Bayek’s journey through The Hidden Ones takes many unexpected twists and turns, allowing him to truly open up to the audience.
The Hidden Ones is a DLC which allows the character to naturally grow through the narrative, but also show us what he’s learned from the trials of his past. In that, its value and importance to the overall arc and context of the story cannot be overstated.
So what’s Bayek been up to since Origins?
**Some spoilers for Assassin’s Creed Origins will follow**
He’s now a fully formed member of The Hidden Ones. He’s got new attire including a familiar red sash and hood. Wherever he walks, legends of his deeds follow. Above all else, he still respects the code of the Medjey, seeking to preserve and protect the innocent at all costs.
In The Hidden Ones, Bayek is called to The Sinai by Tahira and must travel across the Red Sea to help with a revolt against the Romans. Two Hidden Ones were mercilessly killed and Tahira believes she is responsible as she is the one who trained them.
As tensions start to flare, Tahira has allied herself with Gamilat, the rebel leader, in a desperate bid to keep The Hidden Ones together. Now she needs Bayek’s help to figure out the next steps. And so Bayek’s latest story begins, four years after the last.
What’s immediately special about The Hidden Ones is that those of us who’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed for so many years have all the context. We know who The Hidden Ones become, we know their strengths and weaknesses, we’ve seen them grow, develop and expand in so many different time periods and territories.
But this content helps fill in some of the blanks in that history and shows some of the important struggles that had to happen in order to bring the creed together.
Things that happen in this content really sow the seeds for everything we’ve already seen which makes it perhaps the most relevant and important piece of Assassin’s Creed DLC to date.
Above all else, it shows us the true leadership qualities of Bayek and, for my money, his superiority as a lead in this franchise. After watching Bayek discuss philosophy and faith with a random stranger to inspire them into battle, it not only shows us the kind of man he’s become but it shows us how deeply he believes in the cause.
Ezio would try to charm his way out of everything and that has always given him a special place in most people’s hearts, but I feel like Ubisoft have just scratched the surface of Bayek’s potential.
Not only is he an engaging lead who is often fearless, he is able to make casual, quippy wisecracks and even debate heavy political issues with true understanding and appreciation.
I was impressed by how likeable Bayek was in Assassin’s Creed Origins, though often purely consumed by the grief of his dead son. After playing The Hidden Ones, I now have a much greater respect and admiration for the man, the myth and the legend and I cannot wait to see what he does next.
But what about the content, is that any good?
Definitely. There’s the entire region of Sinai to explore, which includes the Arisnoe Nome, Klysma Nome and Madiama Nome. The aim is to defeat Rufio’s three Roman lieutenants in order to draw out the man himself but each one has different aspirations and intentions, and so each task will have different conditions for you to fulfill.
For instance, one is keeping slaves in a quarry and likes to resort to big public speeches to boast about his qualities. Another hides himself in a fort, dressed like his captains and commanders so as to conceal and protect himself from would-be assassins. Each approach will need to be different, both dictated by the narrative and also in the games’ mechanics.
And there are some really challenging conditions to fend through, like deep, dark tombs, hilly pyramids and treacherous, long-reaching waters. This also plays into each conquest, really requiring you to establish a strategy before charging in head first.
As such, you probably should be around the Level 38 – 40 mark before attempting the content. By then you will have completed the base game, but you’ll also be prepared for some of the challenges ahead as there’ll be lots of fire arrows buzzing around, fast, strong opponents with heavy armour and crazy numbers desperate to pulverise you.
Fortunately, the game gives you lots of legendaries and rares to fight back with, but also plenty of crafting materials so you can really fortify yourself. There’s also lots of side quests to keep you steady and sharp, like extracting a body of a Hidden One from an eradication area to ensure a proper burial, recovering the Shard of the Star by deciphering mysteries of hidden scrolls, and fighting against the ferocious Shadows of the Scarab who are Sinai’s equivalent of Phylakes.
Honestly, it’s a fantastic DLC, though some of the initial missions can be a bit frustrating which gives the impression of being immediately off-putting. Finding the Hidden Ones Bureau for instance, took me a lot longer than it should have. And one of the generals I ended up stumbling into after an alarm was raised rather than actually finding him myself.
The tough difficulty can also force a few restarts and while the narrative is very revealing and interesting, mechanically the content does start to feel a bit predictable, treading overly familiar ground throughout by tasking you to kill one target, move onto the next, kill someone else, rinse, repeat.
Origins did a better job of breaking the assassinations up with other activities, like investigations and chases, though I guess it did have more time to play with
The story will roughly take about 2-3 hours, depending on difficulty, but the side quests easily buff this up to around about 6-7 hours worth of content. With the narrative revelations here, it’s well worth the money and certainly does plenty to not only continue Bayek’s journey, but give us some subtle clues where he might end up next.
Ubisoft seem ready to hand the mantle of the franchise over to Bayek and after The Hidden Ones, I’m glad to say it’s in incredibly safe hands. For me, he might even become the greatest lead the games have ever had.
Mechanically, The Hidden Ones is also a good challenge with some gorgeous environments and interesting side objectives. The gameplay does border on the predictable at times but there’s plenty a decent amount of content here to make this a very worthwhile bundle for the price.
The Hidden Ones is the bridge that not only links some of the biggest events in the series history, but also guides the way to an extremely exciting future, making it, perhaps, the most important Assassin’s Creed DLC to date.
+ Bayek’s character development is incredible
+ Gorgeous environments to explore
+ Decent sized campaign and lots of other content to uncover
+ Really ties the franchises’ history together
– Initial missions can be a bit off-putting with some steep difficulty
– Campaign prone to some repetition throughout
Assassin’s Creed Origins: The Hidden Ones
8.5 out of 10
Tested on Playstation 4
Code provided by the publisher