Assassin's Creed Origins - Review
Written by Sorrosyss, December 13th, 2017

Warning: Spoilers from across the franchise.

Two years have passed since Assassin's Creed: Syndicate was released. With an extra year of development, Origins has been considered a “make or break” moment for the franchise with many critics believing that stagnation has set in. So, did Origins deliver?
Let us take a look at the game, and decide which elements were a success, those that partially worked, and those that did not work well at all.

The Positive Aspects


Egypt is absolutely beautiful. The art team at Ubisoft should be commended for making such a staggeringly engaging open world. When Egypt was announced as the setting, several fans were concerned that it would just be endless deserts of sand, but the reality is of course very different. I was constantly amazed at just how diverse the landscape turned out to be. One moment you are atop a craggy mountain battling with leopards, the next you are down in the marshes avoiding crocodiles and hippos. With the brilliant lighting system, expanses of sand look gorgeous, especially when you manage to catch sight of a pyramid on the horizon. One thing that I immediately loved was that you could seemingly climb anywhere! I don't recall playing an open world game which was this accessible before, and for exploration it really made it feel like going anywhere was actually possible.

The first time I encountered a sandstorm blew me away. (Teehee) The way the wind picks up and literally buffets you around feels so powerful, and the deep yellow colours that it creates is mesmerising to see. It reminds you that this open world can be dangerous, if not from wild animals and bandits, but just from the weather itself! It's a shame that there wasn't much in the way of rain in the open world, as it makes an appearance in the arenas for example, but that's a minor point.

The various cities and towns were quite stark in their differences. Memphis was your quite typical old world Egyptian style, whereas Alexandria and Cyrene embraced the more modern Greek and Roman architectures. It always made visiting each new city a joy, and gave each location it's own distinctive character. This is especially true of the various NPCs in the cities, who are all busy performing day to day tasks. I was astonished to watch one man actually crafting clay bricks into shape, and then putting them into a furnace. (The whole scene having been fully motion captured). I also came across some natron workers, who had their hands and clothes literally covered in the stuff. They are details that you could so easily miss, but when you pay attention to your surroundings it just makes the world feel so much more alive and realistic, and genuinely aids your immersion.

With so many amazing backdrops and sights to behold within the world, I cannot praise enough the decision to include a Photo Mode. I'm not usually one to bother taking screenshots, but by the time I completed the game I had taken well over a hundred without even realising. Sharing these images onto the world map was a nice social touch as well.

Traversal across the world is the easiest it has ever been. Our mounts are swift to be summoned, boats work well, and there are plenty of Fast Travel spots. Whilst the chariot racing and arenas are fine, I would say that it would have been nice to throw a few more social mini games into the mix though.

The only slightly negative point I would make is that the majority of the later zones (35+) tended to just be large empty desert areas, with very little in terms of quests or explorable content. There seemed to be a propensity to fill these areas with bandit/Roman camps, which was a bit of a shame as they did tend to get a bit repetitive and tiresome to clear through towards the end of my playthrough.


Lets get this out of the way; the combat system is absolutely fantastic. I adore how well it plays, and how responsive it feels. The developers have taken cues from both The Witcher 3 and Horizon Zero Dawn, and having played the Frozen Wilds DLC of the latter at the same time – Origins for sure feels the most fluid and reactive in terms of Action RPG gameplay to me.

Starting with bow gameplay, it really does add the capability to play as a ranged assassin properly to the franchise. I really enjoyed using the Predator Bows to clear out guards from the edges of camps, though I could have done without being able to redirect the arrows in mid air (it literally makes no sense!). I tended to be drawn more to the Light Bows, as I really enjoyed the rapid pace that you could fire off arrows. In terms of the aiming, the accuracy and the adjustable aim assist I found this some of the best bow gameplay I have ever experienced – though I still want a larger quiver!

Melee combat is also a huge amount of fun. I have stated for years that I felt Assassin's Creed Brotherhood has had the best melee system so far, namely as it allowed you to dispatch your enemies so quickly. I was never a fan of NPCs being given extensive blocking and parrying systems, and for me it honestly made the combat feel much slower and laborious in the more recent titles. Thankfully, Origins ditches most of the old systems and gives you a much swifter combat, and it feels so great to finally be a 'whirlwind of death' once more as you can tear through enemies so much easier now. I have always argued that Assassins should be exemplary hand to hand fighters, and as a Medjay Bayek does indeed feel the same. I personally leaned towards the fast one hand swords, as well as the dual swords. (Though I still hope for a return to using Hidden Blades some day). In the end, it just feels right for the combat to be this efficient.

That's not to say it is too easy. Far from it, the variety of enemies mean that some come bearing differing weapons or shields, and you then need to rely quite a lot on your dodge. Again, this has been overhauled to feel far faster and more reliable, and it allows you to pick and choose your openings in fights with genuine finesse. Thanks to being able to switch weapons on the fly, you often find you have a certain weapon for each situation, or sometimes can simply just switch to your bow if you are struggling to find an opening. I will confess I barely used the lock-on functionality as I felt it was better suited to one on one duels, and I prefer being able to see behind me whilst battling groups – still, the option was there when I needed it. This flexibility makes combat feel so much fun and varied, and I wasn't bored of it even after completing the game. And let's be honest – some of the execution animations are just stunning to watch!

Stealth feels a little different as well. The detection meters can sometimes be infuriatingly harsh in how short they are. However, it is still very much possible to sneak around to your targets, but thanks to your bow it now makes more sense to use a combination of your abilities to complete your objectives. This moves us away somewhat from the fairly linear and scripted assassinations of previous games, but the payoff is that you can approach your targets in a variety of ways. You have the freedom to snipe from afar, to stealth your way in like a ghost, or to simply storm into groups like a berserker and take on everyone. The choice is yours, and it very much makes things feel more accessible. But are the assassinations quite as memorable? Perhaps not, and in some instances it can be ridiculously easy to eliminate some of the Order of the Ancients. Is it as satisfying to snipe your target from 80 yards away versus a carefully stealthed Hidden Blade kill? Arguably it feels far less personal anyway.

I am really thankful for doing away with the tedious Medicine (potion) system of the recent games. Having regenerating health return was a nice move, and did away from the annoying necessity to stop at a shop every five minutes to refill items. For those who find things too easy, Ubisoft was kind enough to add a difficulty setting which certainly helps tailor things to your skill level. (On a side note, thank you from all completionists for not putting achievements behind a difficulty setting. Very considerate for us lesser skilled nerds!)

The controls for the game have had a little overhaul themselves. I'll admit that I changed to the Alternate control method, as I'm not a fan of attack buttons being on the shoulders of a game pad. If I am honest, it would have been nice to be able to remap the buttons completely, as my perfect control set up was somewhere between the two methods. But anyway, parkour works completely fine in this game, and I was able to run where I wanted, climb where I needed, and all without throwing myself off structures accidentally, or getting stuck on architecture by mistake. It flows so much better here. (Though I did find myself wishing for a jump and a sprint button. Perhaps next game!)


Assassin's Creed has toyed with RPG mechanics for years, and it's an absolute joy to see a main release finally try to embrace them. For the most part, it absolutely works!

The XP levelling and Ability systems both function fine. Segregating zones by level has been done before, but it certainly appears to work well here where side quests are usually related to the main quest within that area. In previous titles, side quests were often not even voice acted, let alone given cutscenes – so it is nice that far more effort went into them for this release. (It's a shame that some of the lip syncing and motion capture goes by the way side a little though.) Having the freedom to choose the order that you complete them is very much welcome, and lets you feel more in control of directing the storytelling. I will say that the levelling curve may need slightly looking at though, as I was level 38 before I had even finished act 2 – though I admit I was visiting every location and completing every quest along the way. I suppose if people focus purely on the main quest line it may have been more appropriate in terms of level.

The side quests themselves could have used having a bit more variety and being a little more reactionary though. For example, they often follow the same concept – go here, scan this, investigate this, save him, loot this, kill this. However, often times I would spend awhile clearing a Fort for twenty minutes, only to wander into the next village and be asked to save someone in the very Fort I just cleared. It would have been welcome for the quest to have made me aware of its presence on the fly, as I was already there. It can make things more tedious than is necessary.

The loot and gear system makes progression feel more rewarding, and its often fun when you receive a new weapon to want to try it out and see what it looks like. Watching your stats increase is a reward in of itself, and you gradually feel Bayek's power increasing over time. It lends itself well to the hunting and crafting systems, as resources can often be generated from dismantling gear and weapons too. Speaking of hunting, it is nice to be able to hunt creatures once more without having to sit through the tedious skinning animation each time.

Keeping Outfits as your cosmetic appearance works well. Whilst we do not manage to have as many customisation options as Unity, we can at least ensure that we retain the appearance that we favour as opposed to getting various different items and creating “clown suits” of opposing colours and shapes. Of course, having a hood toggle (hallelujah!) is a big deal especially after fans lobbied for it for so many years – though it would have been nice if this was a hold toggle on the controls rather than on the gear screen. Upgrading allows you to retain the look of your weapons and shields too, though I would have liked to have seen a wider variety of models used. It felt like I had one of about five common shield models through most of the game.


Ambient sounds and effects are well implemented. I actually played the game with headphones, something I do not ordinarily do with gaming, but I was amazed at just how much you can hear. Often times when you are passing people in the street, you hear what direction the conversation comes from. (Not so many random English dialects this time thankfully). Or when you are in combat, you can sometimes hear the direction of your approaching enemy. Hearing a storm is something else entirely, and you can feel the raw power of the wind rattling into you quite intensely. If you have not experienced the game with headphones, I can highly recommend it!

The main highlight to the sound of the game is Sarah Schachner's stunning soundtrack. It is honestly amazing. Every time I loaded up the game, I would sit and listen to the main theme play on the menu screen in entirety before I loaded my save. It's a joy to listen to even a hundred times on.

Many fans have lamented in recent years that the music of the franchise has lost its way since the days of Jesper Kyd and Lorne Balfe. The template laid down by the two of them always had the classical instruments juxtaposed with modern day synthscapes, with a smattering of drums. Sarah is arguably the first composer since to understand this template, and her work is sublime here. She manages to give the game its own unique motif, and to hear familiar notes weaved in throughout the soundtrack gives it a solid identity of its own. Some of the tracks pay homage to the earlier games, no more so than the excellent version of Ezio's Family – which was used in a pivotal scene for the birth of the Brotherhood. It was absolutely perfect.

Many of the tracks have some simply outstanding synth pieces, especially those used in investigations and whilst searching tombs. Equally, Sarah understands when to use the drums, an often signature element of the combat and escape tracks of the franchise. The variety is deep, yet the quality remains throughout, with some raw emotion layered into many of the pieces. The instruments used seem completely appropriate to Egypt, and combined with the beautiful landscapes it really helped to make a level of immersion that many of the recent games have failed to capture.

Part of this is thanks to Ubisoft listening to complaints about ambient music, and offering a Music Frequency setting in the options. With this on its highest setting, you are rarely without music playing and it honestly makes a huge difference to the enjoyment of the game to have such powerful and amazing pieces playing to your ears. Sarah should be applauded for her work, and she makes a very worthy successor to the works of Kyd and Balfe. I would love for her to return on future releases.


Every time a new release comes around, we are left with the age old comparison for the new protagonist - “Are they as good as Ezio?”
Well firstly, that's a bit of an unfair comparison given that Ezio had three games and a few other appearances to build his character. But in terms of ranking Bayek, I would say he happily sits in the top tier group with Ezio, Altaïr and Edward.

Bayek is an incredibly likeable character. As a Medjay he has strong morals and a sense of duty. You see this throughout his personal story, as he will always act to assist those in need, very much playing the local sheriff in aiding his community where he can. But that by no means makes him a singular type of personality. It is the beauty of the depth of his character that we can see him in absolute rage against his assassination targets, and yet also see him being the friendly and joking uncle around children. We see his love and caring for Aya, but also his torment and angst over the death of Khemu.

The many layers to Bayek work mostly thanks to the incredible performance by his actor Abubakar Salim. Abu brings a real humanising quality to Bayek, and there are some scenes that the emotion just flows out of his voice so realistically. It is a true testament that certain actors just feel born to play a part and it feels very much the case here.

Bayek's journey of revenge is very much a personal one, and over the course of it you see him resign himself to the fact that the old Egypt is dying. This in part is what drives him to replace the Medjay portion of his life with the Hidden Ones, and there was a beautiful symmetry in the way that he originally had told his son to run on home just before his death – yet in the ending scenes, he elects to take another young boy home to safety, in a way trying to make up for what had originally happened. I expect the Hidden Ones DLC will explore his early years running the Bureau from Memphis, and as it is set to explore the Sinai Peninsula we will be venturing very closely to the places that Altaïr would one day walk (perhaps we might see some crossover to the original game such as placing the Apple out there). It did feel like Bayek's personal journey was mostly fulfilled in Origins, but I would certainly not be averse to seeing him again in a future release.


It is no secret that the female characters of the franchise have had a hard time of it. Most of the leading ones have ended up murdered, or as straight up token love interests. So much so, that fans almost expect any females to die as soon as they are announced these days. Fortunately in the case of Aya, this was not the case on both points. Firstly, she did indeed survive, and secondly she actually removed herself from being a love interest which was an incredibly empowering personal journey to observe.

Several fans expressed shock at the break up between her and Bayek, but the prequel novel Desert Oath explained that she had originally turned down his offer of marriage. Indeed, it was quite clear that she never loved him as much as he did for her. It was ultimately the discovery that she was pregnant that evidently forced the two together. Following the death of their son, it makes sense that her love for Bayek was no longer enough to sustain her existence. We see that she needs purpose, and throws herself into serving the “goddess” Cleopatra. This again puts her at odds with Bayek, and her sense of purpose to correct the wrongs of the world helps her desire to become a Hidden One.

I actually feel it's a great shame that Aya was so under used, as she was a genuinely fascinating character to me. For example, the game confirms on several occasions that she too is a Medjay, and given that she trained under Bayek and his father – this is completely understandable. I personally would have loved for her to have been playable in the open world in the same way that we could switch between protagonists in Syndicate with Jacob and Evie.

The advertising of the game made out that “it all starts with one”, with Bayek the main focus. However, this was clearly not the case. The two of them very much established the Hidden Ones, and perhaps you could consider Aya (or Amunet) to have been the one that formed most of the Assassin ideals – she lead most of their strategy, encouraged the use of the first hidden blade (and indeed crafted a new one for herself), created the Brotherhood logo (despite Darius and Iltani using the same insignia hundreds of years before, but hey retcon!), utilised the infamous phrase (Requiescat in pace), and initiated the assassination of Caesar! With her establishing the bureau in Italy, the ending very much seemed to imply that this was not the last we have seen of Amunet, especially by letting her be the one to perform the final mission. It honestly smacked of setup for a sequel. I hope this is the case, as I would love to have a game starring her, as her part in the lore of the Brotherhood appears to be very crucial - as the early Assassins look to make their foothold into Europe.

We know the upcoming Titan Comics will continue her story, but I sure hope this is not the last we have heard of Alix Wilton Regan, as I thought she did a magnificent job with the voice work for the character. She really managed to instil a level of malevolence into several of Aya's scenes, that genuinely made you feel that this was not a woman to be crossed. As tormented as Bayek, but with a driven purpose, this was an individual who knew what to do and where she was going without needing anyone. In short, in my view this was one of the best female characters created in the franchise and it would be a terrible shame not to see more of her.

The Mixed Opinions


The historical story of ancient Egypt is a frustrating affair. On the one hand, it has some truly outstanding scenes. Near every assassination 'white room' Duat scene was mesmerising for example. On the other, there is some pretty evident pacing issues and feels like some content has been seemingly cut out. The opening scenes were jumping back and forth all over the place, and it felt a little jarring to start the game this way, with little in the way of background as to why we were there.

I mean yes, it's a revenge tale. Many fans may lament this, but at the end of the day it just lends itself so well to the Assassin's Creed storylines. I actually felt the first two acts were really well handled. You would go from each zone to the next, and in most cases the side quests gave you little insights into the workings of the Order of the Ancients in every zone. Take for example, the Scarab – aka Taharqa. The character comes across as working to better the town of Letopolis, and you engage in several quests to better things there. Before you know it, you are betrayed and nearly die up to your neck in sand. It was a brilliant little twist, and really made the assassination feel quite personal. But not all were this well handled.

Around the third act, the game suddenly leaps forward at a rapid narrative pace. Whilst the first two acts easily took up twenty odd hours, the third, fourth and fifth acts could collectively be done in just a few hours. It goes so fast, that Aya doesn't even have time to change her clothes for the oddly forced Bayek-less final mission, despite a multi year time jump! At this point the side quests seem to while away, and our final targets are not really given any background. It's a shame, as you do not really get the time to know who you are eliminating, and by token cannot really appreciate any of the villains as they fly by so fast that they are sadly underdeveloped.

This tends to be an issue throughout though. Unlike the likes of Rodrigo and Cesare Borgia, there is no clearly developed main antagonist. It makes the Order of Ancients feel far less menacing than they were suggested to be, simply as you know so very little about them through the course of the game. Ptolemy is introduced in the opening scenes of the game, and was heavily in the advertising for the game – but his scenes added up to at most a handful of lines of dialogue. We never got to know him at all. Equally with Caesar, we assassinated him for being the lead villain, but we never really saw his true machinations at any point beyond his manoeuvring in Egypt. I am sure people who have read the history understand the reasons why, but to a casual gamer it is left very aloof. He is even oddly vaguely mentioned as supposedly being the Father of Understanding in a throwaway line, which has remained one of the oldest mysteries of the franchise. Thankfully, Darby McDevitt has confirmed that the title is far older, therefore this may simply have been a title ascribed to Caesar out of the cult of personality that was forming around him – as I did not get the impression he was even a member of the Order from Bayek's conversation with Flavius.

The closing moments of the game have Bayek and Aya talking intently about a new Creed, but we are never really told as to what this will be. Things are wrapped up very quickly, and we do not really have much in the way of detail on what the bureaus have been set up to do, or achieve. One must assume this will be covered in more detail in the Hidden Ones DLC. Here though we are just handed a Hidden Blade with no sense of history or explanation, we use feathers to mark kills, and make a logo from an eagle skull in the sand. The lack of context can be partially explained by the prequel novel, Desert Oath. Within that we are told about the Medjay, and that the group already has a set creed and ideology of reverence to Amun - upholding balance, protection, justice, freedom, and supporting their community. Clinging to the old ways it is a very similar mindset to the Assassin Brotherhood that it will ultimately become, especially when you consider that the Medjay would use an ostrich feather as their rallying symbol for Ma'at, the Egyptian goddess of truth and justice. In essence every Duat cutscene is measuring the target's heart against the weight of the feather, as if it was placed upon the Scales of Anubis. Without a database to know these details from Desert Oath, casual fans are missing out on a lot of the background to the Creed, as well as Bayek and Aya's story – as I explained earlier with their troubled marriage. In fact several characters from the novel actually appear in the game too, and I felt a stronger connection to them than I imagine a non reader may have felt, purely as I had that background knowledge. This could be viewed as a narrative oversight in my mind.

In short though, whilst the story was ultimately enjoyable it was mostly centred on Bayek's revenge for Khemu. The actual birth of the “Brotherhood” was sadly consigned to a rushed final few minutes, and I wish we had seen more focus on that area before concluding the story honestly. Whilst it may well be explored further in the DLC, it is safe to say that the majority of players tend to avoid them – and as the main release itself Origins could have used a stronger focus for the origin tale it was exploring and ending here.


Ah, the lovely eagle. Isn't she wonderful? I will confess, I really enjoyed having a pet eagle along for the ride. It was nice to see her swoop down and sit on Bayek's arm on those idle moments. That being said, I was sad that we were never really given any proper introduction to her. I was expecting to see how the two met, and what their story together is. Is their relationship a symbiotic one? Is that how Bayek sees what she sees? So much we'd like to know. But nope, just... here is your eagle! It was a shame, as I was really expecting to see that back story in the tutorial of the game. We have since learned that some of these scenes were sadly cut out.

Mechanically, Senu works fine. I had a little trouble with the camera at the start and flying straight, but once I got the hang of it - it does become second nature. She really does function exactly like a drone from other games, and I would often find that every new location that I arrived to, I would ultimately switch to her to scope out what was around so I could get where I needed to be as efficiently as I could do.

Herein lies the issue though. Whilst it works fine, what was so wrong with the original Eagle Vision? Many fans enjoyed the “hunter vision” mode, and it was always that little nod to the First Civilization sixth sense that we enjoyed. A simple scan in Eagle Vision could mark all your targets and objectives in seconds, yet now we have to use Senu and an Animus Pulse to achieve the same results of what we had before. In some ways this can be viewed as a step backwards, and as much as Senu is nice to have along, I cannot help but lament the loss of Eagle Vision and would welcome its return.


From a technical standpoint, the game is a stark improvement over both Unity and Syndicate. Loading times are vastly faster for one. I only suffered one crash (during naval combat) in my whole playthrough, and the only graphical issues I really noticed were some tooltips getting stuck on my screen (a reload fixed), NPCs colliding with each other and getting stuck together, and some weapons spinning whilst on the floor. These were very few and far between though.

The lip syncing and motion capture on the main quests was mostly very good. This wasn't always the case on the side quests though, where automated animation sequences seem to take over. It was also a bit sad to see several NPCs and quest givers sharing the exact same face models. It was getting a bit too much déjà vu before the end!

The frame rate on my standard PS4 was pretty consistent, though there was a visible loss in cities – but this is mostly understandable given how many textures and NPCs it likely has to draw at a time. I did have the game freeze for a few seconds on occasion, whilst it evidently was loading in textures.

Nitpicks of Negativity


It is no secret that I have a massive love for the Modern Day of Assassin's Creed. That's why it pains me terribly to have to put it down in this section.

For starters, I am massively thrilled that we have a third person present day protagonist once more. That's fantastic, it truly is. After years of lobbying for it to return since Desmond's demise, I am so happy to see that our feedback was listened too. I also applaud Ubisoft for actually giving female fans a new heroine too, and one with quite a complex background evidently.

But then the issues arise. Each time you get out of the Animus, you have the shortest of conversations before you are actively encouraged back into the Animus. In essence it feels as optional as you could make it. Whilst the laptop has a lot of data within it, the vast majority of its contents is nothing new to long term fans – as such it was likely placed there for new fans to try and catch up. Learning about Layla's back story through e-mails and audio logs feels a little divorced from proceedings though. I felt like we never really had the time to get to know her enough to form an opinion about her either way.

A fundamental issue with the content is being stuck in the same cave throughout. One of the main criticisms of the Desmond era for the Modern Day sections was the fact that we would stand around and not do any action scenes. Unfortunately this cave is very reminiscent of the first Assassin's Creed game, and being stuck in those handful of rooms at Abstergo. I personally want to go outside and explore the Modern Day, and what's more I want to do it in action sequences akin to some of those we were treated to in Assassin's Creed III. Sadly the content provided in Origins serves neither group of fans here. It will continue to not impress those who have never liked the Modern Day, and disappoint those that want it back in a massive fashion.

Considering how much effort has gone into the transmedia, I also found it odd that we went with a brand new character. We have some brilliant existing characters such as Galina and Charlotte that could have fulfilled Layla's role easily, and it would have been a great way to interweave the storytelling across the different media platforms. As things stand, they all feel like they are now doing their own thing and divorced from each other narratively, and in my mind that is honestly a shame.

Personally I am hoping for a continuation of Layla's story in the Hidden Ones DLC. William mentioned that they were to leave for Alexandria, so that will be where things pick up further most likely. Otherwise, that hour long wait for a helicopter extraction is going to drag on forever – and is sadly a terrible place to leave things at. There simply needed to be more to the Modern Day than this – especially when the entirety of Layla's scenes runs to under 15 minutes on some YouTube videos.


The First Civilization continue their slide into lore obscurity. The Isu have continually been pushed to the fringes of the lore in recent years, most notably so with their complete absence from the movie. The argument follows that this has been done to make the series more accessible to new fans, yet at the same time it was the First Civilization content that romanticized my imagination into sticking with the franchise in the first place.

Pieces of Eden are used throughout the story of Origins, yet no real context or explanation is given to them. Bayek merely accepts the Isu temples as the work of the gods with little commentary upon them, and simply moves on with his day. What's worse is that when you actually look at the Isu content, you realise that the vast majority of it is placed in optional tombs – again, out of the way of the main narrative.

For me, this is a very sorry state of affairs. There has been some concept art released for the game that shows that some really detailed Isu areas were planned, but evidently were never used or were simply cut. Before Origins was released, a lot of fans saw this as the perfect moment to merge the Egyptian gods and mythology together with Those Who Came Before, and a chance to meet a whole new bunch of Isu characters. But alas, the game just acts as if the Egyptian gods are their own thing, and any connections to the Isu are left deliberately vague. It feels like a massive lost opportunity to me.

The Isu content we are left with involves a series of warning monologues left for Layla, the details and implications of which I will cover in a separate article soon. Whilst it tries to add a level of mystery and peril to the proceedings, I can't help but feel hard done by narratively. The main reason for this? Well, it should come as no surprise...

Where is Juno? After Syndicate ended on her stark warning for the human race, many fans expected this foreshadowing for Origins to be the game that she finally gets a body, and is released to cause havoc within the world around us. But alas, this was not the case. What's worse is she is not really mentioned at all, and it just feels a sorry fate for the franchise's main antagonist to make no appearance here. Is she consigned to finish out her story in the comics now? According to Head of Content Azaïzia Aymar that may well sadly be the case now. To say I was disappointed on this aspect is an understatement, but I am at least comforted that many other long term fans feel the same way about our missing villainess. It's not too late to address this dearest Ubisoft. Just saying.


Whilst Black Flag gave us a great deal of freedom with ships, one aspect I never enjoyed was the naval combat. It always felt sluggish, repetitive and a bit dull to me. The main reason for that is I thoroughly dislike moving away from direct control of my character – especially when I become a bloody great ship. I feel divorced from the action, and it is no different here in Origins.

Except in Origins, you have no benefit of having a ship to personalise, or an ocean to sail across. Nope, you just get the combat aspect. Each time the story put us into one of these sections, I genuinely was willing it to be over just so I could get back to solid ground - on my own two feet as it were. That, plus listening to Phoxidas's yelling was driving me nuts.

Ubisoft has already spun the naval combat over into a different IP in the form of Skull and Bones. In my view, let us leave it with them and not have it return to Assassin's Creed.


This one came as a complete surprise. With all of the rich and varied history of Egypt, and the massive amount of locations and landmarks present I was staggered to learn that there was no database in the game. This has been a staple of the series for so long that its omission seems strange, until you look at the upcoming Discovery Tour mode.

The new mode comes as an update next year, and will allow players to explore the history as a separate gameplay session. That's wonderful, and I look forward to exploring it. But honestly, it should not have been at the cost of removing the database from the main game. I feel my gameplay experience was lessened by its absence. If nothing else, I feel that several of the back story issues in the narrative could have actually been ironed out a little better with the usual character profiles that the database should have provided.


The gaming industry now views game releases as a live content service, and Origins is no different. Whilst we have mapped out content for the next several months, some issues remain.

For starters, the game currently has next to nothing for it's end game content. Once you finish the main story and the remaining side quests, you will find there is very little to do once you reach level 40. Most of the high level areas are sparse with content, and I actually found I was a good 8 or so levels short of maxing out all of my abilities. Thus some copious grinding was required, as well as purchasing a large amount of XP tablets from the Bureau to achieve this due to the lack of questing content.

Speaking of the Bureau, it doesn't really appear to do anything other than act as a shop. I was kind of hoping that we would get some kind of base building functionality like the older games, but alas. Why does it not offer high value assassination dailies or the like? I feel like they missed a trick by not implementing some kind of multiplayer zone too. If you look at another Ubisoft game - The Division, they had a dedicated PVP area known as the Dark Zone, as well as High Value Targets on the PVE map. It would have been nice to have some kind of prestige system in place, to continue our progression curve and continue finding new loot and challenges against other players.

Failing that, the game feels like it could really use a Game Plus mode – something that both the action RPGs The Witcher 3 and Horizon Zero Dawn have. Essentially you retain your skills and weapons, but start over with perhaps a raised level cap, and tougher or different NPCs in the world to keep things feeling fresh and new.

I am looking forward to the Hidden Ones DLC, mostly for continuing the main storyline. The second DLC, Curse of the Pharaohs, appears to be more akin to a dream sequence spin off, much like the Tyranny of King Washington.

It is nice that we received a few new outfits under the Season Pass, but at the same time I am saddened that there are still some cosmetic gear packs that are not being included and sold separately outside of it. This kind of flies in the face of the industry's meaning and purpose of a Season Pass, but given the amount of microtransactions present in Origins for a single player game, I suppose one should sadly not be surprised by this either. Amidst the positivity surrounding the game, Ubisoft really did not need the negative headlines generated by overpriced cosmetic packs, especially considering the backlash in the wider gaming industry to microtransactions of late.

It is clear that taking an extra year to develop Origins definitely paid off, if only from a QA standpoint. The passion from the developers is evident throughout the game, and you can feel the love and effort poured into the game. By all accounts the game has been widely well received by critics, and by fans as well with early figures showing twice the sales above Syndicate's release. I have personally witnessed many fans praise Bayek and Aya, the fantastic open world, and the wondrous soundtrack.

But where does the series go now? Layla and William appear to still have work to do in the Mediterranean, therefore the earlier rumours that the next few games might be set in Greece and Rome do make sense now. Amunet's story remains to be told in Rome (which might be told in the comics but still), and it may well be that in developing the Hidden Ones further into Europe she may look to establish a Bureau in Greece – as we know she has some family there from her background. Given that we already have copious Greek and Roman architectural art assets, one could argue that the game world building may be a little faster for these two new locations, from a development time standpoint.

Will we therefore see a sequel in 2018? As the Black Flag team before them, one must assume that the Unity team are working on something as well. By the end of 2018 they would technically have had the same four year development window as Origins had, so it would not be surprising to see another release. However, I would urge Ubisoft to consider a two year gap again if the game requires it – especially if it gives sufficient time to incorporate tweaks from Origins' feedback, and substantially improve on areas such as the Modern Day, or to finally reintroduce a solid multiplayer.

Overall I enjoyed my time with Origins very much. Did it save the franchise? Well for me, it is the strongest release in several years, and improved the franchise in almost every area. Yes, my only real issues with the game are mostly lore and story based. But, those can be fixed. In terms of the new gameplay template they have introduced here, it promises an outstanding future for the franchise. With some small changes they have a strong formula that will hopefully serve the series for years to come. Simply put, it was a fine way to celebrate ten years of Assassin's Creed. To conclude, after all of these discussion points; I award Assassin's Creed Origins a final review score of 8/10.

But how about you? Do you agree or disagree with these points? How would you score the game? Feel free to comment below!

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