Reviews Daniel Stroński
Review: Assassin's Creed Origins (PS4)
Assassin's Creed Origins in the game database
Review: Assassin's Creed Origins (PS4)

Assassin’s Creed Origins brings the new quality the series was longing for after Unity and Syndicate. Meet the new Assassin’s Creed game as a true action RPG!

Assassin’s Creed Origins was released a couple of days ago and finally we are uploading the review. We got the review copy at the beginning of last week, but this is the biggest entry in the series yet, and the developer decided to change a genre to a true RPG with an open world, so one cannot write a fair review right after the end of the story campaign (and it’s impossible to finish just the story, but I’ll explain it later). I explored vast ancient Egypt, I hunted lions and hippos, I was drowning in side missions and activities, I ran across deserts (and had hallucinations), I took part in naval battles, chariot races and arena fights, but most importantly – I created the Creed. The sandbox simply should not be judged before experiencing everything it had to offer and in AC Origins there are plenty of things to do.

Assassin's Creed Origins #1

Last year did not bring a new Assassin’s Creed game, which allowed two things – the release of an unnecessary movie with Fassbender and an introduction of the all-new quality to the repetitive series. And it’s great they did something with this lack of original ideas in a couple of last entries because even though Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag brought naval battles and many new mechanics to the game, Unity and Syndicate… well, one cannot really distinguish between them due to no distinctive feature whatsoever. A simple combat system, mediocre scripts and a plethora of collectibles quickly cooled down any stronger emotion caused by truly beautiful places from bygone eras. The sale records must have got into Ubisoft’s head (not the reviews, nor players’ feedback, it’s Ubi after all) because Assassin’s Creed Origins fixed everything. Maybe except for the object clipping, it’s still the same French publisher we’ve known for years.

The beginning itself is quite shocking (unless you’ve read about it earlier) – we have to choose the difficulty level. This has a big impact on the whole game, since the new and challenging combat system can discourage players used to extremely easy killing enemies one after another, after a successful counter. We quickly land in a small part of vast ancient Egypt – Siwa village – where the developer lets us familiarize with new rules. The most shocking thing – no collectibles. No, really! They were replaced with resources from hunting animals (skins, scales) and stealing from military transports (bronze, iron) and, like in Far Cry series, we use them to craft ourselves better equipment. Thanks to that, we have an actual stats boost, not dozens of unnecessary feathers to collect. As a fan of the series, I appreciated it so much, I just had to mention it before the story or the combat. Well, there are some special crystals to collect for a nice outfit for the protagonist, but we’ll get them all while raiding tombs so I wouldn’t call it troublesome collectibles per se.

Assassin's Creed Origins #2

We take the role of an “Egyptian policeman” Bayek. He helps the villagers, but his Medjay post is long forgotten after Alexander the Great conquered whole Egypt in 334 BC. It’s year 49 BC – the Greeks live along the Egyptians for a couple hundred years and the Romans commanded by Julius Caesar just arrived. Cleopatra was exiled by her younger brother Ptolemy, although we focus on a much more personal story – a private path of revenge Bayek and his wife have sworn for his killed son. Don’t worry, their storyline will later merge with the events and characters we know from history books. And who’s responsible for all this ruckus? The original Templars called the Order of the Ancients.

The story isn’t something one can lose themselves into, for it’s yet another “vengeance for the death of a family member” plot with the usual addition of slightly too much over-the-top historical figures (like frivolous Cleopatra, for one), but the revenge theme is slowly escalating, and our mourning characters can relate to tragedies of encountered NPCs, which subtly shows our heroes’ emotional state and its development. Nevertheless, Bayek is not a constantly gloomy, self-pitying emo. He can crack a joke or two and show his funnier side. But give him the slightest clue for the identity of his son’s killers and he jumps right into a fight. So yeah, he’s likeable. The mentioned escalation pushes the player to start next story missions, but they are often locked behind an experience level gate, so we won’t get to know the whole story at once.

Assassin's Creed Origins #3

But don’t think that those level gates are a bad thing! I’d call Assassin’s Creed Origins an action RPG and in this genre it’s normal. Also, quickly the whole Egypt becomes open for our explorational needs, but different regions have enemies and quests on appropriately high level, so there is that. What’s more, an enemy three-four levels stronger than our Bayek takes next to no damage from our attacks. I’ll always be a big supporter of the game’s open world that does not scale to our level, because I just want to feel getting stronger and you have to have an incentive in a form of challenging areas. Moreover, in AC Origins Bayek never requires big exp grinds, you just have to do a couple of side quests between story missions and you’re good. Those smaller stories are a mixed bag, though. Some of them are quite funny, like helping a drunk to get back to his wife (and there is an unexpected twist!) or an escort mission where we’re trusted with moody daughter of a wealthy merchant, but the majority of those side missions brings back the standard “go, steal and/or kill silently”. In short, if you want to experience the story without any side activities, and many of them are not that exciting in terms of complexity, you’ll be frustrated. But there is no point in avoiding those side stuff, they’re not bad, just… similar to one another.

Another big difference in this entry is much slower pace of the gameplay. It was needed for the new combat system and after a few hours you’ll appreciate that, but at the beginning it requires some time to get used to. The combat itself is great – you can feel the weight of weapons, which translates into the speed and the range of attacks with different kinds of gear. Many scepters, spears, and regular and sickle swords should be picked with a certain playstyle in mind, as well as many abilities from three skill trees. What’s more, the game does not “pull” the hero to enemies anymore – after performing an attack, it will damage every man or animal in its range, apart from allies, that’s it. Thanks to this, we can use a guard’s heavy attack to dodge it and then cut open his back where his shield does not reach. We can use our shield, too, and after blocking a strike, quickly make our counterattack. It’s no Dark Souls (or any complex aRPG, to be honest) level of quality, but it’s still a huge improvement since the previous combat system. And it stops the player from taking on bigger numbers of enemies. Archers and guards on horses complicate battles, so you have to think before drawing your weapon. Another very important aspect is Eagle Vision – this time the real thing. Our Senu can give us a true bird-eye view and mark as many bad guys as we can see.

Assassin's Creed Origins #4

In opposition to open battles there is stealth, along with as much as four bow types – and the aiming is controlled fully by the player! What’s more, during aiming we see how much damage our arrow will make (which depends on shot part of the body, pulling strength etc.) and it helps with correcting our line of the shot to a moving target. Apart from standard bows, there are also short ones (low damage with a fast rate of fire), longer ones (with an ability to steer an arrow) and “shotgun” type (five arrows at once with a big spread). It’s like the developer wanted to fill in for firearms, but I’ve got no problem with it whatsoever. It fits into the gameplay perfectly. What about the hidden blade? It’s there, but if the enemy has a couple levels more than our hero, forget about an instant kill, you cannot rely on it as much as before.

The equipment alone deserved its own paragraph. The size of our quiver, the power of attacks and our hit points are upgradable by mentioned crafting. Weapons are a completely different thing, though. Random swords, bows and shields have their own stats and optional bonuses like poison damage, better critical hits or faster rate of shooting. If you find a perfect, let’s say, scepter for our playstyle, it can quickly become useless after advancing a couple experience levels further. What’s great here is an option to adjust it to our current level with a help of a blacksmith (and a quite sum of cash). Simple, yet well-thought idea I don’t remember seeing in any other big RPG.

No one should be surprised there are microtransactions and lootboxes in Assassin's Creed Origins, but don’t you worry about them. Yeah, without spending real money you won’t be a mummy riding a unicorn, and some of the hidden locations you’ll have to discover on our own – so what? You can also buy a weapon, but random loot from enemies and chests can be as good as this paid stuff. There are timesavers, too, so you don’t have to hunt animals, but let me assure you – it’s not too big of a grind. I’d even say it was one of the most interesting things to do in the game! And lootboxes? It’s blown out of proportion. They are just chests with one random item of a higher quality than usual. We can obtain this also from daily missions and buy them for in-game cash. The only thing that makes me nervous is the menu design, where we change tabs by pushing L1/R1 buttons, and the left button on d-pad opens the shop with said microtransactions. And I was clicking it constantly by accident! Anyway, it’s not cool there are things to buy for real money, but there is no reason to use it whatsoever.

Assassin's Creed Origins #5

Last but not least, I have to write about the best thing about the whole Assassin’s Creed Origins – ancient Egypt. The world map is as big as in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag… but instead of the water we have land! It’s unbelievable how it complements the game. Older Egyptian cities mix with Greek influences (and whole cities – like Alexandria), and between them there are lots of villages, camps, mountains, caves, pyramids and other interesting places, marked on the map with a question mark as in The Witcher 3. And here I was, afraid of the easy way out the developer could take and we’d have just vast oceans of sandy nothingness around the cities. I decided to explore the whole country right after it became available. I was looking for fast travel points, hidden tombs and other interesting places and yes, there are big deserts without any of this stuff. So why I didn’t take it for a flaw? Because it offered me a whole another experience. Travelling through those deserts in full sun induces hallucinations like oases, shooting stars, or raining bugs. It does not affect the gameplay and we still have these vast areas with nothing but sand, but… what did you expect, they’re deserts, for Pete’s sake! You can walk into a sandstorm and that’s it. There are enough stuff everywhere else to justify this.

The beautiful world makes the player constantly push the SHARE button, but there is also a Photo Mode! With a good angle and a right filter you can take a screenshot and it automatically publishes on the game’s server. Why, you ask? Other players will see them in Map tab in the menu. A simple, but ingenious feature! Problems start when we forget about the landscape for a moment and focus on NPCs. Apart from main characters, every other person looks terrible and the close-ups during the cutscenes can leave a bad impression. Also, as usual, there are textures loading up on our eyes. Loading times are short, though, so at least fast traveling across this world is nice and enjoyable.

Assassin's Creed Origins #5

It's easy to praise Assassin's Creed Origins as a fan of the series, because every positive change makes me even more happy. It’s really a new quality, but you can still feel the core ideas of the series – and you will give a start to the Creed! The most important missing thing is tall buildings and long climbs, but with them gone, there are no problems with the climbing itself. However, seeing a lack of collectibles, a revolution in the combat system and the most interesting world I had the chance to assassinate people in, I’m truly awed. There is even a sequence that lets us fight a naval battle just like in Black Flag! This is exactly what Assassin’s Creed series needed. With great reviews Ubisoft is probably going to make many more copies of AC Origins’ ideas and soon we’ll have enough of this “new quality”, but for now – I WANT MORE!

Assassin's Creed Origins
Out rating: 9.0/10
Daniel Stroński
Assassin's Creed Origins changes genre to action RPG and that is exactly the direction in which it should follow. One of the best open world game on the market.
  • Pros
  • Vast ancient Egypt
  • New combat and equipment systems
  • Many RPG elements
  • Hunting and crafting instead of collectibles
  • Bayek himself
  • Cons
  • The graphics sometimes is really bad
  • Many side missions are similar to one another
Assassin's Creed Origins playstation 4 ubisoft

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