Assassin’s Creed Mirage PS5 – Game Review


Assassin’s Creed Mirage PS5

Assassin’s Creed Mirage is the 13th entry in the Assassin’s Creed (AC) series and has the player play as Basim the assassin from AC Valhalla, but during their origin story, in Baghdad.

Pro:

Focus on stealth.

Something that has been lacking from the recent trilogy is the focus on stealth, from the beginning of the series where open combat was always a last resort.

It really brings back the feeling of the classic games, of slowly stalking the target and finding breaks in the guards to slip through and feel like an assassin, with being out of sights of the guards and fading away in the crowds.

Assassin Tools.

The assassin tools in Mirage are the main means of dealing with guards that aren’t close range, since otherwise Basim is limited to just swords and daggers.

I would highly recommend that players unlock the extra assassin tool slots for their first upgrades on the skill tree, since it opens up more paths so the player can pull guards out of their patrol paths, so they are easier to pick off.

The tools also have their own tier upgrade paths when they are levelled up and these include either more distraction focused or lethal options. For example, the throwing knives, which I used from the beginning to the end of the game, can be upgraded to dissolve bodies or can stun enemies making escape more viable.

The other tools are more distraction focused like the smoke bomb or noise maker and while these aren’t lethal at the base level, they are still worth unlocking and using, since it gives the player more options in combat.

Smaller scope.

Due to the focus on being a back to basic game it only features the one main city being Baghdad, so it’s a giant area, making open combat more deadly, since it’s more difficult to escape if the player is in an inner ring of the city, since guards are behind every corner.

The smaller and denser environment makes the approach for assassinations more engaging since there are so many different angles to tackle with, each having their own pros and cons.

Special Tokens.

A new mechanic is Mirage, the ability to find and use new “Tokens” to pay NPCs for a variety of uses.

There are 3 categories of Tokens with those being Merchant, Scholar and Power tokens. These can be acquired through various means, by the side quests Contracts that the player picks up from the different bureaus doted around Baghdad, to being a rare item received from pickpocketing NPCs.

The Merchant Token can be used to pay a group of merchants to let the player blend in with them and walk into restricted access areas without being attacked by guards straight away. They can be given to the various shops around the map to reduce the cost of buying items and upgrade materials and finally used on special hidden chests that reward the player with even more upgrade materials when opened.

The Scholar Token was the one I was using the most in my play through and is used to pay musicians to play and draw out the guards from restricted areas, allowing players to move in without being noticed, making stealth a lot easier since the musicians will distract the guards from their patrol routes for a long time. The other use that I used them mainly for was to pay the cartographers to give the player treasure maps for new weapons and armour, this was invaluably useful, since the player can find schematics to upgrade their swords and outfits to help deal more damage against the bigger guards.

The last Token type and the token I used the least was the Power Token. These tokens are used at various points in the story to skip sections, but can also be used in the open world to hire mercenaries to attack any near by guards, while in my experience they mostly died, to the guards they were a good distraction, but afterwards the guards would of be on high alert and more easily aggro if they spot the player in a restricted area. The last use for them is to pay NPCs to lower the players notoriety bar completely, but this wasn’t as useful since the player can lower their bar just by tearing down wanted posters, which is a lot easier and quicker to do than it was to find a specific NPC in the area.

New focus mechanic.

The major new mechanic introduced in this game is the Assassin Focus system that allows Basim to warp between up to 5 targets, when fully upgraded.

This is a great way to clear out a group of guards and remain in stealth without alerting the civilians or other local guards when aimed.

It also allows Basim to get to otherwise inaccessible locations, allowing a better viewpoint when using eagle vision or marking targets.

Con:

Glitches.

The game featured a lot of glitches during my play, through from minor ones like NPCs clipping insides themselves with their limbs or clothing, to major ones like NPCs breaking their pathing so that it would cause a restart.

The game also had its fair share of game breaking glitches, with the parkour system feeling a lot worse in this game than prior entries due to frequently breaking and slinging Basim off in random directions and not the intended way the control stick is pointed.

There were also several game crashes that I experienced, that happened the majority of the time during combat or assassinations when the camera suddenly shifted angles or with the slowdown from major assassinations for the main story.

The Wilderness.

Outside of the main city the map is covered by The Wilderness with a few scattered villages and places, but the majority is 90% empty desert.

Due to it not having a lot of fast travel points it leads to spending a lot of time travelling by camel or house to reach the outlying settlements for the final side quests. This makes it more of a chore, rather than having fun activities to break up the travel time along the way or just more fast travel points.

Writing.

The writing in this game felt very by the numbers and safe, almost like it was written by a chatbot, so it really struggled to showcase the personalities of the characters and made the main villains of the story bland and forgettable.

Throw away mechanics.

The game introduces the player to several mechanics over the course of the game that the player never uses.

A prime example is that the player can hijack the boats that are docked on the riverbanks or in use by NPCs, the main story doesn’t make the player use these boats and I had no idea they could be used, apart from one singular side quest in the game that requires the player to steal one.

Side quests.

The side quests the player picks up from the bureaus are lacking in scope, since each is only a couple of minutes long without memorable characters or an overarching story except for one chain out of the dozen side quests the player can accept.

Lack of weapons.

There is a severe lack of weapon diversity since the only weapons to use in this game are the sword and dagger.

This is a real shame since the older titles like Unity and the newer open style of games like Odyssey & Valhalla. So, combat feels a lot more limited and takes the enjoyment out of it, due to only using one weapon type with the same repeating combo lacking variety.

Skill tree.

The skill tree in this game is a let down as it plays it too safe with very basic or boring upgrades that don’t feel that impactful during gameplay, besides unlocking new assassin tool slots.

Lip syncing.

An issue I found with the cutscenes especially from the midpoint onwards, was that the lip syncing for Basim and the side cast was really off, not sure if this was an issue with playing on the higher frame rate performance mode.

Can’t replay missions.

A great feature from the original games that hasn’t returned in Mirage, is the ability to replay missions and assassinations again.

This makes the short game even more forgettable, since missions go by so quickly the first time and most of the enemies and side characters don’t leave enough of an impact to remember.

Conclusion:

An enjoyable throwback to the start of the franchise with the refocus on stealth gameplay compared to the more recent trilogy of action-based combat that lacks the spirit of Assassin’s Creed to be more like The Witcher 3.

If the shortness of the game is off-putting then this will be a fun brief game that I would recommend picking up when it goes on sale instead of its full price current release after launch.

Score: 7.5

Reece Imiolek
Anime Amigo and Nerd Consultant

 

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