I don’t know how many times I’ve said “look at the draw distance” to people since Assassin’s Creed: Origins ($60 on Amazon) released, but it’s a lot. After “going back to their roots” with 2014’s disastrous Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Ubisoft has shaken up the series again and gone back to its…non-roots? I don’t know. Suffice it to say, Origins channels the spirit of Unity’s predecessor, the acclaimed pirate-centric Black Flag.
Origins heads to Ptolemaic Egypt instead of sailing the high seas, but the design is very similar, with an enormous map (the largest in the series) dotted with mid-size cities, small towns, oases, and so on. And if you look at screenshots, it might seem like a visual downgrade from Unity and the following year’s Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate.
But climb up to the top of a mountain peak, stare off into the distance, and marvel for a bit about how far you can see and how much detail remains. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is famous for the whole “See a green dot in the distance and when you get there it’s a tree” thing, but Origins takes that to a whole new level. You can pick out the Lighthouse at Alexandria from across the entire map if you have a sightline. That’s amazing.