The Moment Assassin's Creed Origins Goes From Big To Ridiculously Big

If I had to sum up the last act of Assassin's Creed Origins in three words, those three words would be, "Wait, there's more?"

Origins is a big game by any measure. Thanks to the smart way the designers snake the story quests down and back up the Nile river, the map feels bigger than it is, and it's huge to begin with. But it isn't until the game's final act that the scale starts to feel a touch absurd.

Once Bayek has freed Faiyum of the Crocodile's influence, he returns to Aya and Cleopatra in Herakleion, in the northeast corner of the map. The game's story kicks into overdrive, seemingly hurtling toward its conclusion. We hop between Bayek's and Aya's perspectives as they struggle to get Cleopatra in position to ascend to the throne of Egypt. We visit the tomb of Alexander the Great, guide Aya across some burning ships to the top of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, and help Bayek kill some apparently important bad guy we've never met while he's riding a war elephant.

Just when it seems like it's time for the credits to roll, the story keeps going for a whole other act. Bayek returns to Siwa to hunt down a Roman dude named Flavius, who, as it turns out, is the real villain responsible for his son's death. (I recently talked about Assassin's Creed's villain problem, and how the villain of this series is best thought of as history itself.)

In a sequence that really should have been accompanied by a moody folk tune a la Red Dead Redemption, Bayek rides north to what for many players is probably the last un-fogged part of the map. After passing through some mountains, he finds…

Whoa, there's a whole new populated area up there! It's under Roman control, they're building an aqueduct? Neat. Bayek meets a new character named Praxilla, and some new sidequests unlock. And then, if he keeps going north to the next region…

…wow. At my first glimpse of Cyrene, I quietly whistled at the sheer size of Assassin's Creed Origins. Are you kidding me, Ubisoft? This game was already comically huge by any measure. And now there's whole new city, complete with distinctly Roman architecture and its own freakin' coliseum?

I'm on my second playthrough of Origins and have been approaching the game more methodically than I did my first time through. I knew Cyrene was coming, and I'm in no rush to finish the story. Yet I still find I'm having trouble getting my head around how big this game is. I'm looking at my map and counting more than a dozen (!!) new unclaimed sidequests across the three northwest regions, as well as a couple of additional bonus quests that've been added as downloadable content. And that isn't even counting the additional arena challenges I've yet to finish, as well as my unfinished papyrus riddles, elephants, God Trials and other endgame challenges.

Many open-world games carefully choose a moment in their early goings to awe you with the size of the world you're about to explore. Maybe you emerge from a tunnel and are greeted with a panoramic view; maybe you ride in on a train as hills and towns roll by. It's less common for a game to save that kind of thing for the end, but here it makes a kind of sense. Most people were expecting Origins to have a big map. The surprise, this time around, is that it's this big.


Comments

    The the game equivalent of Tim Shaw from Demtel

      who is now a reporter and part of the canberra press gallery, i think he works for fairfax. found that out a few months ago when i was sky news and someone was speaking at the national press club, and tim gets up to ask some questions

    My experience is kind of the opposite, because rather than letting the story guide me to new areas to explore, I systematically explored each zone for all of its side-quests and locations, completed them all, then moved on to the next-highest zone, until they were all completed.

    Well before advancing beyond the mandatory main story. So the story didn't reveal the map to me... more like eighty billion hours of methodical ticking of location checkboxes revealed the map.

    It still remains fucking huge. What this will mean, though, is that when I finally go to all these places I've thoroughly explored for the main quests, it'll be more like revisiting incredibly familiar settings than some kind of revelation.

      I was the same way. I cleared the map completely before moving past chapter 2 I think so going through the story proper I was blitzing everything being able to fast travel from one spot to the next when the the main quest tried to send me on long adventures, nice try but I already done that!

      I did this too. What stood out especiall was the tombs. I cleared them because of my insatiable desire to explore, then picked up a quest an hour later telling me to go into the same tomb for some other reason. It didn't detract from the experience at all, just kinda made me chuckle.

    Man this article really makes me want to pick up the game. But im still wary after being burned by the past two games.

      Syndicate was largely enjoyable...

        i know how you feel, if you're really apprehensive, wait for the price to drop a little.

        It was an improvement over the previous game. But it still felt very bland. The setting was okay but it did not give me the amazing enjoyment that was Black Flag.

      Admittedly it is really, really good. I also thought the last two were a bit meh, but Bayek is a very interesting character, the game is beautiful and the world is much more vibrant. Pick up and enjoy my friend!

    Yeah I kinda spoiled myself by going to Cyrene well before the story takes you there. But I was ridiculously over leveled at that point, so it's hard to gauge where you're supposed to be going.

    If I were to play it again, I'd only go to regions when the game takes me there, except for the wilderness areas.

    I couldn't help myself... straight off the bat, i made a bee line for Giza.

Join the discussion!