Before I started writing the Assassin’s Creed Mirage review, I thought about how long I’ve been following the series. While waiting for the new game to come after Prince of Persia’s “Sands of Time” trilogy, I didn’t find the first game we came across not bad, and with the second game and the Brotherhood package that came after it, I almost praised it to the skies. Afterwards, I moved away from the series both by deleting my boxed games from my account and saying “You never bought this game” and by releasing more copy and paste content.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage review / PC
With the exception of Syndicate, I’ve played every AC game that came out for about 10 hours, and I even spent longer than I expected with the new game system that came with Origins. Most old players weren’t very happy with this change, but there were some things I liked about it. When the longer time I spent on Odyssey forced the game’s “level scaling” system to the point where even a chicken on the street could challenge me, I quit in disgust.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a game that reminds us of the old games, a game that tells important events in a more intense and linear way, a game where we return to our roots, so to speak. Let’s see how deep and effective this change has been.
The Secret Dwellers of Alamut
Assassin’s Creed Mirage is actually about a character we know, Basim, who we met in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and who is as important as Eivor himself. AC Mirage follows Basim’s journey from his days as a thief on the streets of Baghdad to his rise in the assassin order, then known as the “Hidden Ones”. Now I don’t want to spoil the content of Valhalla, but if you know who Basim is, you can imagine how interesting places this story can go. Moreover, I really liked the story and the way it was told.
In the game, both the city of Baghdad of the period and the beliefs of the people were handled in detail. As you read the notes you find left and right and the codex entries we are familiar with from old games, you learn a lot about the period. It is very good that the story, which is not interrupted by open world details, is fed with such additional notes. I enjoyed the 2nd game as much as I enjoyed this story.
Read More: Assassin’s Creed Mirage System Requirements
Although the story was nice in the 3-game series that started with Origins, the necessity of increasing the character’s power by doing side activities (or buying experience points with money) was eliminated with Mirage. This allowed the story flow to continue uninterrupted. There are no “you’ve uncovered the secret, but go hunt some deer and come back later” situations that undermine the flow. I especially liked this as at some points I was thinking “what happens next” and quickly rushed to the next mission.
Since the story takes place before Valhalla, we see some familiar faces besides Basim throughout the game. For these, they have prepared small side quests called “Baghdad Stories” in addition to the side quests. These stories, which include small narrative-changing choices, can be done quickly and are fun.
The side quests, which we can visit different assassin offices and get from the message board, are not very impressive in terms of story, but they are small activities that we can do to increase the power of the character. They prioritized the main mission in terms of story, which is actually good for those like me who don’t want to deal with side missions.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage draws attention with its return to the essence. It reminded me of the first game many times with the effect of the locations it takes place in. Aside from Alamut Castle, which we visit from time to time, this time we spend most of our time in the great walled city of Baghdad. With its mosques, libraries, and buildings big and small to climb, Baghdad is a great playground for Basim, our character who is skilled in parkour.
If you’ve played an Assassin’s Creed game before, you won’t feel out of place, climbing the first tall building you find to open up the area and explore the activities you can do in the neighborhood. With the help of our trusty drone… sorry, eagle, you’ll find possible targets and hidden objects. The gameplay is basically like Valhalla, but with a more simplified Lite version of the system.
The new trilogy had skewed the game more towards the RPG side, causing us to lose the feeling of playing an assassin. With this game, we can return to our roots and play with a “stealth wins” mentality. We do our jobs stealthily, setting traps and avoiding crowded combat. We still have our sword and knife, but our secret assassination knife, our equipment that we can improve, and our Assassin Focus skill that makes you say “what the hell is this?” at first glance are our most important weapons.
The game’s combat system is much like Valhalla, where you can block or dodge an enemy’s attacks, and then you respond appropriately. There are armored enemies, there are fast enemies, there are enemies that shoot arrows from a distance. But the differences in level or weaponry aren’t that noticeable, and you know Basim is a true assassin by the stick you take in a crowd fight. The enemies hit well and Basim isn’t that durable, and unlike in older games, enemies don’t wait for their turn to attack, they attack at the same time, and you’ll be caught in one while dodging another. I recommend avoiding large group battles unless you have to.
Read More: Assassin’s Creed Mirage Gameplay
If you use the equipment you have properly and stay hidden, you can easily clear even crowded groups. With attention-grabbing bombs, traps set on the ground, sleeping darts, knives that turn the enemy to dust at the last level, you can clear a castle by yourself. But this is due to both the power of the equipment and the legendary badness of the artificial intelligence. I will talk about it later.
Assassin Focus is a skill that uses a bar that increases as you fight enemies, and you can quickly destroy groups of up to five targets depending on your development time. When this ability is active, there’s a glitch in the Animus and enemies die. I love the animation when I use it, especially when I’m stuck in crowded places, but it’s not an essential skill. I think they thought about what to add new to the game and put this.
There is a “bad reputation” system in the game, it’s something that has been in these games for a long time. As your bad reputation increases, the guards in the city increase, the citizens recognize you. In this game, they make a fuss from the first level, shouting “guards, catch up, there’s a murderer”. But for this to happen you have to commit the crime in front of people. I kill a soldier upstairs in the library and the guy in the restroom on the bottom floor screams “MURDERER!!!”. Already in the first minute, people are screaming, and I’m not allowed to run fast in places where I can’t use weapons. We listen to their noise because of such mistakes.
Lastly, I would like to add that you can pet the cats you will see on the streets of Baghdad. I have been caught by the guards because I ran to pet almost all the cats I saw as “Caaaat”. So be careful when petting cats so that you don’t get in an action for no reason.
Graphics and Performance
I really liked Assassin’s Creed Mirage both visually and in terms of atmosphere. Compared to Origins, Odyssey and Valhalla, we have a much smaller map. The smaller map also means that the available areas are presented in a fuller and more elaborate way. Baghdad and its surroundings are beautifully portrayed in the game, and I really enjoyed walking around. In the first games, there were various notes and writings about the history of almost every building in every region you visited. Similarly in this game, there is a lot to learn about the history and culture of the region.
The historical buildings in Baghdad are very detailed and realistic. Care has also been taken with the more general buildings, you don’t often see similar buildings next to each other. However, if you’re like me, who first unlocks “synchronization points” and then plays the game, you may notice that you climb the minarets of similar mosques more than once. Still, I won’t complain.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage, which I played the PC version of, performed very well on my system. I played the whole game on Ultra settings at 4K resolution with DLSS turned on. Sometimes there were distortions in the visuals, sometimes people walking around got stuck between the walls and Basim and jumped into the sky, but I will see them as part of the Animus and I will pass them as part of the Animus. I think Denuvo was added to the game on the last day I wrote the review, I tried again because all my settings were reset, but I did not experience a noticeable performance change.
Music and Sounds
The game is very good in terms of sound. As you walk around, you listen to the conversations of the locals, sometimes you hear the call to prayer in the distance and try to run to the mosque from the top of the buildings. At least I did, it’s a lot of fun. The only thing I didn’t like about the sound was the sound of picking up items, it’s not clear if I’m picking up items from the ground or if the enemies are detecting my location.
The game’s soundtrack is quite good. Brendan Angelidas (Billions, 13 Reasons Why) is a new artist for me, I haven’t heard any of his music before, but his music for the game is very good. Sometimes I get into fights just to listen to the music. It’s not catchy music on the level of Jasper Kydd, but it contributed to the atmosphere of the game very well.
We’ve talked about a lot of things about the game, but I wanted to start a separate thread just for the problems I’ve encountered. Some of them are things that don’t work properly in the game, while others are things I wish were like this.
Blades that Miss the Target
I said that I liked the story of the game in general, but some of the characters’ relationships and the dialogues between them are very strange. We meet a character we haven’t seen for a long time, you’re waiting for a conversation, but Basim turns around and leaves. Then they meet again and there’s a completely different topic. In the meantime, it seems like our characters meet and talk, the conversation continues where it left off. Similar things happened with one or two other characters. There are conversations like “jokes among themselves” that we don’t know, but we can’t understand because there is no beginning and end.
There are some graphical errors and problems that bothered me visually. For example, we can scan around using our senses and see enemies, but the enemy remains red. If he noticed you at that moment, you should have an easy time understanding the enemy’s movement. Since he stays red for the whole fight, you have to guess if his attack can be parried or if you need to run away. This can also happen when friendly characters stay blue. It’s annoying that the ability we use to constantly look around causes such problems.
In the game, we first do research to find our main targets, then we go to the target’s location and perform actions that will reveal them. When our target is revealed, we kill them at the right moment. The game gives you an “immersive sim” vibe, but it’s just that. It would be great if this game had different approaches like Hitman – Deathloop, but the assassinations are very monotonous. You just neutralize the guards around and go and stab them with a knife.
You may say what’s wrong with that, but let me give you an example. We’re waiting for a target to show up, and when he does, he talks about how tired he is and how he wants to eat and take a shower. You think, “Oh, I’ll catch him when he’s alone for a shower,” but the character walks in with his bodyguard and starts practicing with a gun. His bodyguards are holding the two entrances, and when you jump off the roof and kill him, they don’t even look back at the noise behind him. We could have done it in a much more interesting way.
In the game, we control the assassin, a former thief, as we pass by people and pick their pockets, but we don’t have any skill in picking locks. If there’s a locked door, we’ll either get the key from a guard walking around or if there’s a broken window or something, we’ll get in through it. At least if there was a lockpick style system, if the price was high but we could do it if we wanted, we would have used the bribery coins in our hands more useful.
Let’s get to the most important issue that undermines the gameplay. I’ve read Ersin mention this before in his review (Assassin’s Creed Mirage pre-review), but it’s even worse than I thought. As anyone who’s played any AC game before will know, the AI in the series isn’t one of its most brilliant aspects, but here it’s on a whole different level.
When two soldiers are talking, I pull one of them to the grass and stab him, and the other one doesn’t say “Hasan, what happened, shut up?”. I whistle the guy they are protecting out from between two bodyguards and kill him, the guy is lying in the hay, the bodyguards are still walking around threatening “Don’t come closer, I’ll cut him”. Not one of them says, “Where is the guy we’re protecting?”
Come on, these are things we already know in the AC series, but I’ve seen worse. As I mentioned above, at the end of various upgrades, you can have a knife that dissolves the enemy it kills and leaves no trace behind. If you throw this knife one by one to the soldiers in a crowded group, you think that the bodyguard whose friends dissolve in front of him will panic and raise an alarm, right? The guy who survived because two of his friends dissolved in front of him and I accidentally missed the third knife accidentally said “let me watch the view from the balcony” and left the scene. He only had a question mark in his head for a second beforehand, that’s the whole reaction.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a game that tells its beautiful story successfully by reducing the RPG features it started with Origins and going a bit more in the way of the old games. As I mentioned above, there are a lot of annoying problems, and there were a lot of places where I wished this part was like this. Moreover, I think the game goes back a bit too far in returning to its essence, I feel like I’m playing a technically better version of Assassin’s Creed 1. The novelty that this game needs may not be the RPG elements, but how good is a game that is close to the past is debatable.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a game that will especially please players who love old games. For someone like me, who has been bored with the gameplay of the series for a long time, it was a nice experience for me to just follow the main story and have a pleasant adventure. An adventure lasting about 20 hours was enough for me without getting too caught up in the side quests. Considering that there are still side quests to experience, objects to collect and challenges to complete, there is about 30 hours of gameplay. I think that’s more than enough time for this game. I prefer this kind of short but full story instead of a chewing gum-like forced extended scenario.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage PC version is now available on Ubisoft Store and Epic Store. If you have the opportunity, I would like to remind you that you can buy Ubisoft+ and play Assassin’s Creed Mirage and other Ubisoft games at a much more affordable price.
Is it good that this game went back to its roots? In terms of story presentation, yes. In terms of gameplay, I think the stealth side needs an urgent overhaul, and if possible, it should take examples from the games we call “immersive sim”.