Assassin’s Creed is Back!

It’s fair to say that Assassin’s Creed has been around for a while, in fact it’s been 10 years now since the first Assassin’s Creed title graced our presence on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It was a series that I completely fell in love with, but it was short lived. After the first two Assassin’s Creed games, my love and thirst for more Assassin’s Creed soured somewhat. Ubisoft would release yearly iterations but apart from the setting and such, nothing would change. The engine after a few years felt dated, the game was stale and the series for many needed to be held back or cancelled.

Here we are in 2017, and Ubisoft have given us a ‘soft’ reboot of the series with Assassin’s Creed Origins. Myself, including probably many other fans weren’t overjoyed at this fact. I was sure that this was going to be just another boring Assassin’s Creed game just to add to the list. How wrong was I? Assassin’s Creed Origins is the game that I’ve been waiting years for Ubisoft to create. It’s what Assassin’s Creed should of progressed into but somehow didn’t. If like me you have had a break from the series, Assassin’s Creed Origins gives you the perfect chance to jump right in, and I shall explain why.

The first thing I am going to comment on is the visual power that Assassin’s Creed has. Up with the likes of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Assassin’s Creed Origins HAS to be one of the prettiest games I have ever played, and that is coming from someone who hasn’t even played it with the Pro enhancements! Assassin’s Creed Origins is set in Egypt, with you having the massive open world to explore. It’s my favourite setting of all Assassin’s Creed games and the folks at Ubisoft have done a fantastic job in the visuals of this game. So many places you will see and you’ll want to take a picture of to show off in Social Media, especially when you are taking control of Senu! Senu is the bird in the game which is used to locate where enemies or caves are, and when you are flying around, there is nothing like it and it really is a joy to behold.

The overall story is also really good. You take on the role of Bayek, who acts as a Medjay (a protector) to all the people of Egypt, especially making sure that the city of Siwa is running well, and people have what they need. Bayek is out to avenge his lost son. That’s all I’m going to tease around the story because as you get through the game, you soon realise that the story is much, much bigger than that. I really enjoyed the story in AC Orgins. It’s paced perfectly and it just shows that when you give the series a rest, fresh ideas come to life, and it certainly shows with the overall plot in this latest Assassin’s Creed offering.

In my first words in the review, I used the words ‘soft’ reboot, because that it is exactly what it is. This isn’t a game that goes off the Assassin’s Creed formula, not at all; veterans of the series will come to know what to expect right from the outset. However, that year off gave Ubisoft the chance to sharpen up the engine used and it really shines with Assassin’s Creed Origins. Rigid movements, stiff climbs and static combat are all replaced with smooth, realistic animations. My favourite thing about it is the Combat. This is no longer just a yeah, I’ll hit you and you’ll die kind of game. Of course, if you have it on easy then a lot of your movement will be forgiven but in my experience with the game being on the standard difficulty, I felt that I had to think about my movements. Dodging, striking and countering are all things that you need to master now, especially when you are taking on the harder bosses and enemies. I’m not saying it’s Dark Souls-esque in terms of its difficulty, but you do have to be alert when you are getting into a brawl, especially when it is against multiple soldiers.

Assassin’s Creed Origins reminds me a lot of how games such as The Witcher 3 work, and let’s face it, that’s not bad thing at all. You can open your world map between missions in order to see the layout and where the different side-missions and other activities are located. With each mission, it will tell you what level the game recommends you being at, and make sure you actually abide by that or you’ll find the missions to be too difficult otherwise. Luckily, missions don’t tend to be far too repetitive either, with many feeling quite fresh and varied.

Assassin’s Creed also has some nice RPG elements to add to the already huge game that is on offer. As you level up, you’ll be able to spend ability points in order to strengthen the stats of Bayek. There are a number of ways you can strengthen him but I did find myself leveling him up more variedly so he would be good at a number of skills. These skills you learn along the way definitely come in hand during the later parts of the game, where the missions and brawls you come into become a lot, lot harder.

Overall, Assassin’s Creed Origins really pleased me. I feel like that Assassin’s Creed fan inside of me has come to the forefront once again and I’m just hoping that Ubisoft can continue this trend now with further games, rather than go down past routes like we have seen before.