Assassin’s Creed Origins is the first game in the franchise since Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Syndicate suffered quite a bit commercially thanks to Assassin’s Creed Unity that killed the franchise for many. While those two games were a year apart, Origins has seen the franchise take 2016 off for a better experience here and while it still is an Assassin’s Creed game, there are some marked improvements and also a few flaws.
The tenth major game in the franchise sees it go back to the roots of the assassins. It is set in ancient Egypt and you play as Bayek who is a Medjay. I’m a bit surprised that Ubisoft still felt the need to add the modern day component to their massive game here. Hopefully the next one sees this bit dropped because it is tiring and in many cases stretches things a bit too far. The core story here however is very strong and Bayek is a great character. The opening doesn’t do justice to the rest of the game both in terms of story and in terms of gameplay. It feels completely out of place.
There’s a lot to love when it comes to the gameplay here. It is still an Assassin’s Creed game by Ubisoft and if you weren’t a fan before, there isn’t much new here to draw you in but for fans, this is a great enhancement to the tried and tested formula. There are RPG lite mechanics with upgrades as you level up and you can use ability points into one of three types of upgrades. These heavily affect your play style. Combat is a lot of fun once you get the hang of things. Don’t expect to be able to get into battle with a horde of enemies here. Your best bet is drawing them out one by one and engaging in a more focussed combat experience. Levels here play a big difference as well and an enemy even 2 levels above you will pose a big threat and force you to grind a bit if you do want to tackle said enemy soon. You’re tasked with taking out individual targets in different parts of Egypt here. But the actual journey is where you will have the most fun. Exploring the fantastic locations Ubisoft has created is a joy. There’s a massive map available here with an equally massive amount of things for you to do.
One of the biggest strengths of the big Ubisoft games is in the locations they create. Watch_Dogs 2 was fantastic for this and now Origins raises the bar even higher. I’ve been playing this on a base PlayStation 4 and the recreation of Egypt here is pretty mind blowing. Just using your Eagle to scout out the area is a joy. I can’t wait for the exploration mode patch to hit just to explore the world once again. The attention to detail here is great. There are a few inconsistencies but the world will grab you very quickly. I ran into a few animation glitches and one bug that made me need to reload a save. I hope these issues are patched because while they aren’t major by any means for a game like this, I expected better after a gap year for the franchise essentially.
Sarah Schachner’s soundtrack is amazing. I was impressed with Austin Wintory’s work on Syndicate but this is a whole other level. She has done a fantastic job with the more upbeat tunes and the atmospheric ones here. It feels like a soundtrack fit for a big movie focussed on Egypt. This is complemented by the great voice acting and just how lively and realistic the locations sound.
If you’ve been waiting for a return to form and loved Black Flag, Origins is the game for you. While it isn’t revolutionary, there is a lot to love and you will get a ton of enjoyment out of this release. If the last few games in the franchise have been boring for you, I’d still recommend picking this up but later on just to see how gorgeous the recreation of Egypt is. The addition of some RPG systems, more focussed combat, and enhancements to the open world nature make this a great game.