I’m back at it with Assassin’s Creed Origins. And I have to be honest, whilst I haven’t finished Odyssey or Valhalla, I can say with 100% confidence that Origins is the best Assassin’s Creed game.
I’ve loved the originals, Altaïr, the first face of the franchise. Ezio doing a lot of heavy lifting with Desmond for several years. We’ve had strong protagonists, we’ve had amazing worlds to explore and a formula that worked and was tweaked here and there.
Then we got Assassin’s Creed Origins. A new take on the series, set in Egypt and unleashing the potential of the series beyond what we ever expected.
What makes it “the best”?
Subjective, of course. But Origins is the best, partially because it was a new start for the series. It maintained the lore, the hidden blades and all the cool Assassin’s Creed stuff. But took it to a scale never imagined.
Having a hitlist of people to assassinate. Founding the Order of Assassins. Wicked. But still, there’s more to it.
The setting. Fantastic, ancient Egypt, filled with history and mythology. Mysticism, pyramids, treasure, brutality. A perfect place to reboot the series and to show-off the new engine and tools Ubisoft had for Origins. A huge world to explore, without being too excessive.
Still, there’s more. That’s not enough. What grounds Origins in a way that the others haven’t quite managed?
Bayek is the protagonist that brings it all together. Well-acted and written, yes. But his story, the death of his son, his relationship with his wife. It all feels genuine, sincere. Assassin’s Creed Origins is the best because of all of the above. But mostly because of Bayek. Nobody before or after has matched his impact in the games.
The Assassin’s Creed series features various protagonists in different historical settings. All important to their setting and to their game. Here’s a run-down of each of them (minus Mirage as I’ve not played it yet)
- Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad (Assassin’s Creed): A member of the Assassins during the Third Crusade, Altaïr is initially arrogant but grows wiser as he seeks redemption. His story is about learning humility and understanding the Creed.
- Ezio Auditore da Firenze (Assassin’s Creed II, Brotherhood, Revelations): Born into an Italian noble family, Ezio’s life changes when his father and brothers are executed. He becomes an Assassin and fights against the Templars, growing into a wise and influential leader.
- Connor (Ratonhnhaké:ton) (Assassin’s Creed III): A Native American Assassin during the American Revolutionary War, Connor fights to ensure freedom for his people and the new nation. His story involves personal loss and the complex realities of freedom and justice.
- Edward Kenway (Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag): A Welsh pirate turned Assassin, Edward is initially driven by personal gain but gradually understands the Assassins’ values. His journey is about redemption and finding a cause greater than himself.
- Shay Patrick Cormac (Assassin’s Creed Rogue): Initially an Assassin, Shay becomes disillusioned and joins the Templars after questioning the Assassins’ methods. His story explores themes of betrayal and perspective.
- Arno Dorian (Assassin’s Creed Unity): A Frenchman during the French Revolution, Arno’s story is one of redemption and love as he joins the Assassins to uncover the truth behind a tragic event. His journey is about personal growth and understanding the complexities of revolution.
- Jacob and Evie Frye (Assassin’s Creed Syndicate): Twin Assassins in Victorian London, Jacob is brash and action-oriented, while Evie is more thoughtful and strategic. Their story involves liberating London from Templar control.
- Bayek of Siwa (Assassin’s Creed Origins): An Egyptian Medjay, Bayek’s quest for revenge leads to the foundation of the Assassin Brotherhood. His journey is deeply personal, intertwined with historical events and the struggle against the Order of the Ancients.
- Kassandra/Alexios (Assassin’s Creed Odyssey): In ancient Greece, the player chooses to play as Kassandra or Alexios, siblings and mercenaries caught in a larger conflict. Their story explores family, fate, and the supernatural elements of Greek mythology.
- Eivor Varinsdottir (Assassin’s Creed Valhalla): A Viking raider, Eivor’s story involves the Viking invasion of England. Themes of leadership, loyalty, and destiny are central, as Eivor balances personal ambition with the needs of their people.
Better to come?
I’ll be honest, I think Assassin’s Creed Origins might be the peak of the series. Not to say future games won’t be great. I just don’t think the fanbase knows what it wants and perhaps Ubisoft have the confidence in the franchise like it did when re-approaching it with Origins.
The detail and depth in Egypt is unmatched. Greece and the United Kingdom just don’t feel as “real” and lived-in in the sequels.
Sun beating down on vast deserts whilst you ride camel-back to your next objective in solitude.
Assassin’s Creed Origins was lightning in a bottle after the older style of gameplay got tired out. Newer games have bloated the systems and worlds, overdoing what Origins delivers perfectly.
Perhaps another fresh start will be the way forwards? Perhaps removing some of the bloat and accepting that they got a lot of things right first time, will help shape future games in the series?
I look forward to seeing how future games come out. Particularly with all that has been announced recently. But as it stands, Bayek is king and Origins is the best of the series in every way.
Get stuck in
If you haven’t played Assassin’s Creed Origins, you absolutely should. It’s a gem, an action/adventure rpg worthy of your time.
Better still, it runs great on the Steam Deck, so you can even play it on the go!
Do yourself a favour and give Bayek a chance, he’s badass, and he’s seen some shit…