Assassin’s Creed: Origins is the deepest, most sprawling, visually gorgeous, technologically advanced repackaging of the same old shit we’ve gotten yet.
I don’t necessarily mean that as a dig… or a compliment. Actually, I’m not really sure how I feel about it yet. On the one hand, it’s an Assassin’s Creed game, so you pretty much know what you’re getting at this point. Nobody buying an AC game in 2017 is surprised by what’s under the hood.
At the same time, this one again feels like they almost made some big changes. The setting is amazing; I have no complaints about playing a game in ancient Egypt. The game looks fantastic. They cut way back on the present-day/animus stuff, which I always thought was a drag. And the combat? They sort of kind of made it better.
But it still feels like it falls short of any of a half-dozen third-person slashers I can think of off the top of my head (Souls, Nioh, etc). It’s better than what we had in previous AC games, yet still not as good as some other games are doing it.
Despite the many improvements (and there are many improvements, credit where credit is due), a few hours in when the gloss wears off, it really started to feel a lot like every AC game I played before. There wasn’t much I hadn’t already done in earlier AC games. Stealth all felt the same, enemy AI felt roughly the same which made the fights feel the same despite the mechanics being different. Climbing is still both incredibly cool when it works, and controller-smashingly frustrating when it doesn’t (which is always at the moments when you most need it to work).
As I said at the start, whether that’s a bad thing depends entirely on how much you like Assassin’s Creed. Most people buying the games at this point have already decided one way or another. Personally, I still tend to kind of enjoy them, for some reason, even though I never finish them anymore, and the entire time I’m playing them I’m thinking “I’ve already played this game.”
It’s not so much that I keep hoping they’ll surprise me and magically fix all of the game’s hereditary repetitiveness, turning out something drastically different and fresh compared to what has come before. They do keep making strides forward, though, that feel like just enough to show me the hazy shape of something new and exciting in the distance without ever actually getting there.