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After finishing up the main game and polishing up some side quests in Egypt, I could not wait to jump back into some story-based DLC in Assassin's Creed: Origins. The Hidden Ones is the first of two major packs of content planned for 2017's greatest game and although smaller, it offers some exciting locations to visit, new enemies to fight and of course a story that lays the foundation for the Assassin's Creed Brotherhood we all know and love today. While the DLC offers nothing new per say in terms of gameplay, its new location, characters and of course level increase and new gear offers exciting opportunities to experience more of what the series has to offer.
Set four years after the conclusion of Origins, Bayek arrives on Egypt's Sinai shores after hearing news of the tyranny that has taken place in the region. The Romans have taken over and forced the locals into slavery. Their macho attitudes and their lust for power have led them to take what is not theirs by any means necessary and the death count is higher than ever. Bayek's past endeavours have now created a name for him and his shadowy presence is feared among the lands. Sinai is unlike anything we have ever seen before in Egypt, with rolling mountains, bustling quarries packed with Roman fleets and sunken tombs along the shores. I have to commend Ubisoft on the design of the lands as how do you improve on the sheer scale and uniqueness of the main game? Sinai looks like nothing we have seen and the parkour and exploration of all its locations and surroundings are blended into these mountains and quarries to create new opportunities to scout and assassinate your targets.
Bayek has travelled to Sinai to help a small rebellion fight off the Romans and himself along with the notorious Hidden Ones set off to take down the leaders and generals one by one. Bayek is much older and his appearance in the game shows this. His beard and manner have changed since the first story and Ubisoft has done a great job making his appearance feel like time has passed. The story and his role in the Brotherhood have much more to do with the bigger scope of things than what it seems and his past events with Cleopatra seems much smaller than his final goal to build this Creed now. The story feels much more streamlined, without multiple characters to remember and story details that are not needed. Bayek's goal is bigger and the story's emphasis on the organization is great.
The Hidden Ones lasts around two to three hours but its the adventure during and after the main story that I will always remember. The first few missions were tough as I was not level 40 at the time of starting it, more like edging on 38. Enemies were brutal and the sheer amount of them at each encampment made it feel like their presence meant business. Encampments are also bigger, which means one alarm triggered and you will have to run or fight a dozen or two heavily armed Romans. The difficulty curve was the hardest part to adjust to when starting out the DLC, as I felt invincible at the end of the main game. Luckily the XP earned in the first few missions shot me right up to the recommended level for the DLC but the enemies still challenged me in many ways.
The largest encampment in the region just happens to be the spot for the main mission and this is where the game put my Assassin's Creed skills to the test. I had to polish up everything I learnt in the first part of the game and take enemies out in the shadows and be clever with how I approached each one. I had not experienced that level of “Assassin's Creed” since early-game so it was nice to have it happen again.
Bayek does feel weak for the first part of the story and it probably due to the fact that everything is harder and everyone has better gear than he does. While I would love to complain about this, it was one of the best moments in the DLC knowing that I was actually up for a challenge rather than just spamming some buttons like I was doing in the past region. Rare loot and the ability to pump more points into your skills thanks to the level increase makes a major difference in Bayek's power and ability to take down the new threats in even more style. While I hated to let go of my Final Fantasy weapons, it was just a matter of time before I found new swords, shields and bows that packed even more power. There was, however, the ability to just upgrade past gear to your level, so don't feel discouraged about moving on.
Drop rates, in general, seem to be much higher and the DLC offered so many ways to gain Carbon Crystal, which is great given that all your upgrades need a load of them to get your gear to the top tier. At the end of the DLC, I was more powerful, looked better and had even more gear upgraded which I could not fault at all. This was all necessary in order to prepare me for the miniboss-like fights against the bounty hunters that roam the Sinai area. These act as the Phylykes of the DLC and they offer a tough fight indeed. Even after that I still had a load of places to explore, forts to take over and of course all the treasure to collect.
The Hidden Ones DLC manages to build on everything I loved about Assassin's Creed: Origins and offer some new challenging experiences at the same time. While short, there is a good chunk of content here to experience and most of all a great story to play through that will make any Assassin's Creed fan happy.
This review was based off a code provided to us by Ubisoft
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Reviewed