Origins: The Assassin’s Creed Redemption
The names Ezio Auditore and Altair Ibn-La’Ahad send no more than nostalgic chills up a true campaigner’s spine. Speaking about true gaming protagonists alongside their flawless plotlines, it’s hard to find a chink in their armour. The historical context and relevance of these characters are what made such a successful campaign. From Ezio’s quick wit and heartwarming dedication to his family to Altair’s arrogant attitude and raw stealth-ability-factor, these games and characters became the faces to set the foundation for hope and achievement for a long-standing franchise.
To say that other Assassin’s Creed characters such as Arno Victor Dorian and Connor Kenway weren’t strong protagonists would be incredibly harsh and unjust. Just sadly, these meaty characters were let down by nothing more than the world surrounding them (sympathy goes out to Arno here; Unity wasn’t even fit for a mouse to be a protagonist). Fans were beginning to view the strong brand that was Assassin’s Creed as another repetitive game being churned out to milk the franchise, whilst the following surrounding it was long awaiting redemption: awaiting a protagonist with a deserving storyline parallel and compliment them once more.
Wise use of Inspiration
Assassin’s Creed: Origins – I was hesitant at first: friends hyping up the map-size, of all things (as if bigger is better…). Originally, I planned to buy Origins ‘when it goes down in the sale’, but honestly, I couldn’t resist the possibility for recovery, and I am glad that I gave in to the temptation that strove for a powerful campaign with grit. Grit is what I desired it to have, and grit is what was delivered.
It seems Origins has taken much-needed inspiration from other successful games in the gaming marketplace. Witcher 3 was a masterpiece through my eyes, no more than a spectacle of an untold list of tasks, and a practically endless adventure which I was constantly happy to embark upon.
Although Origins is not exactly on par with such an outstanding gem, nor even easy to compare as they are extremely difficult to differentiate, it seems that some of the ingenuity, such as the genuine choice of tasks at hand offered by the choice to grind or explore, has influenced Origins in a positive light. I even felt myself putting on my best Geralt impression, ‘Come on, Roach!’ whenever my trusty steed was being called. It seems that taking motivation from reigning champs of the RPG kingdom, CD Projekt Red, is a lesson well learned by Ubisoft.
What it takes to be a Protagonist
The connection with a protagonist in a game truly does make it for me, and boy did Bayek go for gold. Bayek of Siwa – oozing spirit, fortitude, and hardiness placed in a blender with a heartbreaking past that softens his impervious exterior. Bayek contains the necessary elements to allow the person behind the controller to truly connect. He is not just a soldier looking to climb in the order; he has meaning, reason to succeed, giving true connection with him as a protagonist on a personal and emotional level, rather than just a single-dimension character with nothing more than raw vexation as soon as they get a set of robes on!
Without ruining the character of Bayek for those who do not know him just yet, he was an incredibly interesting character to watch develop and get to know.
Scrapping the Orginal Concept?
It seems the more that the brand advances, the concept which stood so strongly in the original Assassin’s Creed, the Animus, has decreased in its air-time. As much as this was a concept which was adored once upon a time, to churn this out further into a newer and evolved version of the franchise would have proved worthless and unproductive.
The storyline was focused mostly on Bayek (which I have absolutely no issue with). It then became extremely monotonous when being involuntarily forced to get out of the Animus. It seems as if Ubisoft thought that to keep the theme in line, to stay within the frames of the franchise, the Animus needed to make a guest appearance every so often. For myself, it seemed like nothing more than a distraction from the key focus and what I actually wanted to be doing: getting back to Bayek and getting back to playing the game itself – an addiction which I have not had in Assassin’s Creed since Brotherhood.
Through the lack of focus on the Animus, it seemed Ubisoft knew the true strengths within this game’s parameters and did not want to distract from that: another fantastic decision on their part.
The Bottom Line
Assassin’s Creed, your absence has been truly noticed. I welcome you and Bayek back with eager hands on my controller and a constant want and need to commit, and gaze at your beauty in stupefied astonishment. Bring on the DLC.
Look out for my next review on the Assassin’s Creed: Origins monthly campaign events: Trials of the Gods.