Assassin’s Creed Mirage review

Assassin’s Creed has gone through a transformative journey in recent years. What started as a stealth-focused action-adventure series evolved into expansive open-world RPGs. However, Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a refreshing throwback to the roots of the franchise, reminding fans of its core elements.

It offers an experience that’s stripped down, emphasizing social stealth, parkour, and the thrill of stealthily eliminating your foes. If you were like me and felt that the Assassin’s Creed series lost its way in the pursuit of grandeur and RPG mechanics, Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a nostalgic homecoming.

Platform(s): PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One, PC and Amazon Luna
Developer(s): Ubisoft Bordeaux, Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher(s): Ubisoft
Genre: Action-adventure
Modes: Single-player
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)

First things first – Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a departure from the sprawling and complex narrative of recent games in the series like Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla. This simplicity may initially catch you off-guard if your accustomed to the intricate storytelling of the trilogy, but it’s a conscious choice by Ubisoft to cater to both new and returning players. The game’s story follows Basim, a character known to Valhalla fans, as he seeks to rise from a petty street thief to a member of the Hidden Ones, the precursor to the Assassins.

While the game’s story eventually connects with the broader Assassin’s Creed lore, it primarily focuses on Basim’s journey through the ranks of the Hidden Ones as he battles the Order of the Ancients’ influence over Baghdad. The game’s straightforward storytelling approach is a smart move. It ensures that Assassin’s Creed Mirage attracts both new players and those who may have found the recent games too convoluted. As a result this makes Mirage approachable while still offering elements of the series’ broader lore.

Mirage’s gameplay echoes the beloved Ezio trilogy rather than the recent RPG-heavy titles. Character progression is now simpler, doing away with the need to grind for experience and navigate level restrictions found in recent games. In Mirage, you gain skill points as you advance in your journey to become a master assassin. These points can be spent on skill trees, which provide tangible upgrades, such as chain assassinations and enhancing your pet eagle.

This shift to a more natural progression system really allowed me to immerse myself in the game’s story without cumbersome level requirements and gear checks. Speaking of which, Gear has also been streamlined. You’re limited to three gameplay-impacting slots: your dagger, sword, and outfit. Each item can be upgraded only three times, with the required materials readily available in Baghdad.

The focus has shifted to refining your preferred playstyle, as armour stats no longer influence the game. You’re no longer burdened with the constant search for new gear or handling scaling enemies. It’s liberating to explore Baghdad without these RPG complexities.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a testament to the revival of stealth, the heart of Assassin’s Creed. It’s a departure from Valhalla’s combat-focused encounters, emphasizing the classic approach of staying in the shadows and creatively manipulating your surroundings to eliminate targets. As a result, main missions shine in this aspect.

They return to the series’ signature “black box” scenarios, offering sprawling set-piece locations with various access points for you to create distractions and get closer to your target. The focus on social stealth plays a crucial role. Basim seamlessly blends in with the crowd, an improvement over previous attempts.

You can often move between groups of people in plain sight, quietly assassinate your target, and slip back into the bustling streets of Baghdad. Social distractions, a series staple, return with a token system. This encourages you to explore side content, limiting their reliance on these distractions. Going loud is still an option, but the game advises against melee combat against multiple foes. Because of this, I felt that Basim feels fragile in these situations, but it seems that the developers deliberately did this to encourage stealth as the primary approach. Additionally, the intricate architecture of Baghdad, with its narrow streets and parkour opportunities, makes it ideal for stealthy gameplay.

When you’re not infiltrating the Order of the Ancients, you’ll explore the mesmerizing streets of Baghdad and its surrounding desert, engaging in captivating side activities. Ubisoft’s recreation of Baghdad is a masterpiece, boasting intricate details that set a new standard for open-world environments. The city feels vibrant, with NPCs engaged in various activities, creating a truly immersive world. This level of detail transcends typical background decoration.

Baghdad rewards exploration with numerous side quests, providing depth without overwhelming players. From returning lost books for skill points to solving treasure maps and pickpocketing mysterious shards, there’s a wealth of content. Among these, the “Tales of Baghdad” stand out, offering short, narrative-driven side quests that enrich the world’s history and landmarks. They introduce unique characters and enhance the game’s ambiance.

However, the surrounding wilderness fails to match the grandeur of Baghdad. While realistic, it lacks compelling reasons for exploration, except for a few story missions. As a result, I felt that it is a severely underutilized part of the game.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage successfully achieves its mission: to pay homage to the series’ roots and be a re-entry point for lapsed fans. The focus on stealth, the removal of RPG complexities, and the downplaying of melee combat make it the most focused entry in recent memory. The return to social stealth evokes the series’ classic moments, reminding you of the thrill of silently eliminating yout targets.

The streamlined progression system allows for a more immersive narrative experience, as missions are no longer gated behind arbitrary level requirements or gear checks. Mirage strikes a delicate balance, feeling welcoming to new players while rekindling the nostalgia of longtime fans.

This back-to-basics approach emphasizes that Assassin’s Creed doesn’t need to rely solely on sprawling RPGs. Assassin’s Creed Mirage showcases the value of the classic formula and suggests a future where old and new can coexist.

+ Return to core Assassin’s Creed elements
+ Streamlined progression and minimal gear complexity
+ Elevates stealth missions with creative, intricate assassinations

– Melee combat feels clunky by design, steering players towards stealth

Gameplay: 4/5
Graphics: 4/5
Sound: 4/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5

Purchase Assassin’s Creed Mirage for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One

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