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Assassins Creed Origins Review

A common trend in gaming these days is to milk a series, pushing out sequel after sequel as quickly as possible to capitalise on the popularity. Assassins Creed is one of those series guilty of ‘milking’ going from the original title on the 360/PS3 and it’s sequel in 2007 and 2009 respectively we suddenly got hit with 7 mainline titles in only 5yrs. That wasn’t including the 7 titles also released on mobile and portable devices in that same period.

Thankfully however Ubisoft decided to slow down in 2016 and for the first time in 7yrs we didn’t get a mainline Assassins Creed title. Instead the team at Ubisoft Montreal decided not only to take the series to Egypt for the first time but also take an extra 12months developing and aiming to present us with what they’d hoped would be the best Assassins Creed entry to date.

So what did become of this trip to the pyramids? has that extra 12months done enough to freshen up the series and present us something more enjoyable? read on to find out just what I thought of Origins and could I finally enjoy an Assassins Creed title for the first time since Brotherhood?

Gameplay

Welcome to 48BC, you’re an Assassin known to friends as Medjay and along with your wife Aya, you set out to protect the people of the Ptolemaic Kingdom during testing times. While the majority of your experience is inside the Animus you’ll have a few chances to explore the present day as our hero Lucy. So don’t panic modern day internet, you’ll get to play as both sexes.

There is plenty to explore on your journey through Egypt, the main storyline while entertaining isn’t where you’ll spend most of your time. The side quest are plentiful with some entertaining little challenges that help you level up your character and unlock items you might otherwise miss in a simple speed run. Actually chances are most of you won’t even finish the main story, not a knock to the campaign but a nod of acknowledgement to just how much variety is on offer. Let’s face it, most of us buy a game a month at the least and the time you’ll invest into the extras of ACO might just hold you till your next purchase leaving the campaign unfinished.

I mean how often can a game introduce RPG elements and not cause you to divert from that main story? That’s right, the RPG elements are there in ACO and because of that levelling up your assassin is more important than ever. The gear you carry can be upgraded, weapons have levels as well as different advantages from ranged to melee and hunting for material is more important than ever. I felt while hunting deer for leather like I might be playing another Far Cry sequel and for those moments it’s not a terrible thing. The path you choose as you work on you skill set changes how the game feels and if you’re a hunter, the ability is there to focus first on those aspects but if you’re anything like me you’ll be levelling it out and aiming to do everything at once.

Controls, oh controls. They’ve revised the combat controls this time and while some people are applauding the new style, It’s still feeling clunky and I’m finding myself getting frustrated at the unorthodox movements as I scale the buildings of ancient Egypt in the old familiar parkour style the series is famous for. I’m hopeful that come the next release they can find a comfortable middle ground, maybe have a look at Dying Light.

The shining light when it comes to control is the simplicity of calling in ‘Senu’ your pet eagle to scout the way ahead assisting you in finding your next point of attack or highlighting the enemy soldiers ready for you to swoop in as any promising assassin would. The flow of flying Senu is simple, flicks of the stick and a gentle glide across the sky has me thinking I could gladly explore the entire world this way.

Graphics

When I posted a picture of this running on my  Xbox One, the first comment we got over on Facebook was “Not even an Xbox One X” so I thought appropriate to mention that yes indeed, this was played on an Xbox One S not an X. So unfortunately I’m not getting the full 4k experience, however it’s still safe to say this is a pretty attractive game. Throughout my time playing I’ve experienced no noticeable screen tearing, pop ins or faceless monsters (thanks for the nightmares Unity)

Audio

We’ve got a pretty quiet game here, the standard background noise is there and the environment has it’s activity. I just don’t feel however like the world is alive and bustling, the ability to draw me into the cities I explore is missing and no amount of repeated chatter can make up for that. The idea is there but after what is now 10years of Assassins Creed, I’d like to think they would have nailed it by now and I’d be sitting here telling you how I forgot I was in my living room.

Conclusion

On a whole I am more impressed by this than I have been by the last few years, I’d say it’s my favourite in the series since the second. While there was the issue of lacking environmental audio and the controls continued to make me scream “I said go up not jump” at the television set numerous times, I still have the desire to continue on with the adventure and likely come back again for the 100%.

Let’s stick to the biennial releases for awhile and continue to build on the progress made between Syndicate and Origins. If you haven’t taken that leap of faith yet, I’d highly recommend checking this out for those slow release periods. Now about that trip to Japan……

Pros

  • Perfect setting for the series
  • Plenty to do beyond the main campaign
  • Impressive looking world that extends well into the horizon

Cons

  • Controls feel clunky and a step down.
  • The environment isn’t as alive as it could have been
  • A little easy at times and lacking the challenge

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