It’s been a few years since Assassin’s Creed Origins was released. But it was a wonderful game that set the tone for bigger and better Assassin’s Creed titles (with Odyssey and Valhalla to follow), and is very much worth another look.
As you may know if you’re familiar with the Assassin’s Creed series, the game doesn’t have the frenetic, fast-paced action so many gamers are used to courtesy of first-person shooters and the like. When the combat heats up though, it feels realistic and action-packed. And the fact that the adventure takes place within such a beautifully rendered take on Ancient Egypt, it’s a marvel to play through
Plot & Setting
Assassin’s Creed Origins is set in 49-43 BC in Egypt (about a decade before Queen Cleopatra VII’s suicide in real life, according to Egypt Today). It follows the story of Bayek of Siwa and his wife, Aya. The game follows the origins of the conflict between The Order of the Ancients (forerunners of the Templar Order, who want peace via forced order) and the Hidden Ones (forerunners of the Assassin Brotherhood, who want peace through liberty instead). As is typical of the series, the story begins in present times, when a researcher finds the mummies of both key characters and decides to relive their memories.
While the game has a map that can be accessed, there is no mini-map. Instead, players use a compass bar similar to those of Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War 4. Still, the feeling one gets navigating the game is that the Egyptian environment is wide open (and again, beautifully built). From the tops of ancient buildings to underwater shipwrecks, there are few limits to what (and where) players can explore.
Apart from the main characters, players can also make use of “Senu,” Bayek’s pet eagle. She can detect enemies, locate treasure chests, hidden passages, and even gather crafting materials. She can also get upgrades to perform certain actions such as attacking or distracting enemies, which of course comes in handy!
Movement in the game is typical of Assassin’s Creed, which is to say your character moves athletically and practices parkour. And transportation options include horses, chariots, and camels on land –– as well as feluccas in the water.
If you played other Assassin’s Creed games preceding this one, you may be in for a surprise. The combat system for Origins was completely revamped. An “Adrenaline Gauge” was added to build up during combat, giving players the option to enter a frenzy (making Bayek stronger, faster, and more resistant to damage) or to unleash a devastating finishing move.
Additionally, armed fighting in this game takes weapon size, speed, positioning, and length into account to determine the success of movements. This works out realistically, such that heavier weapons like maces do more damage but move slower, while light swords are exactly the opposite.
This is one Assassin’s Creed game for which it’s particularly worthwhile to discuss legacy. While AC: Origins did not by any means invent Egypt-themed games, it did seem to spark a wave of them. There are a few examples in mobile gaming, from strategy games to various action experiences. And the online casino branch of the gaming world in particular has exploded with Ancient Egyptian settings and themes in recent years. Games like Cleopatra Slots, Cradle of Egypt, and Eye of Horus Slots have all become some of the most popular titles in circulation, with a new exclusive on Foxy Games’ slot section, Links Of Ra, looking like the latest to join the pack.
Another aspect of the legacy of Origins is that –– as alluded to previously –– it leveled up the franchise to pave the way for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey & Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (the latter of which has been called the best in the series so far by Screenrant). Both games have done well, in part thanks to the new mechanics and the raw ambition of Origins.
With scores of 9/10 from IGN, 8.5/10 from Polygon, and 81% on Metacritic, Assassin’s Creed Origins has won over a to of gamers. Despite being several years old now, it is a great game to pick up when you’re able. It has something for everyone: It’s well paced, it has an excellent story packed with history, and the combat is just downright fun. Plus, it will lead you right into Odyssey and Valhalla!