Oh Assassin’s Creed Mirage how to brought me back to a time past when Assassin’s Creed games didn’t have to be a hundred hours long and with a map so large you have to have a ship just to get around. Assassin’s Creed Mirage was announced in September 2022 following the release of Valhalla and released just over a year over later on October 5th, 2023. With a good story, great voice acting, a fun combat and a good size map Assassin’s Creed Mirage feels like a step into the past. That said let’s talk about the most resent release in one of Ubisoft’s flag ship franchise.
Starting with game play, Assassin’s Creed Mirage takes ques from past games in many way while giving you a lot of quality of life upgrades we could only dream of back in 2007 when the franchise got it’s start but like in 2007 and forward there are some issues, the camera can be your best friend or worst enemy at times, lining up the prefect jump after sneaking past, or murdering all the guards, ready to get to the top of the tower to get the treasure, synchronization point or maybe just get from one place to another and oops down you fall to your death, while this isn’t a deal breaker I did find it taking me out of the immersion of the game at the worst moments.
Quests not populating correctly or NPCs unwilling to speak to you when needed again took me out of the immersion but we’re never bad enough to make me want to turn the game off. The combat is fun if more simplified then in more resent titles but still fun to learn and worth taking the time to master, just don’t get to confident lest you find yourself in overwhelming odds and if you are really unlucky finding yourself fighting a large mob and one of the Shakiriyya or an elite guard who are hard one on one and nearly impossible when fighting others. The over hauled pickpocket mechanic is fun if frustrating at time and it is nice that it can be turned off in settings or made easier with skill upgrades. One of the things that returns in AC Mirage are traditional assassinations meaning that you are given a mission in order to assassinate a specific Target a number of ways to do so and are then given free reign to complete the mission however works best for your play style.
A new and interesting currency joins AC in this iteration, this new currency allows you to do things found in the older games that were always useful like hiring a menstrual to distract the guards, paying off the local crier to reduce your wanted level or even paying mercenaries to fight for/with you allowing certain areas easier access or just simply the ability to get into by sneaking past while the mercenaries have the guards attention. The skill tree is simplified but with the tools and upgrades to those tools and the variety of swords and daggers and the abilities those items give you as well gives you enough variety to enjoy while not being overwhelming, finding the items to upgrade the tools, daggers and swords was often frustrating but again never unfair which was nice. Overall the game play in AC Mirage is both fun and challenging in a good balance making me want to keep playing even after finishing the main story line.
The map in Mirage is much smaller then any of the three most resent releases of Assassin’s Creed or even AC Black Flag, is the small map a bad thing? I don’t think so as it gave the developers the ability to focus on making the city feel more lived in and more interesting by doing so. The mission verity in AC Mirage is well done overall, with the story missions taking center stage and the side missions doing a great time of making you spend time in Baghdad and outside the city looking to see what this all be it smaller map has to offer and hid. I found myself exploring the city and looking for a number of the side quests or contracts as they are called and how to complete them with the interesting added requests of the clients made them more interesting and often more fun while going in loud was easy and sometimes rewarding being stealthy often not only got me what I was looking for but also was more enjoyable as I would get greater rewards.
Having to find the difference assassins dens hearkened back strongly to past games in the franchise it was interesting and fun, and while some areas were harder to enter and exit there was never a time where the game felt unfair, on the other hand there were definitely moments where going through an area that I didn’t feel should be blocked off by guards would be and I would find myself in combat very suddenly having to figure out what to do and how to either Escape or win the day. The use of towers returned to my surprise and didn’t feel as overused as it had in past Ubisoft games.
AC Mirage surprised me by looking as good as it did, the overall graphics in the game looked amazing and performed very well at least on the PS5 that I played it on, the people move smoothly when they were bumped into they reacted so the AI was fantastic. Guards would be interested in things around them but not force themselves into situations that they were unnecessary most of the time. And well some issues did return with the camera and hiding places were sometimes nothing more than a small bush overall the game looked and played wonderfully. One of the things that surprised me the most was the voice acting in AC Mirage, before release I watched a number of interviews with both the main character and a number of the side characters made me want more to learn more about the game, all of the characters both minor and major did a phenomenal job with the script given them.
There were a number of standouts that deserve a mention, Lee Majdoub as Basim was well-rounded as well as giving the emotion needed at the right moments, Jan Kamar as Nehal seem to know just when to give you sensual and when to give you secretive and Shohreh Aghdashloo as Roshan, this voice actress impressed me more than any had in a long time not only with the fact that she spoke the native language but there’s something about her voice that if you’ve never heard it you should go and listen to just anything honestly I would listen to this woman read instruction manuals to me in that voice of hers. The voices in places like the Bazaar, the house of learning or The Palace we’re always well done and never seeming to me to be on repeat. The music in AC Mirage was subtle but well done the composer definitely knew when in cut scenes to set the mood and how given the music that they used, in fact the overall sound design was well done,
Last let’s talk about story, the story of AC Mirage starts with the young Thief Basim breaking into the palace to try and impress the hidden ones aka the assassins and bring them an item that they are seeking, after finding the item and the subsequent acts thereof not only set the tone of the game but send Basim down a path that only he can follow. After training for a number of years with the Assassins Basim is forced to return to Baghdad when one of their own is murdered. Basim then spends the next 25 to 40 hours ducking in and out of doorways, onto rooftops and sometimes through waterways trying to find the truth not only of the item that he stole but why his dreams are constantly haunted by a Jinn.
My final overall thoughts and rating of the game. Assassin’s Creed Mirage was like going back in time and playing the Assassin’s Creeds that I fell in love with, being back in a packed City made me feel like Ezio Auditore would walk around the corner at any moment and I would take control of him and let me go back to the Assassin that got me into playing the games. Having to think about the traversal and worry about hand holds and find synchronization points to uncover the map and having to hide from the guards or risk desynchronization was like playing the best parts of the series for me with all of the modern quality of life changes I would want.
The addition of the special filter to make the game look like the original Assassin’s Creed was such a nice Clean Touch. Overall for me ac Mirage was fun but too short, after just 29 hours I was able to get the platinum and honestly I wanted more, some might say that that’s a good problem to have personally for me it felt more like they were just enough loose ends to make me want just that little bit more all that said at the end of the day for me ac Mirage is a solid 8 out of 10