REVIEW — Assassin’s Creed: Origins

Q&A Corner
Video Game Review:
Assassin’s Creed: Origins
By: Skippy Midnight

Assassin’s Creed: Origins was released on October 27, 2017 and the hype just doesn’t stop. Since the initial leak in January of 2016, I have been waiting and on the edge of my seat for the announcement and release of the newest edition to the franchise. After Ubisoft took a year off due to their most recent entries lacking depth and story, they have given birth to a new era of how to play AC; the RPG style brings a breath of fresh air to their games.

Assassin’s Creed Origins may never replace Ezio and Assassin’s Creed II, but here are some things you should know and reasons Origins is perhaps one of the best games releasing this Fall.

Pass or Play? Highly Recommend Play. The open world RPG environment together with a completely revamped combat system and character leveling, makes this 10th major installment in the Assassin’s Creed family, a must play  for any fan of the series and a great entry title for new players alike.  Assassin’s Creed Origins is available on PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox One, PC, and Xbox One X.

Assassin’s Creed Origins is an immersive, sprawling open world RPG that follows the story of Bayek, a native of Siwa and the last of the Medjay, a warrior people. Driven from his home to unravel a mystery, Bayek’s adventures in Origins takes him all around Ancient Egypt as he tries to make sense of what is happening.  Bayek, and his journey in Origins, paves the way for the creation of the Assassin’s Brotherhood and as such, is a canon prequel to all of the AC games that have come before.

Combat & Stealth

Assassin’s Creed Origins was developed by Ubisoft Montreal, the same team behind Assassin’s Creed IV (Black Flag). With Origins, they have introduced a “hitbox” combat system instead of the “paired animation” system previously used, making combat more difficult, but more satisfying and rewarding. Along with this, they have introduced a crafting system that allows the player to determine what kind of master assassin they will create.  Using Ability points (more on this below), you, the player, decide if your assassin will focus on strengthening his armor? Weapons? Stealth ability? And lets not forget, leveling up the hidden blade.

Speaking of hidden blades, you can no longer one shot enemies with that deadly concealed knife. Enemies now have levels, and if an enemy is a higher level than you, they can spot your assassination attempt. This is why we stress upgrading and crafting better tools. Along with combat comes stealth. In Origins, all stealth is environmental—not social— which sadly means saying goodbye to benches and small groups of four to five NPCs walking around for you to blend with. However due to the vast and open world, there were not a lot of social stealth opportunities in nay case.

Goodbye Blade in the Crowd, Hello Blade in the Bush! This may be hard for some long time AC fans to get used to, but looking forward, its needed!

Relatable and Likable Characters

In my time experiencing the game, most if not all the characters are likable, enjoyable, and relatable. The game’s protagonist, Bayek, is more serious then some previous assassins in the franchise but still has a sense of humor. He’s excellent with children in the side quests I’ve played and is generally a good guy. Bayek and Aya, Bayek’s wife, have a great relationship too. They have been written phenomenally and it really feels like they love each other. Senu, a Bonelli’s eagle, is Bayek’s faithful companion and can be used in game to scout ahead of him.  According to the game developers, Senu is the origin of Eagle Vision, a long time AC staple.   On the historical characters front, being set at the decline of the Egyptian Empire and the nascent rise of the Roman Empire, we run into both Caesar and Cleopatra in Origins. Their depiction give a palpable vibe of power and dominance as they were both leaders with vast empires, constantly attempting to gain more. All of these characters have their own stories and you can really feel it.

Exploration

The open world is full of things to do. Whether it be side quests, completing locations, exploring tombs, horse racing, or gladiator battles, there is always something to do. There are ancient relics and Easter eggs galore throughout the open world. This is truly the most in depth Assassins Creed game to date. I haven’t even journeyed to all the regions and I am currently level 33 out of 40.

Story and Main Quests

I have yet to complete the story mode of Assassins Creed Origins, but so far it has taken us from Alexandria (a truly beautiful city I might add) to Memphis, to the great pyramids of Giza, which are a lot of fun to slide down! They truly nailed the flow of the game in terms of story telling. That being said, in the beginning of the game, there is an area where the pacing feels a bit quick, but nothing too outrageous. All the NPCs in the game have their own schedule and if you’re lucky a main quest target or two might just get killed by a hippo or a lion! Thus making the game all the more realistic and fun for the player to experience.

XP and Leveling

In Origins, the leveling system makes sense, and does not feel like some fantasy RPG game. As you kill enemies, perform assassinations, get headshots with a bow, or complete quests, you gain XP or experience points, making it seem like you are Bayek. Every task you do and complete increases your strength and stamina. When you level up, you gain Ability points. These Ability points unlock different skills Bayek can use and none are too far fetched or fantasy-like; keeping a tone of realism yet making the game all the more enjoyable and satisfying to play. The controllable arrow has gained some attention in this upgradable skill set, with some comparing it to the ever-whistling Yondu and his controllable arrow in Guardians of the Galaxy, but Ashraf Ismail, head of the Origins development team, stated during a livestream, “Its supposed to be like Bayek is putting an arc on the arrow, not like he’s controlling it with his mind.”

Overall, Assassin’s Creed Origins is truly amazing and highly recommended. It is enjoyable and entertaining yet easy to leave and pick back up if one chooses to do so, meaning its not overly addicting. Personally, it is my favorite Assassins Creed game to date. The level of detail is amazing and the sights and sounds of Ancient Egypt will take your breath away.

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