Assassin’s Creed Mirage review for PlayStation, Xbox, PC

Platform: PS5
Also on: PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Bordeaux
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

Not to get all meta, but yesterday our Editor-in-Chief, Jim, checked in to see how I was finding Assassin’s Creed Mirage and how the review was coming along. My response: the game was very Assassin’s Creed-y.

And honestly, no matter what else there is to say about Assassin’s Creed Mirage, that’s the best way to describe it. The game is billing itself as a sort of “back to basics” version of Assassin’s Creed, and that’s shockingly accurate – so much so, in fact, that I went into the game initially not knowing it was meant to be a return to the series’ earliest days, and all I could think of is how much it felt like the very first Assassin’s Creed games. So, in that respect, mission accomplished?

That’s not meant to be a criticism, mind you. Nor, for that matter, is it a compliment. Rather, it’s a statement of fact: after a decade-plus that has seen the series venture all over the world at various points in time, from ancient Egypt to the American Revolution, from the Renaissance to the high seas, Assassin’s Creed Mirage feels like how the very first game would’ve looked if they’d had a bigger budget and better technology.

That has both its upsides and its downsides. The good news is that you can really see how much more fully Assassin’s Creed Mirage realizes the vision that undoubtedly inspired the first game. The game takes place in Baghdad around one thousand years ago, but the setting feels vibrant and alive. The city streets are bustling, with constant activity everywhere you look. You can turn down a random side street and still find people going about their lives.

What’s more, the better technology means you’re a part of the city like never before – which is actually kind of annoying in a way, since it means that if your notoriety gets high enough and you find yourself in the wrong part of town, not only will guards chase you, random Baghdadis will start panicking and alert guards to your presence. It absolutely makes the game more immersive, but it also ups the challenge considerably.

The drawback of Assassin’s Creed Mirage being a more fully realized version of the first Assassin’s Creed is that the game feels a little overstuffed at times. For lack of a better term, it feels exactly like you’d expect an Assassin’s Creed game to feel, with the city full of side missions and treasures to seek out. If you’re the kind of person who gets distracted easily and who laments how much there is to do in your average Ubisoft open-world game, then you’re definitely going to have the same complaints here.

Mind you, saying that out loud (or, at least, writing it) feels kind of silly in some ways. What, exactly, are the complaints? That, as expected, Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a great-looking game with strong voice acting, fluid combat, and a big world to explore? I mean, yes, the series’ extensive mythology is kind of impossible to follow at this point – notwithstanding Mirage’s attempts to rein it in – but if that’s the kind of thing that generates a “ho hum”, it’s more a reflection of how uniformly solid the series has been.

And Assassin’s Creed Mirage continues that run of solid games, without question. It doesn’t break new ground – by design, I would argue – but it shows that around twenty games in (counting spin-offs), there’s still plenty of story for the series to delve into. Assassin’s Creed Mirage is an Assassin’s Creed game, for all the good and bad (mostly good) that entails.

Ubisoft provided us with an Assassin’s Creed Mirage PS5 code for review purposes.

Grade: A-