealth attack as opposed to just charging in. Sneaking around feels much more realistic and you’re very easily noticed. The areas enemies dwell also vastly change from a ruined to temple to a camp in the middle of the desert, this makes every attack different and unique in how you plan it.
There are also little touches like your voice changing when wearing a helmet for cut scenes which show they’ve really taken time on the smaller things. All of these elements make for a rich, complex, exciting, busy world which is just waiting to be explored, resulting in many hours of pure fun not even involving side quests. I’ve even enjoyed exploring the underwater parts of the game which I usually hate.
Another little tidbit I enjoyed was that when another player is killed (Anyone playing who’ve connected online) a skull symbol appears and for a small amount of XP you can avenge them by despatching the enemies who killed them.
The look of this game is insanely good for such a big game. It easily has some of the best water graphics I’ve seen, the smaller bodies of water look near enough real. And the moving sand wherever you are is a really nice touch and kind of crazy that it works everywhere as there’s so much desert.
The character models are also really good, especially in cutscenes, a couple of times this also looked near real. It’s actually really hard to pick fault with the game graphics as, the majority of the time, I was spending time admiring my surroundings, especially the carvings in the temple walls. So far I feel like there’s nothing that’s really been missed which is not often said about Creed games.
The story line isn’t something I’ve massively pursued as I’ve been spending so much time just exploring and having fun with side quests. It takes place during Cleopatra‘s ascent to the throne – Our protagonist, Bayek, returns to his homeland to discover it’s been overtaken by an evil king, Ptolemy. His return takes him across Egypt whilst he searches for the men who wronged him, being the evil priests who killed your son and fuelled your thirst for vengeance.
You’ll visit various old friends as part of the story and side quests that lead you across nearly every inch of ancient Egypt; the story is gripping and a tale of intrigue, playing a Medjay who’s job is to protect the people.
So far I’m really enjoying the game and I can say it’s probably the best Creed game I’ve played (I at least put it up with 2 and Black Flag) in modern memory. They seem to have put all of the best parts of other games into one with improved stealth, combat and general exploration. I know this is going to be a game I’ll thoroughly enjoy, especially as it becomes more of an RPG.
That being said it still isn’t blowing me away for some reason, although I can’t pick many faults with it, and I know I’m going to enjoy every second, I still feel that it isn’t the best game ever, regardless.
My score could change but i give it an 8/10.