Assassin's Creed Mirage review: Baghdad parkour with sabers

By: Vladyslav Nuzhnov | 07.10.2023, 09:00

I'll be honest, the last time I played Assassin's Creed was in 2015, when Syndicate was released. After that, I was not interested in the series until Assassin's Creed Mirage was announced. We were promised a return to the roots, a lot of stealth, and a smaller game world. The latter attracted me the most, because I wasn't ready to spend 40-50 hours, as it was in the last three games. Now we are back in the Middle East, in Baghdad, and our main character is Basim, whom we have already met in AC Valhalla. However, the story is not the strongest aspect of this game, it stands out for its completely different world. Ubisoft has implemented the game's Baghdad in such a high-quality and detailed manner that it seems as if most of the resources were spent on its creation. The gameplay is minimal but varied. Attacking enemies with a sword is an idea that will end in failure in 90% of cases. Therefore, you need to use stealth, explore locations, study enemy routes, look for secret passages and objects that will help you eliminate a large number of enemies in 1 second. All in all, Mirage is a game that can appeal to both gamers who have not missed a single part and people who stopped playing assassins a few years ago. The gg editorial team will tell you about all the main points of the game to help you understand whether you should buy Assassin's Creed Mirage.

5 Reasons to Buy Assassin's Creed Mirage:

  • You have completed all the previous games in the series
  • You are interested in the character Basim from AC Valhalla
  • The game does not force you to live in it for 50 hours
  • You want to take a tour of 9th century Baghdad
  • The opportunity to experience parkour for yourself

3 Reasons Not to Buy Assassin's Creed Mirage:

  • You don't like it when enemies are as stupid as Star Wars stormtroopers
  • You are scared of closed doors like cats
  • You are not a fan of oriental flavour and are waiting for Assassins in Europe

Quick menu:

Wars Between Two Clans in Baghdad

The game takes place 12 years before Valhalla. We play as Basim, a young man who is constantly engaged in theft on the streets of 9th century Baghdad. But sometimes he receives assignments from the Hidden Ones, which is what assassins were called before they got their current name. Basim admires them and really wants to join them, but is told no. But this guy is not an easy one, and he decides to go on one risky adventure that will force the Hidden Ones to accept him into their ranks. Things don't go according to plan at all, and Roshan, one of the leaders of Hidden Ones, really has no choice but to rescue Basim and start training him to become a Hidden One. What is the point of this story? It's simple (almost) - Hidden Ones are at war with the Order of the Ancient. Basim needs to eliminate the most important Ancients and at the same time figure out who he is.

If you get tired of eliminating the Order, pet the cat

The story sounds interesting, but there are a few nuances. The plot sags a lot in the middle of the game. Basim is looking for the Ancients, and his story fades into the background. We run back and forth, complete tasks, but the game seems to forget that Basim is not just a game model, but a rather interesting character (especially knowing the plot of Valhalla). He is better revealed only in the moments when he eliminates important people, and then there is a pause in his story. Towards the end of the game, everything changes radically, and it's as if you're told: "And now Basim takes over the stage completely." And it was the final section of the plot that I liked the most. But why couldn't it have been done throughout the game? However, if you want to play rather than follow the plot, then Mirage has a chance to please you.

We should also mention the characters. To be honest, apart from Basim and Roshan, no one is very memorable. During the 20 hours of playthrough, we come into contact with a lot of people, but apart from the two mentioned above, I can only mention Nehal, Basim's girlfriend, who is with him at the beginning of the game and then returns later. And the dialogues are not interesting either (again, except for the final part). They all discuss something, and you sit there and get bored sometimes. But thanks to other aspects of the game, we managed to compensate for this moment. Is it a bad thing? It all depends on you. For some gamers, a good story is just a nice bonus, and they need the gameplay the most. For others, the lack of an interesting story is a reason not to buy a game. So, it's up to you to decide what you like, but the story is definitely not terrible, it's just normal and sometimes even interesting.

Now to the Middle East

I can't say that I've ever been very attracted to the Middle East, but thanks to Ubisoft, that has changed. They have created the virtual Baghdad (which is still the real capital of Iraq) so well that I have no choice but to praise the developers. The problem for the authors was that they needed the Baghdad of the 9th century, but the city was completely burned down in the 13th century by the Mongols and there is not much information about those years. At that time, Baghdad was the "heart of the Silk Road" and was experiencing the Golden Age of Islam, so the game world turned out to be very active. Everywhere is full of people, they are discussing everything, and at the same time they are selling something: weapons, clothes, animals, cloth, food, and many other things. It feels like the world is alive. In addition, my interest was fuelled by the fact that I am not familiar with this culture, and if there is an opportunity to explore it, why not? And you have to complete another task, and you walk around the Baghdad bazaar and just enjoy this atmosphere.

The city itself is round, with narrow streets, which is ideal for the Assassin's Creed series in terms of level design, because the basis of movement is parkour and jumping through low buildings, where most of them are close to each other, is what you need. And if you go outside of Baghdad, you will find a desert that you can explore on your camel, where from time to time you can find small settlements and buildings that contrast with the active circular city, but these contrasts are also immersive, because you are interested in seeing the other side of this region. So, Mirage has no problems with the atmosphere at all, and of the last big games I played, I liked this world the most.

One of the parts of Baghdad

How to Play the Game

To progress in the story, we open the investigation menu, where important goals are indicated. But to complete them, you need to deal with smaller tasks that surround the number one goal. For example, if we have to eliminate a member of the Order of the Ancients, we must first: a) free the rebels, b) collect evidence that points to involvement in the Order, c) determine the location where our target is, figure out how to get there and eliminate the person. The last point is the most interesting, because the player is given several options for elimination.

The advantage of the investigation menu is that the player really feels like a secret killer. After all, in order to obtain new information, you need to quietly pursue someone, enter a building and steal documents, and so on. This works much better than a situation where Basim would draw his sword, shout "For the Hidden Ones" and run forward. (Such missions do exist, but they can be counted on the fingers of one hand).

The investigation menu

Stealth is your best friend

Most of the tasks will have to be completed as quietly as possible and try to remain unnoticed. Let me tell you about one mission. We need to free the rebels. We arrive at the location, and then the fun begins. You can launch your eagle, Enkidu, into the sky to scout the area and mark enemies. Then we choose how we will move towards the target: from above, on the ground or even underwater. We choose to go on the ground, stand behind a wall, and turn on eagle vision, which shows enemies around us and where they are looking. We see that there is only one enemy standing there, and he is not looking in our direction. We approach him and quietly eliminate him, and throw his body into the river so that other enemies do not see the corpse. Then we go up to the roof and see that there is a bag of stones hanging over two enemies. We take out the throwing knife and launch it. Voila, minus two immediately. And now we see the biggest enemy, who has armour and can call for help. But he's standing next to a barrel that's firing, so we launch the knife again and move on. If we can't get close to the enemy, we can hide in the grass and whistle, and he will come over and we will quietly destroy him.

In conclusion, it's worth mentioning a new ability that allows you to destroy 3 to 5 enemies in 1 second. Basim has a special scale that allows him to teleport to enemies and kill them immediately. We activate the scale, select targets, and Basim does everything quickly. This ability is explained by the fact that our hero is so fast that the animus cannot keep up with his movements. Although not everyone appreciated this innovation, I liked it because it adds a little variety and expands the tactics.

If a direct clash is unavoidable, then we have to use the sword. We can deflect the attack if the enemy glows yellow, or dodge if the enemy glows red. We have only two attacks - light and strong, and each of our actions reduces our stamina, which runs out very quickly. And if you are facing "ordinary" enemies, even a small group can be easily overwhelmed, but if there is a "heavy" enemy in armour in this company, the chances drop sharply, because such an enemy can only be attacked from the back, and when others try to kill you, it is already a test. And if other enemies come to the rescue, it is better to restart from a control point. So it's better to use the sword either against a group of 1-4 regular enemies or not at all.

Screenshot: sportskeeda

How Can You Become a Better Assassin?

The game has a leveling system that consists of three branches. The first one expands Basim's abilities, the second one expands his arsenal, and the third one improves our eagle. The latter is the least effective, so you should focus on the first two. For example, you can unlock an ability that will allow you to jump from a great height without losing health or open a new cell for a tool.

Skill tree

We also have six tools. The first two are a torch and metal knives. They are given almost immediately, while the rest have to be discovered on your own. For example, there are darts that will send a soldier to sleep or a smoke bomb to give you the opportunity to escape from enemies. The arsenal seems small, but it's enough for a twenty-hour adventure.


We also have an inventory where you can change your costume, sword, and see how many resources you have, because things can be improved. To do this, you need to find the right person, pay them, and your equipment will become better. It's nothing unique or special, we've seen it dozens of times before, so Ubisoft just decided to add something that works well and not to invent something unusual.


But at the same time, we have the usual currency for which we buy items and three unique coins: green, silver and gold. Green coins can be used to get a discount in a store or to bribe a character to tell you important information or to take you to a secret place. Silver ones can be used to pay a musician to distract the guards, and yellow ones are needed to remove the wanted level. Thus, if you create anarchy, you will be hunted, which is divided into three stages: the first is when residents pay attention to you, and if they recognise you, they will report to the guards. The second stage is when archers appear on buildings looking for you. And third, there are elite guards walking the streets who will find you immediately. But if you don't want to pay, you just need to tear down 1 to 3 posters with your face on them, and the wanted level will disappear.

1) A coin that you can pay to find out the information; 2) Posters that you have to tear down to remove the wanted level

An Opportunity to Feel Like a Parkour Master (but with a Twist)

Parkour is the hallmark of the Assassin's Creed series, so it is indispensable. It is as simple as possible here. You press the button and run, jumping from one building to another or climbing a wall. Of course, this is not Unity, which has one of the best parkour systems in the series, but it will do. However, there is one problem: Basim doesn't always understand what to do. For example, I want to climb through a window, press the button, and he climbs the wall and so on four times. Thanks to this, I even failed the task once and had to start all over again. It's good to do something about it, because you seem to have caught your rhythm, like a real master, jumping over all the obstacles, and then the character suddenly does something wrong and all the fun is gone. But fortunately, this problem is not widespread.

What Can You Do in Baghdad?

First and foremost, explore this city, immerse yourself in it, because there are no hundreds of question marks every 10 metres. Yes, there are classic towers that you need to climb and take a leap of faith, there are shops where you can upgrade, there are small tasks of "Baghdad's history" that last up to 5 minutes, but if you actively explore the city and its surroundings, you can find a guard camp underwater where treasures are hidden and a golden chest with weapons and other interesting secrets. There are a lot of chests in the game, some of them give resources, and some are unique, where weapons or clothes are hidden. So Mirage is still on the course that you will go through the main story, and at the same time just walk around the city, as if you were really in 9th century Iraq.

In the desert near Baghdad, I found a cave with treasures and a chest

Contracts are an Analogue of Additional Tasks

Still, the game has some additional tasks called contracts. They are divided into three types: to guide someone, to steal something, and to kill a specific person. For completing them, you are given currency, one of three types of special coins, and other nice bonuses. But I can't say that these contracts are very interesting. Plus, the game's economy is somewhat broken, and it's enough to upgrade your equipment once - you can forget about currency, because there will always be plenty of it and resources. Although there are some good quests, I stopped paying attention to them after a few of them. If you want to stay in the game longer, do them, but believe me, you won't lose much if you skip them.

Contracts should be taken in the lair of the Hidden Ones

Optimisation, Visuals, and Audio

I'm playing the game on PlayStation 5 and in performance mode it keeps a stable 60 frames. During the entire playthrough, there were only two frame drops, but they lasted a few seconds. But there is another problem - bugs. Most often, objects get stuck in textures. There was also a bug when, during the final battle, the enemy simply froze and I had to beat him like a dummy. Bugs are not common, most of them are not critical, but a few more patches are needed to fix everything.

Time to Update the Visuals

The game is hampered by the fact that it was released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The version for the current generation suffers because of this, because it is necessary to make the game work properly on both PS4 and PS5, so you have to make sacrifices, one of which is a worse picture. Soon it will be 3 years since the release of PlayStation 5 and, as sad as it is, we have to say goodbye to AA and AAA games for the last generation, because then it is very difficult to show all the capabilities of modern consoles. But the scenery is very beautiful, especially in the morning and evening. At such moments, the only option is to stop and enjoy the moment, especially when you are in the open. But if you start to look at the textures in more detail, it becomes clear where they had to cheat to release the game wherever possible. Although there is even a small variety of locations in the game. We spend most of our time in one city, but we will visit the bazaar, the square, palaces, caves, deserts, and other places where there is something to see. But again, you need to make the small details beautiful, and Mirage has some problems with this.

Game landscapes

Soundtrack in an Effort to Play Along with Baghdad

If you have watched at least one film set in the Middle East, you should know what kind of music is in the game. It's not bad, but I wouldn't say it's very memorable. It plays at important moments in the story to enhance the atmosphere, but it rarely succeeds, it just doesn't pull it off. And there's nothing more to say here.

What We didn't Like

The biggest problem with the game is the artificial intelligence of the enemies. I have not seen such stupid opponents for a long time. You can sit quietly in a bush near three guards, whistle, and only one enemy will approach you, and you can neutralise them one by one. They don't even care that their comrades are disappearing under their noses. They looked into the bushes for two seconds, then sat down and looked at the wall. The only time the enemy is smart is when they are chasing you, when you have to try to hide. In all other situations, they are brainless models who you even feel sorry for being so stupid and blind.

I also didn't like the fact that there are a lot of closed doors in the game. You come up with a tactic in your head, you want to get through, and you see a notification saying "the door is locked from the inside". And there are a lot of such things in the game. Ubisoft, please make fewer locked doors. The more opportunities to get in, the more varied the game will be.

I also don't understand why in some story missions the game deliberately does not allow you to advance. If I've already figured out how to proceed, I still need to go through all the points and only then will I be allowed to move forward.

I didn't find any more serious disadvantages to the game. Of course, there are still bugs, a lack of focus on Basim, and uninteresting contracts, but this has already been mentioned above.


If I were told to describe Assassin's Creed Mirage in one word, that word would be normal. The game does not have the best plot, sometimes crooked parkour, and bugs. But the atmospheric and detailed Baghdad, the game's ending, and the short gameplay compensate for these problems, and we get a project that, although it doesn't offer anything new (Ubisoft understood this, because the game costs $50 instead of $70), is definitely not a bad game. It is interesting in some places, and there were evenings when it managed to drag me into 5+ hours of continuous play. I don't feel disappointed with AC anymore, and that's a plus for Ubisoft. Would I recommend it to Assassin's Creed fans? Yes! Would I recommend it to people who have been thinking about returning to the series for a long time? Wait for the discount. Would I recommend it to those who have been neutral to this universe before? Unfortunately, no.

5 Things to know about Assassin's Creed Mirage

  • Mirage is the 13th game in the Assassin's Creed series
  • Events take place in 9th century Baghdad, which received the most attention
  • The game has abandoned the inadequately large world, which is only good
  • The plot was supposed to focus on the main character, but often forgets about it
  • Assassin's Creed Mirage is a good foundation for future games in the series, which needs to be modernised a little more
Assassin's Creed Mirage
Genre. Action-adventure
Platforms. PC, PlayStation 4|5, Xbox One, Xbox Series
Number of players Single player
Developer Ubisoft Bordeaux
Publisher Ubisoft
Time to complete 12-30 hours
Release date 5 October 2023

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The editorial team thanks the publisher Ubisoft for kindly providing the game for review