Was Assassin’s Creed ever a difficult game? Starting to be known as a series of games capable of representing a fantastic historical atmosphere with an interesting story, the level of difficulty has never been a very important part of it. By stealth, or just by being reckless, you could handle every threat quite easily, even if the enemy has you overpowered in numbers. But do not be surprised if this will change in the series’ latest entry – Assassin’s Creed Origins.
Assassin’s Creed Origins will now come with a choice of difficulty levels for the first time in the history of the franchise. This game will offer a challenge for gamers who are thirsty for it. Yet, gamers are free to change the difficulty level throughout the game.
Assassin’s Creed Origins presents itself as a real open-world game with some changes to the well-known formula. Towers are no longer needed to uncover the surroundings, and Ubisoft also drops the fast travel system in a world that is very wide. This becomes important as players must now move across it by just by running or using a horse or camel and this will take some time. One of the significant changes is the side mission design, that is now more solid. Quest are no longer just asking you to collect a variety of items or complete a simple puzzle. This means, they now have a story, interesting characters and cut-scenes of their own. The combination of a wide world and such mission design offers a very long playing time to the players.
Another change that cannot be ignored is the shift in gameplay to a mechanic that resembles RPG action games in general. No longer like the previous Assassin’s Creed games that relied more on rhythmic counter systems and swinging swords, it now adopts a more real fighting system. The battles are now duels, even when you fight against many enemies. Striking, defending and dodging with a roll are key to victory, especially when fighting enemies of a higher level. Of course, you are still given the freedom to enjoy this game by using stealth, if you prefer a less risky style of gameplay.
Underground organizations were already a thing in Ancient Egypt
As you might have heard, Assassin’s Creed Origins has chosen the Egyptian civilization as its ultimate setting, featuring some iconic characters like Cleopatra and Julius Caesar as the story’s driving forces. But by looking at the timelines of real-world history, calling it an “old” civilization seems a bit wrong. What Origins explores is a more “modern” Egyptian civilization where various achievements were already made by the ancient Pharaoh.
You play an assassin named Bayek. A tragedy strikes him and encourages Bayek to run a revenge mission as his beloved son has ended up dead in the hands of a secret organization with masked individuals named “The Order”. Bayek begins to uncover whoever they were with the desire to take each of their lives. On his path of vengeance, he is assisted by his wife, Aya.
By attempting to destroy the Order, he discovers that their influence reaches deep into the Egyptian society. They are not just a bunch of villains but an organization that turns out to have many influential people with the clear mission to control Egypt from the shadows.
Let’s talk about Egypt
If there is one thing that Assassin’s Creed has never failed to achieve, it is building an atmospheric world that deserves to represent an existing period. This also happened in Origins. In a land dominated by desert, you will enjoy Egypt’s past with great satisfaction. You will be able to discover Ubisoft’s dedication to represent this beautiful civilization in a proper way. Then, you can see how cities and villages developed around the Nile – which is the source of life in the middle of an otherwise devastating desert. Each of these towns comes with its own distinctive architecture, from small-house dwellings with unique shapes to magnificent buildings displaying various symbols or the statues of Egyptian gods in massive size.
In Origins, the element of belief in the ancient goddesses blends in with the daily life of the Egyptian society itself. Bayek, for example, is a Medjay who believes in the influence of Egyptian gods on the values of life, from mere prosperity to justice. That mystical influence does extend far beyond religious ceremonies, but also delivers solutions for the various problems that occur in Origin’s ancient Egypt.
Senu, your new “drone”
When considering other Ubisoft games, maybe you will remember the drone features in Watch Dogs 2 and in Ghost Recon: Wildlands. In Origins you can discover a similar drone mechanism. Interestingly, this drone isn’t a mechanical one, it is Senu, Bayek’s eagle that has become an important factor in reconnaissance. Senu can be used to mark guards, important items, mission markers, to simply name a variety of other tools you can use during missions. Origins comes without a mini map feature. Senu is a factor to its disappearance, as it looks and feels better than being bothered by a mini map that makes the game uncomfortable.
Is it any good?
As mentioned before, the battle system in AC Origins is no longer as easy and simple as in previous entries. In the past, the attack and counter systems could easily kill enemies without having to think about what steps to take. In this new system, you will be challenged more to consider your next fighting moves. Whether it’s rolling, using your shield, or launching strikes of different strength. Since there is no such thing as a counter system anymore, killing your enemies becomes much harder.
What’s special about Origin’s Action-RPG system? You can use weapons of different variants and there are no level or other limitations. It is even possible to get weapons with the label “legendary” and use them. Those feel unique, because the rarer the weapons you get, the better you become in the fights. Some weaponry even bears effects that can help you in the fight, such as sleep, poison and others.
Although the presence of this RPG system makes Origins better and more challenging, it also contains one big weakness. This weakness is the “level” you can achieve. Considering you can explore the vast world of Origins, complete side missions, gain experience, and powerful weapons, there are times where your level is much higher than your enemies’ level. It feels pointless when only a few attacks of yours can beat them down. The levelling system in unbalanced and it can be quite boring when your level outnumbers your foes.
But overall, the Action-RPG system in Assassin’s Creed Origins has become one of the most interesting things in the series, and I hope this will get even better in the future.
Considering some of the aspects I described above, this game still has flaws and advantages, but obviously, Ubisoft has completely changed the mechanism of Assassin’s Creed Origins and is much different from the previous series. I really liked the changes, but not all of them. The process of leveling and also the short storyline made my game experience less enjoyable in some moments. But in terms of exploration, I must admit that Assassins Creed Origins provided me with a more immersive experience. Ubisoft really made real the dreams of open-world gaming enthusiasts in this latest entry. The other positive side of Origins were the side missions, because like I mentioned in the beginning, they are totally different and much better in terms of writing and design. In the end, I think the advantages of Origins outweigh its weaknesses. I must stop here now, and a in few last words I want to say that this game is surprisingly amazing!
Disclaimer: Why do we review this game? Assassin’s Creed Origins was co-developed by Ubisoft’s Southeast Asian dependencies in Singapore and the Philippines. This game was reviewed on PC using a free review copy provided by Ubisoft.