As you all know by now, I’m a sucker for a Steelbook, so whenever I’m given the option of one I jump at it. I’m happy I did, this has to be one of the best-looking steel books I’ve seen in a very long time. The images don’t really do it justice as the Characters are a glossy finish making them almost pop off the cover
Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get my hands on one of the big collector’s editions to review, although it would have been nice. I had to buy the game just like all of you. (Thanks Ubisoft!)
Anyway, now the salutations are done with and we discussed my obsession with fancy cases. Let’s get down to the real reason everyone is here. To find out if this game is worth the pretty pennies they are asking for.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is the Eighth main release in the franchise by Ubisoft and this time around we get to explore the ‘Origins’ of the Assassins Brotherhood (hence the title). According to Ubisoft the reason this has taken 2 years to release was because they wanted to reinvigorate the franchise and give is a new lease of life.
The Story (Don’t worry I won’t drop any major Spoilers) follows Bayek, a Medjay. Part of a long lineage throughout his family of Guards to the Pharaoh, Protectors of Egypt if you like (I’m sure any 90s The Mummy fans will recall the Medjay playing a big role). A secret organisation kidnap Bayeks son in an attempt to blackmail him, During the struggle that ensues between Bayek and the Kidnappers his son is killed.
The game follows his pursuit for revenge and the forming of the Assassin Brotherhood.
You start the game inside a Cave / Tomb after just hunting down one of the people responsible for Bayeks sons murder, the exploration of this cave is essentially the tutorial. I always like it when a game does it this way as you’re not tied to a linear path as such and just explore on your own with little prompts on how to progress when you come across something new.
One of the first things I noticed when starting the game was how the Eagle vision had changed. I was fully aware that Ubisoft said this was going to be different due to them including Senu (the eagle). Instead we get what feels like a pulse sent out in all directions highlighting anything collectible in the area (it doesn’t highlight enemies). Although it was different it still felt very natural and didn’t take any time adjusting to which made me happy as I have always been an AC fan so I didn’t want a complete overhaul to turn it into something else.
Speaking of Senu, he has a huge part to play in helping Bayek. Where eagle vision was used in the past, this time Senu takes flight and you guide him around the areas of importance. Especially when you need more information (such as the number of enemies within). Pressing L2 slows time and allows for a more focused search of the area. I’m hoping that somewhere further down the line they give an explanation as to how the Assassins progressed from eagles to having that sight themselves.
One of the biggest question marks in the build-up to Assassin’s Creed Origins was Ubisoft’s claim that this year Origins would be a completely revamped game (hence the year out) turning the AC franchise into more of a dedicated RPG format. In my opinion, they have done a pretty good job of doing just that, without sacrificing the things that made Assassin’s Creed a favourite in itself.
Not only are there more options in terms of weapons available (which now have both rarity and DPS stats). This time Instead of just going to the nearest weapons merchant and buying the best weapons they have included an upgrade option where you can improve the rare and legendary items to match your level, so your able to hang on to those weapons which feel good with your play style.
On the topic of weapons, the combat has been completely overhauled. The single button reversal system from the previous games has been taken away and replaced with a more focused system that involves adjusting your weapons and approach for varying enemy types. This works really well and honestly didn’t take long before I was adjusting my weapons etc. without really even stopping to think about it.
The HUD has been drastically reduced to give a more realistic feel. The mini map has been completely removed and replaced with a more skyrimesque compass across the top of the screen with the different nearby activities shown as you move around. I personally really like this change as it enables me to spend more time looking at the surroundings and focusing on the game I’m playing rather than at a small circle in the corner that shows everything.
While on the topic of the map, I know Ubisoft said the world would be much bigger this time but I really wasn’t expecting it to be as large as it is. The other thing that will be a pleasant experience to AC fans is that after the first ‘memory’ the game opens up and becomes a true open world. Although the map shows blacked out areas and a level recommendation, this can be ignored and you can travel through them (although you will get your arse kicked and sent packing) but it’s nice to have the option.
Upon first starting the game and seeing this as the map, I thought ok its not huge but I’m sure it will fill out and feel larger when travelling (i am fairly zoomed out here, and the icons with the green arrow above are the fast travel points). It wasn’t until after the first memory played out that the map fully revealed itself and the piece you see above is actually only a very small section (see image below)
With the inclusion of an open world this size, they have scrapped the ‘memory’ layout from the previous versions of the game (or at least in the traditional format). They have adopted more of a quest based gameplay seen in game like The Witcher, Skyrim etc. then slotted the memory element inside the main storyline quests. For me this has been a long time coming, but still a very welcome addition and something I really hope they continue with in the future.
I know one of the main complaints people have had with Assassin’s Creed in the past is the amount of time spent playing outside the Animus (i.e. Desmond). Well this time while there are times you come out for the story, it’s much smaller and the focus has clearly been planted on Bayek and the areas of the game everyone wanted to stay in.
Finally, I think it’s only fair that we discuss the Market place (Micro transactions), given how it’s been a pretty popular topic of conversation recently. In Origins, these transactions are a little subtler and honestly don’t impact the game in any way (unless you specifically want them to). Everything you can purchase can be obtained through normal gameplay quite easily. For me it shows how a triple A title should use these (assuming they feel they need to use them at all – but that’s a topic for another time).
They have introduced a Market trader who is called the Nomad Bazaar, he gives you timed quests that once completed helps you to obtain rare or legendary gear (items that you could obtain from the Micro transactions.) My first conversation with the Nomad was rather humorous (if not a little disturbing). Bayek asks him how he came to obtain such rare items to which the Nomad replies ‘Through Long Lonely Nights in the Desert with my Camel’.
Maybe we should leave it there… Each Nomad to his own! (We do not judge!)
There have been more than a few images around of Origins, so I don’t really need to tell you that it looks amazing, that’s pretty much a given. Instead here I’ll talk about the added bits that make it stand out compared to previous editions.
Origins has a very nice Photo mode that can be started by pressing L3 and R3 together. Given the setting of Origins this is a very nice touch, and something I think Assassins Creed would have benefited from years ago (During the Ezio Trilogy especially).
Unfortunately, there are a few issues, the usual bugs that Assassin’s Creed has suffered with. Wall breaks, frame rate drops etc. none of which detract too much from the overall experience, but they are there and it is a shame.
Something that I didn’t expect which surprised me was the inclusion of Sandstorms. Now as a fan of the Mad Max game (which did the sandstorms and weather elements really well). I was happy to see the way this was introduced. The subtle warnings of an incoming storm, if you’re out in the open you can see it rolling in. Then the red haze that envelopes everything as the storm passes. All look really smooth and authentic (for someone who has never actually been in a sandstorm).
The Collectors editions of Origins all come with a CD Soundtrack, whenever I see this it gives me high expectations for the Audio at least in terms of music.
The score for AC Origins has been put together nicely for the game, although for me it’s not exactly outstanding. It tends to fall into the background.
The voice acting for the most part is very good, all the main characters dialogue is well delivered, unfortunately though as is the case with many open world games the other characters tend to have the same dialogue and voices which at times can feel a little annoying… But hey on the bright side you don’t De-Sync for killing Citizens anymore so if anyone becomes very annoying… just assassinate them.
With a world map this size and the side quests, id safely say there are quite a few hours of gameplay here. Then there are all the collectable scrolls, weapons, outfits. Unfortunately, I don’t have the DLC content yet so can’t really give any opinion on how much extra content this provides (I will give an update for each additional mission as soon as I can).
In terms of replay ability, I’d say it’s the same as any other AC title, if you enjoy it then yea there is plenty to play over and do again. (if you don’t get 100% completion first time around you may even find new side quests.)
For any Trophy Hunters out there, this game has 51 trophies to collect (20 of which are hidden) so more than enough to keep even an avid collector busy.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is a worthy addition to the franchise and in my opinion, is among It’s best. I’d still have to say Assassins Creed 2 is my favourite, but Origins certainly has me excited for where they can go in the future.
Ubisoft taking a year out after Syndicate was definitely the right move (I’ll admit I was wrong when I said they didn’t need to as Syndicate was a perfectly good game). I still say that I enjoyed Syndicate but Origins is by far a better game.
If you’re a fan of the franchise then this is without a doubt a must. If you’re not a fan of Assassin’s Creed then, unfortunately, I don’t think this game is enough of a change to bring you onboard (but then again if you don’t like Assassin’s Creed why are you reading an AC review?) For the Casual gamer and RPG fan, I would highly recommend this title and as such I feel this game truly deserves a Thumb Culture Platinum Award
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.
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