Initial release date: October 5, 2023
Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, iOS, Microsoft Windows
Genres: Stealth game, Action-adventure game, Fighting game, Platform game
Developers: Ubisoft, Ubisoft Bordeaux
Mode: Single-player video game
Composer: Brendan Angelides
Publishers: Ubisoft, OWO
"Review Copy Provided By UbiSoft"
Say hello to Assassin’s Creed Mirage - a game that wears its focus like a badge of honor, distinguishing itself as one of the series' sparkling gems.
Picture this: years have passed with the Assassin’s Creed saga unfolding its tales, sprawling over boundless open worlds, each entry supersizing its adventures, leaving players gasping at its enormity. Then, enters Mirage, a game that seems like a nostalgic nod to the franchise's roots, parachuting players back into the narrow, intrigue-laden lanes of ninth-century Baghdad. With a neat, under-20-hour playtime, Mirage is a throwback party with Altaïr and Ezio as honorary guests, echoing the highs and lows of the early, beloved installments.
Meet Basim, the protagonist, first spotted in 2020’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. In Mirage, we witness the ripening of Basim, evolving from a petty street thief to a Master Assassin par excellence. The game serves a delightful origin tale, marinated with thrilling investigations, sinister assassinations, and the triumphant return of series staples – the elusive castle of Alamut, hidden bureaus, and methodical target tracking. The storytelling? Oh, it’s a delightful ride, albeit with occasional hiccups of stiff dialogues. The gameplay? An elegant dance of stealth and focus, with Basim slipping through open windows rather than bashing doors, silently dispatching foes one by one, rekindling the series’ old flame with stealth.
Mirage crafts a compelling narrative around Basim’s fight against the ominous Order of the Ancients, set against the vibrant tapestry of Baghdad under the Abbasid caliphate. Through its meticulously designed missions and set-pieces, it introduces players to a familiar yet refreshingly stealth-centric gameplay, intertwined with the struggles and triumphs of the Assassins. But let’s toast to Mirage’s true genius: its compactness. The game's plot is a tightly-knit fabric of intrigue, easy to follow thanks to the game’s singular urban setting. Players can effortlessly juggle between quests and investigations without losing track, with the game subtly nudging them towards active participation.
Yes, some might find the game's cues slightly vague, longing for a tad more direction. But fret not! The game's condensed world, brimming with life and secrets, is both forgiving and rewarding, offering ample opportunities for exploration and discovery.
And for the stealth aficionados, Mirage is a treasure trove. With a stealth mechanism that feels organic and challenging, players will find themselves skulking through tall grass, disabling alarms, and executing silent assassinations with finesse, aided by an arsenal of tools and skills borrowed and refined from the series' history.
But wait, there's more. Mirage incentivizes players to engage in treasure hunting, making every mission and every discovery count, adding layers of significance to the gameplay, devoid of pointless filler. Whether it’s donning disguises, utilizing stealth equipment, or navigating through the beautiful city dotted with lilacs and roses, Mirage ensures that players are in for a treat.
Mirage, while compact, is a powerhouse of engaging elements meticulously selected from the series' legacy, polished and repackaged into a thrilling adventure that leaves players satisfied, without a hint of wasted time. Its brilliance lies in its ability to combine the allure of the new with the charm of the old, delivering an experience that is both familiar and refreshingly unique. In a nutshell? Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a splendid symphony of the series’ best bits, celebrating its legacy while carving its own niche, offering a concentrated, stealth-laden adventure that is as thrilling as it is satisfying. It's a love letter to fans, old and new, and a masterclass in game design, proving that sometimes, in the world of gaming, less can indeed be more.