For once, our schedule continues as planned with an Assassins Creed Origins review. I think my 2 week review schedule will continue on December 11 with either Wolfenstein: The Old Blood or Ys 8 if I get it finished in time. Wolfenstein is more likely.
For now, I hope you enjoy the Assassin’s Creed Origins review. No Spoilers.
Video and/or written form.
TL,DR at the bottom.
Time to complete: 23 Hours 6 Minutes
It’s been a long time since I played a game this quickly from start to finish . I played 23 hours of Assassin’s Creed Origins in about 10 days which feels like a lot for me. I kept coming back because the living game world and the exploration out of combat pair well with the combat itself that made it fun to exist in my own version of Bayek’s story.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is third person open-world adventure game where moving from place to place is as much fun as the destination and the fighting that happens when you get there.
Origins has some strong story moments but lacks overall. I think the beginning and introduction to the characters makes you care about them immediately. Their motivations are tied to their family and revolve around their own little world of importance. The focused nature of the story in the beginning allows for immense growth for the main characters.
Although the story takes us all over Egypt and involves many individuals the story becomes about their relationship. I felt more involved in the story because I was given characters to care about rather than just one. I felt more invested in the world because there was always someone reacting to my involvement in the game. The relationship between Bayek and Aya kept me focused when the “big” game themes come into play.
My issues with the story was that I never cared about any side characters. I think the game relies on the interesting historical characters presented but doesn’t develop them too well or create new interesting characters on its own. I was always intrigued by the historical figures you come across but not because they were well crafted. I don’t think the side characters detracted from the game I think they were just kind of there, not offering much in the way of development.
I think the story falters a bit in the middle before it picks back up at the end. The story feels like you’re doing the same thing over and over for about 10 hours which makes it feel a bit repetitive. There was always one more person to kill or one more place to go. That amount of content is great for scale but it doesn’t add much depth to gameplay.
I never felt attached to the reasons we had to kill certain people nor did those people even exist, many of those targets were just names and didn’t represent fully developed characters.
And while the end did create some interesting moments it drug on a little too long. Like the middle of the game you always have to fight one more battle. I feel like that created some false endings and made the end game actually feel drawn out. There’s a moment in the game where you know the end is near but it feels like after that moment there’s another five hours of content. I think because I was prepped to think the game was ending soon five hours felt a bit too long.
While I think the story is fun overall there are some low points that aren’t contrasted by high points. I don’t think story is the main strong aspect of this game.
I’m going to break up gameplay into two specific sections for this review, fighting and running.
AC Origins delivered on some interesting fighting mechanics. The variety of weapons gives you choice in how you want to play with fights. I think the inclusion of multiple weapon types allow you to feel more involved and feel like you’re having more of an impact on the game. The idea that we will all play the game differently gives the game depth. I used a sickle sword for most of the game because I liked the bleed effect and always pumping out damage. I did transition to a regular sword for the last 5 hours or so of gameplay strictly because I found a legendary regular sword with good stats.
I think the enemy AI in the game create some interesting variety of playstyles. You can’t use the same style or even the same mechanics against different enemies. You have to vary your playstyle depending on situation. For example, you can evade behind shields but you can’t evade crocodiles at all. Heavy shields need even more strength to break their defense than smaller shield and smaller enemies. There are even some enemies in the game that you have to fight very carefully using all weapons at your disposal. I’m not joking when I say I had to use all of my arrows and all of my tools in order to beat them.
Which leads me to the RPG like elements to the combat and weapon system. The weapon rarity adds another layer to the weapons and while I don’t think those layers go very deep it does allow for interesting combinations. I can’t explain it but I enjoy a good weapon rarity system and having that in AC Origins made me excited to get new weapons or try out new things. Even if I didn’t use them often, I did try out some of the heavy weapons when I got a good legendary. The weapon rarity system creates small adjustments to the game that can alter your playstyle and just push you to try something new. I thought I’d spend a good amount of time with the dual swords because I like their speed, but I found they didn’t do enough damage and there was alot of button mashing with dual swords. Other weapon types, namely the sickle sword and regular word offered better mechanical play. With both of those weapon types you need to fight at the right time and not be afraid to evade and shield break when necessary.
Assassin’s Creed is known for the parkour and I think AC Origins has the best parkour in the series. I never felt constrained by the environment. I think you could run or climb everything which made it more enjoyable to traverse the vast world created in the game. If I wanted to go somewhere on the map I was never limited by random world hitboxes. It gave me a better sense of exploration because I was free to move wherever I wanted. Sure, I couldn’t just run or jump over everything because of the environment, but I could move from point a to point b up down and otherwise.
As far as graphics are concerned I think the game looked great. I only had one minor graphical glitch that I can think of so I was always involved and believed in the graphics. I think the varied nature of the world created some awesome graphical moments.
The trees, the grass, the water, and the cities all looked beautiful. I think Ubisoft did well with color palette of the game. Even though sand is a major player, there was tons of greens and whites from trees and cities. I think there’s a great balance of color that make this world look and feel real.
The world of AC Origins is involved and immense. Ubisoft should be proud of their ability to craft a living breathing world this dense and this interesting. The game kept getting bigger until the very end of the game. I’m not being facetious, I didn’t uncover the entire world before beating the game. There’s a large portion of the map that I didn’t touch. That isn’t to say I had no reason to go there, I just feel inclined to complete games before I review them. I would never do the review because I never finished the game if I tried doing everything in this world.
I was surprised to have different environments from within the game. I felt like sand was going to be everywhere, and while that’s true, the environment changes with different sections of the world.
I’m glad to see the water feel as much as part of the world as everything else. I think if we exclude the water the map is huge, but when we include all the water exploration it becomes a ridiculous size. I’m a huge fan of Ubisoft making all areas of the map accessible.
The game felt alive because I was always coming across something, whether it was crocodiles and hippos or jaguars and hyenas in the wild to random world events. There is so much to do in this game it’s absurd. There is a ton of content. You could probably put in a hundred hours into this game before you completed everything.
Some people will enjoy that depth while others will be happy to enjoy the bits of the world they see as the complete the main storyline.
I can’t remember any standout music in the game but I think the sound contributed well to the overall feel. The cities and villages had a different sound profile and created some excellent balance to what you hear from place to place. Cities are loud and you get bit lost in the commotion.
The more natural parts of the world lulls you into in false sense of security until that croc lunges from behind some reeds and scares you into focus.
Bows and melee weapons have a distinct sound when shooting or swinging. The pang of a sword hitting a metal shield create small details that help the world feel real.
I don’t think the sound was spectacular but it was well developed that allowed for great gameplay feedback and made you feel like the world was alive.
Overall: I highly enjoyed my foray back into Assassins Creed. I absolutely love the history and the gameplay from parkour to fighting. There’s tons of challenges and plenty of world to explore in this game and you could spend loads of time clearing the entire map. If you’re unlike me and want to do everything in this game I think there’s plenty to do after you beat it.
Besides some minor gripes with the story in the middle section of the game, I felt drawn into the world created and felt like I needed to finish the game. I think that compulsion makes me realize the greatness of this game.