Assassin’s Creed Origins releases today, marking the return of the stealth series after it took a brief hiatus. Promising the series’ biggest open-world yet, the game takes players to Egypt, following a character named Bayek as he founds the assassin’s brotherhood and takes on the nefarious forces controlling the region.
The new game is much heavier on the action RPG gameplay than Assassin’s Creed releases before it, but is this change for the better? And although Ubisoft has spoken about the series’ time off, saying that the hiatus benefited Assassin’s Creed Origins ‘a lot,’ do critics agree?
Reviews of the game are rolling in now and seem to confirm that Ubisoft has managed to address many of fans’ complaints about the series. After some stumbles and missteps, the Assassin’s Creed Origins has put the franchise back on track.
US Gamer (Mike Williams)
Assassin’s Creed Origins is continued improvement for the series. Unity was a misstep, but Syndicate recovered from that and Origins stands as an improvement. There are still a few issues here and there: combat is better, but could stand for some tightening and assassination needs a dedicated, consistent button.
IGN (Alanah Pierce)
Assassin’s Creed Origins is a deep-dive into a truly stunning realization of ancient Egypt, with a rich series of cultures, genuine characters, and more mission variety than any other game in the series. The combat is challenging and thoughtful, and while the loot system doesn’t match up to games like Destiny 2, there are enough different weapon types and enough enemy variety to keep you swapping between weapons, catered to the situation.
GameSpot (Alessandro Fillari)
Assassin’s Creed Origins attempts to blend the established stealth-action elements with the mechanics of an action-RPG, but these two halves don’t always coalesce. By including stat-building and a loot grind, it creates needless level-gating for areas of the map. This results in time spent grinding to acquire vital skills and resources–and in the broader sense can feel like artificial padding.
Eurogamer (Christian Donlan)
For now, what saves Origins is something else it shares with Egypt: its mad ambition and grandiosity. This is a vast game that plays out on an improbably huge and detailed canvas. Having finished the campaign I am more than aware of all the stuff I have missed. The camel races I neglected, the arena fighting that I didn’t have the time for, the chances, perhaps, that a truly hilarious bug is out there somewhere.
Game Informer (Suriel Vasquez)
Bayek has more freedom than his descendants when it comes time hunt someone down. Bayek has no need to closely follow or eavesdrop on his targets, and so those stock mission types are gone. In their place are open-ended goals which involve rescuing, looting, or killing in whatever ways you can manage.
Polygon (Colin Campbell)
This is a space of loveliness, a work of art. If you ever wanted to step into the distant past, into a simulation of ancient life, here it is. From marble palaces to mud-hut hovels, from dead carcasses to soaring aqueducts, this Assassin’s Creed overachieves on looks.
VentureBeat (Stephanie Chan)
Assassin’s Creed: Origins offers a rich world and a compelling story, but it’s waylaid in part by the repetitive side quests. It has secrets to find, but you’ll have to go looking for them. If you don’t mind hours of grinding to move forward a story piece by piece, then this is something you’ll enjoy.
Score: Review in progress
The reviews confirm that, while Assassin’s Creed Origins is not a full series reboot, Ubisoft is on the right path. The game properly showcases the historical and political side of ancient Egypt, also managing to recreate its impressive monuments and its gorgeous landscapes.
However, the shift to an RPG system, complete with loot boxes, XP, and different types of loot has not been entirely successful. The fact that there is just so much to do (including tombs to raid) may be a good thing for players with a lot of time on their hands, but others may find it tremendously overwhelming. Technical bugs and crashes also mean that players cannot be fully immersed in the Egyptian experience.
With so many other large games launching today, such as Super Mario Odyssey and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, the scale of Assassin’s Creed Origins may make it a second or third choice for newcomers. But longstanding fans of the franchise should be happy with what’s on offer here.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is out now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.