Assassin’s Creed Mirage Review – Journey Back to the Roots
Assassin’s Creed Mirage represents a significant new installment in the acclaimed series, one that returns to the franchise’s original focus more faithfully than its recent predecessors. Upon playing the game, its budget-friendly price point becomes increasingly justifiable, especially considering the meticulous craftsmanship and emotional depth that has gone into its creation. Built on the same technological foundation as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the game’s core mechanics in movement and combat are familiar. However, it diverges sharply from Valhalla by placing a heightened emphasis on stealth, rather than the action RPG elements that characterized earlier titles.
Ubisoft was accurate in stating that this new entry aims to revisit the series’ foundational elements of stealth and assassination. The game essentially reevaluates the core mechanics of the original Assassin’s Creed, modernizing them to fit the expansive freedom and stylistic flair that fans have come to expect. Initially conceived as an expansion for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the project was primarily developed by Ubisoft Bordeaux. However, as the project evolved, it eventually warranted a standalone release.
The inaugural Assassin’s Creed game was groundbreaking for its time, masterfully merging a contemporary setting with the historical backdrop of the 11th-century Middle East. It was a concise experience that never overstayed its welcome. Assassin’s Creed Mirage follows suit by delivering a well-crafted campaign devoid of superfluous filler or fetch quests. The developers have opted for a “quality over quantity” approach, making it one of the most engaging and well-paced entries in the franchise for current-generation consoles. Nonetheless, this does not imply that it is devoid of the shortcomings seen in its predecessor, particularly since it retains similar combat and gameplay systems.
The game introduces us to a new Assassin, Basim Ibn Ishaq, who starts his journey as a street thief. His life takes a transformative turn when he crosses paths with the Hidden Ones and finds a mentor, ultimately leading him to become a skilled assassin. The narrative delves into Basim’s early life on the streets and skillfully develops his character through a series of challenges and adversities, culminating in his mastery of assassination.
Set primarily in Baghdad, Assassin’s Creed Mirage offers a cityscape divided into distinct districts. The level of detail in the game world is truly commendable. Rather than merely replicating elements from reality, the developers have thoughtfully incorporated cultural and religious symbols to create an authentic, living, breathing representation of 9th-century Baghdad. This attention to detail, coupled with improved parkour controls, makes urban exploration a delightful experience.
As the storyline predates even the original Assassin’s Creed, players gain deeper insights into the Order of the Assassins and the history of the Hidden Ones. The modern settings that served as a backdrop in earlier titles are conspicuously absent, a change that benefits the game by maintaining a consistent pace without interruptions. From the very first mission, players are engaged in stealth activities like pickpocketing guards. The narrative also intersects with the Order of the Ancients, a name that will resonate with those familiar with the Templars. While some events in Mirage are linked to Valhalla, prior experience with the latter is not essential for understanding the former, as Mirage essentially serves as a prequel to a key character in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
The game environment is rich with vantage points that not only offer breathtaking views of Baghdad but also serve as fast-travel locations. The emphasis on markers keeps players agile, encouraging them to scale buildings and seek out the next observation point. This gameplay element, reminiscent of earlier titles in the series, is a welcome return. The game’s focus on stealth has led to a reduction in difficulty, making it easier for players to move surreptitiously. Additionally, the progression system has been streamlined, eschewing the role-playing elements of Valhalla in favor of a skill-based upgrade system.
Basim Ibn Ishaq, the game’s protagonist, has access to a variety of tools designed to aid in stealth operations. These tools become available to players throughout various missions. Among them, the smoke bomb stands out for its utility, while sleep darts facilitate easier navigation past enemies. Echoing the alert systems found in the Grand Theft Auto series, Assassin’s Creed Mirage features a mechanism that alerts guards if a mistake is made or if someone is spotted in a compromising situation. However, this can be circumvented by taking cover in a concealed location. It’s worth noting that the game’s AI is particularly adept at searching for Basim even in these hidden spots, making the strategic use of tools and agile parkour skills essential for success.
One of the game’s standout features is its renewed emphasis on stealth and assassination. Players are tasked with eliminating key figures in the narrative, and successfully doing so triggers highly rewarding cinematic sequences. While the main storyline offers engaging missions, the true essence of the game lies in these large-scale assassinations, which are reminiscent of the Hitman series. These missions require players to meticulously plan their approach, identify a path to their target, and execute the assassination. Despite the game’s relatively low difficulty level—attributable in part to the guidance it provides—it allows for multiple strategies, offering potential replay value.
As for the PC version of the game, it performs admirably. Assassin’s Creed Mirage is one of the more polished entries in the franchise in recent years, a fact made all the more impressive given the delays it experienced during development. I encountered no significant bugs or game-breaking issues, and the frame rate remained stable throughout. Additionally, the PC version includes support for DLSS and FSR technologies, providing players with the opportunity to optimize their hardware performance.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage Game Information
- Price: $49.99
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Developer: Ubisoft
- Platform: PC (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher