After a two-year haitus following Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Assasssin’s Creed is back with its latest iteration, Assassin’s Creed Origins. Origins is unique because it doesn’t follow the traditional storyline of Assassins vs. Templars. Instead it follows the origin of both secret societies, and how the entire conflict began. It takes place in ancient Egypt and follows the story of Bayek as he plots revenge against Pharaoh Ptolemy XIII. Thankfully, it is a huge return to form so far for Assassin’s Creed. While I am no where near done with the game, there is a lot of fun packed into those first 10 hours!
First things first, the new control scheme takes some getting used to. Changes from previous Assassin’s Creed games are apparent from the get go, with the attack buttons moved to the trigger buttons instead of the face buttons, and a new shield mechanic that I haven’t quite wrapped my head around yet. Thankfully, once you get used to the new combat controls, everything gels incredibly well. Movement on the other hand seems a bit glitchy, as the default control scheme means you will be holding a face button to do all of your climbing. If that doesn’t work for you though, and you are set in your ways from 10 years of Assassin-ing, you can swap to a control scheme in the menus that resembles the older titles. Another complication with controls comes with pushing and holding various buttons to do totally different things. Some of these make sense, but others aren’t as intuitive as they should be. This is very apparent when you are trying to use an Animus Pulse, but end up taking control of Senu instead…
Senu is Bayek’s eagle, and it is fitting that you finally see that connection between bird of prey and assassin, given that the Assassin’s have used bird imagery throughout the series. By pressing up on the D-Pad you gain control of Senu, giving you a literal birds eye view of the world around. You can use this to spot enemies, find treasure, mark prey and even fast travel. Every time I come across an encampment of bandits, I scout the area with Senu, trying to find all of the guards I can before planning my one-man army assault. Senu is by far the best addition to the game, and I hope to see the feature included in future iterations of the series.
The biggest draw back, so far at least, is that Egypt is very boring to look at once you get outside of cities. It is a big desert after all. Assassin’s Creed games have been known for their giant, breath taking landscapes that capture an era, and while it certainly captures the sweltering heat one imagines when thinking of ancient Egypt, it is pretty boring to ride a horse through it all. I have yet to hit a major city like Giza though, so I bet my feelings on that will change.
Expect our full review of Assassin’s Creed Origins next week! We are currently running a contest for a PS4 copy of Assassin’s Creed Origins for Canadian Residents, and expect some more in-depth Assassin talk on this weekends episode of Not Enough Resources.