(Assassin’s Creed – Ubisoft, 2018)
Ancient Egypt: a period with a history which spans over 8,000 years, dating back to prehistoric settlements where life revolved around the Nile and the Roman conquest, which saw the rise and fall of civilisations throughout Egypt. Fast forward to 49BC during the Ptolemaic period and the story of Assassin’s Creed: Origins beings.
Developed by Ubisoft and released in October 2017; this action-adventure game takes players back to a period of uncertainty, corruption and betrayal during Alexander the Great’s reign over Ancient Egypt. Assassin’s Creed: Origins tells the story of Medjay Bayek of Siwa and his wife Aya of Alexandria, as they work together to protect the people of the Ptolemaic Period during a time of widespread upheaval. During this upheaval, Bayek and his son Khemu are abducted by five masked men from the Order of the Ancients to an underground vault, where they demand he open it using the Apple of Eden, a piece of technology which is used to control humankind and is featured throughout the Assassin’s Creed series. Amongst the chaos Khemu is killed, which sets Bayek on a different path; tracking down those responsible for his son’s death. Origins also features the formation of the Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, and explains the values, ideologies and operations of the creed.
Game-play involves players completing the main story line, alongside playing numerous side quests, some that stand-alone and some that are linked to the main plot, assisting players to gain experience points to level up, and ability points to unlock skills, bonus side quests, crafting materials, and enhance overall gaming capabilities. Players can also upgrade weapons using currency as opposed to continuously purchasing weapons which becomes costly as the game progresses. They will also face challenges throughout the game such as meeting Phylakes, powerful bounty hunters, crocodiles, and the looming presence of Roman guards.
Origins offers players optional intense boss fights known as Trial of the Gods; this is where players battle against one of three gods (Anubis, Sobek and Sekhmet) and earn exclusive outfits and weapons upon completion. There is also extra downloadable content which are The Hidden Ones and The Curse of the Pharaohs which both take place four years after the main story line. Focusing on The Hidden Ones; the story line sees Bayek travel to the Sinai Peninsula where he becomes involved in the conflict between Roman forces and the rebel factions. There is also a continuation of the formation of the Creed (Brotherhood) which focuses on the events and challenges the Creed faces.
The Curse of the Pharaohs sees Bayek travel to Thebes and The Valley of The Kings where a mystery plagues the area, resulting in the rise of dead pharaohs who are seeking justice and are unable to pass into the afterlife. Players must venture into the afterlife where many challenges await such as Anubis guards, giant poison-spitting scorpions and vicious sandstorms, all in order to break the curse and restore peace to Thebes and The Valley of The Kings.
Throughout Origins, including The Curse of the Pharaohs, players collect papyrus pages (small maps) which feature cryptic clues to find weapons hidden throughout the game. These weapons can range from common knifes, axes and small blades to legendary bows, swords and hammers. An interesting aspect of Origins is that during the loading screen, there are small written facts about Ancient Egypt such as the process of mummification, pharaohs rulings, and cultural costumes which offer a glimpse into life during Ancient Egypt whether it’s in the busy city centres or on a quiet family-run farm in the countryside.
In addition to all the content and downloads, Origins allows players to link their game to a Ubisoft account (Ubisoft Club) which allows players to keep track of in-game achievements. Origins also features its own store where players can make in-game purchases to collect a range of weapons, outfits, companions and Helix credits; a premium currency that players can use to collect time-saving items and unlock map locations.
With the amount of customisation available, players can create a unique experience within the game and individually enjoy the experience of life in Ancient Egypt for themselves.