Review – Assassins Creed Origins
It’s here, it’s finally here. After a hiatus of 2 years, we finally get our hands on the newest ( and in some respect the oldest 😛 ) full-fledged AC title in Assassin’s Creed : Origins. We have been playing the latest offering from one of the biggest AAA franchises and what is in offering is quiet exciting to say the least. This time we are in ancient Egypt and our main protagonist is Bayek. His story is about takeing out soldiers and agents of a corrupt regime. It’s a story of political intrigue, but also of ordinary people struggling against tyranny and corruption.
Being a massive AC fan, the story line while not utter garbage, wasn’t anything to write home about either. It was always seemed less like the driving force, and more like an after thought. But Bayek’s story is different, its much more personal and its much more “juicy”. The story fits very well within the Egyptian lore of powerful leaders and their strong hold on the mass populace, which in my view, provides an excellent backdrop and character motivation.
I played the game on PS4 Pro on Sony 49” 4K UHD IPS TV and sat 6 feet away from it (yes I will go blind in few years but it’s worth it xD), and the game is undeniably beautiful. The best looking AC game by far and you wont find none of those AC:Unity’s technical issues here. I was slightly worried about after how much sand would I get bored, but I didnt. The architecture offers so much diversity and even the sand looks so beautifully done. Bringing the best out of the whole environment wouldnt have been possible without authentic lighting and shadows, I found myself seeking shadowy areas naturally, despite the fact I was just playing the game instead of being in Egypt – which only adds to how well the level design is. The whole look is also really helped with Ubisoft utilizing Playstation’s Checker Boarding technique works wonders even if its running at 1440p or using dynamic resolution and you will notice the crisp and clear gameplay. Actually its better than what I was expecting really. (Yes, I have a PC and I played many games in Native 4K including the recent evil within 2 & Shadow Of War with 4k pack). They have done a fantastic job with the PS4 version, and I am super excited to see how the Xbox One and PC versions play out.
As you can tell from the captured footage, it’s big on detail, while also rendering a coherent, believable world, filled with people who are busy in their daily lives. For this purpose in the footage I got off the camel to just look at that small Bazaar, which isn’t usually what an AC game is about, it has always been about smooth flowing movement, jumping from one place to another, but this one feel more polished indeed. That being said, there were a few missed jumps and I didn’t find the flowing combination jumps worked aswell as in past, as the density of buildings and places to grab onto are obviously lower than in previous AC games.
The game cut-scenes do feel a little stiff as compared to the gameplay which you can clearly feel in the videos that are posted here, the actual gameplay remained at a consistent 30FPS – which resulted in a smooth experience on the Ps4 Pro throughout most of the first half.
As a game, it will be familiar to Assassins Creed players, following a template of climbing, sneaking, fighting and discovering. There’s a pretty strong loot element as well with Bayek able to level up and equip stronger gear and weapons. It’s all distinctly action RPG-like, especially in how you can encounter enemies several levels higher and potentially die in one hit. From this perspective, it makes sense to see the combat shift as it has. There’s more of a focus on third person sneaky hack and slash combat as opposed to countering one enemy after the next. There is a significant weight to each fight, less “arcade-ish” to previous AC games but alot of fun none-the-less. Various systems underpin the gameplay, including a progression tree, upgrade economy and crafting. Interesting, a part where I didn’t feel that they would look at, but which Ubisoft improved upon is variety of side missions, they are fun and doing them is important to your character progression. I wish they would have taken a little bit of Witcher-esque approach and also spent sometime in detailing those side missions further, for now they are still most noticeably just “side missions”. Ubisoft has introduced some micro transaction elements aswell, but they weren’t available at the time of playing.
Voice acting has to be commended aswell here, the accents, the dialogue and the interactions feel natural, and most notably for me, they made it much less cheesy or forced than before, the environmental audio is spot on aswell and Egypt is a pleasure to “listen” to.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is truly a new beginning for the franchise….and if having an extra year makes the game just this more polished Ubisoft should take note of it !