Ubisoft Blue Byte – Assassin’s Creed: Escape the Lost Pyramid (Review)

Location: This game is available from many locations, we played at VR Zone DC in Washington, DC

Players: 2 or 4, either of which is a great time

Price: Varies, based on location.

Time to Escape: Approximately 60 Minutes

Into the Animus!

Theme:

From the Ubisoft Escape Games website:

Welcome to the Animus. February 1928.An expedition led by Sir Beldon Frye disappears somewhere in the Sinai Peninsula. A team of four and a dozen local porters were looking for the Lost Pyramid of Nebka… Or more precisely, “something” that should have been there. They were never seen again. Using the simulation reconstructed from their DNA memory, your team will put themselves in the shoes of the explorers. Find out what happened to the expedition. And more importantly, locate what they were looking for.

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First Impressions:

I love Assassin’s Creed. It was what I asked for Christmas every single year when it came out annually, and is still a must buy for me even through the ups and downs of the series. When I heard they were developing Virtual Reality escape games for the series, playing them became a high priority for me. VR seems like such a great substitute for the Animus, and barring the absolute travesty that was the Assassin’s Creed movie, I’ve loved every product that bears this franchise’s name. I had high expectations, and luckily, I was not disappointed.

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High Points:

Escape the Lost Pyramid is an awesome adventure, and utilizes Virtual Reality to create one of the most immersive escape games I’ve ever played. The medium is truly used to great effect, allowing for some giant scale puzzles that you just cannot create in a traditional escape room, including some great traversal puzzles that aren’t for the faint of heart! (Side note, if you’re afraid of heights, do not, I repeat, do not look down.) At the outset, each player chooses an avatar, and is led into a dressing room/lobby which is full of hats and necklaces to use to further customize the avatars. While the avatars are really great, this customization allows for players to further differentiate themselves, which helps in the long run. I knew we were in for a great experience when the basic experience of selecting our avatars and putting on hats was already getting us engaged and psyched to play around in the VR space.

The game’s absolutely epic journey begins with the players separated from one another, and intuitively teaches everyone how to play the game at their own pace. Once these introductory puzzles have been completed by everyone, the game brings everyone together and the experience starts in earnest. The game flow is linear, but presents incredibly immersive and wholly intuitive puzzles to the group, which varied between solo, pair, and full group solves during our four player experience. The difficulty curve and size of puzzles smoothly upgrades from start to finish, and while a few of the conundrums included are sometimes quite challenging, other players are almost always available to help, either through the game itself, or by offering tips over the headsets. Every stage of the game moves further up the titular Pyramid, and the sense of progress is well marked, providing many points at which to feel victorious. Except for those parts in which your wife knocks you off a platform. Those are only fun for her. Just kidding, that was still hilarious. Speaking of something that should’ve turned my stomach, Escape the Lost Pyramid feels comfortable at all times, and at no point did I feel nauseous, which is a feat.

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Low Points:

While playing with three other friends is great, and messing around in the VR space together is amazing fun, the game is set up in such a way that from time to time, and depending on how good your comrades are at the game, you may be spending some time sitting around. There was one point in the game where I was waiting for my friends for quite some time, and I couldn’t even see what they were doing because of how my part of the game had been positioned. Luckily for me, I had a bow and arrow to mess around with, but even shooting that around and flinging some ill fated pots around started to wear thin after a while. Players may be disappointed with some of the game’s linearity as well, as each player is funneled through a predetermined path, and very little deviation is allowed. These two points sometimes join together to create some real frustration, but more often than not, there’s at least some way to create your own fun or help direct your teammates. The final climax is, unfortunately somewhat of a let down, as there’s not really a great capstone puzzle of huge boss fight as you would expect. It just sort of… ends.

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Verdict:

Though Escape the Lost Pyramid stumbles from time to time, it is an amazing first step for Ubisoft’s new series of escape games, and I am absolutely looking forward to more! The game is extremely well made, and even those who don’t have a background with Assassin’s Creed will enjoy the adventure. On the whole, the game is an amazing evolution for escape rooms, and it is a must play for those interested in trying out a room that allows you to puzzle around in an enormous pyramid! Find a room near you here!

8.5/10 (Great)

Full Disclosure: VR Zone DC provided media discounted tickets for our game.

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