Someone at Ubisoft’s been busy playing The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Though the anticipated Assassin’s Creed Origins whisks you away to the wide open expanses of Egypt, you can sense the White Wolf watching over this surprisingly RPG leaning iteration of the French publisher’s stealth series.
Our demo is a perfect example of that: Geral—we mean Bayek is riding horseback through desert plains. As the vista narrows, small pockets of settlements start to appear, and the game is quick to inform you that you’ve discovered a new location. A compass at the top of the screen alerts you to points of interest, with a boy being whipped being the primary marker.
The game looks fine, though perhaps not quite as jaw-dropping as you may have been led to believe. We should stress that Ubisoft was eager to point out that all code was alpha, but shimmering, pop-in, and other common open world graphical glitches were common. Frankly, we also found it to be a little bit fuzzy, despite testing the vaunted Xbox One X version, which maybe doesn’t bode well for base consoles.
Nevertheless, there are some nice elements here. The world feels much more alive than it ever has in previous Assassin’s Creed games, with NPCs moving around with real purpose for once. A new mechanic allows you to call in your trusty eagle to gain an air advantage, scouting out potential targets and looking for objects of interest.
Sandbox games are always hard to demo, and we didn’t really get a feel for the stealth in our time with the title – arguably the most important part of any Creed release. But the combat seems marginally better than the countering systems of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, instead mapping attacks to the shoulder buttons and accentuating dodge rolls, making it feel ever so slightly – groan – like Dark Souls. Yes, you can send that one to the Twitter account.
The quest that we completed was a simple one – essentially a find and seek affair as we gathered together two missing trinkets – and the dialogue adding context to the objective was poor, from a writing, acting, and directing perspective. But we get the sense that this was probably more of a side-quest than the kind of full-blown mission we can expect from the final release.
Nevertheless, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t come away ever so slightly disappointed. It’s easy to deal with alpha code jank if what you’re seeing shows something unique, but in our short time with Assassin’s Creed Origins, we couldn’t help comparing it to other games. The danger here, then, is that it ends up being an amalgamation of all that’s come before it – rather than finding a voice of its own.
Are you feeling Egyptian with enthusiasm for Assassin’s Creed Origins? Or have some of the issues raised in this preview left you feeling concerned? Have a Pharaoh natter in the comments section below.