When people think of Ancient Egypt they may think of the Pyramids of Giza, The Great Sphinx or countless other things – I mean it did span over 3000 years. But tied in with almost every aspect of Ancient Egyptian life was their mythology, the gods that reigned over every possible aspect of living and the ritual venerations they required. So why wouldn’t Assassins Creed Origins add a mystical, mythos filled expansion for players to get lost in?
Curse Of The Pharaohs takes players to Thebes, one of the most influential cities of Ancient Egypt and the site of the Temple of Karnak, dedicated most importantly to Amun, the Hidden One. The story follows Bayek as he attempts to rid Thebes of a deadly curse causing prominent Pharaohs to rise from the dead.
A longer expansion than The Hidden Ones, Curse Of The Pharaohs focuses on the occult and unknowable side of Egyptian life, tied in with key elements of the Assassins Creed franchise as a whole. This expansion raises the total level cap to 55 which is so easily reachable with the sheer amount of quests, both main and side that come with this new adventure. And trust me, you are going to want every level possible when you face the Pharaohs in arena-style battles.
Well, I say arena-style but what I mean is, you have a very limited open space which you will spend a lot of time running and dodging around. My personal favourite strategy, thanks to my haste in completing the story and not preparing properly, was running around non-stop and only turning to fight when my Berserk bar was full. It works, trust me.
The Pharaoh boss fights are not the only incarnations of the royal dead that we must face, as dynamic events occur throughout Thebes in the form of Shadows Of The Pharaoh. As it turns out, desecration and manipulation of the tombs is not something the Pharaohs really appreciate. The Pharaoh’s Shadows will rise in populated areas and just start slaughtering innocents with a plethora of violent and awesome weaponry. Taking them down will provide you with a few Shards Of A Star which are Curse Of The Pharaohs’ version of Carbon Crystals, useful in upgrading your gear to higher levels.
Speaking of, you thought you had enough Legendary gear before Curse of the Pharaohs? Think again, as this expansion will throw so many Legendary Weapons, Mounts and outfits at you, all inspired by the mythology and gods of Ancient Egypt. The beautiful designs and powerful stats on these Legendary pieces will definitely resonate and you will find yourself sticking with one more than the rest, regardless of power.
While a lot of the quests seem to be quite repetitive and sort of like busy-work, the main story is well worth the price of the expansion as you enter into four distinct mythological realms. The Duat, Field of Reeds, City of the Aten and an endless desert-form of limbo all await traversal each hiding their own secrets, treasures and challenges. Not to mention all the ba-birds which are basically a physical manifestation of an Egyptian soul.
Each of these beautifully constructed afterlife zones offers new aesthetics and environments but fundamentally revolve around the same formula you should be familiar with by now. But damn if they aren’t gorgeous offerings hiding a lot of hidden secrets for lovers of Ancient Egypt and collectors of gameplay items. I could rant about Egyptian mythology for hours but I will keep to the task at hand.
Since this is an expansion all about the mythic and magical side of Ancient Egypt, we need to see some new enemies which we get in the form of jackal-headed warriors sent by Anubis, god of mummification and the dead. Many of these are badass reskins of soldiers throughout the main story of Assassins Creed Origins and The Hidden Ones but the jackal priests are a different story. Anubis is the god of the dead after all and some of his warriors are given rudimentary control over that sphere as well.
I know it isn’t a major factor for many gamers when they are choosing whether or not to purchase an expansion but I cannot emphasise enough how truly beautiful Curse of the Pharaohs is, with a sublime note to it that captures the fantastical nature of what is being recreated. The above image is not painted or edited, it is lifted straight out the game, as are all of the shots I have used.
It is breathtaking.
Curse of the Pharaohs does not change the game up in any dynamic way, instead presenting a story that appears to break away from the Assassins narrative but which resonates with the Egyptian setting. This is an expansion definitely worth picking up, as it will challenge you, excite you and captivate you for many hours. Plus, who doesn’t want more Ancient Egypt?