The Hidden Ones, the first DLC pack to release for Assassin’s Creed Origins, picks up four years after the events of the main game, placing us back with main protagonist Bayek.
I sank around 60 hours into Origins. That’s quite a lot of time, considering that between having two jobs and needing to do normal life things like eating and sleeping, my weekday gaming time generally works out at about an hour and half. But I found time for Origins. Oh, you bet I did. I could not get enough of Ancient Egypt. I had Bayek’s back from start to finish, and together we climbed pyramids, soared like an eagle (literally), petted cats, solved murder mysteries, rode horses through (and off of) mountains, and explored every nook and cranny that Egypt had to offer us. I loved every minute of it.
I put off completing the main storyline by working my way through tens of side quests along the way, but in the end, I couldn’t avoid the inevitable credit roll forever. I’d eked as much as I possibly could from the game, and while I still had a few side quests to mop up, with the level cap reached and Bayek armed with the best equipment he could possibly have, there wasn’t a great deal left to keep playing for.
Enter The Hidden Ones.
Opening up a brand new – and pretty expansive – area of the map, Assassin’s Creed Origins: The Hidden Ones gives us a whole new storyline, a new set of side missions to complete, new weapons and, perhaps most importantly, a higher level cap. It’s exactly more of the same – but then, that’s exactly what I wanted from an Origins expansion. Why reinvent the wheel when it already turns so well?
It’s four years after Bayek and Aya – sorry, Amunet – decided to dedicate their lives to the newly-formed Creed. In those four years, they’ve recruited many other assassins, known as the Hidden Ones, and spread out across Egypt, Rome and the surrounding lands. Bayek finds himself in an assassin’s hideout in Sinai, from where he’ll carry out a series of assassinations to overturn a Roman attack on Egypt. And so, just like the main game, The Hidden Ones presents you with a hit list – leaders who Bayek must kill in order to succeed.
The main campaign of the DLC is short – it’ll likely take you less than two hours to scout out the areas, follow through the story and kill the men you need to. And with your advanced level and excellent weaponry – the season pass gives you legendary weapons that are better than anything I found in my 60-odd hours with the main game – nothing is much of a challenge, either. Most enemies go down with a few swings – even if, like me, you shamefully still haven’t quite mastered the art of dodging and blocking. My Bayek just stands there like a tank, hoping that he’ll swing his weapon so fast that his opponent hasn’t got time to get a hit in before he crumples to the floor. It works… most of the time.
While being more of the same though, the new area of Sinai still manages to offer a new series of varied landscapes and regions. It takes us to ancient monuments being deconstructed by Roman order, breathtaking mountain ranges, new tombs to explore, new rugged coastlines and some incredibly dark sights – a field filled with crucified bodies made me audibly gasp. As always, the visuals are stunning. Playing on Xbox One X, every new sight that Assassin’s Creed Origins throws upon me is genuinely awe-inspiring, and perhaps it’s just my mind playing tricks on me, but the expansion seems to make things look even better than before. Character models look just that little bit more realistic, and landscapes just that little bit more vivid.
Once the main story is out of the way, The Hidden Ones does offer its own wealth of sidequests, too. Again, there’s nothing that will take you too long to complete, but there are some particularly enjoyable enemy camps to complete, plenty of hidden treasures to find, and a series of new towers to synchronise with. Trophy hunters among you will be also glad to know that the DLC adds a new set of achievements.
For me, the Assassin’s Creed Origins season pass was a no-brainer. When a game has managed to grasp me as tight as this did, of course I’m going to want to seek out more of it. The Hidden Ones might not offer anything particularly game-changing, but when the game's so damn good to begin with, it really doesn't matter. So if you liked your time adventuring with Bayek, you’ll like what The Hidden Ones has to give, too.