Assassins Creed Origins Analysis
One of the largest game series around is Assassins Creed, most people either know about this series or have experienced some of its content. Today I want to bring the newest game in the series, Assassins Creed Origins, into the spotlight. This installment in the series was used to take the AC (Assassins Creed) series into a new direction, and further take the franchise into a traditional role-playing game experience.
Mechanically this game plays differently then all of the other games in the collection. Every enemy now has a health bar, which indicates both the level of your opponent, as well as their hit points. In most games this is not a big deal; However, in the nine major installments before this one never before have we experienced these features. These features increase the length of any given fight in the game and gives the player a feeling that the game is longer then it really is. Not only that but the level feature essentially prevents the player from venturing off of the path the developers wants. They do this by simply increasing the level of the enemies in the surrounding areas to the point where they can kill you in one strike, so if you’re not the right level, which is obtained through quests, then you won’t be able to complete different areas at your own discretion. For many games, leveled areas restricting the users is not a problem; however, it drastically changes the AC experience by almost completely removing the user’s freedom of choice and seemingly making an “open world” game, not so open.
Artistically speaking the game is very pleasing to the eyes with special attention payed to the map around you. But it appears to have come at a slight cost leaving the characters to look less than average when compared to other games released in 2017. Violence……. Violence is something that catches the user base for AC, and as bad as that sounds, its just human nature. Now before I divulge my feelings about the violence conveyed in this game I should make clear that it is still an incredibly violent game, who’s plot is entirely based off revenge and homicide. That being said, it is a completely different feel and style of violence that we have enjoyed from the past AC titles. Mechanically the style of violence conveyed in this installment works very well, it is quick and features a splash of red to indicate blood and the target falling limp/dead. This style of killing in this game is efficient based off the game being an RPG (Role Playing Game) and less about the action/adventure that its predecessors so heavily focused. This style of quick ‘less’ violent killings causes the user to care less about the kill and more about “now I have the exp from the enemy, who is next/how can I get more experience?”. In previous games the art of the kill was what made each fight so intense and rememberable. For example the violent beat down you could give to the soldiers in AC Brotherhood using anything handy, like a broom. Though it was intensely violent, the art was magnificent for its release in 2010 and it added a lot to the game, giving it a special place in our hearts. In another example of the lessened violence of the game is throughout the first hours of play when you “assassinate” characters your player simply renders them unconscious and that’s all she wrote. I believe that this takes away from the smoothness that titles from this series usually possess. Rather than a 0.5 second movement to incapacitate an enemy, Origins takes nearly an entire second. This doesn’t sound like a big difference, but I assure you if you play other AC titles and then play Origins you’ll feel that difference, resulting in a much slower paced game.
Though it may not seem like it from the paragraph above but I, personally, am not a fan of violent games in any way. That being said I can appreciate elements of games that contain violence. For example, STORIES…. man do I love a good story (honestly who doesn’t?) and if there is one thing AC can do is write an interesting story that makes all the violence worthwhile. However, the story in Origins is, in my option, very low impact. The way the story progresses is not linear and to begin the game you’re already killing an important villain, but the user doesn’t know why or even what the character’s name is. I understand that the story being told as a nonlinear narrative is a tool used to keep the audience wondering “what’s next?”, “who is this guy?”, and “why is he doing what he’s doing?”. As a result, this should make them want more from the story and to obtain this information they have to play more creating a play to reward relationship, that gives the player the full picture by the games end. I want to highlight that I think nonlinear narratives are an incredibly useful way to keep the audience engaged and provides that drive to continue into the story, and yes I understand that all of the AC games utilize the nonlinear narrative; however in order to properly execute a nonlinear narrative the story has to be powerful enough at all aspects of its story in order to rev the users engine to continue onward.
Assassins Creed Origins is truly a good game, if you think about it as a stand alone game and set aside your thoughts and feelings about the others. It works well as an RPG and compared to other games in that genre this game stand out incredibly because there is not too much of a grind. I have found that many RPGs teeter on the boarder of having too much grind mechanics for leveling and completing lame side quests in order to force feed the user more content regardless of its relevance or importance just to even out their leveling system. This game is no exception to the balancing scale. However, this game does an excellent job of tipping the scale towards the “lame side quest” side of leveling rather then focusing on the grind. Though it uses many side quests in order to help the user maintain level, it does so in a way that appeals to many players different sides. For example early on in the game (around level 8) the user is exposed to a side quest from an elderly man begging you to get his book of the dead back from bandits. The quest is nothing special in-particular however it offers those who know anything about Egypt little fun tidbits. It’s never said what this book is exactly; however if you’re familiar with Egypt and its stories, the book of the dead is a big deal. Side Quests like this appeal to everyone in different ways whether it is through bits of history, experience gathering, or just giving bad people their comeuppance.
In summery this is a truly good game, though the writing above may depict it in a negative light, it is still very solid and enjoyable. But when comparing it to the other games in its series it falls short on many aspects. The union of the art and story in this particular AC chapter result in a game where the pacing truly makes the user feel as though he’s wondering the deserts of Egypt.This is the first installment in the AC series that takes a true roll as an RPG and it does so very well. With this new style of AC game I am positive that each title that follows in this ones footsteps will improve on the features possessed by this chapter in the story and as a result create a better paced and more interesting story.