The latest instalment in Ubisoft’s flagship franchise was released in October, following a break from the yearly autumnal releases of previous years. The quality and sales figures of the Assassin’s Creed series had been slowly but steadily declining after the release of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag in 2013, as Ubisoft had set the bar too high and were unable to replicate that brilliance into subsequent instalments. As such, Ubisoft decided to take a step back from their annual release programme in order to really get this one right.
Although it was released in October, I only got the chance to play it when I received it as a Christmas present. To say that I’ve been hooked since is the understatement of the century. In fact, I’m only just getting around to starting to write this the day before it’s due, as I’ve been too glued to my Xbox to do anything else. No wonder it beat the entire sales figures for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (the previous instalment in the series) within just 10 days. It was lauded as a potential game of the year by many, and it’s easy to see why. The more I play the game, the more it impresses me and the more I love it. Ubisoft have really outdone themselves this year. No matter how much I play it, it doesn’t get boring; by contrast, I keep coming back for more.
The combat system has been overhauled to give you a proper challenge when you enter into combat, instead of the days of counter-kills which allowed you to kill an entire city full of guards without getting so much as a scratch. Complementing this perfectly is Origin’s huge map, with its stunning attention to detail. At the time of writing I still haven’t uncovered all the areas of the map, much less discovered everything that lies within them. The map itself is also divided into sections of difficulty, depending on whereabouts in it you are. This ensures that you continue exploring the in-game world and are always faced with a challenge of some sort, no matter where you go. Furthermore, the map is filled with loads of side-quests if you feel like taking a break from the main storyline, with activities such as discovering tombs, destroying statues, solving puzzles, gladiator fights, finding star constellations, and killing wild animals, so that you never feel truly done with the adventure.
Unlike previous games in the series, the Origins storyline is engaging, and enables you to genuinely develop an interest in the storyline as you discover the origins of the Assassin’s Creed, ranging from the ‘eagle vision’ to how the crest was formed. Contrast this with previous games, where instead of engaging with the storyline, there was more a tendency to disinterestedly cruise through the story and just simply run around killing everything you can (whilst that is fun, it gets boring after a while). The key to the engaging storyline, of course, is the brilliantly written protagonist. The developers have really put together an extremely well-written main character who compliments the story perfectly, and his personal troubles and quest for vengeance tie in extremely well with the story of the foundation of the Brotherhood, and the origins of its centuries-long war with the Templar Order.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the game at first, as I had been excited for previous titles in the series only to be let down. But I was blown away at the sheer quality of this game, and the effort Ubisoft have put into it. I cannot praise it highly enough, this really is a game worth getting.