I was not impressed with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. The setting London seemed drab, the characters were bland, and the gameplay was repetitive and uninspiring. At that time, Ubisoft seemed to be at a place where they could churn out a new Assassin’s Creed game each year but that didn’t mean that they should do that. Then Ubisoft did the right thing; they took a year off and built out the truly mammoth Assassin’s Creed Origins. Everything I disliked about the previous games gets fixed here: the world of Egypt is huge, beautiful and diverse. Your heroes here are likeable, interesting, and fun to spend time with. Missions are varied enough to keep you interested. Best of all, you do get to spend a bit of time enjoying the Black Flag-style naval battles Overall, if you’ve ever enjoyed an Assassin’s Creed game, you need to give Origins a try.
You play Origins as Bayek, a Medjay in Ancient Egypt who sort of acts as a roaming detective/Witcher. You spend most of the game avenging your son’s death, though your investigation leads you into a larger conspiracy involving Ptolemy, Cleopatra and Julius Caesar. While Bayek is cool, his wife Aya is arguably cooler and the pair of them are probably my favorite married couple in any recent video game. Bayek travels the countryside tracking down his son’s assassins and assisting locals with more mundane problems, like bandit camps and hippo infestations (hippos in this game are mean!). Bayek is accompanied by his awesome eagle Senu, who can scout out areas you’ll be invading (very much like the drones in last year’s Wildlands). Senu takes a lot of the frustration out of invasion as you can track everyone in a encampment before making your way to your target.
There are some other changes that are more of a mixed bag. The game includes a leveling system to unlock abilities which means some abilities are locked until later in the game. Levels are important to pay attention to; hyenas you might be able to kill in one area may be at a much higher level (and virtually invulnerable) in another. Don’t worry though, you level quickly and if you stick to sidequests you’ll usually be strong enough to complete the main quests. My favorite weapon, the berserk dart, has been replaced with a berserk ability in which you have to sneak up and stab a target to drive them insane. It still works but isn’t quite as fun as those darts were. Combat feels a lot easier in the game and you’re given a wide range of weapons to use, from spears to scepters arrows to short swords to huge swords. Crafting and inventory management can be a bit time consuming, but once you find a weapon you like, you can pretty much stick with it for the game.
THE BEST PARTS
The hero, the gameplay, and story are all pretty great, but I’d say the best part of the game is the huge and amazingly rendered ancient Egypt you get to explore.
THE WORST PARTS
The arbitrary leveling system can be mildly frustrating (why are these hippos so much stronger than the ones I encountered earlier?).
OVERALL: BUY IT
If you like open world games that give you plenty to do, Assassin’s Creed Origins is a game you should check out. There are dozens and dozens of hours of gameplay here that I enjoyed. The best part is that the price on Origins is already dropping, so if you need a game to keep you entertained until Red Dead gets here, this is one to consider!