After taking a year off to retool, the Assassin’s Creed series is back. The place: Egypt. The time: 48 BCE. The verdict: Pretty good; maybe even great.
The reviews are in, and Assassin’s Creed Origins is, by most accounts, a meaty, satisfying adventure with an incredible eye for historical detail.
Reviewers love its expansive, intricate world, its well-developed characters and its plethora of stuff to do. They weren’t as thrilled with the revamped combat, which can be a little finnicky, or the fact that it’s done little to change the franchise’s well-worn, decade-old formula. The bottom line is, if you like Assassin’s Creed (or want to get into the series for the first time), you should probably check it out; if you already know you dislike the series, this one probably won’t change your mind.
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I reviewed Assassin’s Creed Origins for Tom’s Guide, and thoroughly enjoyed the whole package, giving it an 8/10. The setting and story stood out, while the streamlined exploration and refined character-building kept me coming back, hour after hour. The combat was a little loosey-goosey and a lot of the content is still just filler, but at least it’s fun filler.
“Some situations are very difficult to tackle with a head-on assault or a hit-and-run attack, true, but the game at least gives you a chance: It has a sense of freedom and experimentation that we haven't seen in the series in almost a decade, and I didn't realize how much I'd missed it.”
“Bayek is a nuanced, three-dimensional character, and the characters who join him along the way are often friendly, forthright and honest.”
“Since Assassin's Creed Origins is not a role-playing game in any meaningful sense of the word, adding an RPG progression system feels a little jarring.”
“The only major problem with the game is that it freezes and stutters with some regularity, especially in big cities. At least once per play session, I'd be riding along on my camel, minding my own business, when the world would suddenly stop around me — sometimes for 15 to 30 seconds.”
Christian Dolan reviewed Assassin’s Creed Origins for Eurogamer, and he enjoyed the sheer amount of stuff in the game, as well as its ambitious scope. He wasn’t so crazy about the technical glitches. Eurogamer does not provide review scores, but did recommend the game.
“Egypt is a return to the kind of landscape that gave the series its brilliantly streamlined parkour in the first place, the kind of landscape where this stuff makes sense. So parkour's back to a one-button affair here, and all the better for it, and it's a pleasure to watch Bayek move through the game.”
“It makes for far more organic and engaging combat, as you dart about enemies slicing away with a light, quick attack and a heavier defence-breaker, and it encourages you to use more of the space around you as you move in and out of a fight, prioritising between a handful of enemy types who each pose their own threats.”
“I suspect the team has let the levelling go to its head a little this time. All Assassin's games have grind, but this is the grindiest one I can remember, as Bayek vacuums up side-quests in order to meet the ever-advancing level criteria for the big story missions.”
“On the bug front, I had four crashes back to the PS4 home screen, a few facial glitches, and a moment where a heron flew by under the sand; annoying - except for the heron, which was a delight.”
Giving the game a score of 8.5/10, Suriel Vazquez at Game Informer thoroughly enjoyed Assassin’s Creed Origins. He praised the game’s innovative combat and huge, rewarding world. He did point out the game’s issues with frame rate and found some of the side missions repetitive.
“Bayek is a strong lead who sits at a comfortable midpoint between the playfulness of Ezio and the brooding over-seriousness of Connor. The supporting cast is great as well, and several moments build on his relationships with his community, family, and friends across Egypt in ways that flesh out his character.”
“Combat has been reworked for the better. Dodging, blocking, and hitting opponents feels more active than the counter-based approach of past games.”
“Higher-level missions and enemies are frustrating to fight, so you may need to level up between missions. This especially slows the pace down as the main story builds momentum in its final hours.”
“As much as Origins improves the world inside the Animus, it struggles to provide a meaningful reason to venture outside of it.”
Alessandro Fillari from Gamespot awarded Assassin’s Creed Origins a score of 7/10 — one of the lower ones from a major publication, but still pretty high in the grand scheme of things. He didn’t think the gameplay was as tight as it could have been, but loved the variety of side missions and the beautifully recreated Egypt of antiquity.
“Bayek himself is a major influence in the world, thoughtful of others and his surroundings. Despite facing tragedy, he isn't shy about breaking the tension with a joke or sharing a tender moment with loved ones.”
“Playing through Bayek's journey is surprisingly educational, making each event and landmark--even the gladiator arenas and chariot race tracks--an opportunity to learn more about the setting and period.”
“While Assassin's Creed Origins reaches great heights in this new setting, it routinely runs into issues that bog down the overall experience. Technical issues make for an inconsistent experience and its new gameplay pillars wobble under the weight of its systems.”
“While combat is solid when fighting a limited number of foes, things quickly turn south when more enemies are added into the mix, as the mechanics are designed for more intimate engagements.”
Alanah Pearce at IGN wrote one of the most enthusiastic reviews for Assassin’s Creed Origins from a major outlet, giving it a 9/10. She loved the setting, the gameplay and the technical aspects of the game, although she had harsh words for the loot grind and some performance issues.
“While the main story is delightfully mystical and elaborate on its own, Origins also has some of the strongest actual mission design I’ve encountered in the entire 10-game series – and maybe in any open-world RPG.”
“Previous Assassin’s Creed games don’t have anything to put up a fight once you feel confident in your abilities, but there’s challenge in Origins every step of the way if you go looking for it.”
“I did also have some minor issues with environments popping in, a hand full of bugs (mostly Bayek or his mount getting ‘stuck’ on something), framerate drops even on the Xbox One X, and two crashes during my time playing.”
“While finding a Legendary weapon is a thrill, it’s not as dramatic as it is in a game like Destiny 2 because Legendary weapons are easy to come by in main story quests, and most have unexciting benefits.”
Kirk Hamilton tackled the Assassin’s Creed Origins review for Kotaku. The review isn’t scored, but Hamilton generally enjoyed what was there. Even though most of the content is familiar, he argued, Origins delivers more of what makes Assassin’s Creed such a beloved series, even if it’s not very ambitious.
“I liked how the writers depicted Bayek and Aya’s relationship—their clear passion for one another, and the different ways they were each coping with the loss of their only son.”
“Sneaking is functional and even fun to a point, and when things are going smoothly the game gives that familiar, empowering stealth-game feeling of slowly clearing out an enemy base without raising any alarms.”
“Origins fails to overcome the series’ long-standing problem establishing its heroes and villains. It aims to show the origins of the long-running conflict between the freedom-loving order of the Assassins and the power-hungry order of the Templars, but as always the distinction between the two is murky.”
“While more involved and challenging than its predecessors, Origins’ redesigned combat never really gelled with me.”
Polygon’s reviewer Colin Campbell gave Assassin’s Creed Origins 8.5/10, claiming that it was one of the best implementations of the franchise’s core formula yet. Even so, the formula itself could probably use some sprucing up, Campbell said.
“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.”
“Bayek is kind, devout and certain about how the world ought to be ordered. Aya is a passionate and clever political operative. They both serve as excellent role models, with none of the cheesy posturing we often see in gaming leads.”
“As the side quests roll on, it becomes clear that the gameplay isn’t nearly as astounding as the game’s setting. While the world is superb, and the story offers plenty to admire, the game itself is much as you’d expect.”
“I yearn for a fresh approach and new ideas, something that astounds the senses as much as the wondrous world this game inhabits.”