Assassin’s Creed is back! 15 years after the original game was released and many different iterations and game styles, Assassin’s Creed Mirage has returned to the series roots and in my humble opinion, is much better for it.
Origins managed to tell the story of the birth of the Hidden Ones/Assassins, and Odyssey and Valhalla could have easily been non-Assassin’s Creed games and still been wildly popular. The open-world RPG style of the last two entries had fans polarised with too much content. Assassin’s Creed Mirage strips back the clutter and reveals the story of Basim, the mysterious Assassin from the previous title, Valhalla, who is now looking to play a prominent role in the larger story of the series.
Starting as a street thief on the outskirts of Baghdad with a heart of gold (yeah, ain’t they all), you start the game off learning the basics of traversing the lands, not much has changed if you are a veteran of Assassin’s Creed games. You soon realise that you have been completing missions given to your boss for the Hidden Ones. Then by chance you meet with the Master Assassin Roshan, who is hiring you for your missions and you learn of an object they are after. Wanting to take the initiative of the situation and hopefully obtain gainful employment from the source, you head out to steal the chest in question yourself.
Everything spirals into chaos when a prominent figure is murdered by Nehal, your accomplice and best friend since childhood, in an attempt to shield you after you successfully obtain the contents of a crucial chest. Tragically, this act sets off a chain of events where everyone you hold dear falls victim to a sinister fate, with the exception of Nehal. The assassins, recognizing your unique ability to decrypt the stolen disc, acknowledge your predicament and extend an offer for both an escape and a coveted position at their table.
After many years of training, Assassin’s Creed Mirage then lets Basim loose in the main area of the game, Baghdad. Immediately when you enter the main city you will notice the resemblance to the cities from the original Assassin’s Creed game. Whilst there are many differences, the feel is back, and it feels great.
The city of Baghdad is very lively and feels lived in. There is constant chatter going on in all the main districts which is broken up into four different areas, each of which home a Hidden Ones Bureau. This is where you will gain information about leads and targets you will be up against. It almost had the feel of Prince of Persia 2008 with its four different areas, each able to be completed in whichever order you would like. In addition to these being the main mission hubs you are also able to find an investigation board, which has side quests that will net you materials required to upgrade tools and other items in the game.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage also has many loot chests scattered across Baghdad, most of them containing the materials I just mentioned but then the harder-to-find gear chests play a massive part in how you will complete your playthrough of the game. Contained in these gear chests are schematics on how to create more outfits, swords and daggers, each having its perks that will affect your gameplay style. I had a love/hate relationship with the gear chests in Assassin’s Creed Mirage. Once located by your trusty eagle, a small but tough puzzle was required to gain access. Players will feel rewarded for hunting down these chests.
I also enjoyed the fact that pickpocketing made a return and was meaningful in Assassin’s Creed Mirage. Not only would you be able to steal money, but there were also little trinkets that could be used to bribe people when trying to access their next target, hire help or even just get discounts from a merchant who would create and upgrade your schematics found in the gear chests. That’s right, you don’t buy weapons and gear anymore, that’s all the merchants are there for, to create weapons and outfits based on the designs you can provide to them, again, another feature I loved about this game.
Combat in Assassin’s Creed Mirage is also really fun. You will want to concentrate on stealth (because you are an Assassin, duh) but also because Basim is not skilled in combat. Sure he can take on one or two enemies at a time, but as soon as they swarm you, you rarely have any other option than to run. This made you rely more on using the gadgets you acquire along the way and probably play the game as intended. If I have a gripe about this game, it’s that the controls in combat were not my cup of tea. R1 and holding down R1 for light and heavy attacks, L1 for parry, but square/X button for dodge. I never really came to grips with this throughout my whole experience in the game. It’s really hard to explain, but using a face button when all the others were triggers, was just really hard.
However, the latest addition to combat which I didn’t think I would enjoy as much as I did was ‘Assassin’s Focus’ which would allow you to plot your attack against multiple enemies and strike them down in succession. When this was leveled up you could almost clear a room in a matter of seconds.
Moreover, in the RPG realm of Mirage, developers have adeptly streamlined the skill system into three easily manageable sections. This design ensures that players can effectively develop these skills during their initial playthrough, eliminating the necessity for a new game plus to achieve the status of the ultimate assassin.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage has simplified and crafted the gameplay to be the best of old and newer titles. The cast was superb in this game with everyone delivering fantastic performances while staying culturally relevant. While I loved the story due to the fact it takes roughly 25 hours to finish, as opposed to the 120-hour feats of the previous titles in the series, it told a great story but also led me to believe that there will be story-based DLC around the corner as there were a few more questions that need answering to fill in the time between Mirage and Valhalla.
ASSASSIN'S CREED MIRAGE REVIEW
Assassin’s Creed Mirage is the game many fans of the series have been waiting for for a long time. The game no longer strays from the assassin-based combat from the earlier titles, promoting a more stealthy approach to combat. That, combined with the culture-rich story contained in a world that is genuinely fun to navigate will have new and old Assassin Creed fans satisfied.
- Great story twists that keep you on your toes
- Voice-acting is top-notch
- Won’t take you over a month to finish
- Great skill sets to master
- Much better difficulty in a stealth sense
I feel like the story is not over and would require DLC
Gear chests can sometimes be frustrating to get to
Assassin’s Creed Mirage is available on October 5, 2023 for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC.
A review code was supplied by the publisher for purposes of this review.