But Christ it was long.
As to his personality, I loved that Bayek was not just a collection of toxic masculine tropes. He was a devoted husband and father, and responded to the children in the game with humour, warmth and generosity. His deadly ability to kill was tempered by a kind heart and a strong sense of duty.
Aya is Bayek's wife and, in the beginning, is as devoted to him as he is to her. She is fierce and driven, and best of all, isn't built like a weird barbie who might blow away in the wind. That was nice.
I also really like the way she moved. She moves like a person who has strength. There isn't any pretence of the strange femininity that a lot of designers insist on giving their female characters.
And can we all just admire that woman's thighs? THEY'RE NOT HOT DOG SLENDER! Their thicker than I'm used to seeing on female game characters. Which makes sense. A woman able to do what she does would be muscular.
She runs like a person, climbs like a person, and fights like a person. She looks capable when she moves.
I guess it's not that hard to animate women after all, Ubisoft.
One of the things I adore most is how utterly into each other these two are. Until the end. Ahem. More on that later.
Those masked men belonged to a sinister group called The Order, whose sole goal is peace by control. Basically tyrannical control of absolutely everything and everyone. True, that would stop the wars, but the enslavement of the entire human race is a bit much to bear.
Bayek's goal remains the same always. Avenge Khemu so that the child's spirit can at last venture into the land of reeds. Aya's goals change. She sees the long game; the threat of The Order will not end with Khemu walking into the land of the dead, and more children will be murdered if they don't do something.
That's not explicitly said by the character, but it is heavily implied. It's also something I might have made up to try and justify to myself why someone who loved her husband so damned much would so readily and easily break his heart as she did.
And that's my big beef with the story. Aya walks away from her husband, claiming that she has killed all love she once had.
Yo, that's no way to live, Aya. The absence of love feels evil to me, and the creed seems so otherwise righteous.
To Bayek's credit, despite his broken heart, he co-founds what will become the Brotherhood with her, running the Egyptian branch while she runs her side from Rome.
It would be entirely possible for these two to separate and run this new organisation with the noble goal of keeping the world free from enslavement, without them having to renounce their love. They could meet once a year or so for a short tryst or something. God knows Bayek would be ever devoted to her.
For fuck's sake, writers. WHO HURT YOU?
Anyway, the story was good. I liked it... Right up until the end when Aya renounces her love. I wasn't fond of that.
Also, I have an unanswered question caused by the game's end. If Bayek's son is dead, and Bayek has the eagle-warg thing from which the assassin's gain their eagle sight powers, how exactly is that power transferred along? Did Bayek have more children? With whom? I HAVE QUESTIONS, GAME!
I really liked that women were not a monolith in this game. Cleopatra is as history remembers her (which, I might add, is not all that accurately as it turns out. This is why you don't rely solely on classical sources for character descriptions. The Romans especially were fabulous at propaganda); a sex-ed up femme whose ambitions far outstripped her abilities to rule. She's also quite tiny.
Aya is fierce, capable and deadly. She's driven, and, unlike Cleopatra, is able.
Both are really common tropes in fiction - the ambitious woman using sex to get ahead, and the strong woman whose strength is her only defining feature. Still, they're both well-written and believable as complete people.
The various women in the game are also varied; there is a huntress, a gladiator, a woman grieving her husband, a woman cheating her husband... They come with various goals, and histories.
It was nice not seeing women played just one way, no matter how tropey Cleopatra and Aya actually are.
I also had a lot of fun with the triremes. Ramming other ships at sea is too much fun, as it turns out. It's also an appropriate way to conduct naval battles in this time. Triremes were specifically designed to ram other ships. That's how the Greek's did battle back in the day.
The only gripe I have is the length of the game. I played for three hours a week for 24 weeks, and I still haven't finished all the little things. I've done all the missions, all the stone circles, a couple of tombs and some papyri. That's it. There's still places left to find, locations left to complete, tombs left to plunder (ahem), and papyri left to solve. It's a little too much, to be honest, and I find myself suffering from Assassin's Creed Origins fatigue. That's never a good thing for a game.
That's said, I will be revisiting this game to complete the stuff that needs completing.
It is a beautifully complete world, with fun, sometimes heartbreaking (I'm still sad about Shadya), sometimes hilarious quests.
It is worth picking up.
Maybe, when I'm less sick of it, I might pick up the DLC and play that.