Thursday, August 6, 2020

Assassin’s Creed Origins- Too Much of a Good Thing?

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Jessica Lamb
Jessica Lamb was born and raised in Fennville, Michigan. She attended Aquinas College where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Creative Writing. Since then, she has dedicated herself to spreading the word about all things nerd culture.

Any person familiar with the gaming industry has heard of Assassin’s Creed. Whether it be the greatness of Desmond’s legacy or the notorious controversy of Unity’s broken release, the series has been a staple of the industry since 2007. Assassin’s Creed Origins introduced a change in scenery for the series with the introduction of Bayek in ancient Egypt. While scaling ancient pyramids, exploring underground tombs, and sailing across the Nile brought a fresh take to the series, Origins brings up the interesting question of whether an open world game can be too large for consumer satisfaction.

Bayek exploring Egypt

When I first picked up my copy of Origins from my friend Greg Snow, I wondered what would make a long-time fan of the series sell me their copy for only $20.The answer I received was not at all what I had expected. Greg told me that “the game’s map is just too big. There’s so much to do and I don’t want to keep doing repetitive tasks.” With this in mind, I downloaded the game and took my first glimpse at just how massive this game’s map actually was. Origins contains countless regions to explore, each with a suggested level range so that the player can decide which areas they would like to explore first. These regions contain towns with shops, enemy encampments to overtake and tombs to explore. The world itself is beautiful, but it is easy to see how the sheer amount of tasks to perform can be overwhelming.

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Portion of the map

It took approximately sixty hours for me to fully explore and conquer all of the locations Assassin’s Creed Origins had to offer. This time includes conquering all enemy encampments, finding every scroll, and doing some of the side quests along the way. While my experience with the game was enjoyable, I was definitely beginning to see Greg’s point about how tedious it could become stealthily conquering a base for the seventieth time. (Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration on my part. On second thought, it probably isn’t.) A quick Google search revealed that we were not alone in this sentiment either.  There were entire forums devoted to debating whether the scope of this game was too much for players to be expected to explore ( here is one such forum on Reddit.) While the game kept me enraptured through sections of tomb exploration with only my torchlight flickering through the dark corridors, it equally bored me through long sections where I found nothing but sand and blue sky.

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As the gaming industry continues to bombard consumers with a seemingly endless stream of open world games, pieces such as Origins make us stop and think about the fine line between an open world moving from satisfying to overwhelming. When there are multitudes of games releasing at all times, consumers must decide which worlds they truly want to devote so much of their time to completing. Origins asks an interesting question, would you rather spend eighty hours exploring a massive world or spend forty experiencing a more streamlined experience?

 

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