Assassins Creed Origins took me by surprise. First, it was the marvellous design of Ptolemaic Egypt. The way it opens, in the rocky yet rich oasis of Siwa, before unfolding to reveal landscapes of unexpectedly verdant valleys, wildflower meadows, and shimmering waterways.
Traversing the sun-soaked Alexandria streets and crouching among the riverbank reeds will always be baked in my memory. Especially with the map becoming the first Assassins Creed I ever played. I still recall the extent of how the map expanded further near the end to show you green Cyrene, a place that today makes up northeast Libya. It was impressed in a way that Odysseys too-big and too-samey Ancient Greece doesnt quite manage.
It was the story that really gripped me, as it did off the broad and charismatic shoulders of Bayek of Siwa. It is a testament to his well-known character, who is known as Bayek in video games, and who is one of the most well-known people Ive encountered. Firstly, his physicality is spectacular, with his large, gentle eyes, strong hands, and a deep rich voice, as well as a head. But its his strength that truly shines.
As you progress through the game, you learn Bayeks gentle humour, his great respect and respect for children, his profound delight in the small things, and his grande apprehension of injustice. Like a fury born from a heart of boundless compassion, Bayek and his wife lost their son Khemu, who was killed in a battle with members of the Templar Order.
The Khemus spirit continues throughout the game. Standing stones that link to constellations in the sky are flashbacks to when Bayek instructs his son about the gods, history, and the lay of the land, gently imparting wisdom. It has a soulfulness you do not find so often in video games.
Aya is a powerful woman who is easy to understand why Bayek is so dedicated to her. Aya is very flexible and compassionate as a fighter. They match well during their busy days as Medjay (Bayek is a sort of traveling protector of the people) and servant of exiled queen Cleopatra (Ayas role), and often find time to tryst.
Bayek and Aya are caught in a cave and their bodies are sweaty following their exertions. Despite this optimism, Aya is taken under pressure, attempting to destroy her enemies, and is also taken under bigger ambitions. Cleopatra is also seen as her mistress as a way to convey her unsettling desires.
As the game progresses, the relationship between Bayek and Ayas continues to fall apart. It is evident that they still care and love each other a lot, but their paths remain divergent. But their friendship and shared grief over Khemu continue to keep them together, slowly but surely driving them apart.
Origins shocked me with its emotional moments. Shadya, a sweet child often seen with her straw doll, is taken by her easy affection. Yet Shadya, since she was tied down underwater, is taken to the very top of her face.
When dealing with children, Bayek delights in their joyful innocence. He meets a young travelling salesman who is quite older than his son, yet has a proven track record for both times, and one time a youngster who has a strong sense of incompetence and leadership more than his shoulders. Both times, Bayek does not condescend. He treats them as equals.
Always you experience a melancholy here, an obvious affection for children, which is undermined by a longing for his own child. Assassins Creed Origins goes places few other games do, and weaves in memorable moments in a tale of corruption, scandal, and political intrigue. However, it is always the individual characters you encounter, and the moments shared with Bayek that settle the greatest in the memory.
Origins, a company established in 1968, is aware that love is crucial to the whole thing, but it also reinforces it. Aya is, for example, responsible for accepting unconditional love, and that it is beneficial to others. Bayek accepts Aya as a gift, and eventually realizes that there may be no other way.
I cant wait to play through Origins for another time, but once that 60fps patch comes out, I''ll be able to tread the sand, the stars, and the winds of Egypt once more.