Monday, November 20, 2017

Assassin’s Creed Origins Review : Return with Full Strength!


Assassin's Creed, there is a feeling of love and hate when talking about this one franchise. Love for being clear, what Ubisoft did with him was right in the early years. The mechanical improvements that start from the second series, the fantastic story and characterization through Ezio's storyline, and the myriad of mysteries that are waiting to be explored make it a title that is always anticipated. But the decision to release it as an annual release game is a fatal boomerang. At the beginning of this policy implementation, Assassin's Creed still looks stunning. But as time goes by, especially with the necessity to offer different historical timelines and settings, it begins to lose its appeal in the last few series. Finally, Ubisoft rested him for a year.

And frankly, there is no more sweet decision. The decision to rest the series for a year to provide an opportunity for his movie adaptation to shine on the big screen turned out to make the team behind the Black Flag series have a chance to mix a solid series. You who had read our preview before seem to have a little picture about what is offered by the series that should contain the story behind the emergence of Assassin for the first time this. The good news? Along with the progress of the trip you tasted it, the attraction is endured or even end better, especially from the world design, visual, and gameplay that carried.

So, what is actually offered by Assassin's Creed Origins this? Why do we call it a game that returns in full force? This review will discuss it more deeply for you.

Plot


As most of us know, Assassin's Creed Origins has made Egyptian civilization the ultimate setting, with some iconic characters like Cleopatra and Julius Caesar as the driving force of the story. But if you have to look at the timelines on the real-world historical side, calling them "classic" civilizations seems a bit wrong. What Origins explores is actually a more "modern" Egyptian civilization where various achievements were made by the ancient Pharaoh. Egypt itself has now become a melting place between various nations, especially Greece and Rome.

You play a fighter named Bayek. A tragedy struck him and encouraged Bayek to run a revenge mission. His beloved son ended up dead in the hands of a secret organization with masked humans named "The Order". Each of the members of The Order comes with a codenamed animal and anonymous identity. Bayek began to explore whoever they were with the desire to take the life of each of them. He is also assisted by his beloved wife - Aya who now stands under the leadership of Cleopatra - a royal princess whose throne was captured by Pharaoh named Ptolemy.


But the attempt to destroy The Order was to open the eyes of Bayek about how serious their influence in Egypt. That not just one or two people, this organization turns out to have so many important people who have a clear mission - controlling and controlling Egypt from behind the scenes. Until at that stage, they were able to manipulate so many things to make Ptolemy a Pharaoh which made the Egyptian people even more miserable. While on the other hand, Bayek must also perform his duties as a Medjay - a protector of super-wise people who are counted on to solve the various personal and social problems that exist. This revenge mission culminates to be bigger than he can imagine.

So, who are the members of The Order? How did Bayek and Aya end up starting the Assassin organization as we know it all along? What is the role of Cleopatra and Caesar in the story? All the answers to that question you can get by playing this Assassin's Creed Origins.

Beautiful Egypt


If there is one thing that Assassin's Creed has never failed to do is build a world with the right atmosphere and deserve to represent the existing timeline. The same is true in Origins. As a desert region with a dominant desert, you will enjoy Egypt of the past with optimal capacity. Ubisoft's ability to mix and rearrange this classic life in the current generation visual platform format meamng deserves thumbs up. We do not just talk about technical stuff like textures or dramatic lighting effects that accomplish that. But how he is able to form a civilization that feels realistic on it.

Although we have no deep knowledge of the life of ancient Egypt, you will see the seriousness of Ubisoft to build a world that deserves of this beautiful civilization. You can see how cities and villages grow around the Nile - which is the source of life in the middle of the desert. Each of these cities comes with its own distinctive architecture, from small-house gatherings with unique shapes to magnificent buildings containing various symbols to the statues of Egyptian gods in massive size. But on the other hand, you will also find other areas that live from different livelihoods. Wheat farmers on the one hand, salt farmers on the other, and those who live as mummies peracik for those who died.


One fantastic thing from Ubisoft's world is that it is a success to keep building it not apart from the mystical value that exists, as it should be. That in a civilization of the past where there is no scientific explanation for many phenomena, religion and beliefs are seen as solutions. In Origins, this element is offered as it is, united with the life of the Egyptian community itself. Bayek himself, for example, is Medjay who believes in the influence of Egyptian gods on the values ​​of life, from mere prosperity to justice. That mystical influence no longer raises religious ceremonies, but also blends the point of view for the various problems that occur as well as the solution. Dealing with it does make you seem to be absorbed into Egypt's past should be.

The design of the city is one of the best parts of Assassin's Creed Origins. That it is clear Ubisoft does have data to mix the existing cities in their proper capacity, rather than simply guessing and creating an imitation that is not much different from each other. You can meet a city like Shiva for example, feels like a small "standard" city. But on the other hand, there are other cities like Alexandria that are obviously built with Roman culture as the foundation. The cities living beside the Nile also have different specific characteristics. Some focus on setting up ports with surrounding cities, but there is a city like Memphis for example that integrates Nile in the center of the city, making traveling societies have to go through their shallow currents to move from corner to corner. Every city also has their own mystical approach, from worshiping the Crocodile-Sobek to the worshiped sacred bull. The world built by Ubisoft in Origins is really awesome.


Then we will be faced with a world that feels like a heartbeat, with a vibrant society. The day and night changes that are going to affect a lot of things, especially from small things like the crowd in the city to the bigger - like the guard AI behavior in a headquarters that you want to "fix". Just like the wilderness in the real world, you will also encounter sand storms that come randomly, which will make you have a limited viewing angle and not able to use Senu, the flagship bird for the scouting process. More cool? You can sometimes see this sandstorm coming from a distance.

Ubisoft indeed had claimed that Origins comes with the world's biggest ever offered in any Assassin's Creed game. We are pleased to report that the claim is true. Although some parts of the area do contain wilderness that does not have much interesting content in it, most of this area is divided into urban areas, villages, or swamps with a solid life inside. With so many points that you can explore, this is a world that is ready to offer gameplay up to tens of hours for you who are interested to dive every corner. You may be able to hate Assassin's Creed, but this series seems to prove, that building the world is one of the main strengths of Assassin's Creed.

Without Tower System


As they have applied in Watch Dogs 2 and succeeded, the criticisms of their increasingly "stale" open-world system finally applied to Assassin's Creed Origins. That it is no longer like a series of past where you have to climb the Tower to unlock a variety of side missions and important places for your trip, you will now be exposed to a real open-world game. That you will be able to walk to the corner of the world offered by AC Origins though no longer limited by the fact that you have to open it via the Tower first.

However, that does not mean Ubisoft removes this Tower just like that. Only, the role is made no longer significant and is not required to be climbed and conquered. Spread over tens of pieces across Egypt, the Tower is now present in various forms and this location will offer two important content if you intend to sync on it. First, it is "Fast Travel". Given the world of Origins is really wide to explore, Fast Travel will be an important point if you want to move more quickly and effectively. The opportunity not to ride for 15 minutes to get to the mission you want to accomplish is a gift in itself. Second? It now affects one more essential thing - the perception effectiveness of Senu, your pet bird.


Because almost all the role of the Tower is now replaced Senu, Bayek pet birds that you can call using just one button. Simply put, Senu will play a role like Drone in Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Being your eyes in the sky, you will automatically be able to automatically see the various resources and important places you might visit later, and then mark them using a custom marker. Senu can also be used for the scouting process, marking guards, important items, mission markers, to a mere variety of other tools you can use during missions. Here, Senu's perception works. The more Tower you climb, the higher the Senu perception, the faster the tagging process will work. At the beginning, you even have to highlight a guard for a few seconds just to mark it and see what level he is holding. In the number of towers that have touched the number 40s, Senu's perception will be enough to make it mark so many things just by a glance.


Senu's presence also encourages Ubisoft to remove the mini-map system from Assassin's Creed Origins. This decision not only makes the experience visually fantastic because there is no more "dirty" user-interface that eliminates the immersive experience, but also makes the role of Senu even more essential. Especially considering that you need to collect various resources for the process of crafting clothes or weapons whose position will be more effectively found with Senu. More cool? You can set Senu like Drone, by asking him to fly higher, for example. The higher it flies, the wider the angle of view that he has, the more information he offers to be explored by Bayek.

Although you actually have the freedom to explore Origins world from the beginning, Ubisoft still try to "limit" your motion to ensure you still get a more balanced playing experience. One of them? By applying RPG concept in it.

The "Action-RPG" Experience


One of the most significant changes offered by Ubisoft in Origins is the change of gameplay mechanism into more RPG action than the action itself as the previous series. That unlike Black Flag, Unity, or Assassin's Creed 2 trilogy for example where the main character always has the ability to eliminate all enemies in two ways: stealth with hidden blade or open fight with a counter-attack system that can even kill some enemies significantly, RPG action concepts make Origins to be enjoyed in different ways and treated uniquely. An experience that counts refreshing.

Now, Bayek has a level system. Not just the numbers used to represent how strong your character is now, but also to be a benchmark and assessor about the threats that you will face later. Why? Due to the significant level difference will now affect the performance of Bayek. If the difference is high enough to make the enemy present with a red skull emblem, then you will not be able to resist the threat, no matter how. They will always be present with super large damage that can kill you in 1-2 strokes, while on the other hand, receive super minimal damage that even makes their bar does not look reduced at all. It is this system that Ubisoft uses to "limit" your motion in the absence of the existing Tower system.


True, the super-vast Egypt that Ubisoft serves as a "playground" is divided into many different areas that define the boundary line when you open an existing map menu. Each of these areas will have a recommendation level for Bayek due to the fact that he will be filled with enemies with levels within the written level range, be it human enemies, bosses, or even wild animals. With it, your motion will be "restricted" to follow a separate path, according to your progress level. You who, for example, still controlling Level 5 Bayek can indeed move to a level 30 area without limitation, but the fact that every enemy there can kill you with 1-2 arrows without any difficulty will rationally make you avoid it. The good news? The limitation will become sagging along with your high level, as it opens up more opportunities to safely navigate the area.

Indeed, the battle system in AC Origins is no longer as easy and as simple as the previous AC series. In the past, with attack and counter systems, you could easily kill dozens of enemy troops and arrange them like a hill without sweating. In Origins, the battle system is designed to produce a more intense experience from behind the shoulder camera angle to accommodate 1 vs 1 fights. In addition to attacking, you can now also survive using shields, rolling to avoid attacks, and of course combining strong and weak attacks to achieve high effectiveness as a killing machine. The enemies you face will also vary, from mere archers, ordinary soldiers to shields, tough Brute and heavy weapons of high range, to special forces with large shields that need their own strategies to subdue. No more counter system here, you have to fight "hard-earned" against each of them.


Here is where AC Origins's RPG action system shines. Not just the amount of damage that will appear on screen every time you attack, but through the system equipment Bayek is now treated like the genre. Bayek itself can use two variants of melee weapons and arrows, without any limitation about what you can / can not use. Each weapon will have its own speed and ability. Which are interesting? Is the incoming RPG sensation through equipment scarcity system and also the variety of effects that can be produced. Weapons that enter the Legendary level for example, can now generate a fog of poison to make the enemy cough, fire to make them burn, to the Sleep effect that sometimes makes them fall asleep. Not only that, other effects such as effectiveness to produce a critical hit, the ability to absorb blood, to the speed to collect Adrenaline that can be used to exclude special attacks are also applied here.

The stronger and rarer your equipment, the more "easy" you are to pass any challenges. Interestingly, this challenge does not always come from humans. Egypt of the past has many challenges from the surrounding environment, especially the wild animals that accompany it. You can fight against lions, crocodiles, vultures, until the hippos are ready to prey on you on land or while surfing the Nile by boat. The good news? Charging them will allow you to collect resources for the crafting process. The crafting system here is a little different from what you think. That he is more diverted to reinforce items that are permanently used by Bayek, rather than to mix a unique weapon for example. With this resoure, you will be able to make the Bayek defense stronger, increase the damage of melee attacks, or just make your Hidden Blade more effective.

Like RPG action games in general anyway, there will be a branch of skill tree that you can strengthen with every Skill Point that you get when leveling up or completing certain side missions. The skill categories in AC Origins are divided into three broad categories: Melee, Range, and Seer. Both initial categories seem to have been understood, while Seer can be simplified as a skill that is focussed on the use of consumables / items. As an example? You can use Smoke Screen to escape from the enemy or just Sleep Dart to enlarge enemies from a distance without violence if you focus on Seer. Effective enough to be used in certain situations.


The game system also no longer "locks" you in one particular solution. That there is freedom to complete the variety of missions that exist, main or side, with your best playing style. You can solve it with a minimally risky stealth, or keep your sword open at every opportunity. One of the highlights is the boss fight offered by this one game. Coming with a lot of blood and special attacks ready to make you fog from the first minute, as long as the level difference is not significant, each boss will present a pretty solid challenge. Like action games 1 vs 1, it takes a strategy to determine the right timing for when to attack, defend, and dodge. Not only humans, this boss can also end up being a senseless animal that is ready to make your body organs become porous within a certain count.

Although the presence of this system makes Origins better and more challenging, but it also contains one big weakness. That's right, balancing. Given the level is "everything" and the world is designed open for you to continue to solve the side missions, gain exp, raise levels, and get rare powerful equipment, there is always a chance you end up having a higher level than the enemy in the main story or just in the world where the mission is located. And when your level is too high, every enemy you face will feel like a big joke. Several times a blow, and they will be killed. Therefore, for the sake of a more optimal playing experience, we ourselves advise you not to deviate "too far" from the main mission to make sure it remains challenging. There is no balancing process following your level here, unfortunately.

Side Mission = More Got Meaning, But Not Optimal

"An open-world game" with a million icons and unattractive activity, that's the main complaint of the Assassin's Creed series in the past. That one game is not well known for their meaningful side mission design. Most of the activity ends with asking you to kill or collect something hidden, for a reward that sometimes, feels unfit. After the success of The Witcher 3, Ubisoft seems to be learning something from the Pro Projekt Red concoction game. Something they implement quite well in AC Origins.

Before we go deeper into the side mission we're talking about, Ubisoft does meet the Egyptian world of its past with so much activity. Most missions are shrouded with question mark icons that will not get caught what their activities are until you walk up to them. He could end up with an attempt to kill Captain and steal treasures in certain Outpost, clean an area of ​​animals, search for a papyrus, destroy Ptolemy's statue, to find an ancient tablet that requires you to enter the existing pyramid. Activities that will give you experience points, money, and possibilities - equipment with different levels of scarcity. But not only that, there are a variety of other side missions that are marked with a white exclamation mark.

Unlike his side missions in the past, he now carries a more solid approach. Each side mission which is also inserted a level recommendation to solve it will have its own unique story. It will be presented with cut-scenes, climax and ending stories that are sometimes even divided into separate missions, and sometimes have rewards that are more worth pursuing. Not always marked by this white exclamation mark, some of these side missions can also be found "accidentally" while exploring the vastness of Egypt, with cut-scenes that usually suddenly begin without your previous prediction. Not only has his quality improved through this story approach, he has made Bayek's position as MedJay more important. Because you can see how significant this role is to ensure the Egyptians, or the Romans and Greeks living in Egypt, to live in peace.

But apart from the more solid story design and with the cut-scene in Origins, it is still not quite optimal. Why? Because in the end, this side mission ends with a limited and less diverse end goal. Most of them will ask you between killing a specific person, saving someone from a guarded prison inside Outpost, or just taking something you need. With so many numbers, yet offering a similar experience to each other, you who are easily bored will feel that the design is indeed repetitive. As the game progresses and the game progresses, you will begin to ignore the existing story and jump straight into the action to look for rewards.

"Is not The Witcher 3 the same?". True, if you have to go deeper, the mission variation in The Witcher 3 is actually not too different. But there are some who make the quality of side missions in the pro racikan CD Projekt game is more perfect than what Ubisoft trying to offer in AC: Origins this. First? The speakers are not always a matter of Geralt being asked for help by a certain NPC character, as in AC Origins. Regardless of whatever mission you need to complete, in AC Origins, it always starts with a NPC request to Bayek as MedJay to resolve any issues they face. The second? The Witcher 3 has a conversation option system. This makes the experience more interactive, refreshing, especially considering the results of a side mission can change according to your choice. There are elements of reaction and consequences there. While in AC Origins? This side mission is still a linear ending.

But an appreciation should still be given to Ubisoft who began successfully building a more solid story for existing side missions, with a cut-scene that also ended sweetly. If there is one thing that he managed to do is make the title "MedJay" that bears Bayek not just a title without meaning. For us, this is an interesting potential direction to explore more deeply in future Assassin's Creed series.

While from the online side, you will not find such cooperative missions in the past. The online element is now offered in a "revenge" system format, which, like the Shadow of War, you can avenge another user who died for a particular enemy. Once successful, you will get rewards that are too tempting to not be pursued. There is no multiplayer mode that requires you to be actively involved.

Future


What's the hardest part to explain what is Assassin's Creed when talking to gamers who are not too familiar with him, at least in the first three series? Talking about the Animus. With the focus of a story that is more focused on adventures in the past civilization, trying to explain who it is Desmond Miles is clearly a character who lives in the modern era and its association with the game is so its own hassles. You have to explain what the Animus is and how it works, digging out the true "main" Assassin's Creed character. Desmond has always been the central character and identity of the complexity of the AC story itself.


But after he died as the "Messiah" in the third series with the success of preventing the Great Catastrophe from destroying the earth, Ubisoft seemed "confused" to move by using his own future plot. No longer like the first three series where you can enjoy Desmond's story as a focus, even playing it in a sense of action at some point, this future portion slowly but surely, begins to erode. Talks become more minimal, including the matter of the figure of Desmond itself. If you include gamers who are quite disappointed with the approach, you will be pleased with what Origins brought back into the story.


True, the future portion is in an interactive format just like when you controlled Desmond in the past. The difference? You are now using a new lady character named Layla who has developed an Animus Portable that can be used not only to access her ancestral memory, but all members of Assassin from any region of the region that she wants. Interesting again? Discussions about Desmond and First Civilization become more frequent with content that, too, becomes more solid. That for such a long time, the competition and the struggle against Abstergo - the company behind the Animus is now beginning to be something that is again echoed. Are we going to find the conclusions we've been searching for from this line of story? Though not sure at this time, but the direction itself looks promising.

Conclusion


Coming up with a sense of skepticism, and coming out with great satisfaction, this is the experience we get with Assassin's Creed Origins. That one-year break offered by Ubisoft for the team behind the Black Flag series succeeds in producing an Assassin's Creed series ready to make you fall in love again. Egypt was built so beautifully, distinctively, and distinctively, combining not only the deserts and the Nile, but also the civilization that woke up with that clear water as the source of life. The super-wide world is also now filled with better side mission designs with a myriad of activities to complete on behalf of tempting rewards. Bayek and Aya also succeeded in appearing as an interesting and deep character, making it worthy to be a predicate as the source of the organization of the Assassin itself.

However, that does not mean this game is perfect. In addition to the fact that the game could end too easily if your level is too high or a repetitive side mission, we also question the story poker that is quite "messy" at the end. When the story is built slowly about The Order in the early hours of the game that asks you to navigate the vastness of Egypt, it ends up being solved in a more linear format that instantly opens you with so many mystery answers, solutions, and miscellaneous missions to solve it. The result is a story that feels quite anti-climax at the end, and fails to offer something that feels amazing, contrary to the early stories filled with anger, vulnerability, and revenge.

But beyond that weakness, Assassin's Creed Origins is a fantastic Assassin's Creed game, a series enough to make you skeptical to fall in love again. If such a quality continues to be offered in future series, then it is not impossible that this Ubisoft "annual" franchise will find its golden days back, behind the cheers of fans who are happy to see the direction he is heading. Extraordinary!

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