Assassin’s Creed is back in their latest installment in the Assassin’s Creed Franchise named Assassin’s Creed: Mirage. Assassin’s Creed: Mirage is the 13th game in the franchise and the first game in the main series to not have a present-day tie-in. Whereas in previous games, you will usually switch between the old times and the present day, in AC: Mirage, they only focus on the ancient times.
This time, the game takes us to 9th-century Baghdad, as we follow Basim as he grows from a common thief to a Master Assassin. Basim was previously introduced in AC: Valhalla, one of the Hidden Ones who Layla discovers have been trapped within the ancient vault. Layla was tricked into believing that she needed to sacrifice herself to stay inside the ancient vault and, as such, released Basim into the modern world.
At the beginning of the game, we hear William Miles telling us that we are going into the life of Basim, a story that needs to be told but was previously hidden because of how it will change everything. This is the only time that we hear or know that this is still somehow related to what is going on in the present time. Other than that, we won’t hear from William ever again throughout the game.
I was a bit disappointed that we don’t really get to see or know what is going on in the present day, but at the same time, it keeps your attention focused on what is going on in Basim’s story. It feels like Ubisoft took a page from Naughty Dog and tells us a story based on who I believe is now the main villain of the Assassin’s Creed franchise.
The first few hours of the game let us learn the basic controls. Not a lot has changed from previous games in terms of control. You still have the same controls that have been used in the previous games, which makes it easier for anyone who has played the previous game to jump into this game. The most basic skill that you will use a lot throughout the game is parkour and assassination. Parkour for traversing the world. And assassination, for, of course, killing everyone in the game.
The game has truly gone back to its roots, where assassination will be your mightiest tool when it comes to killing enemies. Gone are the days when you have to reach a certain level to be able to take down the brutes. Assassination is definitely mightier than any other enemy you could ever face.
The prominent assassinations in this game are all different and unique, making the experience very cinematic and impressive. Even the side missions are all unique and there is not one of them that is the same and will make you feel like everything is repetitive. It is truly a breath of fresh air and a game that feels like it reinvented itself to become once again a game that you will remember and will want to keep playing for as long as you have missions to do.
The leveling system is replaced by the ranking system. The ranking system is in place to measure the influence you have in the world. The more assignments you take on, the more contracts you do, and the more influence you gain to rank up. Each time you rank up, you earn skill points that you can use to improve your other skills. You can spend points on Phantom Skills, Trickster Skills, or Predator Skills.
The Phantom skills are skills tied to assassination and killing. Trickster skills are connected to your tools and stealing. While the Predator skills are linked to your trusty eagle companion. Gaining skill points can be easy if you know what you are trying to do. Skill points can be awarded by doing side jobs called Contracts or progressing through the primary mission. I really like this more simplified skill tree because you can focus on what you need at the moment and not really worry about how if you don’t get a specific skill, it means game over for you.
It took me about 20 hours to finish the game on easy difficulty. But mind you, don’t be fooled by the word “easy” because there’s really nothing easy in this game. You’d have to be mindful of your actions, just like in the first Assassin’s Creed, where if someone sees you do something very unlawful, like killing someone in front of civilians, it increases your wanted level. The more crimes you commit, the higher your notoriety level. At the highest notoriety level, everyone in town will rat you out to the soldiers, and every soldier will be on high alert. Hunting you down to the ends of the earth. Luckily, you can always try and lower your wanted level by taking down posters or talking to your local town crier and bribing him with some tokens.
But why waste your precious tokens when you can just take down posters for free. Speaking of tokens, The game introduces this currency that is basically a rare commodity among the citizens of Baghdad. There are three varieties which are the power tokens, the merchant tokens and the scholar tokens. These tokens can be used to bribe several NPCs to do your bidding or give you the master key or whatnot or hire mercenaries to attack the soldiers for you. You can also use these tokens to open certain chests.
As I previously said, these are very rare and can only be gained by doing side quests although some main missions may award them. This is why it’s essential that you spend them wisely. I did find myself not really needing any of the tokens for the main missions because the game gives you the freedom to find several solutions. I do hate it when I find myself just wanting to bribe someone and then end up not having enough tokens to do so. The game doesn’t really tell you beforehand how much tokens you need to prepare before going ahead into bribing someone. So sometimes, you may end up losing tokens for no reason at all.
You can switch between two game modes, either prioritizing performance or quality. I have not met anyone who would really prioritize quality over performance because why would you? The game plays very smoothly and seamlessly in performance mode on the PS5. And I didn’t encounter any sort of performance issues. What I was impressed with was the fact that you can send your eagle to whichever area of the game without any limitations (Unless, of course, there’s a marksman in the area, which means you can’t fly in that area until you take care of the marksman). The transition between Eagle Vision and Basim is very seamless and instant.
The quality and design of each object in the game are very detailed and crisp. From each tile on top of a mosque to each grain of sand in the wilderness, it is very clear and lifelike that you can almost feel you are really living in 9th-century Baghdad. The sound quality never fails in this game. You can hear detailed audio when eavesdropping. Or expect a muffled sound when you’re diving through the waters. You can really tell that the team took their time in developing this game.
Overall, Assassin’s Creed: Mirage truly delivered an assassin simulator game that we all loved from the beginning. It is surprisingly a fast-paced game for a game that is known for its stealthy waiting. A game that is genuinely worth its price, a game that I will indeed be playing till I platinum it.
Assassin's Creed: Mirage
Almost perfect if not for the nitty-gritty. If it’s quite there but not enough to push the boundaries, it’s still an awesome game.