Assassins Creed - video game series has always been one of those games that required little effort to make it in the limelight as it was one of those games that did not have deathmatches, driving a car or kicking a ball very similar to Batman: Arkham Origins - video game. However in the past series such as Assassins Creed Brotherhood and Assassins Creed IV: Black flag - video game, they have been judged as not having done enough, or simply not being good enough. Assassins Creed Origins release is set to be October 27th.
Set a thousand years before the series timeline to date, This series shrugs off the franchise's narrative weight alongside many of its other preconceptions, and replaces it with an array of role-playing game abilities which fit its wider, wilder world audience. Something that most games are heading towards - RPG style. That's not to say there isn't plenty that's familiar - there's more than a hint of Destiny in the all-new gear rarity levels and slots for almost every clothing item, from boots to hood (which, fans will be pleased to know, can be toggled on or off). There's a quest log, with the main story and side-mission threads laid out so you can pick and choose which narratives to progress. There's even a skill tree you can fully fill by the end of the game.
The E3 demo presented us a typical mission. The Assassin's Creed Origins gameplay featured an Egyptian proto-Assassin and a local sheriff Bayek are travelling on horseback through the desert, past oases and palm trees, towards a large town. It's here that the user is being guided by the demo's story marker, to a square where a priest is slapping a young slave. The boy has wrecked a boat and lost two gold statues, although the priest thinks he's stolen them. Bayek volunteers to look for the items, and in doing so prove the youngster's innocence.
A vague marker for where the boat sank now lies on the map, so the user head towards it - it's a way off-shore. You can swim out, or commandeer a nearby boat and punt closer. Everything is like what an open world RPG would have. One of the golden statues has been picked up by a large vessel, marked as a restricted zone, with guards patrolling on deck. It's here the user is prompted to call in the new eagle pal, Senu, who acts just like Watch Dogs 2's AR drone. Senu can scout areas from above, mark enemies and areas of interest, and once upgraded can fly down and even attack enemies as a distraction. It's really the first time something like this is implemented onto Assassins Creed. It gives the players more strategic view over the mission and something similar to Tom Clancy Rainbow Six video games.
With enemies marked you leap off the boat into the water, and off in the distance I see some of Origins' wildlife in action. A hippo and crocodile come into contact in the distance, there's a struggle, and the crocodile wins - the hippo sinking in a pool of red blood water. It's a cool example of some of the other systems going on in the game but, sadly, looks scripted - others I spoke to had the same experience at the same spot. Perhaps it's just illustrative of what we'll find in the full game. Would be better to see more of an intelligent AI to have different scenarios and different situations.
Leaping aboard the boat it's business as usual - silently creeping up to guards from behind and using the business end of the hidden blade before liberating the gold statue from a nearby chest. Then it's back into the water, and now under the water, to find the other gold statue in the wrecked ship's remains on the seabed. This underwater gameplay marks a step up from Black Flag, where underwater dives were their own respective missions and segmented off from the main gameplay. Bayek has an impressively large lung capacity and can explore beneath the waves for a lengthy periods of time - and there's seemingly lots of hidden loot and secret wrecks to find. There is more to this but we don't want to spoil your interest and bore you with illustrative text. Just imagine a whole new world underwater waiting for the player to explore.
While Origins' surface might look familiar, with its new RPG aspirations often hidden under the bonnet in menus, combat is the most obvious and welcome change. It has been completely redesigned, with attacks now mapped to the shoulder and bumper triggers (long and short), a button to block, an evade roll and the need to often break enemy stances before they become open to attack. Oh, and enemies no longer wait idly by for each to take their turn one by one. The Arena mode puts up a good fight, its varying foes comprising long-range archers, towering heavy soldiers and fighters in full Roman regalia with enormous, overbearing shields. The areas were also dotted with environmental traps and hazards. We didn't manage to take down the boss before the time with Origins ran out.
It's impressive stuff, even if some moments in the demo felt a little scripted - perhaps to be expected in such a brief look at what is a drastically overhauled game. For Assassin's fans the game they love is still there, but now shored up by deeper systems, more intelligent design choices and an enormous ancient wilderness we all can't wait to blow some of the dust off.
We end this off with the Assassin's Creed Origins E3 2017 trailer for you to enjoy.
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