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[2017-06-11] Combat Overview - HEADER

Assassin's Creed Origins: How Combat Has Changed

11/06/2017 03:30 PM

Bayek of Siwa is an extraordinary man, one who possesses abilities unlike any Assassin to date. Chief among these is his approach to battle; where previous Assassin's Creed fights revolved largely around dispatching small crowds with a system of instant-kill counters, tactics in Assassin's Creed Origins are more direct and aggressive. Bayek's melee approach centers on combo strikes, dodges, and deflections, and he can annihilate foes from a distance with ranged weapons or use stealth to topple them one after another. In a toe-to-toe fight, enemies will coordinate in merciless ways, lunging in or firing arrows while you're busy slashing up their comrades, so the dodge button frequently comes in handy. Bayek can also block attacks with his shield so long as you're standing still, or you can use it to briefly knock enemies off-balance with an unlockable parry move. It's even possible to drop smoke bombs mid-combo, which is great for when you're feeling overwhelmed and need a little breathing room.

"The philosophy around the combat is different, but so are the controls," says Ashraf Ismail, game director for Assassin's Creed Origins. "The default controls propose a very different experience compared to previous Assassin's Creeds, but fit very well with the new combat system. For people who really miss the legacy controls, we will have options to change the default. Otherwise, in terms of gameplay, it is really about learning each weapon and how they behave – because there is a lot of depth there – and also paying attention to the weapons wielded by enemies, as this will dictate their behavior."

Able to lock on and quickly switch focus between enemies, Bayek can unleash flurries of light attacks that are enough to take down weaker enemies, and his slower, heavier strikes can knock aside shields and stagger foes. Bayek also has an adrenaline gauge at the bottom of the screen that builds up during combat; depending on your weapon, filling it will let you unleash either a devastating, defense-smashing Overpower attack that's more than enough to kill most enemies, or a frenzy that briefly makes Bayek stronger, faster, and more resistant to damage.

"The fun aspect of this is that you can use one weapon to build your adrenaline quickly, switch to another weapon, and unleash the Overpower action," says Ismail. "This allows for some fun pairing of melee weapons."

At the start of the Faiyum demo, Bayek had a bronze khopesh – a sickle-like Egyptian sword – as well as an iron spear that sacrificed destructive power for reach. New weapons of varying rarity are scattered around the open world as loot, and a little poking around in fortified mercenary camps produced new swords, shields, paired daggers, heavy maces, and more, each of which opened up new fighting styles to keep enemies guessing. The full list of weapon categories, according to Ismail, consists of regular swords, sickle swords, dual blades, heavy clubs, heavy blades, scepters, and spears, and Bayek can also fight bare-handed. You can amass a sizable collection of gear for different purposes, and eventually unlock quick-swap slots that let you switch between two melee weapons or bows without heading into the inventory screen.

"Some weapons are more effective against certain enemies," says Ismail. "For example, with shielded enemies, it is better to use heavy weapons, as they break a shield defense more efficiently. But for enemies that dodge quickly, landing a hit with a heavy weapon is very difficult. Having a weapon with range is more efficient for those enemies."

If you don't feel like going toe-to-toe with your enemies, new bow types are also in abundant supply around the world. The standard hunter's bow is more or less what you might expect: an accurate weapon that lets you draw back and fire arrows into distant, often unsuspecting foes. And while that's great for long-range engagements, Bayek can build up a huge collection of bows with radically different functions and uses.

If you're stuck in the middle of a close engagement with multiple foes, for example, you might want a warrior bow, which fires five arrows at once in a shotgun-like spread pattern; or a light bow, which rapidly shoots five arrows in quick succession with no need to draw back the string. There's also the predator bow, an ideal weapon for snipers, which comes with a super-accurate first-person viewfinder, fires instantly with no pullback, and carries an unlockable ability that lets Bayek control its arrows in flight.

"We’ve worked very hard to make sure that players can quickly switch between bows and melee efficiently, without big camera movements," says Ismail. "Players will learn that bows have a strong value in melee. For example, a fully charged hunter bow shot will break a shield defense and knock an enemy to the ground. Being quick with the light bow will allow players to do some damage to an enemy who has a shield up and charging you. And a full shot from the warrior bow will knock anybody to the ground!"

If you prefer a more indirect approach, a well-aimed shot can break open the cages of captive lions or hyenas to create a deadly distraction. Your arrows can also be lit on fire if you're near a blaze, which is great for igniting the red pots of oil stockpiled throughout the world – to say nothing of small enemy boats, which can catch ablaze quickly and collapse under their occupants (who will then attempt to swim to other boats and continue the fight).

Mastering Bayek's weapons and abilities is essential if you plan to tackle another of Origins' new additions: boss fights against formidable warriors and strange creatures. We played through one of these, set in an arena in the city of Krokodilopolis, in which Bayek faced down a hulking man known as the Slaver. His weapon of choice was (appropriately enough) a man catcher, a spiked, forked polearm that he used to grab Bayek and hurl him around the arena, frequently into rotating spike traps.

For a deeper dive, read the full Ubiblog article here: Read More

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