Assassin's Creed Mirage review: Franchise returns to its roots and takes Middle East spin

Set in 9th century Baghdad during the Abbasid Caliphate, the 13th title blends stealthy gameplay with subtle Arabic characteristics

Assassin's Creed Mirage allows gamers to play with Arabic-speaking characters. Photo: Ubisoft
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The long-awaited Assassin's Creed Mirage is here.

The game, from French developer Ubisoft, is set in 9th-century Baghdad during the Abbasid Caliphate.

While the debut Assassin's Creed came out 15 years ago, the latest represents the biggest leap in technology and returns to the first’s stealthy origins.

The thoroughly enjoyable Mirage is the 13th game in the franchise, with previous titles traversing regions and eras from ancient Egypt to the American Revolution.

Attention to detail

From the start, it's clear how much effort has been put into making it an accurate historical representation.

Players begin as the main character Basim, who is woken by his friend Nehal from a nightmare in which a ghostly figure haunts him. Shaken and confused, she asks him if he’s been seeing the Jinn again.

The characters then traverse Anbar, an ancient Baghdad area, which gives players the chance to marvel at the different buildings and backgrounds, too.

One of the game’s best features is the ability to play with the characters speaking Arabic – the first time Ubisoft has done this. The dialect is traditional Arabic, which should be easy to understand for gamers in the Mena region.

The characters use various Arabic words and phrases even while the gameplay is in English, but it’s used sparingly and smartly.

Stealthy gameplay

Assassin's Creed games are loved for their covert missions as characters are tasked with stealing a precious item or an important document.

Since its start, players have complained about the franchise abandoning its gameplay roots for a more bombastic action experience.

However, that's not the case in Mirage. Gameplay goes back to the first with stealth being the players’ strongest method of traversing and surviving.

Basim is a lowly thief who must earn his rank among the assassins. Challenges are presented that allow for the character to grow stronger and more capable as the story goes on.

ASSASSIN'S CREED MIRAGE

Developer: Ubisoft Bordeaux
Publisher: Ubisoft
Consoles: PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox Series S&X
Rating: 3.5/5

All the hallmarks of an Assassin's Creed game are still here, such as the ability to take down enemies while hiding in bushes, or using Eagle Vision to sense what is behind walls or which enemy is carrying an important item.

The game does allow players to forgo the stealth and pursue a more guns-blazing approach if that's what they want, but it makes missions more difficult.

Verdict

The Assassin's Creed games are always highly anticipated with every new release. There are always new experiences and worlds to become immersed in.

In Mirage, this nature is stronger than ever. Jumping around Baghdad and escaping from palace guards is a supremely enjoyable experience.

The level of detail in its world – from the buildings to music choices – merits the time and money invested in the game.

Updated: October 07, 2023, 3:03 AM
ASSASSIN'S CREED MIRAGE

Developer: Ubisoft Bordeaux
Publisher: Ubisoft
Consoles: PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox Series S&X
Rating: 3.5/5