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How I managed to enjoy AC: Origins after putting it down for more than a year

My favorite Assasin's Creed game is Black Flag. It's the first one I played and basically the first single-player game I ever played to completion. I still remember when the credits rolled at the end and that was around 6+ years ago.

Since then, I've finished Syndicate, Odyssey, and now Origins. None of these games managed to recapture that feeling I got when playing Black Flag, but each had its own thing to enjoy. I bought Origins shortly after beating Odyssey in December of 2019, and I only played it for a couple of days before I lost all interest. I legitimately thought I would never revisit it, but I decided to give it another shot recently and I would say it paid off. I made a post on this sub about playing through open-world games, and I took a lot of the anecdotes and advice you guys gave me and used it to create a much more enjoyable gaming experience with Origins for me. This is what I did.

First of all, I feel it's important to mention that I played it on max settings on a fairly large UHD monitor. I mention this because the visuals were about 65% of the experience of this game for me, so if you think you'd have to play it on the lowest settings or on a laptop screen then your experience might vary. This was just mine. I also played the entire game on Hard difficulty.

After playing Odyssey, I picked up Origins and immediately felt like it was the exact same game but in Egypt. I played through Odyssey as a hack & slash mercenary, running straight into forts and taking on 5 guys at once. It was a Greek warrior simulator to me, and I enjoyed that enough to make it to the end of the game. The mythological elements really hooked me in and kept me going when the level grinding and everything threatened to put a stop to my interest. Origins didn't have this going for it since the mythological themes are much lighter, and I honestly didn't have any interest in continuing to mow down soldiers but in a desert this time. Instead, I fully committed to the assassin role in a way I hadn't since Black Flag.

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Origins doesn't force you to be stealthy in any game section that I can remember, but putting that constraint on myself I felt like I was playing an AC game for the first time in a long time. If I had to assassinate a guy in the middle of a fort, I'd sneak my way through, slowly and methodically eliminating people in my way without being detected. Sometimes I'd silently take out the entire fort before reaching my target, and sometimes I'd manage to make it to the target with some clever climbing and positioning and only one or two kills. Regardless, I wanted to get in unseen and leave unseen after eliminating the mark. I also spec'd into long-range archery and by the end of the game, I was sniping people with my predator bow from 75 meters away. At one point I even had my arrow do a near U-turn in the air to hit a target that was below and behind me, and the feeling I got from that is the reason I play assassin's creed. This commitment to the assassin roleplay did a lot to immerse me in the game.

On top of this, the biggest thing I took from my previous thread is that I don't need to clear out the entire map to enjoy the game. In fact, after making that post I didn't go to a single question mark out of a need to do everything or a side quest I had no interest in just to clear an area on the map. Origins is incredibly annoying in that (as you probably know by now) the main story is so ridiculously level gated that it typically took me an hour+ of sidequests just to progress enough to do the next story mission. I decided to do the absolute bare minimum in sidequests since I wasn't particularly interested in any, and although the main story isn't anything to write about, progressing through the story unlocked new aspects of gameplay that continued to make the game fun. I didn't spend hours grinding bandit camps, and I didn't spend any more time than I needed to on boring side-quests. I got to spend time on the aspects of the game that I liked without being weighed down by the need to do absolutely everything.

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Another thing that greater impacted my playthrough was fast-traveling, or better put, the absence of it. During my entire playthrough, I only fast traveled 2 times. I routinely traveled 2-6k meters to get to my destination, but as counterintuitive as it might sound, these were some of my favorite parts of the game, not because of amazing world-building or NPC interactions, but because the world is simply beautiful. There are SO many sights to see. Traveling on my camel I got to see giant desert basins and enormous structures. I got to spend multiple in-game days going up and down the Nile, watching beautiful sunsets and sunrises on my little boat. I started to take pictures for the first time in a video game (attached below), and although I'm shit at it, some of the views I got to see made me need to take a second just to admire what I was looking at. It made me want to visit Egypt.

The last thing I did was shift my focus completely away from playing the game and instead towards experiencing the game. This game was not particularly fun to play, but it was a GREAT experience for me. The combat is lacking. The story can be dry. The level progression is diabolical. But there were moments when Bayek cracked a joke and I laughed in real life. There was a time where I accidentally walked into a war elephant enclosure 15 levels above me and the oh shit moment and desperately trying to survive while I escaped made that little blunder so much fun. Sneaking my way all the way to the top of the lighthouse of Alexandria without being detected, just to get to a synchronization point, was one of the most rewarding things I did. During the time I played this game, I felt like I experienced a little piece of Ancient Egypt and like I got a glimpse of what it might be like to be an assassin, walking around with the power to become a shadow and kill a high-profile politician or criminal.

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In the end, I played for 38 hours and got to 79% completion. I can't say it's one of the best games I've ever played or anything, but the approach I took with it, only putting time into the aspects of the game that I enjoyed, has given me hope that I might similarly enjoy other open-world games in the future. I'm not eager to pick up the newest AC game or anything, but it was a great experience and I'm glad I gave it another shot.


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