Ubisoft’s recreation of Ancient Egypt in Assassin’s Creed Origins is brimming with mysterious treasures and hidden secrets, and I’m not just talking about all those tombs and hieroglyphs. The game is so expansive and gameplay rich, that it actually forgets to mention some of the cool things you can do as Bayek, from small combat manoeuvres to properly game-changing mechanics. It’s ideal to learn these secret gameplay nuances early on in your Egyptian adventure, too, as they can significantly streamline and enrich the way you play in a number of important aspects. Read on to discover some of the biggest and best hidden mechanics that Assassin’s Creed Origins never even tells you about.
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1. You can light your arrows from your torch
It’s a well known fact that the only thing better than a bow and arrow is a flaming bow and arrow, and Assassin’s Creed Origins is living proof of that maxim. As if by magic, Bayek can bring out a lit torch from beneath his Assassin’s robes at any time during the game, and its use extends beyond navigating all those dark caves and crypts. If you drop the torch on the floor and point your bow at its flame, Bayek can light his arrows ablaze, packing them with an extra scorching punch to quite literally rain hellfire on anyone unlucky enough to be caught in your sights. It’s a simple trick that can come in super handy, especially for taking down tougher enemies more effectively, so try not to forget it when you find the deck stacked against you.
2. Loot without even getting off your mount
There is a lot of loot to be had in Assassin’s Creed Origins. Ubisoft knows this, too, and has tried to make sure that loot hunting is as smooth and effortless a process as possible for the player. Did you know, for instance, that you can pick up loot from chests, dead enemies, and other containers scattered around the world without even having to dismount your horse? Just head towards the item in question as you normally would, and you’ll be prompted to pick up the treasure just as if you were standing on your own two feet. Does that mean your mount is picking up the treasure for you? How can they grab it without opposable thumbs...? On second thoughts, it’s best not to get bogged down in the details of it all, and just be thankful for all the hassle Ubisoft has saved you with this small but much appreciated gameplay tweak.
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3. Use your enemies' crossbows at camps
You know you’re playing a Ubisoft game when you get to turn your enemies’ own weapons against them, and the most powerful piece of artillery in Origins is that of the crossbow turret. Sneak into a restricted zone, head towards the conveniently placed mini ballista (usually found on a ledge somewhere), and you’re free to fire off a few dozen rounds at the guards caught in its sight lines. Some have a 360 degree turn radius, but ammo is often limited and, surprisingly, a single bolt won’t typically kill someone instantly, so it may take two or three shots against a single foe. Still, it’s a great way to quickly deplete the numbers of an enemy base, and it’s immensely fun to score headshots with an arrow the length of a sarcophagus.
4. You'll get ability points from tombs
Not only do Assassin’s Creed Origins’ tombs represent a veritable goldmine for loot, XP, and a host of other rewards, but these dungeons will actually give you ability points upon their completion, which you can then spend on levelling up Bayek. During the late game push, where the progression system drip feeds ability points to the player at a much slower pace, tomb raiding therefore becomes a much faster way of getting the new abilities you need to become the ultimate assassin.
5. You can fight from any direction on horseback
Depending on your play-style, this mechanic either represents a great way of honing your skills in equestrian combat, or simply the chance to snag a photo of Bayek riding his horse backwards. By holding the block button and moving the camera respectively, Bayek can can turn his whole body to face any specific direction while riding, which allows you to repel or deploy attacks from all potential positions. It also looks really cool to fight enemies riding behind you while your noble steed gallops in the other direction. Seriously, give it a try, and snap an amazing picture for the scrapbook while doing so.
6. You can booby trap braziers
Akin to that iconic scene from Lord of the Rings, alerted enemies will light up braziers to let the whole area know that an intruder (that’s you) is in the nearby vicinity, which naturally brings in a host of reinforcements to try and hunt you down. That is, of course, if you haven’t got to the brazier first. Booby trapping the giant fire pit with an explosive, which can be achieved via the simple press of a button once you’re close enough, is the perfect way of turning your enemy’s firepower against them, and prevents drawing in any more unwanted heat to the situation. You don’t need any ability upgrades to perform this devious little trick, and the resulting consequences for the poor fellow who falls for your trap are worth watching for the fireworks that follow.
7. You can set the water on fire
Have you been wondering what all those floating pots scattered across Lake Mareolis are for? I did too, and I found out the hard way that, if you decide to break them open and chuck your torch into the oily liquid that pours out, flames will race across the water, burning up anything and anyone in its path. Smart assassins will be able to use this as a way of effectively taking down enemy ships or dealing with unwanted alligators, but it’s worth noting that this isn’t the easiest trick to pull off without dealing damage to yourself so it's best to just stay as far away as possible and use a bow and arrow. Otherwise, it’s a health and safety hazard waiting to happen, though it is quite funny to watch Bayek catch fire while swimming.
8. You can shoot arrows while swimming and fight underwater
Speaking of swimming, Bayek’s ability to dive and hold his breath are more than just tools to discover the lost treasures of the deep. If you’re swimming on the surface of the water, you can still equip and use your bow, which you’ll be thankful for when an angry hippo arrives on the scene looking for dinner. You’re still able to swing your weapon about and enter a combat stance while swimming too, and can even fight underwater if you want to beat that same hippo on his home turf. It’s not as effective as dealing damage on land, obviously, but it’s there if you ever need it.
9. You can mount your steed seamlessly while sprinting
There’s plenty of open world games with rideable mounts, but Assassin’s Creed Origins is one of the better ones when it comes to the process of hoisting yourself up onto your own personal means of four legged transport. Similar to how D-horse worked in Metal Gear Solid 5, Bayek can whistle for his steed while sprinting, and your selected mount of choice will catch up and run alongside you for a few seconds, giving you a small window of opportunity to seamlessly hop on top of them while in motion. Other than making Bayek look like an expert horse (or camel) whisperer, this trick can be a vital tool for making the perfect getaway, so be sure to keep it in mind when you’re looking to flee from a fight.
10. Play as Senu while Bayek travels to your next destination
Ancient Egypt is a big, big place, and journeying between several regions before you’ve unlocked any fast travel points can take quite some time, even on horseback. Luckily, Origins gives you the ability to put your horse on auto-pilot mode, meaning it’ll take the most optimal route to your custom waypoint without any manual assistance. Better yet, you can call in your eye in the sky, Senu, to scout for nearby points of interest or discover new parts of the map, all while Bayek continues along his designated path in real time. It’s multitasking, Assassin’s Creed style.