Assassin’s Creed developers Ubisoft bring welcome alterations to a series turning stale. The tenth main AC game, Origins takes a classic, proven formula and gives it some new wings to truly fly. Initially releasing in 2017, I played it shortly after. I only played a little bit, however, as I struggled with the combat at the time. Now that Origins is available on Xbox Game Pass, I decided to give it another shot based on the popularity of the new style. I am so glad I gave it another go. For some reason things just clicked, and I had an unforgettable experience.
The first noticeable difference between this and older installments is the combat. The combat is more involved, and once you get the hang of things much more enjoyable. The simple Rock, Paper, Scissors recipe is exchanged for more dynamic combat with some of the same frills. The bow is extremely powerful, and the many melee weapon types let you build how you wish to play. There is a moderate amount of hot-swapping in menus, but relatively minimal. It doesn’t impact the pace of gameplay. The stealth aspects are still my favorite part of Assassin’s Creed, as ever. The feeling of sneaking up on your prey, or even clearing an outpost without anybody ever having a clue.
There’s an overwhelming amount to love about Origins. I relish ancient Egyptian mythology. Some time ago, I read the Book of the Dead, and found it beautiful. Speaking of beauty, the desert landscapes in this game are divine. Whether trekking across the dunes, exploring an oasis or a city, the eye has much to gaze upon. The graphics are incredible. The environments are master crafted. Not least to love are the story and gameplay, which are typical Assassin’s Creed taken in enticing new directions.
I have spent about forty hours with Origins. It was almost an addiction. At some point I would like to go back and play more, whether I continue my current game, or start the optional “New Game Plus.” After completing the main story, there is still so much side activity I haven’t done that interests me. There is optional DLC, but I think most likely I will move onto the next two newest AC games. Both of which I have purchased during my time with Origins. Such is my adoration for this game. AC: Odyssey and Valhalla I found on sale wherever I could, and managed to get both for about $45 altogether. Not bad at all, if you ask me. Origins alone is worth that amount.
The storytelling in Origins is some of Ubisoft’s best. The setting feels authentic. Characters are engaging, and full of emotion. The use, and intersection, of real history and AC lore creates suspense, drama and excitement. I often moved with a sense of purpose. As Abstergo employee Layla Hassan lives the memories of Bayek, an ancient Egyptian protector with a murdered child, Layla uncovers the truth behind the beginning of the Assassin order. As a long time fan, it is a thoughtful, and worthy genesis.
Side quests are rewarding. They are fun, feel like you’re helping the world, often have entertaining enough stories, and gaining the experience points is helpful in the RPG-like style of Origins. Ubisoft has dabbled with skill trees and such in the past with AC, but it is refined here. Most of the skills are effective in some degree. More powerful skills cost more Ability Points, earned with XP, and are further up the three main skill trees. By the end of the game I felt so much more powerful than when I started, and there are some segments that cleverly handicap you. Upgrading your gear is a simple, but treasured crafting system.
Origins features a taste of the naval combat that made AC: Black Flag so popular. These few missions were highly entertaining. It is very similar to the old style, and that is what I want. I could never get enough of the ship-to-ship battles in that game, so I’m happy to see them back in some scope. If you really want more of these sequences, Ubisoft is making an entire game based on this naval combat system called Skull & Bones, although no release date yet. While these sections seem a little stapled on, I doubt I will hear many complaints.
Playing on my Xbox Series X was wonderful. Fantastic performance, visuals and controls. The Quick Resume feature worked better than a lot of games that claim to utilize the feature, but struggle. Only two or three bugs or glitches showed themselves the entire time. The experience was fluid. You can commit for a side mission here and there, or strap in for a five hour session. I would suggest this game on whatever platform you are able.
I have installed Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and Valhalla rests patiently on my shelf. If I like them half as much as I liked Origins, I am in for a treat. Just yesterday I posted an Assassin’s Creed 2 review from the Ezio Collection on Nintendo Switch. So I am actually playing AC simultaneously on two consoles right now. As I move onto Odyssey on the Xbox, I’ll be starting Brotherhood on the Switch. More AC content to come, perhaps even every game at some point or another. I have already done AC:3, also I own others and would love to play through them someday.
This is a perhaps grandiose claim, but I think Assassin’s Creed Origins may be my new favorite AC. Before, it has always been AC4: Black Flag. Origins, simply put, is the perfect game. Weaknesses fall short of being worth mentioning. It may be this reviewer’s preferences for Egyptian mythos and landscapes, coupled with epic Assassin lore, but I couldn’t put this game down. The joy Origins brought me impacted my life beyond the time spent in front of the TV. I will surely look back on this as one of the legendary classics.
Credit: Assassin’s Creed Origins. Screenshots by me.