For many people, the Assassins Creed games are very similar or borderline replications one another. The traversal, combat, protagonists, and story are all cookie-cutter pieces, transferred from one game to the next with minimal tweaks, to give the illusion of difference. Assassin’s Creed Origins looks like it will break that particular mould. The gameplay, including combat and traversal, has been completely revamped, moving toward a more interactive style. Gone are the days of the one-button counter. The genre of game has also changed. Moving from action-adventure to action-RPG. Even the world has moved from a European-based setting to an African-based setting.
When looked at a little deeper, however, there are striking similarities between Origins and another entry in the series, Black Flag.
Apart from being directed by the same directors, Ashraf Ismail and Jean Guesdon, Black Flag came at a time when the series was in flux. Following on from the disappointing Assassin’s Creed 3, Black Flag was under pressure to deliver. So, like Origins, It decided to change up the series.
Combat, while on the surface didn’t change, actually did, because it was moved from hand-to-hand to Naval. Much of the game was spent on your ship, The Jackdaw, so the combat system had to be changed to accommodate naval battles. Yes, the hand-to-hand combat changed minimally, but the addition of the naval gameplay mechanic cleverly minimised its prevalence.
The protagonist’s character also changed. Rather than being built on revenge and justice, Edward Kenway was merely trying to make a quick buck. The brilliance of his character was that he did not care about the Assassins, he was not motivated by revenge, and wasn’t interested in justice, he just wanted success. It was a change of pace from the Altairs, Ezios and Connors or this world.
The game world also saw a change. Rather than being set in a sprawling city, Black Flag was set in the Carribean islands, some populated, others not. With traversal moved from inner city scrambling to open sea sailing.
Finally, the story saw a change of pace. With Edward not interested in the Assassin’s, his personal story runs parallel with them until the end. It doesn’t become bogged down with lore or the order, it runs away from that until absolutely necessary, and by that point, the story and Edward’s character have seen an interesting progression.
Origins looks like it is following in the same vein as Black Flag. The problem was, Black Flag was a paper over the cracks that were developing before the series reverted to type for Unity and Syndicate.
It seems that Origins is, rather than papering over cracks, going to knock the whole thing down and start again. A true rebuilding.
Like Black Flag, Origins has all the chance in the world to reinvigorate the series.
Black Flag was our favourite Assasin’s Creed game because it took the best from the series and made it better, Origins seems on course to do the same.