Ubisoft returns from their sabbatical with a new segment of history and perhaps the most iconic Assassin’s Creed yet…
Assassin’s Creed Origins starts the ball rolling for the historical backdrop to the Assassin’s Creed Series; a time before Creeds and Templars arose. Set in Ancient Egypt, the Animus begins to peel away the layers of time, using it’s ability to look back through the history of a DNA strand until a man named Bayek is revealed. The Animus operator is one Layla Hassan, a disgruntled Abstergo employee looking for a big break to gain recognition and promotion. Once paired with Bayek, it is immediately obvious to Hassan that life in Ancient Egypt is no cakewalk. Under the influence of imminent Roman invasion, weak rule by Ptolemy and interference from Cleopatra there is steady underlying tension.
Your first introduction to the world paints a very dark image of the chapter of life Bayek is living through. I won’t give anything away but despite his trials, he appears to recover very quickly and has a largely unaffected marriage despite a pretty traumatic experience. Then again, as a trained killer, it is not unreasonable to imagine he might be made of sterner stuff than most. The interactions that Bayek experiences alongside the main story can be a mixed bag. While some missions can present a formidable challenge, with interesting plots and voice acting, others feel very dry. For example, escorting a censored poet and retrieving his script out of sight of near immortal guards is very engaging compared to retrieving tools from a soldier for the local blacksmith.
The physical design of Egypt is truly beautiful to behold. Ubisoft have pulled out all the stops to create this completely open world. The attention to detail scales from the smallest roof terrace to the wide desert spaces between locations. To be able to run, swim and ride from one side of Egypt to the other without seeing a loading screen is impressive. With a map of this scale, it is great to be able to auto travel while on horseback, as well as be able to scout ahead with Senu the eagle, which feels like a classy move! When in water, the boats make a gentle headway towards you, stopping any situations that might leave you swimming for miles, another example of how smooth the exploration is on this edition of Assassin’s Creed.
Audio quality is another big winner for Origins, especially if you have surround sound. The details that are picked out around you at all times when in quests, cutscenes or in the open world keep a persistent immersion. Hiding in houses, waiting to hear the chasing soldiers go by or wandering the fields listening to the songs of the labourers provides entertainment all of it’s own.
Big, beautiful and saturated with content that keeps the world alive and interesting, there is no doubt Origins is technically best in the Creed class. The story however has not quite resonated with me in the same way as Assassins Creed Three… yet. With much more to do and more reason to do it, the campaign is not the only reason to play anymore and that is a huge change. I have an open mind and the expectation that things will improve further into my journey into Ancient Egypt.
Author: Joe, Bath store