Assassin's Creed Origins: The Hidden Ones DLC Review
This DLC makes great use of the main game’s mechanics to create high-level challenge.
Riding across the golden landscapes of Egypt in search of rare loot, invading enemy fortresses for adrenaline-pumping assassinations, and following the story of Bayek as he lays down the groundwork for what will become the famed Brotherhood of Assassins are the experiences I treasured in Assassin’s Creed Origins. The Hidden Ones DLC expands upon all of them in ways that renewed my interest in this amazing ancient world.
Four years have passed since the conclusion of the main story and Bayek has arrived on the shores of a new region that recreates ancient Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. Geographically, it’s mountainous, surrounded on three sides by water, but not too unlike anything we’ve seen in Egypt before. It’s bustling with quarries, pyramids under construction, and an overbearing Roman presence – which turns out to be why Bayek has come here in the first place. A small rebellion has enlisted his expertise and the help of the Hidden Ones to resolve a bloody conflict with the Romans.
It’s refreshing to see that this slightly older Bayek is no longer consumed with avenging the death of his son or playing political errand boy to Cleopatra. This is the Brotherhood origin story that I’ve been waiting for, and though I love a good revenge story it’s exciting to see Bayek take his skills and his new organization and aim for something bigger.
The Hidden Ones poses some new challenges that put to the test everything you’ve learned.
Aside from the allure of the main story, which takes about two to three hours to complete, The Hidden Ones poses some new challenges that put to the test everything you’ve learned while leveling Bayek up in the main game. Ubisoft recommends that you reach at least level 40 before attempting to play it, and that’s a caution that you should absolutely heed. Roman encampments are plentiful in Sinai, and they’re dense with significantly stronger enemies. One particular quest, called The Walls of the Ruler, takes place in a massive and seemingly impenetrable fort crawling with Roman soldiers ranging from levels 38 to 42. Not only are they stronger and sporting top-tier weapons and armor, but the fact that there are more of them than I was accustomed to – and that they’re not shy about calling in reinforcements at the first sign of trouble – made evading and fighting them a new and different challenge.
I can’t tell you how many times I saw the desynchronization screen while attempting to infiltrate that fortress, but after finally taking down over 30 Romans, successfully assassinating my target, and walking out one level stronger with some legendary loot in tow I’d call it one of the most satisfying experiences I’ve had with Assassin’s Creed Origins yet.
The added level of difficulty feels justified with how generous The Hidden Ones is with its rare loot and XP. One of my biggest gripes with Assassin’s Creed Origins out of the box was the sparsity of crafting materials and Drachma, but here in Sinai I was immediately gifted with a suit of legendary armor when I arrived and the bounty only grew as I played through the quests. There’s a very obvious increase in the rate of drops of rare weapons and armor, Drachma, and hard-to-find crafting material such as Carbon Crystals, effectively balancing out a reward system that I feel Assassin’s Creed Origins was previously a little too thrifty with. The most gratifying takeaway from this DLC is how enjoyable it is without breaking the mold. The Shadows of the Scarab quest is a great example of how it effectively reuses Origins’ elements, as it sends you to assassinate elusive bounty hunters roaming the deserts of Sinai. These miniboss-like characters are highly reminiscent of the Phylykes from the main game and I graciously welcomed the revival of that type of fight. Beyond that are plenty of other recognizable experiences, such as raiding pyramids, solving complex puzzles, discovering ancient text, and unearthing legendary loot.