Ubisoft has been putting out extensive RPG experience in recent installments of Assassin’s Creed which have both loved and critic opinions. The latest installment in the Assassin’s Creed Series is the Assassin’s Creed Mirage which takes back the steps from a more extensive RPG experience and more towards the Classic Assassin’s Creed experience for which it was initially released and known.
The storyline is compact, focused on only one city, populated streets are back, stealth is the major focus, combat does not require leveling, and fewer interest points and collectibles which all bring back the classic Assassin’s Creed vibe to the beautiful and peaceful city of Baghdad. This is our review of Assassin’s Creed Mirage.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage story takes place in the 9th century in the early Abbasid Caliphate who is struggling for the throne with multiple pretenders. Players take the role of Basim, a street thief who was taken by the Hidden Ones to be brought up as one of them to fight for freedom and justice. The Order of the Ancients has a great influence which it uses to find ancient artifacts and gain power in the urban city of Baghdad.
The story of Basim character himself plays an important role in the Assassin’s Creed universe as the players who have played the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will know the character right from the get-go when they first see him. The incidents in Mirage are set in a couple of decades back from Valhalla which both help players understand Basim’s arc and motivations.
The gameplay of Assassin’s Creed Mirage is much like the classic Assassin’s Creed where the story missions of the game are not linked with the progression in side missions. The reason why Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla are so extensive is because of the linking of side missions with the main missions. Fortunately, Mirage Story does not play like “RPG Trilogy” but more like old Assassin’s Creed games where players can completely focus on Story Missions to complete the game without having bound to complete the side quests.
There are a few side quests in the beautiful world of Baghdad that players can choose to complete to earn extra rewards but they don’t play any major role in the overall progression of the character. Speaking of progression, the skills system has also been redesigned for Mirage due to its old-playstyle theme and only focuses on three different paths which are used to enhance scouting, usage of gadgets, and eliminating targets. It certainly makes the game less complex and more enjoyable as you don’t have to spread your skill points in 12 different paths to make a build for the protagonist. Respeccing the skills is also easy and free of cost allowing you to quickly change the playstyle and build.
One of the notable changes that I grew fond of is Combat. Combat is nothing like Odyssey or Valhalla where you have certain types of weapons with unique abilities instead, you only have a sword and a dagger, a deadly combination. Combat does feel like a bit slower than the recent games but it is more challenging than previous games as the enemies get aggressive and attack simultaneously when fighting against more than 2 enemies at a time. It can desynchronize you as enemies hit hard in Mirage and the only way to tackle them is by dodging their attacks to get an opening to eliminate them. There are not a lot of enemy types in Mirage but it still challenges you and it is what makes the combat great because it gives you the use of your tool wheel from where you can make use of your gadgets. Apart from the normal combat, Basim also has a deadly ability which can be triggered after charging the special meter to take out enemies without even letting them know. This ability feels pretty much like Deadeye from RDR2 but in an old Assassin’s Creed fashion.
The overall gameplay of Assassin’s Creed Mirage is filled with historical and classic AC game vibes that will let you focus on stealth most of the time and fluent parkour. The crowded streets, various spots to hide along the missions, and liberating the fortifications, and you also need to take down the wanted posters to not get detected while walking among the people. As you run through the city, you will find open homes through which you can venture and parkour while looting as well. Escaping the enemies can be difficult at times which is why you need to get to high ground with fast parkour to get out of the sight of enemies.
Visuals and Sound
The visuals and the representation of the city of Baghdad are astonishing and there are various clean details in every aspect of the city which you can adore for hours without getting tired. Although, the city might not have a historical sculpture the city itself is very much alive filled with people and peace. Characters on the other side have a slightly low lively behavior. There are not many expressions and details on the characters’ faces which will you notice throughout the game. However, the detailing on the map and the city is on another level and I think it is because of the smaller scale map compared to previous installments.
Another thing that makes the character less alive is the adequate performance of voice acting. There are only two main characters that will keep you engaged and that is Basim and Roshan. Other than these characters, it is very mild and lousy dialogue writing. However, the thing that kept me going was especially, the music. The music instantly sent you back to good old Ezio vibes mixed with Arab music that sets the bar high and lets you soak in the visuals as you discover various districts of Baghdad.
Verdict – Score 9/10
Assassin’s Creed Mirage takes a good step toward the classic Assassin’s Creed games that fans have been missing for several years. Mirage brings back those feelings and nostalgia as soon as you go through the opening hour of the game. The straightforward story progression with fast-paced missions will keep you engaged with the story alongside fewer collectibles and armor pieces to keep going. Mirage is relatively shorter than recent installments but it does justice to everything it provides.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage will be available on October 5th, 2023, on PC, PlayStation 5, XBOX Series X|S, and XBOX One.