After a successful launch back in 2017, Assassin’s Creed: Origins kick started the year by launching the first of two planned story DLCs on January 23rd with The Hidden Ones. Coming as an update for those with the season pass, or £8.69 GBP and $9.99 USD, The Hidden Ones adds quite a good chunk of gameplay for not too bad a price either. With a new area to explore and an abundance of enemies in dyer need of assassinating, let’s get stuck into what Ubisoft Montreal have added to the game.
Not only does The Hidden Ones introduce a new map to explore, it also raises the maximum character and enemy level to 45 as well as new crafting levels too. The only downside to this is the fact that you need to be a minimum level of 38 to begin exploring Sinai properly if your Bayek wants to stand a chance against the lowest enemies. So once you’re done finishing off some side quests or XP farming, you can go ahead and start exploring the mountainous region of Sinai. There are also four new viewpoints to unlock in the region, increasing Senu’s perception even further than she was capable of in the main game. Throw in some more side quests, a list of assassination targets, and new strongholds to conquer, and The Hidden Ones provides a home away from home for the player fresh off the boat from the main game.
While a lot of The Hidden Ones appears to be isolated and more intense versions of elements from the main game, Ubisoft Montreal decided to throw in ways to shake even the most confident of player. Senu won’t always be able to identify your assassination target for you now, proving that even mystical eagles have their limitations if every guard in a stronghold looks identical from the air. The new strongholds also offer a new challenge for players as well. The geography of the roman castras are different, making it a lot harder to stealth your way through a stronghold. Since most of the camps are built into the rock, players will have to climb and fight their way up rather than running between conveniently placed Bayek-sized bushes.
The Hidden Ones is set in 38 BC, just four years after the end of the main story. I thought it was a bold move to set the DLC after the main game, requiring the player to at least be level 38 to have a chance of starting The Hidden Ones. It does actually make sense though, as producers of AC: Origins have said that The Hidden Ones tells the story of Bayek that they couldn’t fit into the main campaign but was worth telling anyway. Normally I’m not a fan of withholding content from a main game with the mind to release it after in pricey DLC, but I have to admit that the storyline for The Hidden Ones works in its own right and probably wouldn’t have made sense to include at the end of the main story.
The Hidden Ones follows Bayek a few years after establishing the early version of the Assassin’s Brotherhood at the end of the game. As a long term Assassin’s Creed fan, I liked seeing the earliest iteration of the Brotherhood and getting a glimpse of how it would develop into the murder cult we all know and love. With references to assassin customs mentioned in the early games such as Assassin’s Creed and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, it really felt like Ubisoft were connecting dots that I didn’t know were there. From recruiting civilians to the cause and making them perform their first leap of faith to the building design of the Hidden Ones’ bureau, there are lots of familiar elements about this DLC which will have loyal fans feeling nostalgic.
The first story driven DLC for AC: Origins has a lot to offer fans in the form of a bite sized and isolated chunk of what makes the main game so enjoyable. The new gameplay style and added activities is similar enough to the main game to not rock the boat too much, while still encouraging the player to shake up the way they played the main game. I very much enjoyed running around Sinai and being revered by random NPCs who helped shape the feeling that the Brotherhood is finally coming together. It’s safe to say that Ubisoft have delivered on the first half of their story driven DLC, and if The Hidden Ones is anything to go by then I’m very much looking forward to seeing what The Curse of the Pharaohs will bring to the table on March 13th.