For 10 years I have been enamored with the Assassin’s Creed series. I have played every title, lived through the blades of 16 different assassins, and experienced their world through the eras of the ages. I have always used Assassin’s Creed 2 as my benchmark of the best in the series. There is something about Ezio Auditore da Firenze and his story that struck a chord with me as a gamer (helps that is is very suave as well 😉 ).
But 2017 has been a year of awesome games, and has caused me to update my personal favourite games lists not once, but twice (check out my Breath of the Wild piece). I was apprehensive going into Assassin’s Creed Origins. With all the changes to the game play, the introduction of Bayek and the track record of the most recent AC games not being quite as good as Assassin’s Creed 2, I was cautious. After 30 hours, and way more left to play, I can easily say that Assassin’s Creed Origins is the best game in the Assassin’s Creed series, and here’s why.
As a child, I was totally enthralled when we got to learn about the history of Egypt in school. I remember writing a paper on King Tutankhamun and being completely obsessed with that era. Everything about their culture is so mysterious and engaging. If only I could’ve told that young girl in grade school in Newfoundland that in a few years she’d be able to digitally explore a pyramid! The team has managed to make this beautiful version of ancient Egypt that feels alive and completely interactive. Each time I reach a new area of Assassin’s Creed Origins, be it a city or town or even a small hyena den, I always take a minute to revel in the beauty of my surroundings.
— Leah Jewer (@leahjewer) November 3, 2017
I’m not going to lie: I had a hard time getting to like Bayek. At first, he felt pretty stiff to me. Even after watching the opening sequences that explain his shocking raison d’etre and why he becomes this killing machine, I wasn’t completely sold. But as the story progressed, as I witnessed his love and trust in his wife, his humor, his backbone, and his way with children, I grew fond of his character. These revelations and character building moments are created not only through the main story, but also through the side quests. Many times during AC Origins, you are forced to grind and level up before you can move on, and it’s these side quests that I was ‘forced’ to complete that really formulated Bayek as someone I could believe in.
For the seasoned Assassin’s Creed players like myself, Origins is a little like relearning how to ride bicycle. It feels familiar, but somehow off when you first start the game, and that’s due to all the changes Ubisoft has made. The minimap is gone, and I don’t miss it. The new combat system is much more challenging and rewarding and I appreciate that. The addition of RPG elements like the skill tree and weapon upgrades feel like Ubisoft is handing me the reigns, letting me build Bayek to be the killing machine that I want him to be. They are all welcome changes that have made playing the game a much more satisfying experience.
Learning from Others
It’s easy to see that the team behind Assassin’s Creed Origins has spent the extra year in development well. Throughout this game I see bits and pieces of other games that have been adapted and augmented to benefit this title. The Ubisoft dev team have looked for inspiration internally and externally and they have prospered from it.
While Assassin’s Creed Origins is by no means perfect, it is definitely the largest leap I have seen in the Assassin’s Creed series to date. Bayek has become my new assassin of choice and I am more than willing to explore the great wide world of ancient Egypt by his side for days to come.
DISCLAIMER: Assassin’s Creed Origins review code was provided by Ubisoft. The opinions expressed in the article above have not be affected by, dictated or edited in any way by the provider. For more information please see Girls on Games’ Code of Journalistic Ethics.