As the title of the game suggests it is a game about the origin of the Assassin’s Creed, how they came to be the organisation that they are by the time of Altair in the first Assassin’s Creed game. There are some special treats for long time fans of the series, especially those that paid attention to Ezio’s adventure with what for me was a surprise appearance from Amunet (the name I knew but her story I had forgotten).
A lot of people that follow Assassin’s Creed news would have known that there was a completely new combat system in this game, this combat system was more like the one in the Witcher series than to previous Assassin’s Creed titles with light and heavy attacks as well as blocking and archery. The changes to combat are probably a good thing but being a long-time fan of the series, it took me a while to adjust to the new controls for example the X button on old Assassin’s Creed games was the attack button whereas now it does dodging which meant when I was trying to attack or assassinate someone near the start of the game I was just rolling into people I wanted to kill. Once I had got used to the control change I was loving it, starting fights whenever I could. This caused another problem for me though, it didn’t feel like Assassin’s Creed, it felt more like a warrior game where the warrior could parkour.
Bosses even come in to it, not always as targets, sometimes it can just be fort captains. There are war elephants and a beastmaster as well as the deadly Phylakes who are bounty hunters that could attack at any point and will be tough for inexperienced, lower levelled players. There’re also some more interesting bosses that are a little unexpected, but I’ll let you discover them for yourselves
The memory sequences as levels had also changed to a pure open world where the only thing stopping you going wherever you wanted to was a level system which would make the enemies in some locations too tough to handle and if you’re worried that other areas would become too easy then there is a button in the options menu to make lower levelled enemies scale to your level. Overall this was probably a good thing, but I’d get annoyed when I had cleared an area while exploring but the game was sending me back on a mission. There was one area which only opened when I was doing a mission so revisiting it was good as that meant I had seen everything in the area by the time I was done with it.
Eagle vision is gone, the thing that allowed previous assassins to see enemies, friendlies, objectives and hiding spots lit up has been replaced with an actual eagle but using this eagle felt exactly like the bird in Far Cry Primal. The bird would locate enemies and any interesting items, scoping out the place for you, then you’d go in and deal with what had been seen. Personally, I didn’t like this change, I feel Assassin’s Creed has started to lose its identity when it removes a core thing, plus it’s never really explained how future assassins got their version of eagle vision unless someone has bred with the eagle at some point. Not only did we have an eagle to replace eagle vision, there was also an area scan that would show you where loot able items and objectives were which sounds like exactly what eagle vision was but instead of being a vision mode it is more like a pulse. The pulse was required for investigations so that you could find what you were investigating.
My least favourite thing about this game – actually I hated this bit – was ship combat. Black Flag was in my opinion the worst Assassin’s Creed game because it was more about pirates than assassins which meant you were battling in a big pirate ship. Naval combat makes a return, not a big return but in some sections of the game you are forced to use a ship to fight off other ships. This has obviously been put in because lots of people liked the naval combat of Black Flag but I’m not a fan.
You also switch characters when doing naval combat, going from your main character whose weapons and skills you’ve chosen for your preferred playstyle to a character that may or may not work well for you based on your choices. I didn’t like the skillset I was given so didn’t like the sections of the game where it switched.
The main character is Bayek of Siwa and his plot is a lot like Ezio’s in that it starts out as a revenge quest but turns into more once someone tells him a bit more. The character is built well, through him the game explores the loss of a child and we learn about his reactions to children, foreigners, religion and snakes as well as the fact that he swears when lit on fire, making it more believable. There were even simple star based puzzles to tell the player more about the man’s time with his child.
One thing about Assassin’s Creed that will never change is having a chat in a cutscene after you have stabbed an important target. The pieces of Eden were still important. There was still story in the modern day as you exited the animus. The climbing still needs some work because I’ve died too many times over the years to forgive the random diving off of buildings. Well, the old Assassin’s Creed is still clinging on, but things have changed, many of them for the better.
As for issues with the game itself I had some graphical issues that didn’t affect much and got stuck inside a wall once, but reloading solved that; these issues should have been ironed out, but the game was so big I didn’t mind too much.
How would I rate it though? It’s great, one of the better games I’ve played in a while. The games starring Ezio are still my favourites but Bayek and the Origins story are now in second place for me. It was probably due to my choices and playstyle, but it felt more like Far Cry mixed with the Witcher than the super stealthy assassin games that I’ve played for years. Considering there was no Assassin’s Creed release the year before Assassin’s Creed Origins released I’d say it was a great game and well worth the wait but sadly I think they should end it there, end it on a high and not bring on the dread that fans had after Unity.
Ezio made the series great. Bayek revived that greatness.
The art that I’m using as the featured image was found on the achievements section of the Xbox website. This artwork uses an interesting trick, the hero is smaller than the environment with the great pyramid looming over the scene, this shows that the hero isn’t important to the world, the great sprawling world that a man can explore over water, city or monument, there’s some desert crossing in game too. The artwork shows all the player needs to know and looks almost as impressive as the game itself.