It was about time Ubisoft did their part when it comes to their flagship franchises. It was obvious that the Assassin's Creed series had fallen into a serious rut, especially after the appearance of the lifeless Assassin's Creed III, with the only exception of the wonderful Black Flag, which did have its flaws, but because of its Sid Meier's Pirates approach it deviated quite a bit from the familiar formula of its predecessors, giving it more of a standalone feel than a regular episode of the series. The sequels are more or less a familiar story: the beautiful but disastrous Unity because of the multitude of technical problems (though the game had many good elements), Black Flag's carbon copy Rogue (okay, we can overlook this one as a side release) and the watered down Syndicate which, for all its amazing depiction of Victorian London, was the safest experience we've had the good fortune (misfortune? ) to ever play.

AC Origins Shot1 smallIn the beginning, it was Medjay Bayek...
Of course, Ubisoft has never had a problem creating convincing representations of the era in question. We'd say they're a master at this sort of thing. Where the game failed was in... the game itself itself, a victim of its timidity to break out of the narrow confines of mainstream gaming that it created, making beautiful theme parks with a multitude of, sometimes unrelated, activities where anyone can have fun without being particularly strained. A case similar to Call of Duty, where the concept of "selling exactly what the consumer expects" takes on a negative connotation. However, well-placed criticism and (especially) reduced sales sometimes have beneficial results and instead of "pulling the plug", a move we see too often in this industry, (see Mass Effect: Andromeda), Ubisoft has made a rare, for its size, move: Regroup through a two-year hiatus in order to provide the time available for the required refresh of the series and assign development for the "big comeback" to the studio that made Black Flag, the last "good" Assassin's Creed. Did the experiment work? Continue reading.

AC Origins Shot2 smallSandstorm, beware!

It's obvious that Ubisoft has bet and is betting big on Assassin's Creed: Origins. In a sense, you could say it's a reboot, as both the choice of such an old era (Egypt under the Ptolemies) and the complete absence of concepts like "Assassins" and "Templars" (except perhaps for the - completely uninteresting - modern era sequences), which they've been trickling for so many years, suggest that Ubisoft may have revised some things. Maybe not, because there's plenty of scripted loose ends from previous games, but that's something we'll probably see in upcoming titles.

So, Egypt. We are in the era of Ptolemy XIII, who is in a rather precarious position, trying at the same time to both hold on to his position as Pharaoh and expand the already huge kingdom of Egypt. Things are far from easy for him, as his sister Cleopatra is trying to find a way to stage a coup to (re)take power, and, as if all that wasn't enough, she has to contend with the equally expansionist ambitions of the Romans, while within the kingdom there is turmoil from the powerful influence of a mysterious caste of people calling themselves the Order of the Ancients.

AC Origins Shot12 smallBehold our beloved Cleo.

It is this caste that prompted our protagonist Bayek, one of the last Medjay of Egypt, to embark on a journey of revenge with no turning back. In an attempt by the Order to forcibly extract information from Bayek about a strange apple (yes, the famous one), his son is killed, leading him and his wife Aya on a frantic quest to eradicate anything related to the Order of the Ancients. In short, it's an ordinary revenge story, dressed around a historical backdrop that includes famous figures of antiquity such as Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and Pompey, a formula that doesn't fail but has ceased to fascinate years ago. So while the story may stand up decently and be fairly down-to-earth compared to its predecessors, because of Bayek's humble personality (and Aya's, whenever she joins the story) it's still nothing special. Of course, there are the appropriate plot twists that add a little more flavor to the formula, but admittedly, interest is hardly kept high by the game's main quest alone. That's because the thing that steals the show is Egypt itself.

AC Origins Shot3 smallWhen we say Eagle Vision, we mean literally.
We could easily call the world Ubisoft has created the best we've ever seen in the series. It's a monstrous, sprawling map that includes exactly what you'd expect from a game set in ancient Egypt: endless deserts, stunning Pyramids, indescribably beautiful cities like Alexandria (with a strong Greek element) and Memphis, the Nile... the list runs to dozens of pages. So incredible is the work Ubisoft has done that you can sit and stare for hours at the vibrancy it emits, and the built-in Photo Mode is no accident, as you'll often feel the need to capture almost every new area you discover to make a wallpaper from it. In fact, the game allows us to explore its vast map however we want, without restrictions, after the first few introductory missions that serve as a tutorial.

AC Origins Shot6 smallPyramids. Pyramids everywhere.
Of course, if we do this, there is a chance that we will visit Osiris sooner than expected, as Bayek is guaranteed to be at a lower level than his opponents. Levels? You didn't read that wrong, as one of Origins' innovations is the incorporation of light Action/RPG elements, and one of those elements is levelling. By performing any kind of activity, from simple exploration to completing quests, we receive XP which, upon reaching a certain level, automatically upgrades the hero in the health and damage areas, while also giving us an Ability Point to place in a fairly large skill tree wherever we think best. Aside from that, there's some semi-random loot in the equipment, which in turn has its own level, and through a crafting system that improves on Far Cry's equivalent (equals wildlife hunting), we can further empower Bayek by upgrading his bracers, his breastplate and so on. In general, it's a simplified execution of the action/RPG features, as there are no Strength or Dexterity type stats at all, and we'd say that the main reason for its existence is to mentally restrict us on where we move through the game map, as any fight with any opponent (even cannon fodder) that gets past three and four levels ahead is tantamount to certain death. It's not bad of an idea and it's not annoying, it just doesn't add anything substantial to the gameplay of the game, beyond cheesy "let me get one more level to wear said legendary sword".

AC Origins Shot5 smallThe skill tree. More or less, most abilities will come in handy
Origins has been described as borrowing a lot of elements from Witcher 3. As "sacrilegious" as that may sound to some, the truth is that Origins has greatly raised the level of quest design, which does indeed at times resemble CD Projekt Red's masterpiece. Aside from a few boring fetch quests, the majority of them deal with issues of the people of Egypt that often expand on real problems in the city (such as the stench in Memphis) or even relate to information on the main campaign's missions, thus largely creating the impression of a unified world, rather than random quests that are meant to simply drag out the game's duration. Of course, as a Medjay helping and protecting the entire Egyptian world, we'll have to do things that don't fit our temperament, but that's pretty much to be expected in a game of this genre - we just hope that at some point this phenomenon will be further reduced or eliminated altogether.

The improvement in quest design doesn't stop there. It's immensely gratifying that there is not even a single sample quest of the "eavesdrop on such and such an official without him noticing you" or "kill such and such a noble who is being protected by fifteen nomads in the same room without them noticing you" type. In practice, Origins leaves us totally free to approach each mission in any way we wish, whether hiding in the bushes and shadows with our bow and hidden blade as our primary weapons or taking sword and shield in hand and sending everyone to the Grim Reaper. Each method of approach has its consequences, with stealth often being preferable not because someone is going to force it on us, but because going up against an entire platoon is a very bad idea. The reason is the game's new combat system, which completely rips apart the parry-based one of the previous titles, where you could win entire wars by pressing a button, and creates a system reminiscent of... Witcher 3 (there it is again).

AC Origins Shot8 smallOh, what's going on here?
So forget the magic win-buttons, here you'll need to devise separate tactics depending on the number and type of enemies you face, and defense and dodge are vital. On top of that, we have to factor in the fact that every attack tires Bayek out, so spamming the attack button has no effect - the same of course applies to our enemies. So we should in any case identify the "windows" of atttack left by our enemies' moves, while being careful not to leave them wide open ourselves. The whole system works well, has a rhythm and requires some skill from the player (especially if you're playing on hard difficulty level), but it won't be long before we learn to exploit the AI's weaknesses and many battles will end rather easily (always within reason). Let alone when we also take care of regularly upgrading our equipment at blacksmiths (for free - in drachmas!) or when we learn when to run away to reduce the number of enemies attacking us at the same time. Besides, if we get out of their perception limits, they stop chasing us and go back to their normal patrol, it's just that those limits have been extended somewhat compared to previous Assassins.

AC Origins Shot4 smallCompletely revamped combat system, as should have happened years ago.
Since we mentioned Al, the improvement over that grotesque one in Syndicate is obvious, but it still has to be improved to avoid presenting comedic situations. For example, Bayek's whistling is once again a death-defying hazard for any unsuspecting guards who hear it and idiotically approach to see who is whistling at them through a bush. Also, should they notice a dead body, they react rather erratically (either they'll be shocked and run to sound the alarm or check for several minutes to see if it's alive, with the corpse having a severed carotid artery), but we almost always have time to react before the whole area is on its feet. Generally speaking though, we wouldn't say they're not to be sniffed at and often unexpectedly turn into a formidable opponent, especially when they're in large numbers who make sure to surround us, and for some of them, such as the mighty Phylakai (Guardian) bounty hunters who seek us out across Egypt, a battle with them is a real boss fight, much like the ones we'll primarily be fighting in the game's main campaign - some of which are actually quite inspiring and well-directed.

AC Origins Shot7 smallTombs are small and easy, but the ability point they offer is welcome!
In addition to the above innovations and features, the game offers a few new implementations on pre-existing ideas, such as the existence of the Senu hawk, which gives literal meaning to the "Eagle Vision" concept (again, an idea that existed in Far Cry Primal), the quirky mini-map that puts less stuff on the plate, the various mounts for faster movement, the Investigations that we saw in Unity, but here are just a short and pleasant break from the dozens of kills we'll commit, and the exploration of the tombs, whose solution is rewarded with a very useful extra Ability Point. As exciting as the latter sounds, unfortunately the tombs disappoint with their implementation, as they are linear and the puzzles they include don't even warrant the term. It's a shame, because we'd have liked something more inspiring that would somehow challenge our brain cells, even if only on the levels of Rise of the Tomb Raider. Another missed opportunity, Ubisoft.

Of course, this isn't the only missed opportunity for the game, as Origins doesn't avoid the trap of repetition, like its predecessors and like all open-world games we might add. Despite all the scenario variety in the side-quests and campaign, the basic recurring pattern doesn't take long to emerge: clear the areas of evil bandits, find an item, release hostages, and go again. As a result, from about mid-game onwards, fatigue starts to make itself felt, so much so that you start to ignore sidequests and focus on the basics until you reach the end of the game. From there, whether we continue with the end-game material, which is really huge, depends on how "compulsive" we are about doing it all, and how much we love wandering around that setting.

AC Origins Shot9 smallOccasionally you're playing an ancient Sherlock Holmes, but nothing too difficult
After all, as we've already said, Origins is highly lovable, with the visuals certainly claiming one of the awards of the year. Incredible detail, gorgeous day-night cycle with stunning colour schemes, indescribable sense of depth in the environments, a truly epic world, worth exploring as much as possible. The soundtrack follows the same high standards, perfectly marrying the oriental element with modern orchestral sounds, while the voice-overs are highly successful, Bayek's bass voice in particular is one of the best we've heard in a game of this genre. In fact, as in AC: Revelations, you'll hear a lot of Greek (especially in Alexandria) mixed in a bit with Ancient Greek, and while it may sound a bit funny to our ears (due to the English accent), it's a welcome and enjoyable addition.

AC Origins Shot11 smallSometimes you just admire the scenery...
The remarkable thing is that, for all its impressive technical dominance, Origins doesn't have any serious problems with its performance. Particularly after the performance boost it received thanks to the 1.03 patch, the game hits 60 fps with all settings on high on an i5-4670 system with a 970 GTX (a five-year-old processor and a three-year-old graphics card that is), with only slight frame drops in cases of heavy traffic during the night. This is a very pleasant surprise from Ubisoft, who had disappointed us greatly with Unity and (less so) with Syndicate, which we hope will continue.

In summary, Assassin's Creed: Origins is, after several years, the first Assassin's Creed we can recommend without a big "but" to complicate the equation. Sure, it's not perfect, some of its mechanics weren't fully developed, other elements remained stuck in the past, but the balance is clearly tipped in the positive direction. It's satisfying in size, addictive, entertaining, and the series seems to be on the right track now. As long as it continues to follow it...

The review code for Assassin's Creed: Origins was provided by CD Media, whom we would like to thank. 


  • Huge, full and impressive world
  • Targeted and well-designed action, without a lot of busywork
  • The revamped combat system is particularly welcome
  • The personality of the new protagonist Bayek is interesting
  • The AI overcame the issues of previous titles...


  • ...but there's still lots of room for improvement
  • The main quest is rather bland
  • Despite all the improvements and renovations, repetition makes its presence felt

RATING - 84%


Γιώργος Δεμπεγιώτης

Lover of action, shooter, adventure, RPG's and sometimes racing games, he prefers mainly single-player gaming. Every now and then he breaks out into a multi, but he doesn't overdo it.


  1. Φαίνεται πανέμορφο, αν μη τι άλλο. Το πρώτο AC μετά το Black Flag που με έψησε να ασχοληθώ κάποια στιγμή μαζί του.

    ΥΓ. Καταλαβαίνεις πως το franchise έχει κορεστεί όταν βλέπεις πως ανοίξαμε στα τέλη του 2012 και έχουμε ήδη 9 related articles με Asassin’s Creed τίτλους :p

  2. Παιδεύω ακόμα το Unity αλλά μάλλον βλέπω να το αφήνω για το Origins, κυρίως ελέω setting. Παιδικό όνειρο να περιπλανηθώ στην Αίγυπτο…

  3. Γκαραχουέμπλε. Και μόνο για τη 4Κ βόλτα στην Αρχαία Αίγυπτο..χοχό, χιχί…συφορές, ζημιές και καταστροφές.

  4. Έχοντας παίξει μόνο το πρώτο και το μισό δεύτερο, δεν είχα σκοπό να το ξαναπιάσω. Το Blag Flag λόγω setting ίσως να του έδινα μια ευκαιρία κάποια στιγμή αλλά το Origins… έχω πάθει πλάκα με τα screenshots. Στανταράκι σε κάποιο sale!

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