The dying franchise comes back to life | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 30, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 30, 2017

The dying franchise comes back to life

Assassin's Creed: Origins

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher: Ubisoft

Engine: AnvilNext 2.0

Platforms: PC, PS4, XB1

Release Date: October 27, 2017

The franchise Assassin's Creed, with its then-fresh premise, revolutionary gameplay and intriguing storyline, had found its place in gamers' hearts (and hoodies, backpacks, and just about any merchandise imaginable!). However, things took a downturn when Ubisoft started releasing the games on an annual basis and the entries progressively started becoming more and more bland. Thankfully, after the release of Syndicate in 2015, Ubisoft Montreal decided to take a break for one year and return in 2017 with Origins.

Assassin's Creed Origins is set in Ancient Egypt and follows the story of Bayek, a Medjay (member of a paramilitary force) whose son was killed by an order known as The Snake. The rest of the story deals with Bayek and his wife Aya avenging the death of their son.

In recent years, Assassin's Creed has been doing pretty well strictly from a visual perspective but Origins is just truly something else. Even though the map of the game is mostly a desert, the developers managed to make the atmosphere feel alive. Everything starting from the architecture to the NPCs has been crafted with extreme attention to detail. Origins probably has one of the most diverse fauna I have ever seen in a video game, if not the most. The water bodies are filled with crocodiles, hippopotamuses and cranes while the land is filled with camels, horses, donkeys, hyenas, leopards, lions and cats.

For many years, the gameplay of Assassin's Creed has been stuck at a dead end. However, Origins finally manages to break the cycle. The most major change is that Assassin's Creed is an RPG now. The main quests are few in number but they have a suggested level attached to them. The player can achieve those levels by completing side quests and discovering new areas.

I am usually not quite fond of RPGs and the immense workload that come with them. However, Origins has been an exception for me mainly because the side quests are fun and the map is vivid enough to be explored enjoyably. The “Eagle Vision” feature from the previous games has been replaced with a literal eagle called Senu.

Combat is no longer heavily dependent on parrying and counter-attacks. The player must continuously move around and dodge attacks and strike only when it is opportune. Fighting against enemies of the same level as you does not pose much of a challenge but survival becomes near impossible when fighting against enemies of higher levels. Origins also introduces the first present-day protagonist since Desmond in the form of an Egyptian woman named Layla Hassan.

Origins, sadly, is plagued with some technical issues. On the PS4 version of the game, there are severe texture loading and draw distance issues. The other issue I had with the game is its storytelling. The few main quests are very scattered and separated by lots of side quests which make it very difficult to focus on the plot. While the PC version of the game looks amazing with its diverse suite of graphics options, it also suffers from random stutters in graphically-modest places. This might be attributed to the heavy DRM running in the game.

If Origins came out a few years earlier, it probably could have saved the franchise from its gloomy days. However, what's more important is that the game successfully performs the daunting task of bringing the franchise back on track.

 

Nony Khondaker is an introvert who complements his non-existent social life with video games, Netflix and a whole lot of ice-cream. Send him memes and cat videos to cheer him up at fb.com/NonyKhondaker

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