Having released in November 2007, the Assassin’s Creed franchise has become one of the highest selling video game franchises in the world, as the series has since sold more than 100 million copies as of September 2016. It has become Ubisoft’s biggest selling franchise to date.
The success of the Assassin’s Creed franchise doesn’t stop there as the popular video game series has even been written into a feature-length film, and a series of comic books (and novels).
Despite its successful history, things haven’t always been great for the series – as in recent years – the series slowly began to lose the qualities that made it so great, to begin with. Not only did the games lack content, but they were also riddled with a multitude of different problems. From significant performance issues, to history-making graphical glitches, it is easy to understand why the series quickly went downhill.
Thankful though, after a much-needed year-long hiatus, the Assassin’s Creed franchise is finally back and better than ever. The latest installment of the series – Assassin’s Creed Origins – is set to open the series to a brand new chapter, giving the franchise a much-needed breath of fresh air. Something the series has been lacking of awhile.
So, if you’re still hurting from the previous installments of the series or simply curious as to what the game has to offer, here are 8 of the best and 7 of the worst things that you need to know about Assassin’s Creed Origins.
While Assassin’s Creed has always managed to tell a rather interesting story, I think we can all agree that halfway through the game the missions often start to drag as the repetitiveness begins to seep into the missions.
This time around, Assassin’s Creed Origins has decided to change things up as the developers want players to experience the game's story differently, as players now have the freedom to stray from the main story path. In fact, players are actually encouraged to explore the game’s open world environment to uncover new stories in the form of side quests, which often reward the player with some rather awesome rewards. The new variety of characters that you will encounter along the way add a new sense of depth that fans of the series have yet to experience in any of the previous installments.
That’s right, no Ubisoft game is ever complete without the addition of micro-transactions, no matter how pointless they may be. What makes these particular micro-transactions so frustrating is the simple fact that they do not offer any significant advantages to the player – they are simply purchasing weapons, armor, and other items for the sake of having them slightly earlier than most people. Despite being less aggressive than the recent Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, these are still an unwelcome trend that the Assassin's Creed series has become known for. Nothing excuses the fact that micro-transactions should have never wriggled their way into a single player game such as Assassin’s Creed: Origins.
Move over Nathan Drake and Lara Croft, because there is a new tomb raider in town as Assassin’s Creed: Origins is set to see players exploring and raiding tombs for some extra juicy rewards.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins will allow the players to explore locations such as the Pyramid of Cheops – the largest of three pyramids at Giza. This isn’t just any recreation though, as Ubisoft has done their research as the pyramid will include all of its chambers and rooms. Complete with challenging puzzles, hidden secrets, and exciting rewards, it’s no surprise that this adventurous new feature will be a hit among fans as they spend hours exploring some of the greatest wonders of Ancient Egypt.
If your anything like me, you will understand exactly why the eagle scout - Senu -is such a disappointing feature to be implemented into the game as it arguably takes away from the core fun of the series.
For me personally, when playing through the Assassin’s Creed series some of the most fun that I ever had was when scouting different locations throughout the game – especially AC Unity as the game offered the ability to combat missions in multiple different ways.
Although Senu doesn’t necessarily force you to change the way you approach the mission, he does, however, have some effect on determining the best way to complete each mission as the player is literally able to get an eagle eye view of the entire layout of each location. Senu also allows players to tag enemies and distract them with divebombs.
Simply put, the open world environment of Assassin’s Creed: Origins is absolutely huge and easily takes the cake as the largest Assassin’s Creed game yet. While the world will definitely take some time to explore, it is very clear that the team at Ubisoft definitely did their research as the immense variety of environments within the game are absolutely beautiful and perfectly capture the way that many would imagine ancient Egypt.
The open world environment isn’t the only stunning aspect of Assassin’s Creed: Origins as the developers have taken the crowd like environments from Assassin’s Creed: Unity and expanded on its technology as every visible character within the world has an agenda and will follow a schedule. That’s right, these NPC characters will eat, go to work, and even sleep.
The game’s dynamic weather system is even said to directly affect gameplay as certain weather conditions will affect how well enemies can see you.
These small, yet extremely detailed features are simply the icing on top of the cake, making it easy to understand why AC: Origins’ environment always feels so alive and teeming with activity.
When asking people to define Assassin’s Creed, I can almost guarantee that everyone will make mention of the classic synchronization feature that has become one of the most iconic features of the AC universe. However, AC: Origins changes things up, as synchronization viewpoints will no longer act as unlocking certain parts of the map, instead it will now become a fast traveling location.
Change isn’t always good — and I despise the compass that so many games are now adopting (notably Skyrim and Horizon: Zero Dawn). But what I do know, is that the trusty mini-map and much-loved synchronization viewpoints are sorely missed from Assassin’s Creed.
Taking a page straight out of Far Cry Primal, Assassin’s Creed: Origins will see Bayek gain the ability to control and tame the wildlife that is found across the vast lands of ancient Egypt to his advantage.
However, much like Far Cry and Horizon: Zero Dawn taming these wild beasts won’t be available right out the door, as they will require you to unlock a series of abilities through Bayek’s skill tree. From lions, hyenas, hippos, and even crocodiles, you can now find yourself using these tamed predators to target or distract enemies - a useful tool given just how challenging combat can now be.
But, just when you thought things couldn’t get any more exciting, for all those cat lovers out there, AC Origins will finally give you what many games simply lack – the ability to spend your time petting local cats that you find wandering around small villages. That’s not all though, as they will even sit at your feet, wind around your legs, and follow you around town.
Assassin’s Creed isn’t exactly known for its originality, as the series has taken influence from many games within the past, but it always managed to add its own little twists to help set it apart from other games on the market.
However, by now you will have noticed that many of the new features within Assassin’s Creed: Origins have taken very heavy influence - to almost an exact replicator – of features that are present within other games. Given that many of these features have been taken from Ubisoft owned games, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that it feels as if you’re playing a re-skinned version of Far Cry but with assassins.
While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as AC Origins has utilized many of these features very well. It just would have been nice to see a series of features unique to the AC universe that showcased the developer’s creativity rather than just simply stealing content from other games. Especially when taking into consideration that developers worked on this game for over four years.
It’s no secret that the Assassin’s Creed franchise has been on the decline for numerous years, with many often relating this to a series of poor releases – Unity, we’re looking at you – that have been plagued with not only performance issues, but also some rather unforgettable graphical glitches that will go down in video game history.
However, things may be starting to look up for the series, as many have since stated that Origins is one of the best installments in the Assassin's Creed series and has set the perfect foundation for future titles to come. From the introduction to an RPG-style leveling system, a major overhaul to the games combat mechanics, and the addition of optional side quests... it's safe to say this a strong return to form. Finally.
If you thought that after a year hiatus and over four years of development that Assassin’s Creed: Origins would be without its issues, then you would be wrong as yet again, the series is plagued with issues that could have simply been avoided had they spent more time working on them.
While it is important to note that none of these issues are game breaking – unlike AC Unity – they do manage to break your immersion as some of the animations simply just cannot be ignored. Whether it’s the odd or rather bleak facial movements or simply Bayek’s unrealistic movements, it just seems very strange that such prominent and in your face animations are so severely underdeveloped.
Although it’s understandable that Ubisoft wants to improve the climbing aspect of the game – as it can be rather tedious at times – it is important to remember that allowing Bayek to jump heights larger than his own isn’t the way to do it.
Arguably one of the biggest and most obvious changes to come out of Assassin’s Creed: Origins is the significant change in combat as the entire system has received a complete overhaul.
In what feels like ten years in the making, Assassin’s Creed: Origins has finally said goodbye to the traditional "stand and wait" counter system as enemies will no longer take turns in attacking, but instead attack all together making close combat very hectic as you switch between enemies and dodge any incoming attacks.
Despite taking heavy influence from games such as Dark Souls and Darksiders, the developers behind AC: Origins have really managed to nail the new combat mechanics as every enemy encounter now feels very rewarding.
While some may be skeptical of these new changes, they really do offer a completely new and refreshing change of pace from previous installments within the series – especially given that combat now requires much more skill and strategical planning.
While this may initially seem like a good idea, many players seem to be missing the bigger picture – the slow process of skill grinding - as enemies are now a given level that is determined by their strength. The combat system is so prominent that when players encounter a highly skilled enemy, the possibility of performing a one-hit assassination is near impossible without grinding away to unlock multiple different skills just to perform an old-school assassination attack.
While I won’t miss the classic Assassin's Creed wait and counter combat system, I do wish that Assassin’s Creed: Origins would remove the grinding aspects of combat — enough games already employee these systems.
Combat wasn’t the only major change within Assassin’s Creed: Origins as the latest installment now features a full-fledged RPG-style leveling system that is crucial to certain gameplay aspects. Although the series – mainly Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate – has experimented in the realm of character customization, they have never truly been able to get it right.
That has all changed in AC: Origins as players can now customize the game's protagonist – Bayek – based upon their very own gameplay preferences. These abilities have been broken up into three different overlapping branches – Hunter, Warrior, and Seer. What makes AC: Origins skill tree so effective, is the simple fact that there is something for everyone and that every skill has a purpose.
From animal taming, increased weapon power, and even useful getaway tips, it’s safe to say that we’ll be spending hours grinding away at this cool new feature to create our very own unique assassin.
While upgrading your gear isn’t by any means a groundbreaking new feature– upgraded items have always been available to be purchased throughout the series– it is exceptionally well handled here.
Players are now able to take down wildlife throughout the game and use their materials to craft improvements to their gear – sounds familiar, doesn’t it. Despite the obvious connection to Far Cry’s crafting system, players can upgrade their bracers, armor, shields, and even more as upgrading your gear has never been more essential than any other game within the series.
Don’t worry though, if you aren’t particularly keen to grind out item upgrades, AC: Origins also allows players to take down outposts full of enemies to uncover hidden chests that may contain the possibility of receiving rare armor and weapons as a reward.
In most cases, the Assassin’s Creed franchise has remained somewhat grounded and realistic – for a video game about assassins diving into hay bales from hundreds of meters in the air – and hasn’t really let any of the games more questionable actions become the main focus of the series.
Although the supernatural aspects are justified (more or less), this is a franchise we've come to love for being more grounded, more historial, and ultimately, more grown-up. In the past (notably with Far Cry and Assassin's Creed), Ubisoft has kept the 'wacky' and 'zany' elements reserved for expansion packs ... that was a smart decision that helped keep the integrity of the games.