Assassins Creed: Origins Review

Assassins Creed had taken a well-earned break from its usual yearly releases. For me personally, the games were becoming stale and very flat. Even with the change of scenery, it felt more of a money-making spin just to get a game out every year. If people buy it, why not?

However, Ubisoft must have noticed comments and maybe a decline in sales and realised that something needed to be done, they had to freshen up the series and get people interested again in the franchise.

One of the things that I love about the Assassins Creed franchise is the historical element, believe it or not,  is an indirect way to learn history. Not always accurate due to the fact that the Assassins and Templars have to be fitted in somehow, but it can teach you about the people of the time etc. Take Origins for instance, buried deep within the storyline is the story about Cleopatra’s rise to the throne, subtle hints about the origins of the pyramids and the lives that people lead across Egypt.

As I’ve been playing Assassins Creed Origins and going through the different areas and seeing the vast towns to the desert villages, you can’t help but stop sometimes and take in the surroundings. Especially when you start the game in Siwa, and you climb to the top of the mountain and look down over the landscape, the game is simply breathtaking. The lighting, the colours used, the reflections from the water and seeing that glare come at you, the realism is stunning and I think I’ve spent more time taking photos of the different areas in the game than I have doing missions, which I kind of realised and back peddled a bit the other day to get some side quests done in the areas that I had unlocked to try and get my rank up as I noticed missions were becoming available which were far too hard for me to do. I have also run into some unsavoury fellows early in the game when I started which had skulls above them, which pretty much means, I was screwed… I tried… I died… I walked away to return another day…

One of the changes that have been made to Origins which I really like and hope that in the next game they build upon this is the RPG element that they’ve brought in. It is basic, but it works and as I just said, I hope they do build upon it for the next game. Being able to collect better weapons and armour as well as upgrade any of the weapons and armour that you currently have is brilliant. If you’ve got the coin, you can go to a Blacksmith and there you can get your gear upgraded to keep in line with your level. I had the pre-order cobra pack, so I had a nice Legendary Sword and Armour set, which I am keeping upgraded as I go along to help. However, it does get expensive to do, so one thing I’ve found myself doing is collecting random stuff, searching houses for loot to sell at any of the vendors.

One of the side missions that you can do involves enemy bases, which has a few objectives to it and depending on the size of the base will depend on the objectives. You will always find a captain in there, sometimes maybe 2 or 3, and there will also be objectives to loot a number of items which you have to find. Which can be a pain as they sometimes won’t show up on your special Spidey sense that you have which points out all the lootable stuff in the area.

How does the game play? I must admit that the game is pretty smooth, it’s not without its usual Assassins Creed annoyances such as climbing in a direction which you haven’t stated and your character going off on a wild one, climbing something that you didn’t think possible. Which had me two ways really, on one hand, it was annoying, but there were a couple of times it took me a secret part where there was lots of treasure, so in that sense, I was quite happy…

One annoyance I will say and this comes from the side missions is that they get very repetitive, very fast. Each section seems to be built on the same type of missions and the variety doesn’t wander much. It’s either assassinate this (yes, I know… The game is called Assassins Creed), kill this group of people or get this back for someone….I’m pretty sure the game could have a bit more variety than this? One thing the game seems to be built on and this isn’t a bad thing is exploration. The immense size of the map that’s been used and even opening all the sections, you will look at it and know you haven’t even scratched 40% of the map, that is how much there is to explore and the little things like looting ships, diving into underwater caverns to explore and again loot, can be quite satisfying. I spent about an hour to 2 hours yesterday simply sailing from one place to another and diving in the water to explore or getting to islands in the sea and seeing what was there. Just an FYI… Crocodile Island is named that for a reason…. I felt like I had walked into Killer Crocs layer… It didn’t take me long to work out why it was called that… Same with Vulture Tower…. I hate birds, let’s put it that way…
Another thing that I liked about the game is how the world is populated and each area is given its own identity, whether it depicts the poor, the wealthy, every walk of life from this time is brought to life brilliantly and the comments and conversations you hear within the background as your walking, running or riding through are brilliant.

There is a skills tree within the game which has 3 different directions to it which are Hunter, Seer and Warrior. All quite self-explanatory in that they give different skills depending on the category, so in the Warrior area, we have a regenerative power which allows the protagonist Bayek (Which sounds like a really Yorkshire thing to say) to regenerate health while in combat. One of the Hunter skills is Assassination, so basically sneaking up on someone and killing them. The Seer skill tree can be very helpful as this will allow you to tame animals in the world… Joon commands his army of Crocodiles!

There are some standard Assassins Creed glitches within the game, which to be honest, it wouldn’t be a Ubisoft game without them. You get to see horses randomly walking through buildings or seemingly cut in half by a wall. Peoples legs coming through garments, or parts of the garments simply disappearing… Oooh er, missus. It just reminds you of the wonderfully fantastical world of game development and how everything isn’t perfect, but you know what. It’s not glitching or affecting my game, so who cares. After all, it’s the reason pencils have erasers on them.

I have to admit; my overall assessment of the game is that the break did the series a lot of good. There are new elements within the game which has freshened things up and hopefully Ubisoft will be able to build on this for the next game, which brings me to an interesting question of where can they go next?