Assassin's Creed Origins Impressions

Well isn't this a surprise. Assassin's Creed actually did something different. Different for an AC game at least. Origins takes that familiar AC formula and injects it into a massive open world RPG game, and the result is not only a very different feeling AC game, but also a damn good one too.

I'll be honest, I never liked AC games, frankly I am not a fan of stealth based gameplay, and the AC games never did stealth very well to begin with.

Origins still has some stealth elements to the gameplay absolutely, but the changes to the combat mean that you can virtually ignore most of it. Origin's combat is probably the biggest outright change from previous entries in the series. As when you got caught or forced into direct combat in previous AC games, it was a total bland fest as you were so overpowered it made you wonder why you were even bothering to hide in the shadows to begin with. In Origins....you are still kind of overpowered, but in a different way. Combat is much more action oriented this time around, with counters, blocks, parries, and good ol' hack 'n slash gameplay. It just feels better, because while you can pretty much beat the shit outta everyone in a 1v1 fight, groups of enemies still require you to manuever and utilize skills.

It isn't overly impressive combat honestly, but it is a lot more fun than in previous games. Maybe that is because AC Origin's is now an loot based RPG game. Yeah that's right, loot is everywhere in the game, enemies drop it, you can craft it, find it in treasure chests, quest rewards even. Not only that but loot has a Diablo-like loot rarity system, common, rare, epic, legendary, it's all here and each one provides stats and bonuses to your character.

The world is open for the outset, and.........

Okay look. Origins is basically The Witcher 3 in the way "?"'s appear randomly on the map as points of interest for you to discover and complete, there are side quests everywhere that all have their little mini stories (Although nowhere near as well-written as TW3). The combat reminds me of the Witcher as well. I mean it is no wonder I am taking a liking to this game.

The only shame is the writing is nowhere near as good. NOWHERE near.

Now it isn't bad writing, in fact Bayak is probably my favorite main character in any game this year. I mean, holy shit I love this man. His personality is just great, while he is a badass and full of anger, his anger is placed properly and doesn't consume his every other relationship. You get to see him interact with villagers, and his personal friends, and he never let's his anger burn towards anybody that it shouldn't. It makes him a great personality to watch and play as. You feel his anger as he fucks up the bad guys, but you also feel his compassion to his people as he helps those around him. The flashback scenes with his son are also great, and you can feel just how much love he has for his family.

I'm still very early in the game, only about 4 hours into the game, but I am really impressed with Origin's new direction for the AC series. I hope this keeps up through the rest of the game.

I'm not drastically far into it (What I assume becomes the Assassins have just assembled at their clubhouse for the first time, revealing the rest of the targets (if you were worried with how fast you were chewing them up early on, there are more then 5)).

The game layout once it opens up completely is essentially Ghost Recons. There are regions, with the big bad guy in each one that has to be killed (generally). Granted, the RPG side and Bayek actually being a proper character breaks that up from a series of 'go here and shoot the bad guys, repeat til you get to the last one".

The combat is significantly more involved. And while the Parry-counter move does still exist, you won't get any prompts for it. And the parry side of that equation is tricky to pull off, and only works if your parry actually meets the weapon angle, so can't be used on every attack. Which brings up another point of feedback. While you have a Block, a Dodge, and a Parry. You're best off sticking almost exclusively to the dodge. Many attacks are straight up unblockable, and another chunk of the rest will break your guard leaving you vulnerable if you block. Parry as mentioned, only works on some enemy attacks due to its relatively realistic collision box.

Of the first three main storyline assassinations. One was a glorified cutscene. But the other two went back to the AC 1 format of "Your target is over here, go get them". The first one in particular is a huge area with myriad approaches, and goes right down to having the alert bells if you get spotted.

The writing is a little by the book. Bayek and Aya (who might be playable, or there's some obvious DLC bait that pops up) are likable enough and despite having the cliche motivation of "YOU KILLED MY FAMILY" seem a bit more grounded and less one-dimensional then say Aiden from Watch Dogs. A fair number of characters seem to just kind of whiz by though. And there's a bit of "You must sidequest now" in the first area or two, where the story mission abruptly hops up levels that doesn't especially jive well with a motivational urgency.

The eagle feels kind of jammed in too. They certainly don't explain your apparent telepathic link with a bird. And when you near an objective the prompt to use Senu to find your target just kind of annoyingly sits on your screen until you do so. If you're more invested in the immersive stealth elements or if you want to just cut your way through, that prompt to use your Remote Drone (essentially) can get old quick.

In a departure from the icon spam that is oft attributed to Ubisofts games, while the towers do reveal the map. They just show locations of interest as blank markers. Treasure chests, hunting animals, ships/convoys (carrying crafting materials or gold) or scattered bandit camps are up to you to find yourself (or using the eagle). In a major departure, the treasure maps that exist in game both have to be found manually in locales of interest, and themselves only give you directions in text.

The levelling system on loot is a bit of a mixed bag. It does facilitate a continous need to find better gear while only having 4 types of bow and a half dozen types of melee weapons with otherwise not much difference between them. But it can also mean that you find some cool looking weapon (or a weapon with a unique lore behind it, like a spear from an early quest), only to have it be obsolete or require costly upgrading to bring it up to level (continously). Its a weird case to have the legendary weapon with actual lore or unique abilities languishing in your backpack because you dont have 5000 gold to bring it up to a level where its usable against your current challenges.

Its woth mentioning that the game does have lootboxes. Though they're just kind of there. You buy them with the same gold as anything else ingame, rather then a microtransaction exclusive alternate. You can buy that gold (and crafting material packs, which lets you skip out on raiding convoys/hunting) with money in the store, though its not really front and center. In the sense that you won't ever be exposed to the store page asking for your real money unless you go there.

Assassin's Creed has...always been open world...

Saelune:
Assassin's Creed has...always been open world...

That could actually be a point of contention with the first few. I'd say they were (but I'd say the first Zelda was too). But they had locked off regions in them until you hit certain sequences.

By the purist definition of open world, excepting maybe a tutorial segment, you should basically be able to walk the map end to end at any point. Not banging into arbitrary blocked off zones because of story progression. Which is a benchmark I don't recall them hitting until Black Flag (though I never played Brotherhood and barely remember what I played of Revelations).

That style being used in the Elder Scrolls games, and dating at least back to late 80s/early 90s with Ultima and Might & Magic, its not like they were pioneering and just hadn't refined the concept yet either. The games were specifically built to roll along a specific path in specific orders.

Ocarina of Time actually passes that test even. There's barriers that prevent you accessing areas, but they aren't artificially placed to keep the story progression. Its all just that you haven't unlocked the ability yet. With Zelda (prior to BotW) using gadgets/skills rather then the conventional Beef-gate of monsters that just beat the crap out of you with super stats until you level up (theoretically by following the story).

I know it's probably a stupid question but I'm gonna ask it anyway.

Is there any sign the Present Day story is going somewhere or are they still faffing around with it like they've been since Black Flag? Because if they aren't going to use it for anything useful, I have to question why they still bother with it.

Dalisclock:
Is there any sign the Present Day story is going somewhere or are they still faffing around with it like they've been since Black Flag? Because if they aren't going to use it for anything useful, I have to question why they still bother with it.

Yeah, it's still there and it still seems to be going nowhere. At this point I really have to wonder who is actually invested in that whole meta-plot. If it's to drive home the series premise of 'genetic memory' then there are better ways I'd think.

Other than that though I am really enjoying this game. They really improved everything from parkouring to combat to quests. This is probably also the most beautiful open world I've ever seen and it's hard to imagine the insane amount of work they must have put into creating it. Would be worth it for a visual tour through ancient Egypt alone. Also the reason why I think this is a game that shouldn't be rushed.

Dalisclock:
I know it's probably a stupid question but I'm gonna ask it anyway.

Is there any sign the Present Day story is going somewhere or are they still faffing around with it like they've been since Black Flag? Because if they aren't going to use it for anything useful, I have to question why they still bother with it.

Considering they killed Desmond literally to avoid addressing it, Im guessing not.

stroopwafel:

Dalisclock:
Is there any sign the Present Day story is going somewhere or are they still faffing around with it like they've been since Black Flag? Because if they aren't going to use it for anything useful, I have to question why they still bother with it.

Yeah, it's still there and it still seems to be going nowhere. At this point I really have to wonder who is actually invested in that whole meta-plot. If it's to drive home the series premise of 'genetic memory' then there are better ways I'd think.

I cared when it looked like it was building to something, first 2012 and then Juno. Too bad they Deus Ex Machinad the first one and have pretty much ignored the second one because apparently they can't be bothered to make a proper game out of it.

They had this great idea of using the animus to make Desmond a super assassin in a matter of months...and then just blew it, despite having 5 games to develop the concept. Hell, Desmond actually ended up having a decent enough backstory. Too bad you didn't find out what it was unless you played the bonus platforming segments in Revelations, 4 whole games in.

No wonder Black Flag is so well liked. The developers went "Fuck the story arc! Pirates!" and it worked.

I keep imagining this alternate universe where the AC series actually was thought over the long term, instead of just throwing shit together as they went and then sputtering when they realized they never had any long term plan for the meta story. I image this is the same universe where HL43 was released and valve kept making wonderful games. I imagine, though, this other universe probably has psychic nightmare spiders to balance this out.

Edit: Should be HL3. HL43 would be a bit much.

Dalisclock:

No wonder Black Flag is so well liked. The developers went "Fuck the story arc! Pirates!" and it worked.

Well, in Origins defense the meta plot does seem to tie directly into the 'simulation' plot and the segments are very short and unobtrusive. There were a few moments I won't spoil that I thought were pretty neat.

Dalisclock:
I keep imagining this alternate universe where the AC series actually was thought over the long term, instead of just throwing shit together as they went and then sputtering when they realized they never had any long term plan for the meta story. I image this is the same universe where HL43 was released and valve kept making wonderful games. I imagine, though, this other universe probably has psychic nightmare spiders to balance this out.

Besides having no real story ideas, I get the impression that maybe the gameplay overhaul and technical capability to actually make the inevitable present-day game. There's a hell of a jump from gameplay centered about knives/bows/muskets/horses to a world with helicopters/automatic weapons/cars/etc.

Also the games have typically revolved around the "What if" game with historical figures. If they came to present day thats going to hamstring them a lot.

Seth Carter:
Besides having no real story ideas, I get the impression that maybe the gameplay overhaul and technical capability to actually make the inevitable present-day game. There's a hell of a jump from gameplay centered about knives/bows/muskets/horses to a world with helicopters/automatic weapons/cars/etc.

In the Abstergo files they already seem to have connected AC to *ahem* one of their other franchises. With AC Origins already feeling like a soft reboot of sorts I won't be surprised if it's going to share plot elements.

Also the games have typically revolved around the "What if" game with historical figures. If they came to present day thats going to hamstring them a lot.

Yeah, regardless of how much they change it I have no doubt AC will stay in historical settings. There are still so many time periods they can explore though. Origins is so good that the series is firmly back on my radar.

Dalisclock:
I imagine, though, this other universe probably has psychic nightmare spiders to balance this out.

Every universe has psychic nightmare spiders. Their psychic powers get into our nightmares across space and time.

I've had the unfortunate displeasure of getting the PC version of the game. No matter how I edit the options, graphics, resolutions, the game crashes. I've managed to play 14 hours and the game has crashed at least 30 times. Rating the game in it's current state, I'd give the PC version a 0/10.

stroopwafel:

Seth Carter:
Besides having no real story ideas, I get the impression that maybe the gameplay overhaul and technical capability to actually make the inevitable present-day game. There's a hell of a jump from gameplay centered about knives/bows/muskets/horses to a world with helicopters/automatic weapons/cars/etc.

In the Abstergo files they already seem to have connected AC to *ahem* one of their other franchises. With AC Origins already feeling like a soft reboot of sorts I won't be surprised if it's going to share plot elements.

Yeah, folks like to dredge that one up alot. Its an Easter egg. Like saying Skyrim and Doom are in the same universe because of that one cave with a Nord helmet. It never came up in the 2nd on either, which had a lot more room for the idea even, since it dealt with two battling sides rather then one guy doing his own thing.

ACG made a walking the walk about the game showing some of the incredible details:

An interesting note, they have UI settings Regular-Light-Minimal-Off.

Minimal is the one that seems the most interesting in terms of an exploration facilitator, but it could really have benefitted from some custom options.

The main reason to play that way is to take the markers off the compass on top of the screen, but the preset unfortunately also takes away the whole compass entirely. Leaving you with very little ability to guide yourself, particularly in the desert areas. And turns off the selected weapon part of the UI, which makes it incredibly difficult to tell which bow you're using or if you have a tool out instead.

Seth Carter:

stroopwafel:

Seth Carter:
Besides having no real story ideas, I get the impression that maybe the gameplay overhaul and technical capability to actually make the inevitable present-day game. There's a hell of a jump from gameplay centered about knives/bows/muskets/horses to a world with helicopters/automatic weapons/cars/etc.

In the Abstergo files they already seem to have connected AC to *ahem* one of their other franchises. With AC Origins already feeling like a soft reboot of sorts I won't be surprised if it's going to share plot elements.

Yeah, folks like to dredge that one up alot. Its an Easter egg. Like saying Skyrim and Doom are in the same universe because of that one cave with a Nord helmet. It never came up in the 2nd on either, which had a lot more room for the idea even, since it dealt with two battling sides rather then one guy doing his own thing.

He's talking about the new AC. Origins has an image of Aiden Pearce merking the guy from AC4 in it.

 

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