Assassin’s Creed Origins – Hands on at E32017
Starting Up in Egypt
Thanks to Ubisoft and Stack Up I was able to get my hands on Assassin’s Creed Origins gameplay on the Xbox. As Bayek I rode into an ancient Egyptian realm on a horse towards my next mission. As I was playing I had the ability to ask questions to a Ubisoft and Assassin’s Creed Origins developer about what I was interacting with. The first new item he explained to me was about the new autorun feature. If you press and hold A (on Xbox) the horse you are on will complete the journey to the selected mission without any manual input. I joked around a little and said, “So basically I could get up and use this time to grab a snack or drink between activities”. The response I got was “Actually yes, this would be the perfect time to do something like that without having to sacrifice travel time”.
My understanding is this was one way to help the player navigate missions. This is kind of a step behind a fast travel system but with the perfect reasoning behind it. Assassin’s Creed Origins is designed with exploration and detailed environments in mind. If they enabled a fast travel it would take that piece out completely making some parts of the game meaningless. I believe this is the best thing they could have done keeping both ease of travel and foundational gameplay in mind.
Onto the Quest
In this mission, I had to confront a priest of some type that was beating up a younger man. I then had to go out and prove to the priest that this boy was not at fault for the crimes he was being punished for. This next task sent me off the coast by some nearby ships. Before I just dove out there blindly The Ubisoft developer was quick to remind me about Senu, my trusty eagle. By pressing a button I was quickly controlling Senu surveying the nearby boats for potential threats. I was able to see who they were and how powerful they were before setting foot near them. This was a little more eye opening for me and reminded me of similar Far Cry Primal scouting mechanics.chanics.
Senu Eagle Vision screenshot from Ubisoft E3 2017 gameplay trailer
After scouting with Senu the quest gave me options, either to sail by boat or swim. Without hesitation, I made Bayek dive into the water and swim to the first treasure marker. The first thing I noticed was how detailed the underwater environment was for an Alpha build. In some games, you are able to see for a while underwater which can be unrealistic. In Assassin’s Creed, they took the time to develop the environment and underwater features to be more realistic and more immersive. This is also the first time in the Assassin’s Creed franchise where I had the ability to swim and explore underwater environments.
Underwater detail during Ubisoft’s E3 2017 Official World Premiere Gameplay Trailer
Upon reaching the boat I climbed up its bow to land an old fashioned drop-down assassination on the leader. Surprisingly the nearby NPC’s didn’t react although it was less than 10 feet away from where I just assassinated their boss. Once the quest was complete I made my return to the priest to show him the truth. Which he still scolded and struck the boy unjustly. after the cinematic, I had a choice to make between two options, strike down the priest, or let him live in fear./p>
This leads me into the next major update that has come to the Assassin’s Creed series. The combat system in Origins focuses on battle physics. Swing a polearm and hit three people you will deal damage accordingly. You also have a light attack and a heavy attack, which are controlled by the right bumper and trigger as defaults. The difference for me in this game was the fighting style. I have yet to play an Assassin’s Creed that mimics gladiator-style combat. Origins definitely brings back that style of battle where positioning and strikes are the heart of its game mechanics.
Another neat mechanic that was added was using your bow and arrows uniquely based upon the environment. In this instance I watched a developer stick his arrow into a flame which caused it to become ignited. He was quick to then aim this flaming arrow at a vase of stored oil. This made for a large fire to break out in the midst of a patrolling enemy, while also drawing nearby guards to that location.
Gear Screenshot from Ubisoft’s E3 2017 Gameplay Trailer
The skills interface in Origins caught my eye to see how the talent system set up. It’s similar to Syndicate, but all start from the main hub instead of three different trees. It has three main skill trees (Hunter, Warrior, Seer) to unlock while leveling up granting new abilities and skills depending on the tree. This allows you as the player to choose the stats that support your playstyle. On a different tab, you have your characters gear selections. This screen has two ranged, two melee weapons, tools, shield, outfit, mount, and armor slots. It has very similar color coding to other RPG games out there to signify how rare/powerful an item is.
The gameplay looks to be a lot less linear and embraces a more open world experience. I believe Assassin’s Creed Origins will be a great addition to the Assassin’s Creed series. Origins will allow us to go back into the past to explore how the Assassin’s Brotherhood came to fruition.
We will get to explore deeper into Assassin’s Creed Origins upon its release on October 27th, 2017.