Last week I got to spend an extended amount of time playing Assassin’s Creed: Origins. It’s fresh, challenging, stunning and downright enjoyable. So here’s a list of the 5 most exciting things about Assassin’s Creed: Origins.
AC FINALLY FEELS LIKE A RPG
The player menu has a load of RPG elements which make you actually want to complete side quests and take note of your weapon load-outs. Weapon types like swords, blades, axes & spears have always been common within the AC franchise, but in Origins a ranking system has finally been introduced. Based on the standard RPG rankings (Uncommon, Rare, Legendary) you’ll be able to strong-arm your enemies by finding and equipping the higher ranked weaponry, like the sweet legendary spear you acquired through a side mission (GET IT!). Much like Assassin’s Creed 3, Bow and Arrows play a big part, however this time around there is a huge range of styles.
From close quarter, shotgun like bows and fast paced, rapid-fire bows to long range, precision bows, all-round hunting bows, and a ton more bows! Long story short, there are a lot of bows – once again, all ranked and with certain stats. Apart from the arsenal, the upgrading of armour is more streamlined too, having it readily upgradable at any time by crafting the right amount and combination of animal skins & resources. Then finally, the skills tree. That booming skills tree full of glorious new ways to sneak up on enemies, survive the wilds of Egypt or run head on into combat with explosive surprises and brutal combat moves. So many skills.
THE WILDLIFE IS DEFINITELY WILD
Assassin’s Creed: Origins has definitely taken a page out of the Far Cry books, because the wildlife is everywhere and ready to turn on you at any moment. You’ll be minding your own business, assassinating thugs and sword fighting multiple guards when all of a sudden a rogue hippo will come charging out of nowhere, knock you to the ground and have you running around frantically trying to equip the right weapon. Then there’s the crocodiles to watch out for whilst traversing the waters or river areas, hyenas in the hills, vultures guarding the skies…you really just need to watch where you’re going at ALL times, and it’s absolutely fantastic. It makes travelling across the huge map more exciting and dangerous and can create a huge amount of chaos in a battle that needed no more. It also adds to the strategy of taking out patrols or guards when on a mission. Should you sneak up on them and take them out one by one, or just let the two caged lions out to do your bidding? Spoiler alert: the lions.
THE COMBAT IS WAY BETTER
Long gone are the days of the AC fan favourite “Wait, Parry, Combo, Repeat.” As much fun as it was spending a whole weekend stacking body after body like this in previous AC games, Origins’ combat system is a HUGE game-changer. Combat controls have been spread across the controller with shield blocking via the left bumper, quick and strong attacks via the right bumper and trigger, plus dodging, shield charge and more mapped to your face buttons. You can then trigger stronger attacks by holding down certain buttons or execute your “special” attack by a simultaneous press. Needless to say you feel in complete control of every limb and movement, which at first is daunting, especially when certain load-outs may not come with a shield or may slow you down; the combat is completely dynamic. You’ll find you can’t just run into a battle, execute some moves and BAM! battle won. Not every enemy can be defeated by the same combat approach, and it’ll take a few deaths or close calls to understand that. Origins has widened the strategic approach of this franchise, and it truly makes every aspect rewarding, challenging and refreshing. It’ll pay to take your time and be a true assassin – stealthy, smart and prepared.
EAGLE VISION TAKES ON A WHOLE NEW MEANING
It’s clever how Eagle Vision has been reimagined for this game that not only makes complete sense in terms of setting and lore, but also in a way that brings new life to the franchise. Eagle Vision takes form in Origins through the connection between the Egyptian Assassin, Bayek, and his eagle companion, Senu. When activated, you’ll take control of Senu, flying high and low through your surroundings. Not only is this complete fun, but it literally gives you a bird’s eye view of your path ahead or the mission area you’re about to try get through. You can target enemies, scout for mission objectives, plan your entry, exits and assassinations or even, with certain unlocked abilities, use Senu to distract enemies or aid in battle. It’s a nice change to the old highlighted colours and greyed out vision of the past.
IT PAYS TO TAKE NOTE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
It’s been established that the wildlife of Assassin’s Creed: Origins will definitely make you keep a watchful eye, but it will also aid players to listen to the village chatter and explore the alleyways, rooftops and landings of the old world. Why? Because Origins isn’t a game that will mark every step you need to take and will have you thinking at times “I have no idea where to find anything.” It’s in the exploration where you’ll pick up clues to mission objectives, valuable loot, animal lairs and hidden secrets.
You may be in a side mission that has you hunting for animal skins, but if you haven’t already come across certain animal lairs or know of areas where those animals like to hang out, the mission isn’t suddenly going to mark these locations on the map for you. So you may need to do a little detective work by catching a sentence or two from a random villager talking about their recent hunt. Even whilst exploring and climbing the Egyptian setting and terrain you can find resources that may help obtain a bonus in a mission. Let’s say like some perfume you randomly find abandoned on a rooftop, which you can give to a hunter during a side mission to help his wife overcome his stank issues thus getting you a bonus reward on completion of the mission. Nothing specific, just as an example. But also find that perfume! Exploration is definitely key, and there’s finally a reason to pay attention to NPCs.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins releases on PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 27th.