Walk like an Egyptian? Assassinate like an Egyptian!
In the world of cinema, there are tentpole film franchises. While there are mixed emotions for the consumer when it comes to these movies, these are the flicks that movie studios can count on to sell tons of tickets. I would have to say that Assassin’s Creed is the video game equivalent of a tentpole franchise. In the 80’s you could always count on a new Police Academy movie and now you can always count on a new Assassin’s Creed game.
Just like the sparrows returning to Capistrano, Assassin’s Creed Origins has migrated to the warmer climes of my hot little hands. Let’s take a brief look at Assassin’s Creed Origins on PS4.
If you want amazing graphics, you got it
Great googly moogly this is a stunning looking game. Built on the back of the Anvil Next 2.0 engine, Ubisoft has created one of the best-looking games I have ever encountered. The setting of ancient Egypt is a perfect showcase for the beauty of this game. For my money, the most satisfying element of this game was simple exploration. Climbing to the top of great heights in order to take in massive sweeping vistas was a real pleasure.
I always felt as if the real story was lurking around a corner somewhere.
Once I had made it to Giza, I heard the siren song of the Great Pyramid off in the distance. All quests went on hold as I rode my mount directly to the base of the Pyramid and spent the next ten minutes scaling to the very top of the gold-capped wonder. Once I had taken a few moments to enjoy the view I slid back down the face of the pyramid, which was just as enjoyable as the trip up.
Then, back at ground level, my childhood curiosity took charge and I was off to find the Sphinx. It’s there. It’s not as big as I imagined it to be. Scattered throughout my session with the game I encountered a few clipping issues and the occasional frame rate drop during cinematics. However, these minor issues did not mar what was a pretty darn breathtaking visual experience.
New Assassin, new combat
There, of course, were some changes in this, the newest Assassin’s Creed game. I would have to say that the biggest change in Origins was in regard to combat. There is a lot more depth to battling opponents than there has been in previous Assassin’s Creed games. Origins has seen Ubisoft make the switch to a hitbox based combat mechanic.
Gone are the days of yore when your assassin would slog through an endless series of animation-based fights where certain death for your enemies was just a button push away. This feels like it leans a bit more toward the hack and slash realm. In addition, you’re not going to have a bunch of enemies standing around you like the bad guys in a Jackie Chan movie, waiting their turn to get beat up.
All these changes serve to create an experience that is a good bit more dynamic than previous Assassin’s Creed offerings.
But how good is the story?
For all the graphic beauty that Assassin’s Creed Origins has to offer, I found the story to be a bit lacking and muddled. You assume the role of Bayek who is sort of the ancient Egyptian equivalent of a sheriff. At the outset of the game, you are beset by a tragedy which forces you to embark on a quest for vengeance against those who wronged you.
More than anything I found Assassin’s Creed Origins to be a nice meditative experience.
While there were moments when I found the main storyline to be dramatic and engaging, I always felt as if the real story was lurking around a corner somewhere. In fact, I found some of the most effective examples of storytelling to be tucked amid the side quests. Another disappointment for me was that it seemed as if the sci-fi elements were given short shrift.
One of the things I have always found compelling about the Assassin’s Creed franchise was the addition of Abstergo and the Animus. Where some of the previous games used these cutaways to create depth of world, in Origin’s these scenes just felt like a break in the flow of the story.
Should you buy it? That depends…
It’s a big week for video game releases. Assassin’s Creed Origins will be seeing big competition in Super Mario Odyssey and Wolfenstein 2. So why should you spend your time in Egypt? In spite of any issues I had with Origins, I actually enjoyed it more than I expected to. It’s a stunningly massive game. With game-time reports rolling in from anywhere from 30 hours to double that if you complete all the side quests, it’s a great way to kill some time.
More than anything I found Assassin’s Creed Origins to be a nice meditative experience. I think the best way to get your money’s worth is to take it slow and enjoy the world rather than barreling through. The setting is fun and beautiful and I can see myself flipping on my PS4 every now and then to play Origins as a pleasant getaway from the real world. Just like any good tent-pole film, Assassin’s Creed Origins isn’t going to revolutionize anything, but it can be fun if you let it.
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