Assassin’s Creed was a yearly title from Ubisoft from 2007 to 2015. The company decided to take a break in releases to refocus the gameplay of the franchise. Now, Assassin’s Creed Origins represents the series’ first foray into 4K HDR graphics and Dolby Atmos sound, so let’s see if the break in the release scheduled helped with the AV quality of the series.
The majority of this review was written by our “ghost reviewer” Datsm. While he wishes to remain anonymous, but I want to give credit where it’s due—it’s his review. Datsm put the time into playing Assassin’s Creed Origins (it’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it) using a reference system that includes an Xbox One X ($499 on Amazon) provided by Microsoft as well as a 65″ Samsung Q9F TV plus a Dolby Atmos sound system with KEF R-series speakers and a Marantz AV7704 pre/pro.
Platforms: Xbox One X, Xbox One S, Xbox One, Playstation 4 Pro, Playstation 4, PC
Developers: Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montreal
Genre: Action Adventure
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
Resolution: 4K UHD with HDR
Engine: AnvilNext 2.0
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Synopsis (taken from Ubisoft’s website)
Set in mysterious Ancient Egypt, Assassin’s Creed Origins is a new beginning. Experience a new way to fight while exploring the great pyramids and hidden tombs across the country of Ancient Egypt, and encounter many memorable storylines along your journey. And discover the origin story of the Assassin’s Brotherhood.
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
Low Frequency Extension: 90
Positional/Environmental Cues: 92
Dialogue/Mix Quality: 90
The audio in the game was very nice, but not great. The main issue was inconsistency; during cutscenes, the audio fidelity mix was fantastic with effective use of the Atmos channels. However, during gameplay the audio presentation was uneven. Primarily, dialogue could get muddied while talking to an NPC while something random was happening in the background.
Also, with the verticality of the game and all the climbing, I expected the Atmos channels to be room-filling. But in practice, the potential of Atmos was underutilized. As for bass, the low-end effects were decent, but some sounds had a tendency to come across as bloated.
Black Levels: 85
Color Reproduction: 95
When I first booted up the game, I was really excited to see that I had options for the HDR settings. This was the first game that allowed me to actually set the nits for the Samsung Q9F. However, as I got into the game, my visual experience was confusing.
For the first time in my gaming experience, the in-game graphics looked better than the cutscenes. It’s as if the game was in 4K HDR while the cutscenes were rendered in 1080p and upscaled. While I don’t know exactly what’s happening behind the scenes, it looked odd and a bit off-putting.
As for the graphics during gameplay, all I can say is wow! Assassin’s Creen Origins looks absolutely stunning. Walking around the cities and other environments was pure eye candy. At times, I found myself simply walking around to see how things looked. The water and the view from Senu (your eye in the sky eagle) had real depth to it and vibrant colors that took advantage of the wide color gamut of HDR.
The only issue I saw in the gameplay graphics pertained to black levels. You have to enter tombs and caves in the game, and I found it hard to see what was happening when I did. Sometimes the area would get very bright and then switch to unseeable blackness until you hit the right camera angle. Additionally, black levels in these environments looked uneven.
Visually, Assassin’s Creed Origins is one of the weirder games I’ve played. The inconsistency from cut scenes to in-game graphics was disruptive to the experience and detracted from the beautifully designed cities and landscapes you see during gameplay. While most of the audio was great, I expected more from the Atmos channels, especially since the game had plenty of opportunities, given the verticality of the gameplay.
Reference Review Systems*
65″ Samsung Q9F QLED 4K UHD TV (provided by Samsung)
Xbox One X 4K HDR gaming console (provided by Microsoft)
KEF R700 towers, R600 center, R800ds dipole surround, R50 Atmos speaker, R400b subs
Marantz AV7704 11.2-channel pre/pro
Emotiva XPA 5 and XPA 2 amplifiers
* This review is by “Datsm” who is a gamer and AV expert. They wish to remain anonymous.