The Brotherhood is freshly formed and before it gets strong roots, it needs to be looked after carefully. A few years after the events of Origins, Bayek is asked help in Sinai, a peninsula that has the attention of the Romans as well as the Templar order.
— Spoiler warning: If you did not finish Assassin’s Creed: Origins you might encounter light spoilers —
Sinai has fallen on hard times, with the Roman army pushing the Nabateans like slaves. I say like slaves but there are slaves here, forced to work in quarries until they can barely stand, then killed by Romans who see them as less than dogs. Sinai is being methodically pillaged and plundered with massive quarries working to fill Roman coffers, and child slaves work in tiny tunnels too small for adults, exchanging the ore they dig out for food. If anything exists that makes me want to go on a soldier killing spree more than finding child slavers, I can’t think of it right now.
To the north, the Romans are in the process of stealing an entire pyramid, forcing the people that live there to take it apart and move the massive blocks to the coast.
To the north, the Romans are in the process of stealing an entire pyramid, forcing the people that live there to take it apart and move the massive blocks to the coast. The people are downtrodden, dismayed and the Hidden Ones in the region are up against a large military force. The person responsible for all of this is not in the country, so Bayek goes on a mission to kill the people in charge of operations to draw the leader out.
With the enemies being known individuals of the Roman army, the DLC’s assassinations play out very differently from the targets you hunt down in the original game and I feel some of the magic is lost. In Origins you needed to discover who it is behind those masks, find their weakness and whereabouts, unearth their identity first and kill them. You skip this process now, going for decorated Roman soldiers. It feels much more direct and no-nonsense, but it misses that connection that Bayek had to his targets before, his desire for revenge. Things are much more clinical. But being openly connected to a resistance and not operating from the shadows has a cost.
The landscape is very different here than at the heart of the Nile. The sea here is a clear aquamarine paradise waiting to be explored and enjoyed, with sharp outcroppings of rock making for a much more vertical landscape. While a destination might only be 100 metres away as Senu flies, getting there on foot might take a long detour on your mount or some mountain climbing to reach. The city in the region is full of beautiful temples (the ones not yet dismantled and stolen) and massive granite obelisks cover the area.
Luckily the stuff that made Origins so great, the relationships, the story of family, still exists in the game. There are more stone circles to visit and while Bayek has no new memories of Khemu, he instead tells him about the stars as if he was there. For a short time, Bayek works with Amunet and we get some insight into where she has been and what is happening in Rome. During their conversations, there are awkward pauses, the uncomfortable exchanges between two people who were fiercely in love but forced apart for something bigger than themselves and a shared tragedy. There is more than one moment where I felt my heart keen for the two, their expressions and non-verbal cues speaking volumes of the love still there, the pain in being apart and I want to burst.
There is more than one moment where I felt my heart keen for the two, their expressions and non-verbal cues speaking volumes of the love still there, the pain in being apart and I want to burst.
Is it possible you feel like you need more Assassin’s Creed: Origins in your life? Then this DLC is a good place to visit for a while. It has all the things that you like most about ACO, fleshing out the world and story that we have come to know and love. Add to this the biggest enemy fort you will ever have to murder your way through, more stone circles and new elite bounty hunters after you and The Hidden Ones will remind you why you loved Origins so much and why even now, it is so hard to walk away from the story of Bayek.