"Assassin's Creed" games have served as some of the most effective history lessons in the gaming era. Over the past decade, the multimedia historians at Ubisoft's plethora of studios have whisked gamers to such fascinating social tinder boxes as the ancient Middle East, the Renaissance, Industrial Revolution London and the French and American Revolutions.
Ancient Egypt was always a long-sought dream of fans, and "Assassin's Creed Origins" shows why it was wise for developers to wait so long to grant the wish. The technological advancements shine through in the breathtaking sweep of the age of Pharaohs and pyramids, and it's tough to fathom a previous dev team having managed to tackle the Ptolemaic era with such breathtaking confidence.
Playing as Bayek, a steadfast warrior willing to stand up to the authority of the Phara, and oh's rule. As usual with characters in the series, Bayek is an ace at parkour, wire walking and leaps of faith, as well as sharpening his instincts with an Eagle Vision-like modifier that opens up hidden items and passageways. He can summon camels as mounts at will, commandeer canoes to row down rivers and control a bird of prey to run aerial recon.
Packed with side quests, collectibles and crafts to use to upgrade and hone your skills, the realm of "Origins" is a literal sandbox begging to be roamed and excavated. The sense of time and place is all-encompassing, truly making you feel as though you are living and working in the era. Hardships of slaves and underclass surround you, and opportunities to roam, seek and undermine your enemies via stealth, brute strength and sedition surround you.
The lack of multiplayer is no loss at all. Combined with the extra year in development left by a gap in the previous annual release schedule, the focus on providing a spectacular and engrossing single-player experience pays off in impressive detail and a soaring sense of liberation.
The appropriately titled "Assassin's Creed Origins" works as a fresh start for a series that had flirted with going stale. The present and future of the franchise now seem as bright and promising as its monumental past.
Publisher provided review code.