I’ve put more than 60 hours in to Assassin’s Creed Origins. That stat alone made me depressed, questioned my life choices and left me wondering how I could have used those hours for the good and betterment of mankind. But here I am once more, heading back to Egypt, forgetting the depressive mood and understanding why I loved spending so much time in Origins. It’s like when you go back to your favourite holiday destination, or bookshop or bar or park… it just feels like home. But now I have a new chapter to take in with The Hidden Ones – the first of three story-driven DLC add-ons to come to Assassin’s Creed Origins in the next few months – I’ve had to cancel my life once more as I’ve been drawn back to Egypt.
The Hidden Ones is set four years after the main events of Assassin’s Creed Origins and takes you to a new region called Sinai, which is under the influence of those pesky Romans. Sinai is a rocky mountainous region consisting of around three main areas pieced together, with villages, and hidden locations to explore, including one of the biggest forts to grace Origins, which is almost the size of a city. Then there is an actual city ready to be ripped apart for relics and treasures. That place in itself is amazing in both its ambition and design.
The story follows Bayek as he helps a small group of Assassins try and get control back from the Romans, all while stopping some of their heinous leaders doing some terrible things. If you loved the base game of Assassin’s Creed Origins and want more of the same, then this the DLC for you. There’s nothing majorly new in the gameplay, except the area is different and the missions are new, and if you’re looking for a whole new major shake-up, then this isn’t the content you’re looking for. There are around eight or nine main missions to follow and these normally end with you taking out a captain or leader. The main story is good (as you would fully expect with anything linked to Origins) and questions the whole divide between the Assassins and the Templars, and how each group is really fighting for the same ideals. There are some hard battles to partake in, and some of the forts are filled to the brim with nasty Romans baying for your blood. The actual side missions are of a extremely high quality once again and really worth spending some time with, especially the final one that delivers a satisfying story arc that relates well to the main game villain.
The level cap that Assassin’s Creed Origins originally came with has now been upped to 45 with the addition of The Hidden Ones, so the race is on once more. There are also a whole bunch of new weapons to feast your eyes upon, including some nice bits of gear and some lovely looking new mounts. There are places of interest, papyrus secrets, tombs and lots of things to do once again. With everything that is on offer, you’ll find that there’s about four hours of extra gameplay here, which I think is great for a piece of DLC. The only slight downside is that it would be nice if there was one surprise to make us stand back in awe, turning everything on its head. But hey, maybe that’s to come with future content drops.
Visually and Origins is still one of the prettiest games you will find on this generation of consoles. The night and day cycles are stunning and the level design, landscapes and cities look beautiful. I’ve liked the way The Hidden Ones has provided a great mixture of rugged mountain landscapes, sprinkled with lush oasis’ and a really interesting new city design. It’s all the little details that you can spend hours getting lost in as you discover many different hidden stories just from the visuals alone. There is a great location under a pyramid that really showcases the lighting effects to the max.
The sounds are still excellent as well, from the deepest growl of a lion to the rumble when the game landscape changes after an assassination is completed. The music is beautiful too, unchanged, but beautiful – whilst the voice acting is an excellent standard indeed. I feel that with this little piece of DLC and the length of script, that things are much more focused for the actors and this helps them deliver a great narrative arc.
Overall, as I said at the start of this piece it’s great to be back in Assassin’s Creed Origins. The Hidden Ones carries on the excellent standards from the main game and provides a thought-provoking story with an excellent selection of side missions. I wanted a big surprise and I hope that will be coming later, but overall I’m a very happy Assassin indeed.