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Assassin’s Creed Mirage review: A journey back in time

Amlan Roy

An image showing Basim fighting with this sword and dagger in Assassin's Creed Mirage

Assassin’s Creed Mirage has been one awaited game in 2023 and didn’t fail to satisfy with its experience. Keeping the story short and simple has been a great choice, and was greatly carried by focusing on old mechanics with reimagined improvements.

Ubisoft promised the fanbase that they would be returning to their roots during the 15th anniversary of the franchise and kept it. For gamers who have already experienced old Assassin’s Creed games, Mirage surely feels nostalgic in a good way.

I’ve spent quite some time playing the title myself and experiencing what Ubisoft had to offer with the latest sequel. So without further ado, here is my in-depth review of the latest chapter of the franchise set in Baghdad.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage: A trip down memory lane

An image showing Basim on a tower in Assassin's Creed Mirage
The old-school feeling with fresh visuals triggers nostalgia in 2023 (Image via Ubisoft)

The Assassin’s Creed franchise captured many hearts over the 15-year tenure and is no different in my case. Growing up with games like Prince of Persia and other hack-and-slash games, the first Assassin’s Creed captivated me with its open world and stealth-based gameplay. Over the years, the franchise slowly evolved and brought lots of new things to experience.

However, with time, past experiences were lost in the way, and Assassin’s Creed Mirage does its best to bring it back. During my entire gameplay, I couldn’t help but notice the familiar feeling I got from the first game return with improved graphics. As exciting as it sound, it did feel repetitive in certain areas. I will discuss all of it in a detailed rundown about the latest stealth-based game.

Exploration: Around the streets and lanes of 9th-century Baghdad

The Assassin’s Creed franchise is well known for its detailed historical worlds which are accurate to human knowledge. Ubisoft did a great job of recreating the world of 9th-century Baghdad and focusing on Islamic values. The round city is dense with population and gives a sense of the true civilization of that era.

After the onset of the RPG mechanics and open world in the franchise, the immersive feeling wasn’t quite there. While it did provide historically accurate areas with the RPG takes, it didn’t feel so mesmerizing. Most of the explorable areas were just open land and had nothing to do. However, with Assassin’s Creed Mirage, this feeling was mitigated and I felt lost in the dense city of Baghdad.

Attention to detail has been paid to multiple areas like the livelihood of people depending from area to area. For instance, the outer aim of the city seemed to be troubling with living life, while inner citizens were more posh. The contrast between each area truly lifted the immersiveness and world-building of the game.

The world of AC Mirage is also quite detailed when it comes to architecture or interiors. Every house, street, lane, and roof is full of details and is well connected. There wasn’t a moment where the environment felt repetitive for once and was fun to traverse. Moreover, the lack of minimap might feel weird at first, but it did feel better not knowing what’s ahead of me.

Overall, in my opinion, it is better to have a more lush environment in a smaller area than a vast open world with empty fields. While many might complain about the small size of the world compared to RPG spinoffs, it didn’t feel lackluster.

Gameplay overview: Yes, old parkour system is back, but not Ubisoft’s best

Stealth experience

An image showing interior in 9th century Baghdad
Variety in interior design makes it feel more dynamic (Image via Ubisoft)

Stealth is a core part of the Assassin’s Creed experience and Mirage holds up the experience quite well. The return of notoriety levels improves the stealth experience, as players have to be thoughtful before eliminating someone. Similar to the Ezio trilogy, players can fix their notoriety by taking down posters or bribing. This feature did get me nostalgic and made the stealth experience better.

Apart from the return of the notoriety feature, most the the stealth and detection system works the same as previous iterations. When detected enemies can ring a bell to alert others in the area, making it more difficult to approach situations. However, simply fleeing from the detected area and approaching the objective again, did restore the original conditions. The detection system could have been tweaked for these circumstances, but that’s a lost opportunity.

The notoriety system even makes the stealth approach more dynamic as higher notoriety means more risk. There could be moments when NPCs can see you out to guards, making it hard to travel. At the highest level of notoriety bar, archers show up on roofs making it hard to remain incognito. Moreover, doing nothing about it can cause hunters to slay the player and cause a massive setback.

Parkour experience

Parkour is an element that makes Assassin’s Creed feel as it is and with Mirage, Ubisoft tried to bring back the classic feeling. While the developers did succeed at giving the core feeling to the players, it doesn’t quite feel as great. The parkour animation is quite limited and feels repetitive from time to time, while its predecessor AC Unity gave a better parkour experience. This can be overlooked as the animations are rather smooth and not as clunky as before.

However, it is commendable that the latest game’s parkour experience wasn’t the same as the RPG titles. With a lot of variety in the environment, movement decisions did play a great role while traveling from one point to another. Moreover, detailed interiors also helped with a more free parkour experience and didn’t make me depend on just roofs.

Combat experience

An image showing Basim with a sword and dagger in Assassin's Creed Mirage
The new combat system is fun but doesn’t have variety (Image via Ubisoft)

Speaking of improvements, the combat system in Assassin’s Creed Mirage has been completely reworked for good. Before NPCs used to wait for their turns before hitting the players, however, that is not a thing now. Enemies can land their attacks at any point in time, making players think twice before taking on a gang of foes. Players are bound to mix and match their attacks on enemies to avoid getting hurt or flee when necessary.

As for the choice of weapons, the game has only one dagger and sword combo, alongside the classic hidden blade. This is the first time players are getting only one choice of weapon, which is slightly disappointing. Before players could pick any weapon of a class like heavy, light, and more, but not in this game. Using one type of weapon did make combat feel a bit repetitive and stale at times.

On the brighter side, the return of various tools shook up the experience during stealth or combat situations. Players do not get every piece of equipment right from the start, which is a good thing as the story is about Basim’s journey from the beginning. One tool will be unlocked for the players at the beginning, and the rest have to be unlocked with skill points.

Other gameplay features in Assassin’s Creed Mirage

An image showing tools menu in Assassin's Creed Mirage
The tools menu allows for new ways to approach a situation. (Image via Ubisoft)

Skills points play a huge role in the game as they are used for unlocking tools or perks for Basim. After earning skill points, players have to decide if they want to extend their armory or get more powers. To get skill points, players have to finish side quests or continue the main quest. I spent most of the time playing side quests and didn’t feel tedious as such and rewarded with helpful materials.

Lastly, the addition of the Focus Bar makes the gameplay quite fun and makes it easy to take care of sticky situations. While it doesn’t seem as appealing by showing Basim teleporting from one place to another, it still is fun to use. However, the Focus Bar cannot be spammed and has to be refilled through stealth kills. Thus, players have to be stealthy in the game and not be a god of war who takes his enemies in an instant.

Story overview: Lacks depth, but still worth going through

An image showing Basim taking to a person in Assassin's Creed Mirage
Some dialogues in the game are impactful, but not all (Image via Ubisoft)

The story of Assassin’s Creed Mirage takes place directly after the events of AC Valhalla, where Basim was found to be alive in the modern day. Being curious about Basim’s past, William Miles personally takes a look at his memories through the Animus. According to the lore, William Miles fears that the Assassin Order might be at risk of civil war and looks for guidance through the memories of Basim.

Initially in the game, players will take on the story as younger Basim who was a thief in Anwar, present at the outskirts of Baghdad. During this time players will not get any weapons as he wasn’t a fighter at the start. This feels nice as no one is a born fighter and spreads helplessness during combat situations.

After a burglary mission, Basim joins the Hidden Ones to train himself and become a better person. Seeing the journey of Basim becoming a more mature person, brought back memories from AC2. However, the transition to a more mature Basim felt a bit rushed and didn’t feel as impactful.

After that, the story is more or less about hunting members from a dark group, which is introduced at the beginning of the game. Even though taking down targets in previous parts has depth due to great villains, AC Mirage falls apart in that department quite a bit. Nonetheless, the story’s ending fulfills the motive as William Miles found exactly what he was looking for. Additionally, there is no major modern-day lore, which didn’t allow the modern-day characters to gain more depth.

Performance: How does Assassin’s Creed keep up with systems?

During my entire playthrough, Assassin’s Creed Mirage proved how well-optimized it was with its performance. While at the start of the screen, players are displayed with Ubisoft’s partnership with Intel, it doesn’t feel bad on clips from other vendors. Before giving more content on the performance of the game, I’d like to specify the specifications of my test bench:

  • CPU: Ryzen 5 3600 @3.6 Ghz
  • GPU: Nvidia RTX 2060S 8GB
  • Storage: 1TB HHD @7200 RPM
  • RAM: XPG 16 GB DDR4 @3200Mhz
  • Set Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)

I played Assassin’s Creed Mirage at High Graphics Preset and got FPS between 70-90 with a lot of variance. To make my experience smooth, I locked my frame rates to 60 FPS for a more consistent feeling with visuals on screen. Additionally, I didn’t use any VSync as it hurt the performance a lot and wasn’t really necessary.

The in-build real-time performance menu in the game is a sweet feature and allows me to see everything in detail. To make things not so complicated, the CPU usage on my system was subpar while most of the load was taken by the GPU. There were hardly any frame drops and was an all-around smooth experience.

Does Assassin’s Creed Mirage live up to expectations?

An image showing a chracter riding a camel in AC Mirage
So how does the game feel overall? (Image via Ubisoft)

With all honesty, Ubisoft was able to keep its promise when it said they are going back to its roots. The gameplay of Assassin’s Creed Mirage feels similar to the first original titles and tingles the nostalgia in a good way. While going in with old gameplay, it improves a lot of things that felt snappy in the past. Moreover, parkouring through the city felt great due to its great planning and polished animation movements.

The changes in combat gameplay are a welcome addition and make the game more challenging. While in the past enemies could be taken down with no effort due to their turn-based attacks, the slight tweaks with AI made a difference. Being a veteran fan of Assassin’s Creed franchise, a dip into the good old times did feel good.

However, the story didn’t quite live up to expectations for a person who knows the lore well. Yet, for first-timers who want to get into the series, AC Mirage is a great starting point. Moreover, seeing the title evolve throughout the years, going back wasn’t a bad choice. With all that said, the game is surely enjoyable and is highly recommended.

An image showing review rating for Assassin's Creed Mirage
Our review scoring for Assassin’s Creed Mirage

That concludes our review of Assassin’s Creed Mirage and what it has to offer with its gameplay and story. However, if you have been into RPG genre AC games, this title might not satisfy you with what it has to offer.

About the author

Amlan Roy

Amlan Roy


Amlan is an Esports and Game Journalist currently employed at The SportsRush. Before becoming a writer, he completed his Media studies at iLead Kolkata, India. He has been well acquainted with video games since he started gaming at the age of 8. He dived into the world of blogging in 2021 and wrote over 1000 articles across various media houses like Sportskeeda, GGTalks, and Spiel Times. He is also experienced with film and music apart from gaming.

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