The Assassin’s Creed franchise is a series that many people hold up as one of the strongest series ever created. However, in terms of popularity, each of the more recent entries seem to each be missing a part of the original idea that made it great. That’s not to say that they were bad games, but they were nothing compared to the critical success that was Assassins Creed II that delivered on the promises of the first game.
Now, during E3 2017, fans were treated to the gameplay reveal of Assassin’s Creed Origins, an attempt to tell the first-ever story of the assassins. The new game will take the series to Egypt, a setting that hasn’t been explored in any of the past entries. I will admit that I was hesitant about this new direction and didn’t know if the setting would work. However, while exploring these desert landscapes, I ended up rediscovering what I loved most about the Assassin’s Creed series.
In Assassin’s Creed Origins, players assume the role Bayek of Siwa, a member of an Egyptian military order called the Medjay. The demo opens up to our main protagonist heading into town with multiple missions available in the vast Egyptian landscape.
As I ventured into town, I made my way over to the first quest marker where a priest was abusing his power and beating a boy who was accused of being a thief. My task was to clear the name of the boy and prove his innocence: this is when I was able to utilize Bayek’s falcon companion, Senu. This new mechanic allows the player to transfer their cautiousness into Senu and scope out the surrounding areas, marking guards, treasures, and places of interest as just a few of the possibilities.
As I investigated a nearby water source, Senu discovered a sunken treasure as well as a guarded chest on a ship. So I did what any other player on a mission would do: I jumped right into the water to find that treasure. Swimming underwater presents an all new world of Assassin’s Creed Origins for players to discover, but sadly I only had time to swim to my destination.
Sadly, I didn’t find what I was looking for so I had to sneak aboard the guarded ship and search the contents of that chest. Assassin’s Creed Origins builds upon the familiar mechanics of scaling walls, which the series has been so well-known for since the original title. However, the game makes it even easier by not relying so heavily on using the action button to move from one point to another. Instead, pointing the left trigger to your desired destination will make Bayek seamlessly move across scalable surfaces.
All the stealth kills that fans have enjoyed make a return, such as, jumping from a perch onto an enemy or pulling enemies from a ledge to their death. This makes the game feel familiar when going about things stealthy, but this time the combat has been completely altered compared to the past.
When squaring off with enemies, the quick counter attack prompts are a thing of the past (no pun intended). Players must now use their skills in order to judge when to go in for an attack or dodge out of the way. Melee attacks have been mapped to the right shoulder buttons and must be timed accurately in order to connect to an enemy. Furthermore, enemy attacks must be manually dodged or blocked in order to escape damage.
This deeper battle system made taking on normal guards a bit more intimidating, which made me think twice about starting too much trouble when they were around. Towards the end of my time with the game, I began to feel more comfortable using the new fighting controls and even took on a boss character in the colosseum, where sadly I died against my opponent at what seemed to be one hit away from death; but, such is life.
I played Assassin’s Creed Origins on Xbox One X, where I saw the potential that the upcoming game has in terms of its graphics and immersing the player into its huge world. However, it’s to be seen whether or not Bayek’s story is one that is worth being told, but as of right now I am excited to dive in and explore this truly beautiful game.
Assassin’s Creed Origins will release for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 27th, 2017.