Assassin's Creed Origins Xbox One Review

Assassin’s Creed Origins gives this extensive franchise a fresh coat of paint that’s worth exploring

By Grayshadow, Posted 28 Oct 2017

Assassin’s Creed Origins attempts to set up the edifice for the ideology that would lead to the creation of the Brotherhood of Assassins. Plights of corruption, unfair treatment, and death twist this story into challenging the concept of right and wrong for a dramatic tale. Origins takes a lot of risks, shifting the established formula that has been a staple for the franchise, and delivers a new role-playing experience that brings a refreshing take on this long-running franchise.

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Assassin’s Creed Origins bleeds the line between sequel and prequel, having players witness the early beginnings of the Brotherhood of Assassins while also providing a story after the events of Syndicate during the present. Here players take control of Bayek, a Medjay ranger who embarks on a quest for revenge against an order that predates the Templar Order. Traveling through the dense and varied landscape of 49 B.C. Egypt when Cleopatra was removed from power by her brother during the Ptolemaic Period, Bayek will make allies and enemies in his quest. Sneaking, looting, and killing his way up the political ladder that effects present-day events.

Like in past Assassin Creed games the significant figures during the period play a supporting role in Bayek’s journey. This includes figures like Cleopatra and Julius Caesar take part in the adventure. Laying the foundations of the Assassin Order Bayek plays a major role in influencing the world than these figures as he takes part in molding the events of the future. Bayek is brash but mixes together characteristics from both Conner and Ezio. He isn’t afraid to participate in tender moments and joke around but is extremely focused on his goals and values his ideas.

Bayek is an outsider for many of the locations he visited, which result in a lot of abuse from the locals. Origins doesn’t shy away from these violent moments and use them to help define Bayek and his ideology which becomes one of the foundations of the Assassin Order. Bayek shows incredible fortitude in freedom, decision making, and punishing those who use power to hurt those without any. As a long-time fan seeing these characteristics echo throughout the entire series created a sense of Unity for all the Assassins I played, even Shay Cormack.

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Origins setting is amazing, with a healthy diversity of animals and culture for a living ecosystem. Sand sweeps across the landscape, catacombs towering ancient structures, and decaying shacks house common people. The vivid details in the world come to life with the AI system playing off one another. In one instance, you could raid an enemy camp only for a Crocodile to come out of nowhere and eat your target. Playing the AI against one another made for some unique encounters, especially in the open world.

In some cases, mini-bosses called Phylakes appear. These enemies actively seek you out and taking them on in the early stages is almost certainly a death sentence. While it did make the world interconnected it added to the frustration that one of these annoyances could mess up an infiltration task. While they don’t have the same level of depth as Shadow of War’s Nemesis system they add another layer of life to this extensive world.

This being an Assassin’s Creed game you can expect to climb a lot. Thankfully the parkour is better executed here with climbing and dropping feeling much more organic and easier to handle, similar to Syndicate. Of course, you can expect a fair amount of frustration as Bayek latches onto the wrong ledge but this is forgivable considering how much climbing material is put into the game.

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Expect some technical issues from time to time. While nowhere as bad as Assassin’s Creed Unity the game’s frame rate would drop frequently and graphical issues, including textures, would constantly pop-in. Worst off was my game, which I played on Xbox One, crashed a total of 6 times during significant moments of the campaign.

One of the biggest overhauls if the combat system. Trading blows with enemies is much more active now with dynamic strikes and enemies will learn how to counter your attacks as fights continue. Parrying and blocking are still available but less effective, instead, you must pick when to defend and attack. Best of all ranged combat offers more maneuverability and accuracy and giving the player access to slow motion when aiming while in the air. Hit-boxes have also been added so you can’t just land a single poison dart to take down an enemy. Location of where the blow impacts depend on how much damage is inflicted.

Bayek has 3 branching skill trees that intersect with one another that include stealth, combat, and hunter. While some skills seem more useful than others nothing was mandatory. Hunter did prove to be much more useful since it focused on long-range and most missions dealt in open areas. Regardless of which skill you invest into one-hit assassinations against strong opponents are nearly impossible. Instead, this means players can no longer position themselves in key locations for quick kills and must carefully plan out each assassination. If failed this could result in the target disappearing or coming back with new variables added such as guard detail or stronger gear.

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Gone are the general advancements of the previous game, instead Origins has a new action-RPG approach linked to progression. By collecting loot and building Bayek’s arsenal weapons and armor players can face stronger enemies. This can result in time grinding for new items to break through the artificial barrier that locks high leveled areas. This was especially vexing during the finale where the story missions proved impossible unless I took on lower-level quests in hopes of getting something that would bolster my character.

Loot is separated into rarity with some granting unique bonuses such as bleeding or health on hit. Some weapons work better on others such as light bows for hunting and maces for hippos. Legendary weapons are hard to come by within the world but given generously within the game’s campaign, and rarely come with better bonuses than common gear.

Moving away from the traditional Assassin Creed games Origins give you a greater sense of freedom. Players can take part in activities at their own pace with each region possessing several points of interest. Historical information, secrets, and valuable loot are littered throughout the game and encourage players to go out and explore. Collecting clues to solve a mystery, gladiatorial fights, and chariot racing are some of the few things you can do in Assassin’s Creed Origins. The highlight being hidden temples that tie together the science-fiction elements of the series together. Everything felt rewarding since the equipment was varied and constantly given for every accomplishment.

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Origins have mostly done away with densely placing loot chests everywhere and instead place more meaningful quests that offer multiple steps to complete. Also gone are the auto-fail stealth missions which vexed a lot of gamers. Instead, more freedom is given to how to tackle objectives similar to Far Cry.

This isn’t the only dramatic change for the series, Origins offers no mini-map or loading screens. Instead, the entire area is completing open for exploration without any breaks, with the exception of cutscenes and specific missions, and fast-travel points are readily available throughout the region. With no mini-map players will have to rely on the overview map for navigation and Bayek’s Eagle for tagging enemies. With the Eagle, Bayek can tag enemy locations and get an overview of the area and even dive-bomb enemies. This taming ability extends to most of the creatures in Origins.

Like every Assassin’s Creed game after Unity Assassin’s Creed Origins has microtransactions. Using Helix Coins, the in-game currency you can buy cosmetic items unavailable in the game, meaning they’re locked behind this paywall. This extends to maps that give you the location of all the collectibles. Most of the crafting supplies, which are offered by the microtransaction system, are be obtained within the game easily but having them included does feel unfair to those who grind for the items.

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Assassin’s Creed Origins is an extraordinary realization of Egypt that genuinely reconstructs this ancient civilization. Missions and combat are much more varied and challenging than previous games with Bayek taking center stage as one of the best protagonists in the franchise. The looting system, while granting more variation in loot than other Assassin’s Creed games, does hinder progress and cause frustrating periods of grinding. Assassin’s Creed Origins gives this extensive franchise a fresh coat of paint that’s worth exploring.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Ubisoft
Developer(s): Ubisoft Montreal
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Historical, Conspiracy
Release Date: 2017-10-27

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