After spending a good four hours on a coach, Declan and I arrived at EGX last weekend, for the very first time and it was awesome. We met some amazing cosplayers, had a chat with some pretty chill developers and I’ve never met a nicer group of people than everybody at EGX; seriously, everyone was so polite. Of course, the main thing we went for was to try our hands at some of the upcoming big releases. The first title that we queued up for was Assassin’s Creed: Origins, and an hour later, we were standing at the front of the line, ready to get our hands on the game and test it on the Xbox One X, since we had priority, being at the front and all.
Running straight to the Microsoft consoles, I was initially extremely excited to try out Origins. I’ve been a huge fan of the Assassin’s Creed series for a long time now, with playing every entry into the franchise. Origins looked polish, detailed, interesting and I had to wait two whole years for this game, after Syndicate. The demo that we got to try shoved us into a small instance of the huge open world, giving us hands-on with one of the missions and a little exploration before or after. I believe it was roughly a ten or fifteen-minute demo, so it honestly wasn’t a huge experience. The following is a mashup of both mine and Declan’s opinions with Origins.
Mission wise, it involved hunting down a sunken relic, as well as finding one onboard the local ship. Unfortunately, it really didn’t seem like the opening experience that should have been shown off to brand new players. The first half introduced us to diving into the sea and it was easy enough to find the relic, simply sitting on the seabed. After that, the second and final thing to find is stashed inside a chest on the enemy ship, directly located to the left. I believe there were around four total enemies placed on the deck of the ship and in the entire experience unless you go out of your way to attack two other troops on an adjacent ship and two troops after the mission, this is the only main combat that we got to try. The ship itself felt a bit claustrophobic, with the main character easily getting stuck on little objects. Of course, the signature parkour works perfectly fine, just as in every other Assassin’s Creed entry, but once again, we could barely experience it properly, due to the tiny size of the ship. The outside village wasn’t exactly a perfect candidate to play around in, either, as it just consisted of small, bunched together buildings. The whole mission felt extremely side-missiony and as much as I can understand the team not wanting to deliver any spoilers, surely there’s something better that could have been chosen.
Going back to the actual main combat, it felt too dramatized. In previous Assassin’s Creed titles, if you engaged in combat, it was the simple brawler mechanics of mashing the main combat button, whilst also using the counter-attack too. However, in Origins, it all seemed too arcadey, as attacks are now based upon hitboxes entirely. Also, after successfully damaging an enemy, the game enters a short slow motion movement and damage numbers show. The older system was simple, but it worked perfectly fine, which I thought suited the Assassin’s Creed games so much more than what is now present. Oh, and the loot and skill menu is absolutely AWFUL. It uses the same mechanics as the Destiny games, where each equippable piece or armour or weapon is shown in a separate box, alongside the player model and, of course, you have to use your thumbstick to hover over into each category to equip something new. This is also the exact same thing for the skill menus, with the moveable circle being so damn sensitivity, it’s incredibly hard to move with finesse detail; you can’t simply navigate with the D-pad. No doubt that this will work so much better with a mouse but on console, it’s such a clunky and horrible experience.
With this new loot system that allows you to find rare variations of weapons, it completely moves Assassin’s Creed into a different genre. Picking up and looting a purple rarity weapon just makes the game feel like an RPG; something that it definitely should not be. Right now, with these mechanics, you end up feeling nothing like a true assassin, and more like an Egyptian rebellious warrior of some sort. Of course, as I said earlier, the demo we got to play wasn’t a great part of the game and therefore didn’t show off much stealth gameplay. However, what we did get to see were new things that could completely throw the stealth ability useless, as you have the tools to simply run in and kill everyone.