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REVIEW: Assassin’s Creed: Mirage — Right Path, Wrong Steps

 
 
Overview
 

Published by: Ubisoft
 
Developed by: Ubisoft Bordeaux
 
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 PlayStation 5 Windows Xbox One Xbox Series X/S iOS
 
Genre(s): stealth, open-world, parkour
 
Mode(s): Single-player
 
Game Type: , , , , , , , ,
 
FG RATING
70%
70/ 100


User Rating
2 total ratings

 

Raves


Impressive Visuals

Rants


Repetitive, Offers little to innovate revival of old gameplay


0
Posted October 5, 2023 by

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The past three primary Assassin’s Creed games had systematically pivoted the franchise’s core gameplay into action RPGs of massive proportions. Origins established the foundation of this new approach and was realized in Odyssey. And though Valhalla was a good game, it overdid it in a way that most of us ended up wishing the series went back to being a story-focused stealth action game with lots of parkour. And Ubisoft seems to have been on the same boat ’cause here comes Mirage, the latest entry in the franchise focused on going back to it’s roots. Problem is, its kind of misremembering it. 

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STORY

You play as Basim, a fan-favorite from Valhalla and now protagonist of his own game. Mirage focuses on his origins, his motivations to join the brotherhood, and the events that took place that further explains his character established in the previous title. Some of the more important characters are graced with fantastic voice acting, unfortunately, despite Basim being a favorite, the story simply isn’t so compelling and is, in fact, borderline forgettable. There are interesting developments towards the end in typical AC fashion, but no point suffering through boring sub-plots as you make your way there.

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The character models look impressive yet suffers from some dated looking motions and facial animations. Not always, but seems almost like a stepdown from Valhalla in some cases. Nevertheless, the whole campaign runs at a reasonable pace, and there’s plenty to do distract between campaign missions for a change of pace.

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GAMEPLAY

The key selling point of Mirage is it’s attempt to return to it’s stealth roots. However, it did little to improve the old systems. Seemingly skipping innovations made since AC3 to go further back to AC1, where the foundations were established but unrefined. Plenty of the franchises original core gameplay mechanics could have benefited from current gen updates. To be fair, it does try, but some are in the wrong places. For instance, Mirage decides to retain the combat style in Valhalla, but since the game is no longer an RPG, combat became quite dull. With mostly just basic combat moves like dodging, heavy attacks, and parrying, retaining the Arkham style gameplay of old AC titles would have been a better fit, especially if refined.

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Of course, the other half of the old AC formula is Parkour, which the last few titles had but did not focus on. Parkour in Mirage is okay. But, I honestly didn’t expect it to be so much like the old games, sometimes feeling even worse. The same old issues have returned (or they never left but we never noticed in the last couple of games since it was less the focus). Jumping on the wrong ledge or accidentally falling to your death happens more than it should. There’s very few new traversal choices – you’re able to drop a pallet to bar pursuers or leap on a beam that falls forward to reach long gaps, but overall the parkour system is relatively slow and unchanged. I remember Unity’s parkour animations being really slow, but at least it looked cool.

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Despite my gripes, Mirage is still an enjoyable stealth game overall, and there’s still a lot of the old concepts that are welcome returns. There’s a lot of fun to have, and Mirage feels less like a chore to play than previous titles, though it has it’s moments.

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VISUALS & PERFORMANCE

Ubisoft is no stranger to gorgeous open-world landscapes and scenery, and Mirage is no different. In fact it’s quite impressive given the desert setting of Baghdad. Though the City itself is massive and gorgeous, the motif is something we’ve seen many times over. And its never easy to make the mono desaturated nature of desert settings interesting, which makes what Mirage did more impressive than it seems because Baghdad is damn beautiful. There’s a dash of chromatic aberration that intelligently conveys the sense of heat. Every blade of grass casts its own shadow, emphasizing the Sunny backdrop. A bunch more subtle details like that all add up to a photorealistic and magnificent looking Baghdad to jump around and assassinate people in.

 

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VERDICT

Ubisoft is definitely on the right track bringing the franchise back to it’s roots. Unfortunately, Mirage did little to update the old formula and the stuff that they did, didn’t quite fit. If you can look past it being more or less unremarkable, Mirage is still an enjoyable stealth game with very pleasing visuals. If you miss the Altair days or just a general fan of stealth games and are looking for a new distraction, get Mirage. Or skip it – you can’t really go wrong either way. 


Dian Raval

 
Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


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