Assassin's Creed Origins: The Curse of the Pharaohs (PlayStation 4) Review

By Drew Hurley 08.04.2018

Review for Assassin

While the Assassin's Creed series has always taken considerable poetic licence with its version of history, it has rarely wandered into the supernatural. Assassin's Creed Origins has the perfect backdrop to do so, though; the myths and legends of Egypt are a rich and varied tapestry, ripe for adaptation. The Curse of the Pharaohs sees Byak facing off against a whole host of Egyptian myths and monsters on a quest to free the land of Thebes from the curse of the undead.

Bayek heads off on a mission to the land of Thebes, where someone has woken a malevolent force from the sands. Someone has been foolish enough to steal a relic from a tomb; a relic that bears a striking resemblance to the Apple of Eden. Removing it has put a curse upon the land - calling long-dead Pharaohs back to the world of the living where they are slaughtering NPCs for fun.

The Curse of the Pharaohs opens up a whole new area to explore once again. This time it's Thebes and the nearby Valley of Kings. The majority of this area has little to set it apart from what came in the regular game; it's more of the same with the deserts, rivers, and small encampments. There is the occasional gem in the environments here and there but the real gems in this DLC are the crypts within the Valley of Kings and the hidden worlds found within them.

Within the huge new area of Thebes there are more of the same styles of objectives from the main game. There are plenty more camps scattered about for Bayek to infiltrate, assassinating the enemy captains and sniffing out the hidden treasures. There are more animal dens to slaughter the poor innocent denizens and more viewpoints to synchronise. These type of quests are a core part of the franchise but for anyone who is playing through this DLC immediately following the main game or, even worse, after finishing the previous DLC, The Hidden Ones, will find it too repetitive to truly enjoy. This sort of huge open world needs a break between to truly enjoy.

Screenshot for Assassin's Creed Origins: The Curse of the Pharaohs on PlayStation 4

It's more of the same and if this was all the DLC consisted of it would be as disappointing as its predecessor, The Hidden Ones. Thankfully, this actually stands out against all previous Assassin's Creed Origins content. By focusing on the mythical, it has delivered something memorable and standout. Delving into the Valley of Kings, there are four great tombs that can be explored, and within each there is a doorway to a different aspect of the Egyptian afterlife. Nefertiti's tomb leads to the deep grass of Aaru where ships sail across the sea of reeds and giant scorpions straight out of the mind of Harryhausen are present. Another tomb leads to the deep waters of Aten and sees a huge port under a great golden orb; the Duat is a dark and devastated world where Anubis guards stalk; Heb Sed is constantly buffeted by tremendous sandstorms and overrun with human-faced birds known as Ba.

Each of these areas is filled with the same activities as every other, but also comes with some of the best side-quests this game has had to offer, truly interesting and engaging enough that they deserve the player's full attention. No skipping the dialogue here! It's worth reading. The areas are also full of high level enemies, not to mention the randomly appearing undead Pharaohs that will punish the unprepared, making quick work of any under-levelled Assassins. To help deal with these, the DLC expands the level cap to 55 and even offers a free level up to 45 for such players, which is ideal for those who didn't reach the higher levels while playing through the first DLC - The Hidden Ones.

This DLC also offers some new levels to the upgradeable items of Bayek's gear and seven new skills for purchase. For the skills, Predator bows automatically infect the corpses with Flesh Decay, Light bows receive a damage multiplayer for landing consecutive hits, and Hunter bows receive armour piercing tips for penetrating even the stoutest of shields. The upgradeable items require new items, entitled "Shards of a Star," which can be found on the ghostly Pharaohs, giant Scorpions, or in treasure chests.

It's not all good here, though. Outside of the fantastical, the standard fare gets quite repetitive. The game could have been better with more unlockable skills, too. Worst of all with this new DLC, though, is the impact on the performance of the game. Loading times were already getting painful in Origins, but with the DLC additions it gets awfully painful. Booting the game and getting to the menu screen takes far longer than it should and then actually getting into the action takes even longer.

Screenshot for Assassin's Creed Origins: The Curse of the Pharaohs on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

It's hard to deliver quality DLC, and as the previous instalment saw, the result is often more of the same that fails to live up to the original or delivery anything new. There are 12 hours or so of content in The Curse of the Pharaohs, and while it isn't all good, the pieces that are good, are very good. So good, in fact, that it takes Assassin's Creed Origins and puts it on par - or even ahead! - of Black Flag for best Assassin's Creed game of all time. Future Assassin's Creed titles take note, sometimes a little bit of the mythical and magical can elevate the game even further …and how about giving eager gamers something in Japan next time?

Developer

Ubisoft Sofia

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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