Review | Assassin’s Creed: Mirage

Originally published at: Review | Assassin’s Creed: Mirage - XboxEra

Beginning development as an expansion for AC: Valhalla, Assassin’s Creed: Mirage takes us to Baghdad as it tells the story of Basim. Whether you’ve seen his story arc in Valhalla or not, you can enjoy a roughly 14 hour or so long adventure in this more directed and “old school” style Assassin’s Creed adventure. There is no leveling, and nearly every enemy can be taken down with a stealth kill. Is it the return to the series’ roots that so many loud voices have been clamoring for? No, not really, and I think that’s a good thing.

The Nightmares of our Precursors

The game begins with you living the life of the thief Basim of year 861 in Baghdad, Iraq. As it tends to go in this story, your whole world gets turned upside down and you find yourself brought into The Hidden Ones, later to be named The Assassin’s. Basim has led a terrible life, filled with nightmares of a Djinni haunting him in his sleep. The best medicine for this is of course murdering a large number of wicked people. I beat the campaign in roughly 14 hours, while dipping my toes into the various side content on offer. I wouldn’t be surprised if a 100% run was no more than 25 hours, which is the game’s biggest strength.

The narrative was solid, if predictable. Enemy and Ally alike felt well rounded though most weren’t particularly deep. The game started out as an expansion and it’s clear in the scope and scale of everything. For those who felt overwhelmed by the length of AC: Valhalla this game is what you’ve been after. The majority of it takes place in a single, decently large map. There is no grinding to be found either.

Whereas previous AC titles have become more and more RPG like with their leveling and gameplay styles, AC: Mirage has no experience points or gear power levels. Instead your skill points, which are limited to three small trees, and Assassin Rank are tied to main story progression. There are multiple gear and weapon types to use, each with three ranks. These ranks slightly raise the damage done on weapons and empower the native perk on each piece.

The version of the game we were given had a set I ended up using most of my playthrough, simply because of how cool the weapons looked. They didn’t do more damage, instead having a unique passive effect that I could level up. You have an armor slot, main hand weapon, dagger, and amulet slots for gear. There is also a cosmetic slot for armor that override the look of what you have equipped without changing its passive buff. I don’t believe amulets do anything outside of look cool, and the simplistic nature of it all fit the game and what I wanted out of it perfectly.

Is Being Good Enough?

As a smaller scoped title, AC: Mirage has an MSRP of $50. I enjoyed my time with it, as someone who has seen the entire story of AC: Valhalla it added a bit of depth to one of that game’s most important characters. I do think a lot will be missed for those who don’t know exactly what happened in that title, so either before or after playing through this one I’d suggest finding one of the many great breakdown videos about Basim on YouTube.

From the music to the graphics and gameplay every part of this game is a mix of ok and really good. None of it fell flat for me, and none of it felt great. This is not the call back to Assassin’s Creed (the original) that many hoped for, which I also thing is a good thing. For all the faults of the modern titles with their scope creep, they play really damned well. Mirage keeps up that modern control feeling while dialing back the RPG grind elements that hit hard in the last three entries. You can once again stealth kill all but a few of the toughest enemies (and you can stealth kill every major target).

The city of Baghdad has some light puzzle elements mixed in, with the biggest changes being how you work through quests. Investigations are their name now, and you will be doing a ton of them as you track down The Order (later renamed The Templars). Most of these are linear in nature, with one section where you can choose which of three paths you’d like to take first. There are no choices to make, outside of how you approach a fight, and the ability to easily assassinate all enemies makes the game a hell of a lot easier.


You’ll be able to unlock various toolsets including a throwing knife that can one shot any non-armored foe in the head. Smoke bombs that break line-of-site and let you easily kill anyone caught up in them, and a lot more. It’s a fun system tied again to the quick and easy skill point system. To get the three materials needed for the tool upgrades you’ll have to loot a lot of chests and pickpocket the unwitting citizens around you. Picking pockets is a short timing based mini game, having you press Y at the right time as a diamond closes in slow motion on the screen.

Combat is simplified and a lot easier, too. Basim uses a sword and dagger combination. These attacks are on the right bumper while a dodge is on X. These both use stamina, which is quick to run out and slow to regenerate. The main ability you’ll want to master is the incredibly powerful and generous parry on your left bumper. A parried opponent can often be instantly killed, with tougher variants requiring a bit of HP loss before becoming vulnerable. Enemy AI is pretty dumb, and it is incredibly easy to lose line-of-site and drop all aggro at all times. Like the rest of the game I found the combat and even exploration “really good, but not great”.

Graphically on Xbox Series X the game looks fantastic in Quality Mode and decent in Performance. I’m a sucker for 60FPS and I gave it up because the game just looked so much better while running at 30. In the latter part of my playthrough I was able to get access on PC as well , and thanks the Ubisoft Connect account system my save was ready for me. The game is stunning on PC, running at 4k/60fps on my 5800X/7900XTX setup. Some character models look a bit off, mostly crowd NPC ones, but the main characters look great. Stunning art design is matched by mostly excellent animations.

The music in the game keeps up the series’ high-bar for quality. In a year of awesome soundtracks this was one of my favorites, which tends to happen for AC games with me. The writing and voice acting were stellar, especially the job down by the actor voicing Basim’s Master, Shohreh Aghdashloo. The surround mix using both Atmos and DTS:X was flawless on console and PC, helping me know where enemies were just by sound while I snuck around palaces looking to take out their leader.

Bug wise the only major issues I had were with pathing. Both for Basim and NPC’s the game wasn’t always great about people going where they should. The parkour mostly worked well, with issues coming with some of the interactables. Most of the times I went to use a lift by pressing A, Basim would ignore it and start climbing the wall. NPC pathing found human and animals-alike all over the damned place, with some flying 20 feet if I got too close on my mount. I had one hard crash on PC and no stability issues at all on console.

Wrapping Things Up

Assassin’s Creed: Mirage is a solid entry in the release-filled series. Featuring a far shorter campaign than previous titles it sacrifices “value in hours” for “valuable hours”. Mirage is a tight package that any Assassin’s Creed fan, new or old, will enjoy.


Thanks for the reivew,

In the video what is with the weapons and his pack having some weird colors and effects on them? To me that pulls me out of immersion is their a way to turn that off?

those were deluxe edition bonus items. you can just use normal weapons

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Ok cool, those make the game look like some juggling DMC game or something.

Looking forward to playing Mirage this weekend. Wish Ubisoft would confirm if it’s going to be on Ubisoft+ for Xbox instead of having to wait until later tonight to see if it’s actually available on the subscription service.

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First hour is a messy and tedious tutorial but when you get to Baghdad, the game finally opens up. I really like that AC1 / Revelations / Origins mood.

If you were wondering if somehow assassin’s creed could breakaway from the pale boring existence that it has been residing in for the past… (i can’t be bothered counting) years, you would be half right.

Like the time where i was on jury duty and came to the conclusion that the man on trial was innocent. Mind you i was only half listening as i was intoxicated most days. Also had very little intrest.

He went on to commit a series of crimes that i feel somewhat responsible for now .

Back to the game… Ubisoft seem to be the kings of the bland genre where the enemy’s don’t really seem to know how to fight or have a array of attacks to compel the player to think.

A extremely generous parry has been given almost as a take away from the combat as the state machine for the enemy is very barebones as they are designed to be taken out by stealth.

Thats is exactly how the court case had ended it turns out he was taking out people much like you would in this game. Quite a sad story… Anyways.

I think this game is fun but if you are looking for a more rounded game as far as combat in this realm look towards the batman games.

Thats all i have 7.8 its fun but reminds me of that tragic court case.


I haven’t played the game, so I just guessed with my AI prompts… Bing ai art…

Due to being sick for the last week, I haven’t played Mirage yet. It’s downloaded and installed via Ubisoft+ on Xbox Series X and I did spend $5 on the treasure map pack for the game as I want to know where these items are as opposed to looking everywhere for them.

Right off the bat though, I don’t like the controller configuration. I’m really hating every developer copying souls games and putting the attack button as RB It’s fucking stupid. X should be the attack button. Trying to make the parkour like old AC where you just hold down RT and move with the left analog stick isn’t possible either because they force you to press the A button to jump ledges and stuff. And this is before I have even played the game. Don’t know why Ubisoft has to add an extra “move” to parkour when it’s not needed in my opinion. Will hopefully start the game Monday.


I love that people were afraid that Assassin’s Focus looked lame before the game came out but now that they have their hands on it, correctly recognize that it’s awesome.

Man am I really loving this game. It’s just fun to play. The stealth gives you a ton of options and is very forgiving for a non-hardcore stealth enjoyer like myself. Most of all it feels like it’s of a piece with the original Altair and Ezio games. The tone, the setting, the open world activities, the mix of history and sci-fi intrigue, it just has the perfect balance. All that’s missing is Desmond! (I haven’t beaten the game yet but so far there’s been absolutely no modern day at all; I don’t know if that changes before the end.)


Couldn’t agree more. Love the game the game setting is simply wonderful too and I’m really surprised at how good this game looks at times. One of the best-looking games made this generation so far.

What a great return to form for the series.

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I’m definitely on the opposite side. I like the story/characters, world and investigation setup is cool but man, I don’t know how people can still play the old AC games now when the series has evolved and in my opinion, became far superior with Origins and Odyssey. Valhalla not so much but that’s another story for another time.

I hate not being able to free climb because to me, once you have this in your franchise, that’s it, can’t go back to looking for cracks or grips or some crap just so I can climb. Combat is fine but obviously based entirely on stealth. Playing on hard, I have only died 6 or 7 times and im at the end of the game. 3 out of 5 regions will be 100% completed.

One other thing is when you’re in an enemy outpost and kill enemies, these same enemies literally respawn if you go a ways away from where you killed them but yet still in the outpost. I have had this several times where I killed all these enemies in an area, I go to the other side clear it out and when I go back to the first area, enemies are back and they’re in the same position or place that they were before and im like, what the hell?

I understand those who like Mirage and the old setup but im really really hoping that this is the last old school AC game because it’s definitely not for me. lmao. Bring on RED with my free climbing action RPG setup baby!!! :joy:

One thing Mirage has done is that just like Valhalla (which makes sense since Mirage started as an expansion for Valhalla) is that I want to play through Origins and Odyssey with all the expansions a third time because for me, Mirage (and Valhalla) just isn’t it. lol

Honestly this is the first AC that has made me really appreciate the stealth aspect of the game. Which is a weird thing to say about Assassin’s Creed, but I’m really not much of a stealth person in general, I would just as soon go in loud and beat everybody up instead of fiddling with hiding and using the tools and such. This is the first time I’ve wanted to stay hidden because it’s fun, not because the game forced an instant fail state on me. It kind of makes me want to go back and replay some of the earlier games with that mindset.

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I felt Origins and Odyssey that flooded you with too many missions and side stories to do all at once. This game pace is so much better and I find the environment much better to look

I agree that Origins/Odyssey gives you a shit ton of quests (especially Odyssey) at once but unlike Mirage, they are Witcher like action RPG’s so I can understand it.

Mirage’s pacing is good (no argument there) but it isn’t an RPG and it’s a far smaller game compared to the previous three, especially Valhalla which even I will say was too freaking huge!!!

Personally, I rated Mirage a 9/10 in visuals but have Origins/Odyssey at a 10/10 for visuals. I’m simply far more impressed visually with Origins/Odyssey and granted, that could be because of all the different regions and whatnot but in general, I do think Origins/Odyssey look better.

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I can handle the game and I don’t feel overwhelmed and its far clearer where and what I need to do in Mirage and its one of the best-looking games of this generation too

This is the 1st AC Creed game I’ve enjoyed and be able to get into since Unity. I hope one day Ubisoft will remake Unity :slight_smile:

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Glad that you’re enjoying it and definitely a lot more than I did. I liked Unity but thought Rogue was the better AC game in 2014. Maybe Ubisoft will remake Unity but then again, visually is till holds up extremely well. They are remaking Black Flag which is my personal favorite AC game and im hoping that they don’t screw it up.

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I was so impressed with the almost 1 to 1 scale of Unity also I do love France its history It also really helped me with the title, also did really enjoyed the online co-op in Unity I love to see a next gen remake.

I also enjoyed Black Flack - got it with my XBox One on day one :heart_eyes:. So enjoying Mirage and really like the voice acting but the in-game characters have strange eye movements at times

Unity was definitely an impressive game when it launched. Granted, had a lot of technical issues but you can understand why. lol.

I enjoyed Unity for what it was but I didn’t like the co-op focus at all because im a pure single player gamer so I could never do the Heists as they’re meant for at least 2 players. Visually though outside of the bugs and whatnot, Unity looked awesome and very impressive.

Black Flag is my favorite AC game and the game that made me an AC fan so can’t wait to see how they remake it.

I finished Mirage a few days ago. Posted a short review in the “currently playing” topic. No spoilers or anything. You definitely won’t agree with my review. lol