— A copy of the game was provided, courtesy of Ubisoft —
Assassin’s Creed has been on the forefront of gaming for the last 15 years now. The latest iterations have even introduced a completely new style of gameplay, with the sprawling open-world RPGs. With Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Ubisoft wanted to go back to the roots, re-introducing the previous way the games were set: an open-world adventure game based more on exploration and stealth. Is it a good decision ? Is the product of the same quality as the previous ones ? It all depends on what your expectations are.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage : The origins of Basim
For those who played Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (which I reviewed about 2 years ago), we already knew about Basim, the Assassin that Eivor interacts with along her journey (I played her as a woman in my playthrough). In this game, we learn about his origins and how he becomes who he is, going from a thief in the streets to a member of The Hidden Ones. Alongside his change of life, he becomes part of a greater conflict, part of a rebellion against the Caliphate in Bagdad.
Not unlike the previous games of the franchise, a very varied crew of people are a part of the journey. I need to give props to the character of Roshan, who is the mentor of Basim, played by the very well know actress Shohreh Aghdashloo. Her voice fits the role perfectly. In terms of acting, every character I’ve met are very on-par with what we can expect from a triple-A game like Ubisoft is used to.
Smaller but dense map
After having played more than 250 hours combined for both Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Valhalla, getting around in a huge map becomes second nature. Right now, going around the region of Harbiyah, it is a lot more contained, but very dense. Verticality is an integral part of the exploration process, going from roaming the streets to jumping from roof to roof. The roads are very often slim, tortuous, but full of things to check out.
A huge upgrade that was done from the previous iterations is how the city really…breathes ! Everything seems alive, with a lot of characters, all the time, going around and doing their business. That is really a next-gen implementation. Of course, from time to time, like any open-world game, I discovered some weird behaving less good looking citizens, but that is expected from something of this scope. I really feel like there was a lot of work done since the previous games on this aspect.
RPG elements are still available
Despite being more of an adventure game than a RPG, there are still some skill to acquire and upgrade, which can seen above. Stealth, combat, even thieving abilities are available here. It is a lot less daring than the ones we’ve seen previously, but a lot more welcoming and less daring to explore. Of course, the abilities are also a lot more tailored to the kind of experiences that Assassin’s Creed Mirage wants the player to have.
Great non-linear story structure
I really love the way the story unfolds in Assassin’s Creed Mirage. Not unlike how the investigation of the Cultists in Odyssey or the Order of the Ancients in Valhalla, the targets to reach are discovered through the missions that Basim successfully completes. Everything is compiled in the screen seen above, with a cursor over the elements displaying additional information needed to advance, or a pointer on what to do next. Everything is presented one step at a time. Despite not knowing to what extend the entire story will unfold, you are never lost, you always have an idea of what to do. It is a great way to present things.
So much more to explore
Despite being classified as much shorter as the previous 2 games, this experience is not short. We are still talking about a 20+ hours story to complete (according to the lead producer of the game, Fabian Salomon). I have not completed the game yet, so I won’t go into a full review here and give a final score. I can say that despite the huge departure of the game structure from Odyssey and Valhalla, which I personally loved, I really appreciate what Ubisoft is doing with Mirage. I will get back to Bagdad and give an update when I complete my adventure with Basim.