Assassin’s Creed Origins is the latest adventure in the epic Assassins Creed franchise, this time around players follow Layla an Abstergo scientist who utilises the Animus to delve into the memories of her ancestors Aya and Bayek two Egyptians who through the death of their child eventually become the origin of the Brotherhood of assassins.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is easily the most epic and grand of the whole series, there is a genuine sense of grandeur as you traverse the deserts of Ancient Egypt and dish out justice to all the evildoers you come across. Your main antagonists are The Order a group of individuals who seek to harness the power of the gods. From the word go you immediately know who this group is so it’s nice to see both organisations of the Assassin’s Creed franchise begin at the cradle of civilisation.
Right out the gate Assassin’s Creed Origins reminded me of everything that is so quintessential Assassin’s Creed. The time period is beautifully realised, so much care has been taken to make the player feel like they are in Ancient Egypt. It’s a testament to the research team that they inserted so much detail into every aspect of Assassin’s Creed Origins and this is something that each game in the franchise has been known for since the first Assassin’s Creed back in 2007 almost a decade ago. The vernacular of the time is also pitch perfect and draws you further into this sand-swept realm, compound on top of that a lush and vibrant colour palette and you’ve got a recipe for a remarkably memorable visual experience, there are hiccups however and they come in the form of several major glitches. Textures wouldn’t render properly, characters would appear several feet above me and as I travelled across Egypt I saw skies above me that made no sense in style or design and it only got worse the further into my adventure I went.
The story is easily the best part of Assassin’s Creed Origins, following this tale of vengeance interwoven with justice culminate in the beginning of the Creed is fascinating and Bayek and Aya are excellent additions to the franchise. Their story is compelling and I was floored by the direction the story went to several times in the game, a particular highlight is when I faced off against an ancient god. Like the visuals however there are issues that diminish the experience and as stated before these are issues that have plagued the franchise since its inception. If you move too fast for the NPC’s (which let’s face it is all the time) the dialogue will skip, pause or cut out altogether and that’s annoying when you miss out on major plot points. This is unforgivable in 2017 and from a franchise that in its tenth incarnation.
The biggest change that has been incorporated into Assassin’s Creed Origins is the combat system it is far more dynamic than previous entries. The best description I can give is when Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots came out and players didn’t have to just stick to the shadows you could finish levels guns blazing. It’s like that here, you can go silent and assassinate or go loud and rip the enemies apart. You have a sense that you are a warrior trained in all forms of deadly arts, every weapon is an extension of Bayeks body and the combat system makes him feel more dangerous than other assassins like Ezio and Connor.
What designates whether you can deal devastation to your enemies is the new levelling system. Bayek gains experience through the completion of missions that can be found all across the length and breadth of Egypt. They range from the normal assassination jobs to exploring the Pyramids and finding their secrets. It’s a lot of fun as you level up and earn ability points to activate abilities that will make you a deadly fighter and a more effective assassin. The abilities range from new tools like sleep darts to enhancing your combos and the most enjoyable one I found, taming the wildlife of Egypt to fight for you. This is hilarious when you tame a lion to maul a bunch of enemies that are running away from you.
What has to be mentioned is how the team at Ubisoft have expertly crafted a true epic in Assassin’s Creed Origins, they’ve given every element of the franchise a mention in this entry. You learn about the aftermath of Desmond’s journey, the film Assassin’s Creed is legitimised in a few simple emails and a long-standing game theory is proved true with one image and it’s oddly satisfying to see all these pieces fall into place and I respect that.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is probably the best entry into the franchise in a long time, easily the most cinematic and filled with new innovations that will bring players back again and again. Sadly it’s a flawed masterpiece with several game breaking glitches ruining the immersive experience. Assassin’s Creed Origins froze on me as I galloped through a town, it crashed on me in the middle of an important mission and these issues only grew in number with the introduction of patches but I still enjoyed the journey of Bayek and Aya the first assassins.
It’s a toss up but ultimately the good outweighs the bad and I recommend Assassin’s Creed Origins, just beware the hidden dangers that aren’t just within the sands of Ancient Egypt.