You play as Bayek, the last Medjay – an elite paramilitary police force in Egypt, traversing across the sandy lands due to recent events. What makes this setting unique can be hinted by the title of the game – Assassin’s Creed: Origins (AC:O). The following sequences you play in the game will led to the birth of the Assassin Brotherhood, leading to the famous Ezio Auditore da Firenze and more.
For starters, AC:O looks amazing. The usage of volumetric lighting and the way the environment reacts to the characters’ movement feels ever so surreal. This is more apparent when travelling on sea, where the fog meets the ocean and land.
Ubisoft made a great decision that AC:O should take a few years off before releasing their next Assassin’s Creed game. This not only allowed for additional time of development for the game, it also reduced fatigue in the interest of the entire franchise. People were getting bored of small iterations.
When it came to bugs, there was only a single instance of the game where the music became too overpowering and drowns out the voices of other characters. Other than that, there were nothing game breaking that ruined the experience of the game. This is a warm welcome as their previous titles were extremely buggy at launch.
The only minor complaint with the game is with the engine being too demanding on the system. Running with an i7-3820 (4C/8T at 3.8GHz) and GTX 970 (OCed to 1500MHz), the game is maxing out the hardware while barely maintaining 60FPS at “High” preset. Do expect to lower your graphical settings as the game is pretty demanding.
Actions still feels fluid with great animations, and now is even more responsive with abrupt turns registering much faster. As a result, traversing through rooms and tight corners is smoother and do not feel as sluggish and bogged down as before.
ASSASSINO YOU CANNOT CATCH ME
– Random Italian Templar
The game is now becoming more of a loot fest, with loots and treasures being everywhere. This can take away some of the focus on exploration. This really only affects those who have the compulsive need to pick up everything. Personally, I do find myself slowly ignoring all of the insignificant drops and actually started focusing on the rest of the game.
Following you in your journey is Sinu, your trusty pet sidekick, that grants you a bird’s-eye view to the world around you. This is something new and adds new ways for interaction with the environment and quests. One tip, you are able to identify enemies’ behavior and even see through walls with Sinu.
AC:O now comes with Tesla-like mounts, complete with autonomous mode. It even has a really handy trophy holder, allowing you to parade around town with your prize.
As far as concerned, the biggest gameplay change in AC:O is the inclusion of major RPG elements. The biggest of all is the reliance of hitpoints and weapon damage. In previous games, you could assassinate/take-down an enemy with a single slice of the throat or an arrow to the head. Now, you have to make sure that your weapons are powerful enough in order to make that happen. Essentially, a well-planned out approach is only half the picture, and you are now artificially bounded by stats.
Moreover, some skills that you expect the assassins to have is now locked behind a skill point wall. As such, you are initially really weak and have to be careful when approaching any fight. Luckily, crucial skills will be easily unlocked early into the game.
Your equipment can now be upgraded using various materials, with the former being classified by rarities. The new equipment system now adds breadth to the game, giving players the choice of whether to rush with missions or to get stronger first. Those who have played with several RPGs with a loot system would be very familiar with this.
All in all, AC:O brings a brand-new yet familiar spin to the well-loved franchise. Thanks to its two year-long hiatus, which gave the development team time to polish and breathe new life to it, AC:O is one of the contenders in my game of the year list.
+ Fluid animation and combat
+ Looks better than ever
+ Mount with autonomous capabilities
+ RPG elements
= Overly-demanding on the system (Graphics or DRM?)
– …RPG elements