Assassin's Creed: Origins

Mar 3, 2018

The latest in the Assassin's Creed juggernaut, Origins (available for PS4 and XBoxOne) is immediately striking due to the sheer amount of pretty.  The vast expanses of desert, the detail in the cities, the shining pyramids, the stars in the sky...this game is gorgeous.  Happily, it's more than just a pretty face!

The controls are a little bit smoother in this iteration, although you'll still have moments of climbing the wall right next to the ladder you were intending to use.  After this many games, I'm fairly certain that's a feature by now, not a bug.  The weapons/armor system reminds me of Destiny (and probably other games I haven't played) where you can break down surplus items for components to build new ones.  Money is a bit harder to acquire, though.  For those who enjoy the sea battles of Black Flag, there are a number of sailing missions, and while the game is exceptionally bloody, you can toggle it off if you like.

For most of the game, you play as Bayek of Siwa, one of the last Medjay, on a quest for revenge for his son's murder.  You will also control his wife, Aya, who works a more political angle for revenge, and Layla, the modern day access point for the historical characters.  It takes place in the latter days of Ptolemaic Egypt, allowing you to interact with such figures as Cleopatra, Ptolemy, and Julius Caesar, in addition to a large number of less famous, but completely real, people.  As with all Assassin's Creed games, there is a lot of artistic license taken with history, but it's still pretty fascinating.  As you might guess by the title, this game lays out the beginnings of the Assassin's Brotherhood and how it will oppose the Order of the Ancients, which will eventually become the Templars.

The moral ambiguity is in there right from the start, as everyone is doing terrible things to advance what they consider the greater good.  The whole thing is a delicious mess of bad judgment and inevitability; there are delightful moments of humor, and desperate grief, and everything in between.  If you've never played this series before this is a good chronological entry and, if you have, this is amazing backstory.  Either way, it's well worth your time.

Reviewed by Library Staff