The Assassin’s Creed series is one that has seen a huge evolution since the original release, with the previous three titles (Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla) especially putting a different spin on the established formula with their vast open worlds and RPG-centric mechanics. However, with Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Ubisoft have really taken things back to basics, with the game feeling more like the original title in the series more than anything else. Whilst that might sound like a step backwards to some, it actually makes for a refreshing experience that offers a really enjoyable blast to the past.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Assassin’s Creed Mirage puts players in the role of Basim, who played a big role in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – both in the narrative set in England and that of the modern time. This takes place sometime before those events though, with players seeing Basim’s life on the streets of Baghdad, how he became a part of the Hidden Ones, and how he started taking down the members of the Order of the Ancients. It’s a more focused and trimmed-down narrative than that seen in the more recent entries in the series, but it didn’t make the storytelling any less interesting. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it made it easier to invest in Basim’s character and plight, with the tale building up to the bigger role he has to play in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla in a more impactful manner.

Whilst the recent entries in the series have given players huge worlds to explore, Assassin’s Creed Mirage focuses on the city of Baghdad. Now I’ll be honest, I’ve actually enjoyed traversing across the vast landscapes of the series as of late, so it wasn’t really an issue for me – there was something nice (and even nostalgic) about focusing on a more confined area where I was never too far from the action this time around though. Baghdad is pretty big in itself too, with plenty of buildings to scale, landmarks to admire, and streets to dash through during your adventure, so it’s not as if you don’t have a sizable, intriguing locale to explore. The condensed streets make it perfect for climbing too, so if you enjoy scaling walls and buildings, you’re in for a good time. It’s just a lot smaller than players might be used to as of late, which works well with the old-school approach that the game is taking.

There’s also a more focused return to the stealth action that the series was originally known for, with players having to blend into the environment and the people within in, stalk enemies through the rooftops where they’re out of sight, bribe mercenaries to kick up a fuss and cause a distraction, and ensure they don’t catch the attention of nearby guards who are waiting to take you down if you cause too much chaos along the way. Again, these are things players would have done in the Assassin’s Creed games of yesteryear that were swept away for a more action-orientated approach in recent releases. Thankfully, it feels great to re-visit them, with the traditional mechanics easy to welcome back thanks to how rewarding they each feel. I loved working in the shadows again, and whilst there will be plenty of moments where you’ll have to rely on your combat skills to survive, nothing feels better than pulling off a perfect, silent kill.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time with Assassin’s Creed Mirage, with it once again having that distinct… well… ‘assassin-y’ vibe that the series has been missing over the last few entries.”

It helps that the missions are carefully crafted to take full advantage of your skillset, with each offering set-pieces that focus predominantly on using your wits to stealthily take out your target. There’s never just one way to approach a target either, with each mission instead offering some diversity in the approach you take – you’ll even get the chance to plan your kill out in advance, which brought back fond memories of the original game. Of course, a silent kill is always the best, but Assassin’s Creed Mirage even feels fun when you’re crossing blades with enemies, even IF the odds are typically stacked against you in these situations. You’ll unlock new tools as you progress and the insta-kills with your hidden blade make a very welcome return too, so you’re more than equipped to deal with the threats in your path.

The recent Assassin’s Creed titles have been quite overwhelming with the sheer amount of content they offer, so it’s nice to see Assassin’s Creed Mirage rein it in a little. I beat the main story in just under twenty hours, and that was after completing the vast majority of side activities too, so it certainly takes a more streamlined approach. It ensures missions remain meaningful and don’t get repetitive, whilst players won’t tire of the simpler approach that the game takes either. It’s nice, and whilst some might argue you’re getting less bang for your buck, the lower price point of Assassin’s Creed Mirage makes up for it.

There are other little things that the game has done to make for a more streamlined experience too, just as simplifying the skill tree and gear system. This time around, rather than messing with lots of different gear, you’ll equip one sword, one dagger, and one piece of armour, which is a LOT easier to deal with. Each piece of gear brings with it a different perk too, so there’s still room to play around with your loadout to ensure it suits your playstyle. Admittedly, it does take away some aspects of customisation from the experience and there’s less to play around with when it comes to weaponry, but it felt befitting of the old-school approach that the game is trying to take where you need to rely more on your stealth skills as opposed to your weaponry.

Check out some screenshots down below:

I’ve really enjoyed my time with Assassin’s Creed Mirage, with it once again having that distinct… well… ‘assassin-y’ vibe that the series has been missing over the last few entries. Whilst the likes of Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla took the series in a wonderful direction, they also sacrificed a lot of the ideas that made the Assassin’s Creed series so unique to begin with. Thankfully, Assassin’s Creed Mirage brings them back with style, with the game a treat to play throughout. And hey, Basim even brings with him some really, REALLY cool tricks, including one that can be charged up to offer a chain of assassinations that are seemingly caused by glitches within the Animus (at least that’s what it looks like visually). Ok, ok, it can feel a little cheap to use, but it shows that whilst the game leans into the old-school aspects of the series, it still brings with it some of its own ideas.

That being said, there were a few little niggles in the game that are worth mentioning. Whilst the climbing is sound for the most part, there were a few occasions where Basim would seemingly not climb in an area that was clearly climbable, whilst other times he’d seem to jump to a completely different area than I’d direct him towards. Whilst stuff like this can often be blamed on the player, it happened a few too many times to be an issue on my part. Then there’s the fact that the trailing missions have made a comeback, which, as before, were some of the weakest missions in the game. They just slow the pace down a little too much, and whilst they work thematically and the level design does cater to them, they’re never all that fun.

Assassin's Creed Mirage Review

Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a wonderful blast to the past that gives players a reminder of just how fun old-school Assassin’s Creed can be. There’s a greater focus on stealth and the world is more streamlined, but there’s still plenty of creativity on offer as you figure out the best way to take out your targets. And when you do pull off the perfect silent kill? It’s really, REALLY cool.

I just really enjoyed my time with the game, and whilst I’m still a fan of the more expansive and RPG-centric approach taken in modern Assassin’s Creed titles, there’s still plenty of room for this old-school take on the gameplay as well. Here’s hoping it’s not just a one-off, but something we’ll see embraced again in futures releases in the series.

Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform(s): Xbox Series X|S (Reviewed), Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC