Assassins Creed Origins is the latest entry in the seemingly never-ending Assassins Creed franchise. Origins was developed by Ubisoft Montreal (developers of the acclaimed Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag). Most people would argue that the franchise has gotten quite stale as of late, so Ubisoft decided to take a year off, after releasing a mainline Assassins Creed game for six straight years. The year off gave Ubisoft Montreal plenty of time to change up the series’ formula, which allowed the team to create a full-on RPG, as well as completely revamp the combat system. Most of the changes are welcome, but does Origins do enough to push the series forward while maintaining what makes the series loved by many?
Story and Presentation
Assassins Creed Origins’ narrative takes place in Ancient Egypt and stars Bayek of Siwa, who is a protector known as a Medjay, which is a dying tradition during this time in Egypt. The story follows Bayek on his quest for revenge, which spreads all across ancient Egypt. While Origins’ narrative seems to be a revenge quest at first, it soon becomes quite intriguing as it involves politics from very familiar faces such as Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, as well as friendship and betrayal.
The story also features the best lead in the series to date, as Bayek is a very interesting character; one who is powered by hate, but is always willing to help those in need. Bayek is accompanied by his wife Aya, who is one of my favorite characters in the entire series as she is very capable, and always proving men who doubt her wrong. The story does stumble at points though, as it can get confusing trying to comprehend all of the politics and remembering all the characters you’ve met. It may be a bit confusing at times, but near the end Origins’ story starts to come together and it ends up offering a worthwhile narrative.
Assassins Creed Origins offers the most fully realized open word I have experienced since The Witcher 3. Each location is full of detail, from hidden markings on an ancient temple, to the streets of Alexandria. The amount of detail Ubisoft Montreal put into Origins is staggering. I actually wanted to explore and see the sights ancient Egypt had to offer, which often led to some delightful secrets. Each location is also varied; the run-down city of Memphis contrasts heavily against the luxurious city of Alexandria, which helped the world feel fresh all the way through. It also helps that Origins is extremely beautiful, as each location blew me away. Origins’ world is also not only densely packed with things to do, but it has one of the biggest maps to date. Ubisoft’s take on ancient Egypt is extremely impressive, as Origins was at its best when I was exploring the gigantic open world.
Gameplay and Progression
Origins offers the best combat in the series to date, as fighting is now much more than a dancing simulator like previous entries were. Bayek has complete control as he can lock onto enemies, and perform actions such as parrying and dodging, making fighting much more involved. Bayek also has multiple weapon types from swords and spears to choose from, and changing between weapons keeps the combat fresh as each weapon requires a different approach. The bows are also a blast to use, whether you are sniping an enemy archer from 100 meters, or blasting back a hippo with the predator bow (which is basically a shotgun). Combat does have a few problems though, as when I surrounded by a group of enemies it can be very frustrating when switching between locked opponents, and it is a bit clunky when comparing it to other modern action games. While it may need some more work when comparing it to other modern combat systems, Origins’ combat is much better than more recent entries in the series.
Stealth is a bit average though, as it features your average ‘hiding in the tall grass and whistling to draw your enemy in for the kill’. There are more options for stealth players than in more recent entries, but it does not push forward the concept in any way. Origins also features some fantastic ship battles, similar to those in Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag.
Origins is the first full on RPG in the series, as it features a skill tree and a levelling system similar to other action RPGs like Horizon Zero Dawn. Progression is very rewarding as Bayek leveled up quite fast, and even in short play sessions, I felt like he was more powerful than when I started. Origins also has the deepest skill tree in the series to date as it allows players to truly create their own Bayek. Origins includes a rewarding loot system, as players can unlock new bows, weapons and shields. The loot system is similar to other games like Destiny, where players can unlock common, rare and legendary weapons. This encourages you to try different weapons as I was often rewarded with a more powerful weapon that was a different type than the weapon I had equipped. Progression was a joy as I was consistently leveling up, and the looting system allowed for me to change up my play style. Origins consistently made me feel like I was making progress to becoming the ultimate assassin, even in short sessions.
The sheer amount of content in Origins can be quite overwhelming at times. It took me over 30 hours to beat the main story, and I had only uncovered half of the map. I still have so many side quests and activities to complete. On the subject of side quests, most of Origins side quests are interesting little mini stories peppered throughout Egypt. While there are a few fetch quests, Origins side quests are much better than most titles. Other activities are similar to other Ubisoft titles such as bandit camps, but Origins includes an intriguing puzzle mini game where you connect star formations. If you plan on doing everything in Origins, you better be ready to sink at least 50 hours into easily the largest title in the series to date. Origins is a massive game full of enjoyable things to do.
Assassins Creed Origins is the best title in the series to date. The story is quite intriguing, and while it may stumble at times, it all comes together in the end to offer an epic sprawling narrative. The world is massive, beautiful, and full of detail, Ubisoft Montreal has created one of the most impressive open world titles to date. Combat is a huge step forward for the series, and while it may not be as refined as other modern combat systems, it is still much better than more recent entries in the series. Progression is a joy as Bayek consistently leveled up and the looting system allowed for me to switch up my play style. Assassins Creed Origins is a great step forward for the franchise, I hope Ubisoft puts as much time and detail into the next entry in the series as they did with Origins. The future is bright for Assassins Creed, and I can-not wait to see where Ubisoft takes the series next.
Assassins Creed Origins is the best title in the series to date. With an intriguing story, an impressive open world and the best combat in the series, Origins is a game I highly recommend for hours of fun.