Assassin’s Creed Mirage Plays It Too Safe For its Own Good

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Classic Formula Returns In Safest Form Possible!

When Ubisoft announced Assassin’s Creed Mirage as a game focused on the roots of the franchise, I was full of joy, with my mind brimming with possibilities of a modern game focusing on the IP’s core gameplay.

The series found its footing in the industry after it delivered an excellent blend of stealth, parkour, and memorable stories, and Ubisoft’s announcement sparked a hope that the same elements would shine again in its latest release.

However, after spending over 15 hours in Assassin’s Creed Mirage’s beautiful recreation of Baghdad, I have found myself disappointed.

Assassin's Creed Mirage

Reflecting on the game has led me to conclude that Ubisoft Bordeaux’s approach to the game was too safe, with the studio sticking to an established formula instead of using it as a base for something greater.

Nostalgia And Evolution

On its own, Assassin’s Creed Mirage is not a bad game, in fact, far from it. The game presents a fun sandbox, where sprinting through Baghdad’s landmarks is thrilling, and the story has its moments.

However, much of what made games like Assassin’s Creed 2 so incredible is no longer breathtaking today. Playing as Ezio, sprinting through the rooftops of Venice, was a memorable experience, but it has been replicated numerous times since then.

Therefore, the basic formula of Assassin’s Creed is no longer as impressive. This is where I believe Assassin’s Creed Mirage falters. In their quest to evoke a nostalgic feeling, the developers at Ubisoft Bordeaux seemingly forgot to elevate the experience, choosing to replicate it instead.

Assassin's Creed Mirage Image

An Unambitious Parkour System

Parkour was a core focus of the game, and to the studio’s credit, it did a good job reworking Valhalla’s systems into something better. However, for a game sold on classic elements, I was left wanting more than a serviceable movement system.

In the past, games like Assassin’s Creed 3 introduced a completely new animation system, Assassin’s Creed Unity changed the fundamentals of parkour, and Assassin’s Creed Origins made practically every surface climbable.

Assassin’s Creed 2 had unmatched freedom and an incredibly high skill ceiling for the movement system. Following a history of drastic changes, what does Assassin’s Creed Mirage’s parkour bring to the table? In my opinion, not much.

I believe Basim lacks the flair of Arno’s parkour and the freedom of Ezio’s movement, making his traversal bland. The best parts of Assassin’s Creed parkour are present in the game but feel inconsistent.

Assassin's Creed Mirage

This inconsistency stems from a clash between new and old systems. While more deep mechanics from past games, like side and back ejects, are possible in Assassin’s Creed Mirage, they aren’t as natural or intuitive.

In fact, I, as a player, felt like the game often worked against me as I tried to be more creative, occasionally throwing me a bone and letting me do a stylish technique to break the monotony of basic parkour.

Basim’s traversal also faces the same flaws as his ancestors’ parkour. The character can easily get stuck on random objects, sometimes refusing to jump to an object within reach. These clunky moments highlight old remnants that I feel Ubisoft should have ironed out by now.

Assassin's Creed Mirage Image

Main Quest Feels Like Busy Work

Assassin’s Creed Mirage starts off strong. During the first two hours, the game throws many plot lines, quickly taking players on Basim’s journey from an ordinary thief to a novice assassin.

Once we are let free in Baghdad, the game’s main quests quickly lose their charm as they send Basim on one investigation after another. These investigations, while interesting at first, became repetitive.

I felt compelled to quickly move on from each smaller task, anticipating the subtle tease about Basim’s nightmare featured at the end of each major assassination.

These elements of the narrative were easily my favorite, yet they were shrugged away, only returning for the last hour of the game. This part of the story proved Ubisoft Bordeaux was on to something great.

These hours contain moments of triumph, terror, and personal discovery for Basim, working without context from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. However, they do not receive proper attention.

Assassin's Creed Mirage

Stealth Is Crucial But Inconsistent

Stealth is perhaps the best part of Assassin’s Creed Mirage after its setting. Ubisoft Bordeaux practically forces this approach through an ineffective combat system, but I feel the game provides too many easy ways out.

Enemies are far too forgiving, quickly looking past obvious signs. Once spotted, Basim has a large window where he can immediately assassinate foes before they can alert other enemies.

I believe such decisions lead to inconsistent combat. While the game wants you to carefully plan each approach, it is also quick to look past mistakes, rarely forcing you to think about a better option than the most obvious move.

Unlike his ancestors, Basim also has an instant killing move. The Assassin’s Focus instantly eliminates up to 5 foes, completely removing any element of strategy or planning from the stealth encounters.

Assassin's Creed Mirage

The Aftermath

All of these elements come together to create a game that never lives up to its full potential.

I believe Assassin’s Creed Mirage illustrates the strengths of the IP’s old formula but never tries to overcome its weaknesses. Therefore, the game is a mixed bag, with just enough fun and nostalgia to carry dedicated fans to the end of its 12 to 15-hour story.

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