Assassin’s Creed Origins Review – A Work of Art
When Ubisoft first announced they would be making a change to the annual release of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, fans rejoiced. What started as such as promising venture into innovative and exciting ways to immerse players in an enthralling storyline soon made way for the repetition and dull setting of the more recent titles. With a bit more time to polish and develop, Assassin’s Creed Origins is more than just another Assassin’s Creed release; it is an attempt to revitalize a struggling franchise. The question is, did they pull it off?
Assassin’s Creed Origins Review
I had barely begun my exploration of Egypt. I’d yet to learn much about the world, the characters I would encounter, the role I played in this epic story. Yet I had spent nearly three hours doing side content before progressing past the second area. While this is a staple of Ubisoft’s latest releases, Assassin’s Creed Origins takes this to new heights. The Egypt that has been crafted is arguably one of the most beautiful game worlds ever created. I’m not just talking about the vistas from the Leap of Faith points here; every aspect of the environment has been created with such painstaking attention to detail, it left me in awe. Even now, as the credits roll on my screen (yes, I chose to watch them at the end), I don’t feel as though I’ve even scratched the surface of the secrets hidden beneath the sands of Egypt, and you can bet I won’t wait long to find out.
Every part of the world I explored had my full attention. Every town I encountered, every swamp I passed through, every pyramid I conquered – everything felt so perfectly placed and authentic that my love for ancient Egypt that flourished as a child returned. The folks at Ubisoft are no strangers to wowing fans with their visuals in the open world space, but if this isn’t the best environment in a video game, it’s without a doubt the best work they have ever done in that department.
While massively impressing with the visual aesthetics and realism of the world, some old demons remain. Those familiar with the franchise will quickly recognize the same repetitive quest mechanic designs. Kill a couple of enemies, investigate a few clues, save a prisoner – all of them are so overused that the side content would become very monotonous very quickly, if it wasn’t for the breath of life carefully blown into each quest. Unlike other Ubisoft games, I felt the side content had much more impact on me as a player. The stories were more immersive, more meaningful, and the characters carefully designed and voiced brilliantly. A bit more variety would not have hurt, but creative storytelling trumps over innovative mechanics.
Exploration is a huge part of Assassin’s Creed, but it plays an even bigger role in Assassin’s Creed Origins. Whether you’re scaling towers, pillaging through dark tombs, riding through the desert on horseback, or taking down an entire encampment of Romans, it’s hardly ever more than a couple of minutes before your next unknown encounter with an exciting part of the world.
Fans of the franchise will also be happy to hear that the melee combat has received a complete overhaul. Stealth isn’t the forefront of combat any longer; players now have a far more robust and fluid combat system that rewards player skill. This is a noticeable improvement over pressing a single button over and over again. The combat features themselves are nothing groundbreaking; the ability to parry, dodge, charge attacks, and switch between weapons have all be done before. However, when combined with the elements that already make Assassin’s Creed a great franchise, you’ve got something worth getting excited about. It feels a like more like an open world action RPG rather than a stealth game with Batman-style combat.
Player progression and equipment have also been given so much needed attention, but the results are mixed. The ability progression ends up feeling limited and lacking in imagination. I picked up a few abilities early on before realizing the majority remaining were either passive, or abilities I had no interest in. It’s a good foundation to build from, but still a little lacking compared to other elements of the game. The equipment, however, is the opposite end of the spectrum – it’s fantastic.
You can find various rarities of equipment, ranging from Common to Legendary. Swords, shields, bows, spears, heavy weapons – there’s a huge amount of choice here and weapons can be upgraded to match your current level at any time. The vast majority of my adventure saw me exploring every corner of these beautiful lands in the hopes of locating a legendary mount or cool looking new outfit. While that was not always the case, it was ever more satisfying when it was.
Alongside the plethora of new features and mechanics is an all-new story telling the origin story of The Brotherhood. It ties in brilliantly with the other games, and offers a thoroughly worthwhile reveal for long term fans. There’s plenty for the new assassin’s among us too with a standalone story that is far less convoluted and segmented than previous games. Love, loss, betrayal, discovery – it’s a turbulent story that will keep you gripped from beginning to end.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is a modern work of art. Aesthetically it’s a masterpiece, but while many elements of the franchise have come leaps and bounds in the last couple of years, other parts remain stagnant. It leaves a far more exciting legacy in its wake than previous games, and demonstrates Ubisoft’s true abilities when given the time to create something truly inspiring.