Hands-On: Assassin’s Creed Origins

Hands-On: Assassin's Creed Origins

* PS Nation was invited to an event in San Francisco, California by Ubisoft for a hands-on preview of Assassin’s Creed Origins. Travel was paid for by the studio and the game was played on an Xbox One X.


A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down and play a couple hours of Assassin’s Creed Origins and here’s what I took away from that experience.

After not releasing an entry in 2016, Assassin’s Creed returns with Origins and some things have changed while other things feel quite familiar. For the demo there was one main quest I could focus on, but I was also free to explore the world and do any side quests that were available. Because of how I like to approach open world games, I ignored the main mission and set out to explore this beautiful world.

One of the biggest draws of Origins is by far is its setting, taking place in Egypt makes the game feel different from the previous entries. The franchise’s previous settings have felt very similar to each other particularly with the architecture, large cities filled with towers and packed with buildings for ample rooftop hopping. I only had access to a small section of the map and I still got a small taste of how varied the environments are in Egypt. I got to explore the open farmlands, the dangerous swamps and got a small tease of the vast desert with the pyramids looming in the background. Egypt allows the game to feel fresh with its varied environments that are screaming to be explored and even with a restricted map I was impressed with what was there.

The farmlands lack towers and buildings to climb and run through. Before buildings were used not only to string together cool parkour routes, but also to use to escape situations or set up the perfect assassination. Instead most missions here require using the combat to its full potential as you are left in open fields facing your enemy with nowhere to run or hide.

In the swampy area it’s dangerous, but here you can play more stealthy by hiding in vegetation and water though you have to watch out because the waters are dangerous with aggressive crocodiles and hippos that are no joke. You don’t know fear until you find yourself running from a couple hungry hippos.

And the desert, which I only had a small fraction available to explore, is exactly what you’d expect, it’s a vast, barren and gorgeous place. I did not see much action in the desert which I welcomed since it allowed me to just bask in its beauty and enjoy the sights. I am dying to know what this part of the world holds and cannot wait to fully explore it.

 

That’s just the world though, what you do in the world is what feels familiar. The combat which has been revamped doesn’t feel too different then what I’m used to from Assassin’s Creed. Most enemies still sort of wait their turn to attack you and you can parry and block them with timing being much more important than before. Enemies overall felt a little more aggressive and I was not able to easily win most scenarios.

I had to take a more calculating approach and died often due to some bad habits I acquired from previous titles. In that respect the combat feels somewhat fresher. Another aspect is how much easier ranged weapons are to switch to and how much more important they are in this environment. With lots of open spaces now present in the world and slightly more aggressive enemies I had to rely more on ranged weapons to kill enemies either in stealth or as a last ditch effort once I found myself outmatched by a higher level combatant.

Origins has more of an RPG feel to it with a leveling system, ability system and crafting system. These elements allow for players to make a dynamic character that can potentially allow for more options to accommodate different play style preferences. These additions are a nice addition to the Assassin’s Creed universe and is something that adds much needed depth to what has always been a fairly simplistic action adventure series.

The crafting feels similar to other Ubisoft titles because since requires the hunting and skinning of animals for supplies to build armor and accessories. The world has plenty of animals and there’s no point in wasting their fur or skin when you can make your armor stronger or weapons better. It’s cool if you want to level up your gear without spending all your money at shops, it’s a good and simple method to building a better character though nothing groundbreaking.

As for the missions, again I mostly focused on the side quests and exploration, they played out as one would expect. They varied from fetch, assassination, escort and hunting style quests. I had fun regardless of what the mission type was because they allowed me to see different parts of the world and while some didn’t have much in terms of cutscenes they each helped flesh out the world.

I am fascinated by Origins while it isn’t a grand departure from the core Assassin’s Creed experience, the devs have added new layers that should complement the foundation fans have always enjoyed. My favorite parts of any Assassin’s Creed game are the historical elements because Ubisoft has always treated the historical elements with respect and built really good playgrounds out of them. Egypt is an amazing setting to explore and I can’t wait to see where they go with it and what weird things they can do here.

The jump to Egypt and the year off should be enough to excite fans and while this entry might not be the major overhaul some hoped for it might be enough to rejuvenate the franchise.

Published by Ubisoft and developed by Ubisoft Montreal, Assassin’s Creed Origins will be released on October 27, 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook