The Curse of the Pharaohs takes Bayek on an interesting journey through Egypt that is filled to the brim with tombs, spirits, and haunting and spooky trips to the afterlife. Having encounters with the undead is both a unique and very lighthearted depiction of Egyptian myth that’s rarely been seen within gaming as a whole.
In this expansion pack, it is four years after the end of Origins and Bayek travels south of Siwa to the city of Thebes. Thebes is located along the River Nile and across the water from the Valley of the Kings, and home to the temples of Karnak and Luxor. These temples are the city’s biggest landmarks, featuring beautiful landscapes.
The plot of the expansion is that the spirits of the pharaohs have returned from the afterlife to wreak havoc upon the citizens of Thebes, apparently, they’re not very happy about their artifacts being stolen. It’s up to Bayek to settle things down. However, this isn’t just another story of the undead with the spin of angry mummies, this tale is full of symbolism and you get to play an important part in their journey through the afterlife, and it’s a well-crafted story. Curse of the Pharaohs isn’t as grounded as The Hidden Ones was.
These two objectives are the push and pull of Curse of the Pharaohs. Thebes and the surrounding four regions are the new area that you’ll be playing in and the structure of the world is mainly the same as it is in the base game.
The gameplay loop alongside the structure of the questline is largely the same as it is in the base game. Here, it is no different; you have to meet some people, do some police work, find some items and assassinate a few targets. It’s very much filler and feels somewhat uninspired.
However, that is a small nitpick in the overall structure of things, the best parts of the DLC comes while exploring the worlds of the pharoahs. The atmosphere of each underworld Bayek visits is vastly different from the next. For example, you can find Nerfertiti in Aaru where the spirits of those who passed would rest easy and it’s filled with nice imagery of wine and flowers. Tutankhamun, by contrast, is found in Duat: a place that is described as Purgatory where the souls of those who passed are judged for their actions. These environments are nothing short of surreal and unique, each environment is filled with Ancient Egyptian lore and history that made the base game so unique.
Jumping into this new expansion at level 50 was a good start to begin this new journey, although I was a tad bit overpowered, which made a combat quite a breeze alongside completing some of the questlines in a quick manner. It takes about 10 to 12 hours to complete.
In the end, The Curse of the Pharaohs is a unique expansion pack that steps out of bounds and is a big step away from what made Origins and The Hidden Ones so deeply grounded into this time period that we don’t often see within gaming. The Curse of the Pharaohs goes beyond expectations.