Assassin’s Creed as a series has not really evolved since the first game, sure new gameplay items come into effect and new additions might make it through more than one game, but with the sheer number of games in the series now, Ubisoft having the series take a year off can only be a good thing.. right?
For most video games, what you see is what you get and with a series like Assassin’s Creed, you know what you are going to get for the most part, even after the debut at the Xbox E3 Press Conference, Assassin’s Creed Origins did not look anything special for me, it looked a little nicer than past games, but it still had the basics that I know and enjoy from the series. When it was shown off at the Ubisoft Showcase the next day, it still looked good, but was more of what I was expecting, so finally getting the chance to play it, I was prepared to be slightly impressed, however I walked away excited for the series, for the first time in a while.
The demo started off with Bayek approaching the city of Siwa, the marker on my screen told me to head towards a specific location, so off I went. The first thing that I noticed here though, was the shear amount of icons on the compass, if you take the Witcher 3 compass, you get an idea, but full of AC icons, that site did let me down a bit. However, once I got to my marker, I discovered that a priest was beating a member of the temple, due the fact that the mans boat sank and he lost two golden idols, which were precious to the temple, but the priest did not believe him, in fact he was certain that they were stolen and the story a lie. Bayek however did believe the man, so my mission was clear, head out into the water and locate the two missing idols of Anubis, thankfully, the water was right behind me.
The first marker on the map was telling me that there was an idol on a very large ship, which was moored out in the middle of the river, so jumping in the water and swimming for the ship was my course of action. It was at this point though, that a member of the development team, who saw my heroic and incredibly brave leap into the water decided to point out that the water contains hippo’s and they are very deadly if angered. Thankfully, my swim was relaxing and hippo free, so climbing onto the ship and then making my way towards the idol was easy, made easier by the addition of the bow and arrow, allowing me to take out enemies from a much larger distance. The first two enemies I removed without alerting them to my presence, however on the third enemy, I was spotted by another, so the battle began and this is where the game really changed things up. If you have played For Honor, then the combat system is going to feel similar, light and heavy attacks are now on the right trigger and right shoulder buttons, counter or parry is on the left shoulder button and the left trigger pulls out your bow, letting you shoot that at will.
The combat took a few moments to adjust too, it was different, yet familiar and after a while, I was doing well, not perfect of course, but I was surviving, sadly though, in my attempts at being dramatic, I stumbled into a fire that had been going and this was just after some urns full of oil were destroyed, letting the fire get bigger. As I was covered in oil though, I was unable to put myself out and even diving for the river did not help, I died mid dive. Once I was back in the game, I made my way back to the ship, removed the final enemies and claimed my first golden idol, it was now time for idol number two, which was located in the water next to the ship, giving validity to the story of the temple aide. Diving in the water was again going to be my way in, however before I jumped, I did see a Hippopotamus swimming nearby, taking the words of the developer to mind, I pulled out the bow and killed it, making my swim much safer. Diving under the water, I located the second idol and then make it back to shore.
Upon returning the idols to the priest, he still insisted on hitting the poor man, as his word was law and the punishment was for now losing the idols, when told to stop by Bayek, the priest summoned the guards and another fight occurred, once I was victorious, my time with the game came to an end. With the addition of the Eagle, the revamped combat and exploration activities, in the demo alone, this amped up my excitement further than any game has since Assassin’s Creed 2 and while there is still a lot of unknowns about the game, so far things are looking up for the long running series.