At E3 this year, I was able to go hands-on with one of my most anticipated games of 2017: Assassin’s Creed Origins. After a year’s hiatus, I am excited to see this franchise come back, especially in the geographic location choice of Egypt. With so much lore of the land and of the time period to explore, having missed playing an Assassin’s Creed game last year has definitely whet my appetite. During my time with the game, I was able to play two distinct sections of the game, and I enjoyed them in completely different ways.
The first section was your more typical Assassin’s Creed experience – walking around the open world, collecting things, doing missions. That’s where a lot of the similarities end. Ubisoft has tweaked the controls and changed up the combat. The assassinate button has moved from X to Y on the Xbox controller since they moved attack to the right trigger (RT). This tripped me up a couple times as I snuck up on an enemy and instead of assassinating them, I just bumped into them. The lesson was definitely learned as the combat has been altered. No longer is it a game of “press counter, kill, press counter, kill…” Enemies now have levels attached to them and whether or not an enemy is commensurate to your level will your attacks have an impact. Also, they hit harder. A couple of errant blows from the combatants and I was going down. The level system is also important as things like air assassinations are not guaranteed kills. I was also told that there will not be any double air assassinations in the game.
Moving around the open world has changed as well. There is a horse you can ride that is fairly smart and did not get hung up on the terrain like I thought he might. I honestly tried a few different maneuvers to get the horse stuck and I was able to move freely the entire time. I was also able to “borrow” a skiff and tread along the Nile. The boat was easy to navigate and helped me reach objectives quickly. I also used the boat to recover treasure underwater. That’s right, now you have the ability to swim and dive underwater to recover objects and investigate wreckage. On the flipside, there are crocodiles in the water for those who are careless.
The second section I played was called The Arena. This area had a completely different vibe to it. First, I went to a level where you encounter waves of enemies in this fighting pit/colosseum. Those battles were more your standard fare of you versus many. After that, I went on to fight the boss. That was a one-on-one match against a superior leveled opponent. That is when the game took a turn. No longer was Assassin’s Creed the quick attack and counter action game. This foray turned into a Dark Souls-type battle. I stayed low, dodged a lot, looking for my chances to strike, which come few and far in between. In my last attempt, the Ubisoft guy who was watching over my shoulder said that I made the best dodge of the night. Unfortunately, it didn’t make the difference as I still died in the end. It is definitely a battle I will be revisiting when the game comes out this fall.
Overall, I was impressed with what I played of Assassin’s Creed Origins. Definitely looking forward to playing this game when it releasing and once again making my fall feel normal again.