Assassins Creed has been bringing us the battle between the Brotherhood and Assassins for a decade now and after a gap-year, Origins brings us the prequel story as you take control of the new protagonist Bayek.
Initially Assassins Creed looks, feels and plays just like Assassins Creed, an introductory scrap with a mask assailant, Bayek returns home to perform a few of those introductory tasks and after a slow start the game starts to roll into motion as the feud between the Pharaoh Ptolemy II and his sister Cleopatra carries the weight of the story as Bayek and his lover Aya as their path into the first assassins starts to unfold.
As with many recent Assassins Creed titles the open world is your oyster, it’s possible to spend hours before you even start to look at the main story missions, while others might prefer to concentrate solely on progression until the world around you open up a little.
There’s plenty of returning traits, such as the free-running which I still feel doesn’t sit quite as comfortably as the system found in earlier games, but one major change this time round is the combat system which is a tale of two halves, the hit-box system works impressively well and is mostly far more fluent than the old animation based system, but likewise it has it’s own draw-backs, fans of For Honor will find some similarities and some will find it clunky and awkward especially while they get to grips with timing every hit and trying to avoid multiple attacks at once.
It certainly doesn’t feel as fluid as titles like Shadow of War, however it’s nice to have some variety so these big games don’t start to feel like re-skins and while it’s always tough changing from a system we’ve been used to for the last ten years, It still works incredibly well especially as you start to learn the best way of dealing with certain enemy and weapon styles.
Progressing through the story you’ll start to notice numerous other changes, Assassinations aren’t always a one hit kill, especially on high-end targets, and while the skill tree does a great task of providing options on how you progress Bayek’s abilities, it’s the eagle vision which stands out, especially with the power of the Xbox One X.
Rather than the ability called eagle vision, you now have Bayek’s pet Eagle providing the vision. Soaring above the game world you can see for miles and zoom down to target people and situations to help Bayek progress, skills such as distraction are included in the skill treee, so you’ll want to learn to make the most out of your feathered friend.
There’s also plenty of other animals in the game, sometimes merely a source of valuable resources, but others can be tamed and utilized to give the upper hand in your next enemy encounter.
It’s fair to say that the difference between Xbox One and Xbox One X is night and day, the graphical leap is massive and this puts a strain on the game on the base system, Whereas running perfectly smooth on the Xbox One X it’s not only better looking, but also a more fluent and enjoyable experience.
The core console struggles with framerates at times, not as bad as Unity 3 years back, but it’s noticeable, and while not the best advertisement for core-console support it’s a fantastic showcase for the One X, it looks absolutely stunning and a quick perusal of social media will no doubt find you hundreds of in-game screen shots which are even more impressive when you see them first hand in all of their 4K and HDR glory.
It’s so weird saying this only days after the Xbox One X was released, but Assassins Creed Origins isn’t the only game that already feels like it was made for the One X, and ported down to the standard system,
Sound is pretty impressive across the board, with fantastic voice acting giving depth and personality to the many characters you’ll come across and the movie like sound effects giving your ears the treat they deserve while your eyes are captivated by what’s going off on screen.
Using a decent pair of headphones with Dolby Atmos enabled is breathtaking and the overall presentation of Origins puts many games to shame.
You’re never going to please everyone, some will hate the new combat system, others will like the new direction, others will begrudge to lesser experience on the core Xbox One console while others will be jumping for joy at what the One X is capable of.
For Me, Assassins Creed Origins is a lovely mix of what was great about the early games, while adapting and evolving areas to make it fresh and exciting, sure some of these areas might have been more familiar how they where, but that doesn’t mean they’re not better, maybe we just don’t know it yet.
So would I recommend Assassins Creed Origins, well it’s one of those few games I can honestly say I haven’t completed fully, there’s that much to do, even getting through the story missions leaves you feeling like you’ve barely scratched the surface with so many side quests and excursions it’s becoming more like an ancient GTA with an unprecedented level of detail put into everything from the impact craters on your shield to the palm tree’s in the distance or the kids in the street chatting and playing. Add to this the arena based system for ongoing scraps for new weapons and the promise of the forthcoming discovery Tour which will give you a sandbox view of the world complete with tours showcasing ancient Egypt, there’s certainly plenty to do.