Nearly three months after the release of the highly popular, third-person, action-adventure “Assassin’s Creed Origins,” developer Ubisoft supplemented the title’s massive base game with the addition of “The Hidden Ones” downloadable content, or DLC, the first of two paid DLCs announced for release this year.
Inviting players back to the game’s painstakingly detailed reconstruction of ancient Egypt, “The Hidden Ones” picks up four years after the events of the base game. After successfully quelling the threat of the infamous Order of the Ancients at the end of “Origins,” Bayek the last Medjay birthed the Assassin Brotherhood, training a group of ragtag Egyptian fighters, known as the Hidden Ones, in the art of assassination to protect Egypt.
Years after the conclusion of the base game, a promising Hidden One named Tahira summons Bayek to the brand-new region of Sinai in order to address the impending Roman invasion — an invasion that has already taken the lives of his fellow Assassins.
Upon Bayek’s travel to the Sinai region, located in a map separate from the game’s original map of Egypt, “The Hidden Ones” plays out much like a snapshot of the base game. Tahira gives Bayek a main target to take down and Bayek is required to kill a series of lower Roman officials in order to finally assassinate their leader and stamp out the Roman hold on the Sinai region. The sequence of main quests within the DLC unfolds in a way that is reminiscent of the base game itself, which required players to gradually assassinate their way to each member of the Order.
Littered throughout the Sinai region are a variety of engaging side quests, the most memorable of which reintroduce characters from the base game to connect the narrative to the content of the DLC. “The Hidden Ones” also puts forth new legendary weapons and armor to be collected through combat or exploration, while also introducing a new, high-level enemy in the form of the Shadows of the Scarab — bounty hunters reminiscent of the base game’s Phylakes.
The Sinai region itself appears to be an amalgamation of the base game’s various environments — the region’s new map features a massive quarry, a semi-deconstructed pyramid and a central town area, all framed by breathtaking natural boundaries, including scalable rocky caves. Through the main quest line, the player is introduced to a variety of two-and-three-tier military bases that Bayek is prompted to infiltrate in order to progress. The region’s map is also full of additional Roman encampments, which the player can overtake while exploring the area.
The smaller scale of the DLC’s new map also translates to increased density in the environment and more frequent encounters with enemy forces, introducing a more pressing element of challenge throughout the open world. In fact, the player is recommended to scale Bayek up to level 40 or higher prior to even traveling to the Sinai region. With the suggested skill levels put forth by each of the DLC’s new quests, “The Hidden Ones” expects players to have finished the base game’s questline and swept the Egyptian terrain for numerous side quests and puzzles prior to tackling the DLC content.
“The Hidden Ones” DLC expands upon the sheer amount of content present in “Origins,” but fails to truly advance the title’s narrative beyond the ending of its original game. For fans expecting major storyline twists, the DLC may fall short. But for players itching to find additional structured missions after zipping through the base game’s quests, the content of “The Hidden Ones” is welcome. Players may have to wait until March’s “The Curse of the Pharaohs” DLC to witness any real progression in Bayek’s story or additional interactions with the fan-favorite Aya. Aya, the beloved wife of Bayek and fellow leader of the Hidden Ones, was unfortunately largely absent from “The Hidden Ones” DLC.
Without any drastic updates to Bayek’s skill tree or other factors of gameplay, “The Hidden Ones” DLC still manages to put forth interesting content with a reasonably sized map and a slew of quests that are interesting enough, even if they are not conceptually unique in the broader sense of the game. Bound to please eager fans of “Origins,” “The Hidden Ones” DLC is a solid addition to the base game that will certainly inspire players to return to ancient Egypt once again and pick up Bayek’s fight as leader of the Hidden Ones.
Manisha Ummadi covers video games. Contact her at [email protected].