Outright cursing at the Curse of the Pharaohs DLC

Adam Mathew 2 March 2018 NEWS

The folly of man and the Horus of war.

I'm a level-headed veteran who's clocked every AC out there, but inside of five minutes of play-time I found myself cursing the Curse of the Pharaohs. For those of you not in the know, that's Ubisoft's next big DLC for the widely praised Assassin's Creed: Origins. It should not be confused with the similarly-titled Curse of Osiris, DLC for the wildly unpopular Destiny 2.

So, back to that f-bomb of mine. After spending hundreds of interim hours with other melee-focused, open-world titles (Monster Hunter World, Metal Gear Survive, etc), I found that most of my assassin skills had left me. Like the shifting sands of Egypt, all memory of Origins' revised control scheme had left my brain, and at the worst possible time, too. The second you hop off the boat as Bayek and into the new area of Thebes, death via supernatural uber-enemy is but a few sandal shuffles away. Be warned: go in cocky and Curse of the Pharaohs will rort you quicker than a pyramid scheme.

Your new worst enemy will soon become the titular Curses. Imagine seven-foot tall enemies who can teleport in via some sort of ash magic, at which point they'll hand you bladed death quicker than a bloodthirsty chainsaw. They're so utterly lethal the Animus will warn you of their arrival into the world, even if you're suburbs away. Quite how these deceased and murderous ghost-kings are sniffed out by Abstergo technology is never really explained, but I'm thinking it has something to do with pharaohmones.

If you do try to take on a level 46 Pharaoh's Shadow – typically while a bunch of regular enemies perforate your pancreas from behind – you'll be very thankful you over-achieved to the level 40 cap in vanilla's main quest (and then to 45 in The Hidden Ones DLC). After a bit of adjustment, I got my groove back and was back in the game, plus I had crept a little higher to the new level cap of 55. At this point, the Shadows still demanded your respect, but feel less like ancient Egyptian Terminators. All that said, they will not be the last of your supernatural troubles when Bayek's “living nightmare” continues.

If you love mythology and the thought of being toyed with by changeable, dark Egyptian gods, then you're all Set in this DLC. After thirty minutes of doing detective work in Thebes (think: a lot of sneaking through The Valley of the Kings, and some numerically-unfair street brawls) you can look forward to a trip to the afterlife – or at least Bayek's imagining of it.

I'll not spoil too much about the nature of your mission there, suffice to say that the golden plains of Aaru are an absolutely gorgeous feast for the eyes. It's a massive region to explore and is littered with some lovely surreal stuff, too, like huge warships that slice their way through the wheat fields. Out over the crops, I also spotted the periscopic stingers of giant scorpions lying in wait. Can't tell you much more about them, because I'm not an idiot – I stayed the hell away from their obvious sting operations.

After spending a full hour with Curse of the Pharaohs, I'm hooked on the increased combat challenge and its fascinating plot that revolves around Queen Nefertiti. I've rediscovered my love of this title, especially as I can now experience it in glorious 4K HDR. I really loved the last freebie bit of Origins DLC (that turned this sandbox into a grounded history tour) but that content pales in comparison to the crazy delights of this afterlife. Sample Curse of the Pharaohs in ultra-high definition and – wow – you really will feel like you've died and gone to heaven.

Click to buy Assassin’s Creed Origins

Click to buy Assassin’s Creed Origins from Amazon AU

Experience a new way to fight while exploring the Great Pyramids and hidden tombs across the country of Ancient Egypt.

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