Assassin’s Creed Mirage Preview- Good Old-fashioned Stealth Action With Some Modern Twists
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Ubisoft
Recently, I got the chance to take part in a preview event for Ubisoft’s upcoming title, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, and it was everything Assassin’s Creed fans will be hoping for. I played the Xbox Series X/S build and got to experience several key missions and story moments from the single-player adventure, introducing some of the key characters, gameplay mechanics and a few laps around the open world.
I also gained a good understanding of the game’s story, which follows a new assassin called Basim, a talented street thief who yearns for something more. While he needs to steal and con to survive, his targets only tend to include the wealthy and corrupt, which eventually leads him to the Order of Assassins.
His newfound skills are then put to use to help the Order, like the many assassins before him, and tips the scales of power that are corrupting Baghdad.
It’s a solid story and one that’s reminiscent of the original games and the personal struggles of the protagonists. Along the way, you’ll meet an interesting cast of characters, my favourite being Kong, an old friend of Basim’s who sells a variety of wares and assists you in a few missions, provided you lend him a helping hand every now and then. He was also incredibly funny, so I can’t wait to see how else he’s involved in the story of the full game.
Speaking of character, I absolutely adored the city of Baghdad as it had it in spades. For starters, it’s thankfully a lot smaller than previous entries. The RPG trilogy, as it's often called, went for enormous open environments. But while they looked incredible, a lot of your time would be devoted to getting from point A to point B through various means of transportation, like boats or horseback.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage drastically reduces the world size, returning the series to its roots of running, climbing and leaping across rooftops to get to your objective. The streets were compact enough to encourage a floor-is-lava approach, and while a lot of the parkour consists of scaling walls, walking across tightropes and the occasional leap of faith, there are a few extra traversal mechanics to keep things interesting.
Ziplines that launch you vertically or horizontally are scattered throughout the map, as well as a few pole vaults to close the distance of slightly larger gaps between the streets. While freerunning is as simple as holding a button down and moving, there’s an element of skill involved as you choose which route to take on the fly, either going for the safest options or trying something a little more daring.
As you vault through the city, you’ll encounter its denizens hosting markets, chatting on rooftops, or just chilling in the sun. Throughout your activities, wanted posters with your face on them will be posted throughout the city, sort of like a wanted level. You’re encouraged to rip them off the walls whenever possible to decrease it, but if you don’t, the general public will notice you are the same guy from the poster, and call the local law enforcement to take you out.
Running through Baghdad past crowds of people hurling obscenities at me and calling for my arrest did an excellent job of making the world feel lived in, as who wouldn’t alert the authorities if they thought a dangerous criminal just scaled one of their walls?
My time with the game also took me on a few stealth and combat encounters, and fans will likely be pleased to hear stealth is king in the game. All the classic assassin techniques are back, including the eagle vision for tracking enemies, a wide range of assassinations, plenty of sneaky hiding spots and even a handy bag of tricks.
You’ll have access to throwing knives for long-distance takedowns, noisemakers to get enemies out of the way or separate groups, and smoke bombs in case you need to make a quick getaway. These can either be aimed or assigned to a trigger for a quick throw.
If you do get caught, you’ll have two options, fight or flight. Admittedly, I picked the latter option almost every time, though when you do go toe-to-toe with adversaries, the game boasts a mix of flashy combat that requires patience to master. Enemies will attack with light attacks, which can be parried for a quick kill, or heavy attacks which you need to dodge. If your reaction times are good, and you’re light on your feet, you could probably take on a whole horde of enemies, though I’d imagine the prime strategy for most people will be fleeing and circling back.
It’s obvious the most effective way to complete each mission is to go in quietly and stealthily, pick off enemies one by one, or be a complete ghost and leave them all alive, complete your objective and get the hell out. This will surely excite long-time fans of the series, as you can tell the developers had the roots of Assassin’s Creed in mind from the get-go.
Overall, I loved what I played. It’s definitely an easy-to-learn hard-to-master type of game, and unless you’re a seasoned Assassin’s Creed veteran, you’ll likely fail a few times before you perfect the stealth and combat, but ultimately it’s just a lot of fun.
The story instantly captured my interest, and I personally can’t wait to see what else lies in store for Basim when the full game releases on 5 October.