After taking some time out to hunker down in a haystack the Assassin’s Creed franchise is back and bigger than ever. Literally.
Now, if you’re familiar with the Assassin’s Creed games you’re probably thinking “what would I need a tips and tricks guide for? It’s just the same game in a different setting.” While that might have been true before, in its time away Assassin’s Creed has changed slightly and Origins has some bold new features to get to grips with.
In light of that, we think this guide will prove useful to old hands and new recruits alike and we’ll continue to add to it as we uncover new and exciting secrets in the game.
You can read our thoughts on the game over on our full review.
Pay attention to levels
Assassin’s Creed Origins is the most RPG-like game in the series yet and, as a result, you have a level. You build your level by gathering XP and doing so will make it possible to use more advanced weapons and armor.
Building your level will also allow you to take on bigger and badder enemies. This is because in Origins your enemies also have levels which are displayed above their heads (kind of like the ships in Black Flag).
If an enemy is a higher level than you it won’t be impossible to kill them, but it will be much more challenging than if they were equal to or below you. If you do decide to take on an enemy of a higher level you’ll have to supplement your lack of experience with some impressive crafting (more on that later), clever abilities (more on those too) and stealthy manoeuvres.
It’s also worth noting that if an enemy is of a higher level than you, you’re not going to be able to perform an instant stealth kill with your hidden blade or even an arrow to the head. Yes, even if you catch them completely unaware. In light of that it’s definitely worth it to take some time to grind.
Speaking of which...
Don't dismiss side quests
As you’d expect, Assassin’s Creed Origins has a core story with a main quest line to follow. But it also has lots of side quests to get involved in which are a great way to increase your XP.
In previous Assassin’s Creed games side quests have, without fail, proven to be rather repetitive. Though the side quests in Origins do fall back on many of the same fetch, kill, steal, and help mechanics as previous games, they’re couched in interesting unique stories which at least lends them a sense of freshness and makes them much more enjoyable to engage in.
We highly recommend delving into them as not only do they offer an efficient way to build XP outside of the main quests, you'll sometimes find exclusive items and weapons by completing them.
Though the main quest and the side quests give much of your exploration a narrative incentive, we also recommend just going out and exploring this huge game map on your own.
It doesn’t matter if you have an active quest, you can walk in the complete opposite direction from your target for hundreds of miles and not be notified to return. Embrace the freedom and discovery Assassin’s Creed Origins encourages because it tends to be rewarding.
Taking the time to wander aimlessly is a great way to discover new locations and hidden tombs. Make sure you look underwater too as there are also sunken temples and shipwrecks to find. This is another way to gather XP outside of quests and it’s also an opportunity to find new and more powerful weapons and armour.
Though this is a large map and it’s all open to you from the get-go, it’s still worth performing that ancient Assassin’s Creed ritual of climbing Viewpoints, synchronising and then taking a leap of faith back to Earth.
In this game Viewpoints are used as fast-travel points and synchronising with them will also extend your eagle Senu’s radius of perception and detection.
While we're on the subject of Senu...
Make the most of Senu
Make sure you take advantage of your eagle, Senu, who will really help you make the most of your exploration. Taking control of Senu is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of the game world and within missions she can be used to mark targets and locate objectives.
Outside of missions, though, she continues to be useful. When you’re exploring Senu can also be used to find secret treasures and hidden entrances. If you’ve unlocked a location and you want to fast travel back to it, Senu can help there too by making the process even faster – just aim at the location you want to travel to using Senu and click rather than opening up the world map.
Let your assassin senses tingle
While having an eagle eye is great, Senu’s abilities aren’t useful absolutely everywhere and when you’re inside a building/tomb or looking for something much closer to you it’ll be more appropriate to use Bayek’s Animus Pulse ability.
Activating this ability will send a kind of wave out from Bayek and highlight items of interest in his immediate vicinity. This is generally a great way to find any points of interest, hidden entrances and important loot when you're in an enclosed space.
Get into the practice of using this when you've cleared out enemy locations as it'll ensure you don't miss any of the best loot.
Look out for cursed weapons
Cursed weapons are an interesting addition to Assassin’s Creed Origins and well worth looking out for. Whether that’s to avoid them or use them in desperate times is entirely up to you.
A cursed weapon will be clearly marked and capable of delivering double the damage of a normal weapon. However, the cost of this is that your health will be capped at 33% of its maximum. It’s, funnily enough, a double-edged sword but against a higher-level enemy it might be a risk worth taking if you’re exceptionally skilled at dodging.
Be crafty and thrifty
Pretty much all of Bayek’s equipment in the game starts at level one just like him.
Though visiting Blacksmiths is a fast way to upgrade your weapons and buy new ones, it's also a money sink. We'd recommend pillaging weapons from powerful bosses during quests rather than spending a lot of money on them in stores.
You can also improve the stats and appearance of the items you already have through the crafting system. These crafting abilities can be accessed within the game's Gear menu and you won't have to pay a Blacksmith a single Drachma.
The items you're able to craft will do things like improve your health, allow you to carry more ammo and improve your hidden blade. All you have to do is gather the necessary resources which range from common items like leather and wood to more rare finds like iron.
It's made very clear in this menu what you're able to craft, what it does and what resources you need to make it happen. Senu is, once again, useful here as she can be used to scout out where the resources you need are and mark them as a target.
It's worth noting that you can also dismantle weapons you have in your Inventory that you're not going to use and use their resources to craft new items.
This is a much more worthwhile thing to do than selling them whole in stores. If you're looking for items to sell for currency, it's best to sell from the trinkets category of your inventory instead as these items can't be used for anything else.
Use your mount
You don’t have to travel this world entirely by foot. You’ll find that you can use boats and chariots and use camels and horses as your mounts. It’s important to make use of these other methods of transport. The first reason for this is that the game world is incredibly large and the second is that they can be used to carry heavy loads.
For example, if you’re on a rescue mission and you have to carry an NPC far from the camp you’re breaking them free from, it’s important to know that you can call your horse and place their body on it. This makes getting them to safety much easier than running for a long distance with them slung over your shoulder.
One thing worth noting is that there isn't any button to press that will make your mount go faster so don't waste any time mashing X. Instead, when you're in open areas it'll naturally pick up speed. When you're in more populated areas it'll automatically slow down.
Have faith in your abilities
Assassin’s Creed Origins introduces a brand new RPG-inspired skill tree for you to explore. You unlock new skills using Ability points which are in turn earned by levelling up.
There are a lot of skills that are worth purchasing and they can really make your assassination style feel tailored and personal to you. If, for example, you’re a fan of ranged attacks it’s worth looking into unlocking the Enhanced Predator Bow ability.
This ability combined with your predator bow will allow you to control the direction of your arrows once you’ve fired them. If you enjoy using Senu to search and discover you can also unlock an ability that makes her helpful in combat. Once unlocked, you’ll be able to direct Senu towards specific enemies and have her wound their faces.
This is a great ability if you’re looking for a distraction to sneak into a camp. Senu isn’t the only animal you can control either – there’s another ability that will allow you to tame animals in the wild and have them fight alongside you. It’s pretty thrilling to have a hippo join you in battle rather than fight against you.
Though the skill tree is split into three categories - warrior, hunter and seer- don't worry about locking yourself into just one of them. While that's absolutely an option if you want to have a very focused play style, all of the abilities link up and you can easily dip into all three specialisms for a more balanced style of play.
Play with fire
Even by ancient Egyptian standards, fire is a pretty old tool so you’ll find it easy to get creative with flames in Origins. If you see a fire source during a combat situation, for example, you can draw your bow, walk up to it and light your arrow on fire.
That’s not as far as that goes, either. Once your arrow is alight you can shoot oil jars and cause widespread enemy damage. This is actually particularly useful on the surface of the water – if you find yourself swarmed and overwhelmed by water-based enemies and you spy an oil jar floating nearby it’s sometimes for the best to light your arrow using your boat's lantern and go full Battle of Blackwater to clear them all away at once.
It also looks great if you’re looking for a screenshot with a little more heat.
Don't hesitate to hallucinate
This is another cool feature that’s worth dipping into – hallucinations. Though we’re sure hallucinogens in the ancient Egypt weren't limited to the sun, heat-based hallucinations seem to be as far as Ubisoft is willing to go here.
Essentially, if you spend long enough wandering in the open desert under the heat of the sun you’re likely to find that Bayek will hallucinate. These hallucinations aren’t always the same but very often they can guide you towards points of interest you might have missed so they’re certainly worth trying out.
Beware the cages
If you're infiltrating an enemy camp and you come across some caged animals, do exercise some caution - they're caged for a reason. More than once we've stealthily opened these cages only to have the lion inside turn its claws on us, drawing the attention of soldiers and creating a chaos that didn't benefit us in any way.
The best way to approach these cages is to either use your animal taming ability or, failing that, perch yourself up high and fire a well-aimed arrow at the cage to open it. Doing so will leave you far enough away and the animals will be more likely to pursue your enemies instead.
You can change your look
With a mix of button presses, it's possible to to change Bayek's hair and beard. What you change it to won't be completely random, it'll just allow you to cycle through the various looks he's had through the game.
For hair you press L2 and triangle on PS4, LT and Y on Xbox One. Changing your beard on the other hand involves pressing R2 and triangle on PS4 or RT and Y on Xbox One.
Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.