Assassin’s Creed Origins – Final Thoughts

Just shy of 40 hours in Origins, and my time with Bayek has come to a natural end. The main story is done, I’ve done plenty of side-quests and explored the world to the point of feeling content that I’ve had my fill.

When I last wrote about Origins I tried to give as broad a view as possible. Now I have a few specific things to touch upon, but in general, the game hasn’t changed since those initial 25 hours.

The fact is, Origins is an excellent game. I feel like the comparisons with Breath of the Wild and The Witcher 3 are a little lazy, but not unreasonable. With so much freedom, and potential for exploration, this isn’t a traditional Assassin’s Creed game.

Don’t let that put you off though, it is definitely still a game from that universe.

Getting around
 

Getting about

Something I missed out previously was information on how Bayek gets about Egypt.

Short answer: camels are awesome!

You can have a camel or horse, and summon them with just a whistle (hold the down direction on your D-pad). Then, you have your trusty steed with you.

Unrealistic? Sure. Useful? Absolutely.

Continuing the balance of being unrealistc but convenient. Origins lets you basically have a self-driving animal. Climb up, hold “A” and your buddy will carry you directly along the roads, to your main objective. Press “Y” and it’ll take you to a custom marker instead.

As daft as a self-driving camel seems. The map is huge, and if you’re heading to a new area, you can’t fast-travel. I found it really helpful, and honestly, it let me nip off for a quick toilet break, and still make progress towards my destination. Sold!

You can buy different horses and camels. I’ve got several, but I’ve been riding a Chocobo of all things, for quite some time. Thanks to a Final Fantasy tie-in quest that I had no clue about, until I’d finished it.

Beyond your animal friends, sailing is a great way to get about. Hopping onto a little boat, and then flying across rivers and lakes. Pretty straight forward, and a great way to close some distance to your objective.

Origins has fast-travel to the towns/cities you visit, and of course, the fast travel to the synchronisation/viewpoints that you uncover as you go.

Chariots in the arena, prison wagons in the streets. You’re well catered for if you want to get about.

Sure, you’ll mostly use your chosen companion or fast travel. But you have options, which is great!

Origins
 

Present day…..

One of the bug bears for a lot of Assassin’s Creed fans, is that modern day side of things. The Desmond Miles story was actually some of my favourite stuff.

I like how you take part in the whole Animus thing, and have some context for what’s going on. I always enjoyed it, although there are a couple of games where it was mostly redundant.

Origins, to me, is a really good balance. You can come out of the Animus whenever you want to. It forces you out at a couple of crucial points in the story, and gives some decent exposition for the protagonist, Layla.

You’re never out of the Animus for long, but if you decide to stay out for a bit, there’s loads of information and detail to be found. Ubisoft added loads of stuff to read, and take in. Allowing you to take more of the modern day stuff in, should you choose to. But you’re never forced to, which is great.

For what it’s worth, I actually quite liked Layla, and the few times where you have to do stuff out of controlling Bayek, were actually a nice change.

Regardless of the modern-day, stuff. Assassin’s Creed has always had the story of the Isu. The alien predecessors to humanity etc. Origins is no different. Although these elements aren’t particularly given to you. You can go and find them.

Origins is Assassin’s Creed, especially in terms of the ongoing narrative. Between the modern-day, the Isu and the Animus, you’re steeped in a rich universe, and I love that.

 

The stealth approach….

Assassinations aren’t like the traditional games. You can’t just assassinate anyone if you get near then, unseen. I thought this was going to be a huge problem for me (don’t get me wrong, I’ve suffered from failed assassination attempts…..), but it really isn’t.

As you level higher, your damage output is increased, so your ability to assassinate in Origins is only every really mitigated by enemies that are a few levels higher.

With so much freedom in Origins, I’ve found myself approaching areas much the same way as I would in Metal Gear Solid V. Scouting a camp, marking threats, creeping in and taking people out. So satisfying. It’s like stealth dopamine. This is completely “me”. Wonderful.

Sure, sometimes you miss a guard when scouting, and get caught out when taking out an enemy right in front of them. But that gives you these fight-or-flight moments, some nice emergent gameplay. Suddenly, your mistake has altered the course of your plans, and you need to respond accordingly.

Combat is fine. I really like the “over charge” specials, with some serious damage being delivered. Especially when you can unlock abilities, like throw the weapon of the person you just killed, at another enemy nearby!

Dodging is key, but I don’t feel like the hitboxes are quite as good as say Monster Hunter World. Blocking is fine, but the perks on your weapons are the game-changers.

A shield that causes bleed on a successful block. A sword that sets people on fire and causes burn damage. I had my trusty bows, too.

One other reality-breaking, but fun-as-hell aspect, is the ability to literally control an arrow in-flight from your predator bow. It’s daft, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t useful. Those one-hit head shots are crucial, and a moving target is much easier to hit when you can control the flight of the arrow!

Eagle!
 

Things to do

Origins is choc-full of things to do. Every town or city if full of side-quests, shops and people going about their daily lives.

Elsewhere on the map, there are hidden tombs, synchronisation points, animals to hunt and mysteries to uncover. Nothing is too much of a grind, everything is fun (unless you’re a few levels too low, then it’s a real bitch).

Hunting animals can be fun, but getting smashed to bits by a vulture is something I’m not sure I’ve experienced in any game before! Better than hunting, though. Taming them can be great.

Having my own pet lion to walk around with is daft, but wonderful. I’ve walked into an enemy camp with a trusty lion friend that is a few levels higher than the guys in the camp. Man, they got torn apart!

Saving captives is always fun, and usually incidental to whatever you’re doing.

I’ve yet to get the achievement for taming a lion and walking it over to a crocodile……I can’t bring myself to hurt my buddy like that. But, 10G’s is 10G’s right?

Arena fighting and chariot racing are available, too. Though the chariot racing wasn’t fun for me, I do enjoy the arena fights.

Doing side-quests always leads to learning more about other characters in this world. Seeing things from a different perspective, dealing with some pretty dark subject matter. How many rotting corpses, or body parts must I track down?

Continuing narrative threads with some character is entirely optional, but allows for a richer experience, and it’s something I’ve found myself doing more than I expected.

Avenging a murdered daughter, and then helping her parents come to terms with it, and turn their grief into something more powerful, reclaiming a region. It was genuinely quite emotional.

You can trot around and just play in the world. Or you can dive deeper into what must be the most in-depth world seen in an Assassin’s Creed game up until now.

Aya
 

The end is the beginning

So, yeah.

The story of Bayek is done. What a story it was, too. Fraught with sadness, anger, love and revenge.

His relationship with Aya was handled really nicely, and she was way more than just a secondary character to flesh-out the role of “grieving mother”. A strong, independent and determined woman that has plenty of screen time and exposition to develop her character.

I’ve finished Origins, but in doing so, the birth of the order of Assassin’s has taken place, and that’s cool!

This was without a doubt, my favourite game in the Assassin’s Creed universe.

Pacing was a little off, because of the need to grind a bit and level-up before you can push the main quest. But that’s pretty much my only complaint.

Origins looks fantastic, sounds wonderful and carries a strong narrative that holds a lot of emotion and drama.

Bayek is an excellent protagonist, and is really well acted. You feel his pain, you feel like he’s sincere in his decisions and regrets.

There’s so much left to do, but I feel like I’ve had my fill. Not because I’ve had enough, or because it dragged, but because I’ve experience pretty much everything that’s on offer, and seen the conclusion the the main story.

Nice view
 

Final verdict

I’ve loved pretty much all the Assassin’s Creed games, each in their own way.

I don’t think that I’ve ever spent so long, or had such a well-rounded experience in any of them before though. Not like I have in Origins.

The whole game style has changed, but the core of it is without a doubt, still Assassin’s Creed.

A bright and vibrant, well-realised world. Massive in size and full of things to do. This is pretty much a definitive experience in the series, and I’d urge everyone to try it, despite their impressions of previous games.

There’s no way I can just label it as “recommended”, Origins is bloody exceptional, and there’s no other way to describe it.

Ubisoft absolutely knocked it out of the park here, and this is a big step-up for the series as a whole.

It doesn’t quite reach the heights of some of the games that it gets compared to, but it carries it’s own, and just delivers an incredible experience.

I got it for £10 from CeX and it’s worth every single penny. There’s easily 80 hours worth of content to be had if you want it. Don’t wonder if it’s worth it, make the plunge!

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