By Zafeer Ahmed
Assassin’s Creed Origins is like Frankenstein’s monster, a jack of all games. It takes elements from many great titles and regurgitates them without doing anything new or unique with its already brilliant mechanics.
Origins is definitely different to previous games in the series, almost to the scorn of long-term fans like myself. It casts away the foundations that made the series great, such as blending into crowds and double assassinations. Instead of the parry/kill combat, Origins goes for a sped-up Dark Souls style, though it’s not as deep as From Software’s masterpieces. Fights usually boil down to mashing R2 if the enemy has a shield, or R1 if they don’t.
Different weapons handle differently to each other but not drastically, there is a good variety. Bow combat pales in comparison to Horizon Zero Dawn’s, as does the grindy crafting system and stealth gameplay. The skill tree gives you a sense of progression, with three different trees to invest in that can change the game.
The open-world is huge, almost too much. The main campaign takes you across only half the map leaving the rest for the endgame. Overall, in comparison to its many influences, the main gameplay mechanics are average at best, though still a lot of fun.
The main campaign takes about thirty hours to complete. The quests are varied and better than previous games, though not as good as one of of Origins’ main influences: The Witcher. One second you’re infiltrating an enemy compound, the next fighting a tense naval battle.
The voice acting and writing in Origins is outstanding but not without flaws. Bayek, the protagonist, can change during a single cutscene from a friendly calm guy to a murderous racist psychopath.
The titular ‘origin’ of the Assassin’s Brotherhood takes a backseat to Bayek’s personal Kill Bill style vendetta. The story’s pacing is a problem. After completing a single quest, you must grind for hours in order to meet the level requirements of the following mission. Origins outstays it’s welcome. Although the writing is great, the story is a poorly paced, incoherent mess. It even adds five extra quests at the end to justify the word ‘Origins’ in the title.
Technically Origins looks great with a seemingly endless draw-distance. Origins could run better with the frame-rate dropping to thirty sometimes in crowded fights, and some textures take time to pop in. Microtransactions are present in the game but are handled brilliantly unlike Shadow of War. They are mentioned once, and then are hidden away in a different menu – out of sight, out of mind.
If you haven’t played many of its influences, Assassin’s Creed Origins is recommended. Though, while it’s really fun, it’s ultimately a bland experience that’s an average mesh of other, better games.