Assassin’s Creed. Since the release of the first entry in the series the brand has grown exponentially, expanding into film, comics and novels. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who’s never heard of it.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins is the latest entry into the series and a pleasant return to form. Strengthened by an extra year of development time, Ubisoft Montreal have taken great care in ensuring the game has a fresh feel to it in order to combat the franchise fatigue that began to plague the series years ago, and it has paid off. Origins is a game that feels like something new yet familiar at the same time.
The game follows Bayek, one of the last known Medjay who were appointed to protect the Pharaoh, and his wife Aya. During a time of upheaval, Bayek and Aya are dedicated to protecting the people of the Ptolemic Kingdom, while also seeking out a group of masked individuals that abducted Bayek and killed their son.
Origins is one of my favourite stories in the entire Assassin’s Creed series. As husband and wife, the dynamic between Bayek and Aya feels refreshing to experience, whether they’re working together to complete a mission, or having a private moment with each other. Some of the side characters, specifically the targets, are not as fleshed out, and I think the game would have benefitted from further exploration of their backstories.
When I played previous entries in the series, I always felt that there was some element of gameplay that wasn’t quite up to scratch. Black Flag featured some amazing ship to ship combat, yet it’s story was plagued with terrible tailing missions which were far too frequent for their own good. Unity had the interesting presence of co-op missions, yet movement in general felt clunky and under-baked.
For the first time in a while, every element of gameplay felt just right. Climbing feels smooth, and combat is the best it’s ever been. Mission design is excellent too. Unique locations, varying gameplay approaches and different enemy types help to keep gameplay scenarios fresh and interesting. One objective might require you to take out two high level commanders, while another allows you to unleash caged animals on a group of unsuspecting enemies. It truly provides for some great experiences.
Did I mention that the game is beautiful? Ubisoft’s games always take their world-building to the next level, and Assassin’s Creed: Origins is certainly no exception. Egypt looks stunning. From the cities to the desert, and even the wildlife, Ubisoft Montreal have truly created an amazing world that leaves a lasting impression.
There are some drawbacks to the experience however. With the expanded scope of the game, it is more prone to glitches than its predecessors were. As funny as it is to see, watching a ship duplicate itself and then shoot into the sky does take you out of the experience a bit. Despite the occasional glitch, the game is an excellent return to form for the series. Origins released at the end of October and has frequently been on sale. If you’re a fan of the series and have yet to check out Assassin’s Creed: Origins, you should.