There’s a lot new about Assassin’s Creed Origins. It’s a lot more action role-playing game than (some degree of) stealth-action like its predecessors. It’s got a lot built on top of the core premise — it’s bigger, it’s more complicated and it’s missing some things you’d expect from an Assassin’s Creed game. At it’s heart, though, it’s still an Assassin’s Creed game.
Below, we’ll talk about some of the things that are new and set the game apart from its predecessors. Then we’ll close out with some tips for your first hours (or days) with the game.
The game is big — like, really, really big
Assassin’s Creed Origins is just huge both in scope and scale. The map is gigantic. The scenery is vast and stunning. The cities and villages are sprawling and full of people. And there’s always something to do. There are side missions and main missions. There’s hunting for crafting materials. There are big events like chariot racing and arena battles. There are locations to explore, treasures to find and tombs to raid.
And all of that makes it long. We play slowly, but we opened up only three of the world’s over 20 areas after 10 hours of play. We played somewhere between a lot of and most of the side missions, but we were only just keeping pace with the recommended levels for the main missions.
It’s just not a fast-paced game. You can definitely play faster than we did, but be prepared for a sizable investment of time.
It feels like an Assassin’s Creed game, but different
Bayek is not an Assassin. That’s implied right there in the name of the game. The story that unfolds over the course of the game is the origin of the Assassins, and that means there are some mechanics or conventions that don’t exist in the game’s world yet. That’s not to say that Bayek just some guy. He’s a Medjay — a pharaoh-protecting badass. He’s got plenty of skills, and he even moves almost like an Assassin. But you’re just not quite an Assassin.
We brought that up early and over-explained it because it’s an adjustment you have to make as a player. You can’t roll in to Assassin’s Creed Origins expecting to be able to do all the same stuff you can do in every other Assassin’s Creed game. If you do, you’re going to end up frustrated.
It’s an action-RPG
There’s likely nothing in Assassin’s Creed Origins that you haven’t seen in other games. You just haven’t seen them in an Assassin’s Creed game.
You earn XP for doing things — everything from doing missions and side missions, to finding new locations, to hunting to killing enemies. Earning XP makes you level up. Leveling up increases your max health and the damage you can deal. It also gives you an ability point to spend on your skill tree.
Your level serves as a kind of gate on your progress through the game. Every area, mission and side mission has a suggested level that you should have reached (give or take a little) before taking it on.
Your skill tree will (kind of) turn you into an Assassin
We wrote a lot more about your abilities and your skill tree over here in our Assassin’s Creed Origins abilities guide. Like everything else in Assassin’s Creed Origins, it’s more complicated than you’d expect, and it takes some getting used to.
- The Hunter branch makes you more dangerous in ranged combat.
- The Warrior branch makes you tougher in melee.
- The Seer branch is where your not-quite-but-almost Assassin abilities and tools are.
In other Assassin’s Creed games, you got new tools by progressing. In this one, you get tools like sleep darts or smoke bombs by unlocking these abilities. It’s the skills that you unlock — especially the Hunter and Seer skills — that let you feel like an Assassin.
Weapons are complicated (for an Assassin’s Creed game)
You’ve likely seen all of the concepts behind the weapons in Assassin’s Creed Origins before in other games. Instead of a few specialized weapons like you’re used to, Bayek can use a huge range of weapons that he finds around the world.
Weapons are broken into ranged and melee, those are broken down further into specialized weapon types, and then each of those types can be broken down by quality and rarity. That’s a long way of saying that there’s a lot going on in the weapons (and shields) department. We broke it all down further in our Assassin’s Creed Origins gear guide.
Combat works differently in this game
Assassin’s Creed Origins uses a hitbox-based combat system. This means that instead of just picking someone to hit and, you know, hitting them, you swing your weapon in whatever direction you’re facing and deal damage to any enemy whose hitbox the weapon passes through.
All of those various categories and types of weapons have real impact on how fighting works. There’s a lot more to consider when you’re swinging your weapon now — things like reach and speed — and it means that fighting just feels different than in previous games.
You find (and buy) weapons, but you make your own armor
You will spend a lot of time managing, upgrading and expanding your weaponry. You’ll pick up new weapons constantly when looting locations or killing enemies. But you’ll never pick up armor. That’s because armor is part of the crafting mechanic, which we explain in our Assassin’s Creed Origins crafting guide.
You pick up crafting materials by hunting animals, stealing from the Greeks or by buying them in stores. You’ll use these materials to upgrade everything that’s not a weapon.
10 tips for your first 15 hours
- Pay attention to those recommended power levels. If you go picking a fight that’s too much higher than you, you’re going to get killed in a hurry. We speak from experience here — we wandered into a level 40 area accidentally and were immediately one-shot-killed by a random bandit. It won’t always be that bad, but those recommendations are there for a reason.
- Practice fighting. The combat system is new. There’s a constant stream of new weapons to choose from and learn how to use. As you unlock skills, Bayek gains new abilities and moves. It all adds up to fights being somewhere between confusing and overwhelming. If you practice — find low-level enemies that are by themselves that you can fight comfortably — it’ll give you a chance to figure out what you can and can’t do.
- Use mounts for “fast-ish” travel. Fast travel is back, and it lets you warp to and from unlocked areas and vantage points. But not everywhere you want to go is near a fast travel point. That’s where your mounts — camels, horses, chariots and the like — come in. You can direct your mount to take you to your custom waypoints on the map, then just sit back and enjoy the ride. You’ll even earn XP for any locations you discover along the way.
- Use Senu constantly. Bayek doesn’t have an Assassin’s eagle vision, but he does have an eagle that looks at stuff for him. You can control Senu to scout locations, look for crafting materials to hunt or steal and find treasures and mission objectives. Senu will also mark enemies so that you can see them through walls. Any time you’re about to take on bad guys, use Senu to thoroughly scan the area.
- Use your Animus Pulse constantly, too. Use it every time you think of it. Your Animus Pulse flags loot on your HUD. What you find is usually not super exciting — a few drachmas or one piece of crafting materials — but all of that adds up, and you find stuff everywhere. That pulse also works for finding treasures in special locations and for finding some collectibles, so pinging it periodically is just a great habit to get into.
- Have a goal in mind. Assassin’s Creed Origins is huge. Intimidatingly huge. It’s easy to get caught up in hunting or side missions or just walking around taking in the scenery. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s easy to lose sight of what you’re supposed to be doing. If you have a goal, you won’t get carried away.
- Spend a while doing everything. Yes, you should have a goal so you don’t waste your time doing everything, but for a little while, you should ignore that advice and do just that — especially early on in the game. There are so many things to find and figure out and do — from forts to animal lairs to ruins to hunting and so many more things — that it’s easy to miss some. If you spend your first few (or several) hours checking out every marker on your map and doing every side mission, you’ll get a much better feel for how the game works.
- Be a little thrifty with your ability points. Early on, it’s going to feel like you’re getting a flood of ability points and you’ll never run out. But you will, and the time between earning them will increase a lot. It’s not always the best approach to just keep buying any skill you can afford. Check out our Assassin’s Creed Origins skill tree and abilities guide and read through the descriptions of the skills. Try to figure out the skills that match your play style or the skills you know you want and save up accordingly.
- The same goes for drachmas. Things get expensive really fast in Assassin’s Creed Origins. Weapons, outfits, shields and mounts just keep getting more and more expensive, and you probably aren’t going to be earning money as fast as you’d like. By all means, spend some of it — buy yourself a nicer camel or that shiny new shield — but try not to spend it all. You’re going to want it later to buy weapon upgrades or crafting materials.
- Hold off on upgrading your legendary weapons. As with any game with random loot drops, you’re going to spend a lot of time managing your arsenal. You’ll rapidly cycle through weapons, swapping them out to get an extra point of damage. Upgrading weapons at a blacksmith is a great way to make your favorite weapons keep up with your level, but it gets pricey when you’re upgrading legendary weapons every few levels at a couple thousand drachmas a pop. Upgrade your regular and rare weapons instead. At least until the loot-swap-loot-some-more cycle slows down.