Assassin’s Creed Mirage gives you an engaging Assassin experience that enhances gameplay. Doing additional work to reach your target immerses you in the assassination experience. Using different weapons and objects is engaging and lets you find your preferred playstyle. Finding items and exploring locations have several benefits that make it worthwhile. There are some visual glitches and indoor navigation is difficult, but it’s a solid game that is worth exploring.
Developer – Ubisoft
Publisher – Ubisoft
Platforms – PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 (reviewed)
Review copy given by publisher
There have been several Assassin’s Creed games, and Mirage doesn’t necessarily reinvent the formula. But it does provide several activities to do and brings variety to your life as an Assassin. Step into the shoes of Basim as he aspires to improve Baghdad and make lives better. But he becomes an Assassin in an unexpected way and soon learns that the world isn’t black and white.
The same story tropes you’ve seen in other games in the franchise come back here, which makes the story somewhat cliché. But what makes Assassin’s Creed Mirage stand out is the ability to choose what you want to do. After you start the main adventure properly and make your first assassination, you can pursue multiple objectives. Each objective brings you closer to your main objective, which is finding out the leader of the secretive Order in Baghdad.
The freedom to choose the path you complete objectives helps you vary up your adventure if it feels boring. Rather than working only with the Assassins, you can help out a friend or investigate another mystery. While every path leads back to your ultimate goal, it allows you to pursue objectives without feeling like you are stuck.
If you’re struggling with a mission or want new tools, you can deviate from the mission objectives and explore. Baghdad is expansive and there are several areas you travel to. The typical locations from previous games such as Viewpoints and Blacksmiths. But you also have Gear Chests and Mysterious Shards that are found in certain locations. These new locations push your creativity and force you to think outside the box.
Locked locations aren’t easy to break into but the solutions aren’t obscure. You might run around the area looking for a solution but it’s always within reach. This also extends to assassinations or investigations, where you have multiple options to resolve a situation. Being creative helps prevent missions from getting boring and it motivates you to explore every location.
If you ever forget anything, the game does have handy tutorials that pop up whenever you are about to do something. Any tricky sections will have tutorials you can look up in the menu if you forget. Learning how to play might be difficult for new players or veterans who haven’t touched the series in a while. It’s great to see that the series remains friendly for newcomers even with all the existing titles.
That freedom is a double-edged sword because your improvements are tied to your exploration. Gear Chests contain new weapons that help you perform better in fights. But you don’t often get new gear in the story and must rely on Gear Chests for new toys. This is also true for material upgrades; if you aren’t pickpocketing or searching for material chests, keeping up is difficult.
The rewards for exploring feel less like rewards and more like mandatory activities. You can’t skip out much unless you can get by with the bare minimum. If you are a new player to the series, it will be difficult if you don’t frequently explore and find treasures. That can artificially extend the gameplay length, which isn’t great. Thankfully the story isn’t as long as other Assassin’s Creed games, but it’s still not fun for optional material to be technically mandatory.
The world map is detailed and it’s easy to find locations, even when you are looking at clues. As you explore and use Viewpoints, it will flesh out and show you everything that’s available. Some items can only be seen with Eagle Vision which encourages you to walk around. Finding shops to refill items or upgrade your equipment isn’t difficult either. If you do come across something special, your map will record it to help you come back later.
Unfortunately, the map isn’t helpful in indoor settings and that makes it hard when you can only rely on Eagle Vision. The map helps you find your general location but that also means it’s hard to tell where you are. Unless your memory is good or you get lucky, you are often spending valuable time revisiting areas looking for an exit.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage looks beautiful and it shows in the graphics. Even if you put your settings to emphasize performance, the buildings and nature look fantastic. Your outfits, costumes, and equipment look stylish and it’s easy to differentiate NPCs. Enemies are easy to pick out when they come close, and the enemy types are clear enough that you know who you’re fighting.
The graphics make acrobatics and combat look impressive. Performing Leaps of Faith and defeating enemies have brief cinematics that make them appealing. It motivates you to get into more fights or find locations to jump off to see them again. The smooth quality makes you want to watch them again and constantly push your skills because everything looks great. Using traps or throwing knives becomes worthwhile because seeing your plans look good encourages their use.
There are some visual glitches that become apparent as you play. Limbs partially passing through solid objects are an occasional sight, but parts of the environment may take time to appear. If they don’t appear in time, you can pass through them and ruin a good landing. They don’t appear often enough to impact gameplay, but are noticeable enough that it’s hard to miss.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage isn’t perfect and it doesn’t shake up the formula to deliver a different experience. But it’s still a fun experience as some improvements have been made. Exploration is still fun and you can utilize a variety of equipment for your assassinations. The game looks fantastic and you will rarely find something that doesn’t appeal to you.