The heart of it all
Assassin’s Creed: Origins
When the Assassin’s Creed franchise took off a decade ago (has it been that long already?), Ubisoft’s then-new IP served as little more than a spiritual successor to the widely successful Prince of Persia series. Oh, how the tides have turned.
Sure, Assassin’s Creed lets you parkour around the environment to complete your mission objectives, but what really drew in the players into each subsequent installment were the recreation of historical sites and landmarks, as well as the attention to detail that went into linking facts with fiction to form the series’ ever-expanding narrative.
What the series has yet to really explore was (you guessed it) the origin story of the Brotherhood – until now.
Set in Egypt thousands of years prior to Altair’s introduction, Assassin’s Creed: Origins relayed the tale of Bayek of Siwa in medias res, as a Medjay (read: guardian) on the hunt for a shadowy group of masked men for whom he blames for the accidental murder of his son.
Bayek’s thirst for vengeance, however, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Upon finding and eliminating one of the masked men, it is shown that he feels conflicted, as memories of his son appear just as the life of his targets begin to fade into the Egyptian underworld of Duat, hovering over his actions.
One important thing to note is that, like Ezio and Connor from the second and third mainline Assassin’s Creed titles, Bayek doesn’t begin his career as an Assassin, simply because the Assassin Brotherhood has yet to exist. The same goes for the Templars. Instead, the main antagonists operate from a shadowy group known as The Order of the Ancients. Like the Templars, they represent the opposite end of the spectrum from the Assassins: where the latter would kill a single person for the freedom of the masses, the Order seeks
to control society as a whole, through any means necessary.
Over the course of the story, Bayek will come across several prominent figures of the era, such as the legendary Queen Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, as well as Ptolemy XIII, the vain and naïve younger brother of Cleopatra, among others.
And as with previous Assassin’s Creed titles, Bayek’s action (and his wife, Aya’s) play a pivotal part in shaping the history of Egypt and the Roman Empire (if you’re unsure about what happened to the Egyptian and Roman Empire, now would be a good time for you to check out Wikipedia). One of the many new changes that you’ll notice with Origins is its exploration mechanics and navigation system. Open-world exploration has always been a principal feature of the franchise, but with Origins, players are afforded a new level of fluidity, both in movement and navigation, that seems remarkably similar to The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Even the minimap is gone, replaced with only a compass at the top of the HUD.
Perhaps the biggest departure that we’ve seen in Origins is in the combat system, and it’s quite a refreshing change. It’s a mix between The Witcher III’s combat system, along with Ubisoft’s other fantasy action title, For Honor. Enemies no longer
CONCLUSION Assassin’s Creed: Origins takes a step in a new direction for the better.
swing wildly at you, and neither can you. They don’t just stand there doing nothing (well, not all the time) either. When faced in full-on combat, you have no choice but to get tactical and defensive, and it’s at this point that you realize just how far the combat system has progressed since 2015.
It didn’t take long for us to get a hang of it, and after a while, it was fun getting Bayek to perform hard-hitting, attacks on his targets. And you’re not just relegated to a single sword and dagger either. With Origins, the gloves are quite figuratively off on the weapons trees. Ubisoft took great pains to allow players to choose from a plethora of swords, dagger, shields, bows, and the more devastating polearms, axes, and longreaching spears.
It’s a welcome change of pace from the triedand-tested hidden blade motif that has long dominated the Assassin’s Creed universe (Syndicate being the only exception), and is starting to feel a little stale.
With that said, the option of hidden blade assassination is still available, as well the option to upgrade both your weapons and accessories as you make your way through the game. Lastly, there are some interesting mini-games within Origins, such as chariot racing and treasure hunting.
The leap of faith: a must-do for all assassins.
No time to rest. Egypt needs me.