This is an old post from my old website Slannxe Gaming. It was published on December 21, 2017.
Finally, after Ubisoft took a year off from the franchise we have received Assassin’s Creed Origins. Origins takes place in Egypt set in the time where the Romans and Greeks are fighting over the land. The main character this time around is Beyak. I really like Beyak overall. He is just fueled by revenge and guilt, but still has a lot of charisma to him and is fairly stoic. He reminds me of a mix between Edward Kenway from IV and Etzio from the trilogy.
Beyak is going on a revenge mission to take out the handful of powerful men that are contributors to the murder of his son. When the game starts though you are just thrown right into the story and it feels very disjointed at first. Almost feels like you missed an entire section of the beginning of the game. Eventually, they backtrack a little bit on this and fill in this missing bit.
Overall the story feels pretty straightforward. Your mission is to go after these people that are in the Order of the Ancients and rid the land of these powerful bad people. The side quests for me are where I enjoyed the story. Sure most of the time the side quests are fetch quests, or kill these soldiers and rescue these people, but each side quest had an actual backstory that hid that and makes you actually interested in these random NPC characters in this world. It really showed what it meant to Beyak to be a Medji and a protector of the land.
The map is massive in Origins. It is definitely the largest map in any AC game and it feels pretty filled up. A lot of massive games like this put me off lately since I don’t have as much time to play games anymore, but there was so much to do in this world that I really enjoyed that I didn’t mind sinking a ton of hours into and exploring everything I could. I still have a few areas I need to run through though, places that you don’t even touch in the main story.
There is a present day for Origins. You follow a woman named Layla who is or use to be an Abstergo employee who is upset that they won’t let her be apart of the Animus Project, so she steals a portable Animus and goes to Beyaks tomb. I honestly never found an actual reason why she does this. All of this feels tacked on though. You don’t really get any sort of information for the present day. You can search through Layla’s phone but all of it is a massive lore dump and none of it seems particularly interesting.
The gameplay in Origins has really changed from previous entries. Combat has switched to more of a Souls like way with a light and strong attack along with a shield button. I personally love the new combat system. It can feel a little hack and slash at times, but I think that’s forgivable for it being the first stepping stone in a new combat system.
Ubisoft has moved the AC franchise into more of an RPG game now. There is a massive skill tree now and I’m not a big fan. What’s frustrating to me about this is that there is really no context whatsoever in all this. You put a skill point into something like gaining a new tool, and poof, you magically have that new tool in your inventory. I really wish they had shopkeepers where you discover these tools and new weapons. It’s the same with learning new moves. You have no one teaching you this stuff, you just magically learn it as soon as you put a skill point in. There are no cut scenes or anything that give it any sort of context. Even the hidden blade is randomly found and that’s it. Nothing behind it. It’s the same with upgrading armor. I would rather go to a shop and buy this new upgrade armor rather than hunt animals down and somehow makes it better.
I really miss the first AC game, where you are gathering information and scoping out areas and finding schematics of buildings just so you can sneak in, take out your target, and sneak out. Now it’s all about fighting a ton of enemies constantly. Stealth seems to take a back seat for the most part, even when I tried to be as stealthy as possible. If you go all out stealth, one Soldier camp will take you a significant amount of time, and most of these camps aren’t even worth doing. I don’t know how many times I actually killed a main target randomly when I was fighting off a bunch of guards all at once. Really makes these main targets feel weak and not important at all.
Ubisoft is still supporting Origins after it’s launch with timed events to fight these Animus glitches that bring massive gods into the world that Beyak has to fight. No, it makes no sense within the story, but that’s alright honestly. It was fun to do, but all three of them were way too similar to each other that it really didn’t feel too special. There is story DLC on its way in 2018 though, exploring Beyak in the years after the main story ends.
Overall I think Ubisoft has gone a little too deep into the RPG hack and slash genre with Assassin’s Creed. I really enjoyed this game and sunk a ton of time into it. but I really don’t think this was a great Assassin’s Creed game. It could be a good stepping stone, but they really need to condense the skill tree down significantly and make it just be skills and weapon abilities, not actual tools. And to give it context, make it make sense. I am excited to see what’s next for Assassin’s Creed. I hope they get back to the stealth and planning that made me love the franchise. Perhaps going to the east, like Japan as a setting really could help with this.