When things in life start to become repetitive and stale, often the best thing to do is take a step back, look at the big picture and work on what made it good in the first place. Ubisoft have done just that with their latest entry in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Origins and it’s paid off massively. Putting their pride aside and realising recent entries hadn’t performed as expected, Ubisoft took a year off from their annualised franchise to get things right for Origins. Delivering a brand new experience introducing brand new mechanics and improvements on existing systems.
In Origins you play as Medjay Bayek of Siwa, during the Ptolemaic period of ancient Egypt. The most noticeable change up, and likely the first thing you will notice in Origins is the shift towards being a fully open world RPG, featuring its own skill trees, loot and rewarding levelling system not seen in previous Assassin’s Creed games.
The next thing you’ll notice after being given control of the character to free roam about. This world is massive. Both in land size and in mission content. Origins will keep you entertained with things to do for a long time, which is great for gamers out there that may only pick up a few titles each year. And with the roadmap of future content to be added (both free and paid expansions) it’s well worth your money. There are tombs to explore, cities to navigate and it wouldn’t be an Ubisoft game without the standard watch tower and outpost takeover style missions. But i’m glad to confirm there are more variations in the mission types here than there have been in any other Assassin’s Creed game to keep things fresh and interesting.
The world design is also incredibly varied throughout. There are a heap of cities to explore, some larger than others but they each have a unique look and design to them. One moment you can be walking through the highly developed area of Alexandria. The next you can be working your way through a city mostly in ruins after recently being attacked. Having such a mixed bag of environments in the game keeps things fresh and exciting as you wander about, even after spending 30 hours in the world. The people you will find in these cities have different perspectives on life and culture and often have small back stories of their own that you can uncover if you choose to accept and complete their side quests.
Combat in Origins has been completely revamped. Having the combat mapped mostly to 2 buttons (attack and defend/parry) has gone away. With a new system introducing blocking, light attack and a heavy attack that are all mapped to the shoulder buttons. Leaving the main face of the controller free to manoeuvre around and dodge roll when needed. The enemy AI has also gotten way smarter when compared to previous entries. No longer will they approach you as a group but take turns hitting you one by one. In Origins if there are a group of enemies around you, you’re likely in a lot of trouble.
You’re able to truly be the type of assassin you choose to be thanks to the loot system. There are a massive number of shields, bows, swords, mace’s and spears that can be discovered, purchased or earned as rewards in the game. Each with it’s own level of strength (referred to as quality) and rarity type, with legendary items often coming with additional active perks on the item such as increased critical damage or poison rate. This combined with the new combat system allows you to spec the version of Bayek the way you want to play, with your chosen load-out. There are also unlockable costumes and mounts for Bayek, many of which look absolutely incredible with amazingly realistic textures. Though unlike the rest of the loot the costumes are purely aesthetic and don’t offer additional perks.
The mission structure of Origins and the XP system go hand in hand with an addicting loop to keep you progressing. Missions have a recommended level to be before engaging them and I found myself even from early points in the game having to grind on side missions just to be able to level up enough to progress to the next section of the main story. It isn’t all that bad though as the side missions are quite varied in structure and many let you learn more about the world, interesting character backstories and provide rare loot that would otherwise be missed if you decided to skip these side quests. Just about every accomplishment in Origins rewards you with XP to help push you closer to that next level, climbing the towers, completing revenge quests, finding new areas even killing individual enemies each reward a small amount of XP.
I did run into a few bugs during my time with Assassin’s Creed Origins. Nothing game breaking by any means just a few things that are fairly common to encounter in open world games. Enemies and animals seemingly getting ‘stuck’ in open area’s of the game and running on the spot, a few instances of NPC dialogue lines continuously looping until I spoke to them or left and I did have a few instances where the audio level dropped during cutscenes and where the background music suddenly got incredibly loud. As mentioned these didn’t really affect the game in a drastic way and will likely be patched out (if they haven’t been already) in a future patch.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is a brilliant return to form for a series that had begun to get stale over the last few of it’s annualised releases. With a vibrant new setting, great characters and the introduction of RPG elements i’d recommend this as a must play for any fans of open world RPG games even if they had previously not been a fan of the AC series. Major props to Ubisoft for realising issues of the past games and taking the time to get this one right. Delivering what is arguably the best Assassin’s Creed game yet.
A PS4 review code was provided by Ubisoft Australia for the purpose of this review.
If you want to see more content like this and never miss one of our frequent gaming and anime giveaways come and Follow Ani-Game on Twitter.