Assassin's Creed Origins: Curse of the Pharaohs (PC/PS4/Xbox One), 9/10
Assassin's Creed Origins warranted its fair share of both criticism and praise, but the latest DLC for the game is warranting of praise and little else. A surreal and immediate departure from the traditional trappings of Origins, The Curse of the Pharaohs is a welcome shot of adrenaline to a game that had become stale very quickly.
Curse of the Pharaohs feels like a labour of love, as if it was conceived by a team with a geeky infatuation with Ancient Egypt and all of its lore. Much of this DLC deals with ancient Egyptian mythology and features a cast of legendary characters such as Nefertiti and Tutankhamun.
Your objective in Curse of the Pharaohs is to embark upon a symbolic journey through the afterlife, assuaging the spirits of past Pharaohs who have been angered by the theft of their artifacts.
The most captivating moments in Curse of the Pharaohs is in exploring each of the four mystical afterlife worlds. The atmosphere of each world is vastly different and very in-keeping with the theme of the Pharaohs who inhabit them.
As an illustration, you encounter Nefertiti in Aara, known by the ancient Egyptians as a utopian world where the spirits of those who lead a balanced life come to rest. In stark contrast, Tutankhamun's world of Duat is a dark and dangerous place, home to the spirits of those who await judgement. Regardless of which world you are currently exploring, the overarching theme of surreality is omnipresent.
From the giant scorpions, birds with human heads and the near-psychedelic art direction, Curse of the Pharaohs is a huge and welcome departure from the almost 'safe' aesthetic of many Assassin's Creed titles.
Curse of the Pharaohs offers (thankfully) little to no grinding. Considering this fact, the 10-12 hour time that the DLC clocks in at is pretty generous. The Pharaoh fights themselves are not necessarily challenging, but you might want to consider first fighting their shadows (random versions of the pharaohs that appear out of nowhere to take an innocent's life before disappearing again) as a quick primer.
Origins is perhaps the best Assassin's Creed game to date and Curse of the Pharaohs improves on the base experience dramatically. An expansion not to be missed.