Assassin's Creed Origins Review: Egyptian Setting Revives the Series
If you've been following the development of the Assassin's Creed series of games, then you are surely aware of the fact that this is the only time since the first game in the history of the series that Ubisoft took not one but two whole years to develop its latest installation -- Assassin's Creed: Origins.
Fortunately for us, it was their best decision yet, which turned a series beloved by many onto its proper tracks. Although, Assassin's Creed: Origins has some problems that will be discussed in this review, most of the points presented here are positive. But let's start with a bit of history first, shall we?
The Setting of the Ancient Egypt
From the point of view of world design, creating an ancient desert, the setting of Assassin's Creed: Origins, should not be that much of a task. But we all know too well how seriously Ubisoft takes game designs, and the developers really try to bring as many details into their worlds as possible.
Ancient Egypt was far more picturesque back in the day than it is now with only a few tourist attractions left. In the ancient times, the agricultural system was highly developed and created a completely unique ecosystem that was unmatched at the time. That is why in AC:O you will see lush flowering thickets, sparkly rivers and lakes, and other incredible sights that create a fascinating contrast to the sandy deserts surrounding all of these locations.
But natural sights aren't the only places of interest in AC:O, as there are plenty of towns and villages to explore. These settlements are filled with NPCs and various dynamic events that may surprise you.
The Gameplay and Combat Mechanics
The world of Egypt is undeniably beautiful, but we play games for the gameplay--which is vividly abundant in AC:O. Lots of small, random events take place that may seem insignificant at first, but they turn out to be tightly connected to the main story. This greatly enhances the gameplay experience of AC:O, and you naturally desire to learn as much as possible by following the chain of side quests and unlocking various secrets.
Humans aren't the only NPCs making impact on the gameplay -- animals are just as important. For example, you can tame the leader of the pack using the sleeping darts and animal taming ability. Later on, your pet pals will help you greatly in taking out dangerous foes and accomplishing missions.
The events of the game develop in a classical streamlined fashion, and will make you go through some intense revelations concerning the inception of the Assassins.
Now, let's talk about the restructured combat system that makes battles more dynamic and edgy. Many players complained on how boring the combat mechanics were in the past Assassin's Creed games -- well, the times of boring, slow combat is over. The fights in AC:O are fast and brutal, although a bit clunky at times.
Different players will have different perceptions of combat in AC:O, but it looks like Ubisoft took some inspiration from the Dark Souls series. The enemies attack all at once and doesn't provide a single moment for hesitation s they use all sorts of sneaky tricks. You can parry, dodge and block with shield -- remind you of anything yet?
Besides the melee combat, you now have the opportunity to use bow and arrows, which can be modified for more damage. Shooting with a bow is encouraged by the bonus XP system that grants you more points every time you kill enemies by shooting arrows through their heads. If you can do it without being detected, then you will get even more bonuses -- that's how the game rewards you for your skills.
The Story Elements and Main Characters
The main storyline revolves around a character named Bayek -- the Medjay, an elite desert scout and protector of Pharaonic areas. He is involved in all sorts of political events and conspiracies, and becomes the very first Assassin, hence the title of the game.
Getting into more spoilers would be inappropriate, but you will get to meet the famous ancient characters of Egypt (Cleopatra and Ptolemy), Rome (Julius Caesar), and Greece (Aristotle). If these names alone don't make you excited, then you probably are not a big fan of history in general.
In any case, the events of the game develop in a classical streamlined fashion, and will make you go through some intense revelations concerning the inception of the Assassins. The developers have completely abandoned any ambitions regarding social commentary on racial issues, which to be honest, is a good thing and makes the gameplay so much more enjoyable.
Minor Flaws and Final Verdict
Perfect games don't exist, especially on the modern oversaturated market, where developers compete with each other by putting too many elements into their games.
Regarding the fast-paced combat in AC:O, you will notice that it becomes a bit of a hassle when too many enemies attack you at the same time. There has to be some sort of leg-up mechanic introduced, when you deal with 5-6 enemies at once. Otherwise, fighting them all becomes impossible, and you must scope things out just to deal with them in stealth mode.
Also, there is probably no need to mention the obvious technical issues and bugs that accompany each and every game, but there are some optimization problems in AC:O, of which you can read in our detailed guide.
Other than that, Assassin's Creed: Origins is a fantastic game that takes all the best elements of the action-RPG genre, (such as hunting, crafting, archery, etc.) and gives you total freedom to use it all in the grand and absolutely gorgeous world of Ancient Egypt.
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