The Hidden Ones is a story-driven expansion to Assassin's Creed Origins, a game that seriously surprised us with how good it actually was when it launched last year. Origins' recreation of Egypt is so well crafted and gorgeous that we've struggled to stay away from the open world title, coming back to it each day in order to complete its daily missions. If you're anything like us, then you're going to enjoy The Hidden Ones.
The bottom line here is that The Hidden Ones is just more Assassin's Creed Origins. If you're expecting new systems or mechanics or changes to the established formula, then you're going to be disappointed. That said, this does feel a bit like a refinement of everything that's in the base game. The main story missions are a little more involved, the story itself gets straight to the point, and there's no modern day rubbish ripping you out of the experience.
The Hidden Ones whisks Bayek off to the region of Sinai, which is under the thumb of three tyrannical Roman lieutenants. The Empire occupies Sinai in force, with the location boasting some of the biggest enemy camps and bases that the series has ever seen. Seriously, some of these forts are absolutely gigantic, making them perfect playgrounds for Egypt's deadliest warrior.
Sinai is roughly the size of two or three regions from the base game stitched together, but much of it is made up of mountains and rocky crags. As such, exploring certainly doesn't give you that same feeling of freedom you get from roaming across the glistening deserts of the base release. That's not necessarily a criticism, though. The many twisting roads that lead you through Sinai's elevations often hide secret paths and interesting shortcuts. It's a tightly designed map that's still very enjoyable to traverse.
Running through the expansion's story will take you just a few hours or so, but it's a good time while it lasts. The narrative details the rise of Bayek's Hidden Ones brotherhood, an organisation of freedom fighters that eventually go on to become the Assassins. You'll meet up with old faces from the main game, and you'll kill some especially evil Romans -- it's mostly Assassin's Creed 101, but it builds upon the existing Origins story well.
Of course, there's plenty to do outside of the central missions. There are a good number of side quests to undertake, there are intriguing locations to discover, and there's a decent amount of fresh (and powerful) loot. Again, if you're looking for more Assassin's Creed Origins, you really can't go wrong.
Assassin's Creed Origins: The Hidden Ones is a rock solid expansion to a great game. It doesn't try to surprise or break the mould, but that's fine when the core gameplay remains this strong. For fans of Origins this is a no-brainer -- the story successfully builds upon the existing narrative, and there are some really enjoyable missions to sink your hidden blade into.