Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Assassin’s Creed Mirage, analysis: the long-awaited return to the origins of the saga

For several deliveries, Assassin’s Creed has been characterized by Huge open world maps and endless activities which, although many of them were interesting, greatly extended the playing time. In many cases, artificially. It is perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks of the latest installments, representing the maxim that more is not always better.

However, the last three games have been characterized by offering a great playable proposal, and with each iteration, they have added new mechanics that have added points to the Ubisoft formula. Assassin’s Creed Mirage, although it continues this path in part, is a new reformulation of the Assassin’s Creed proposal, closer to the original games than to the latest installments of the saga.

And it mainly stands out for two elements: goodbye to RPG mechanics (at least in its purest form) and goodbye to massive open worlds. Assassin’s Creed Mirage feels as a return to the origins of the franchisebut preserving what worked (and very well) in the last installments of the saga.

On this occasion, the player takes control of a character already known if they have played Valhalla. It is the story of Basim, from when he was a simple thief in the suburbs of Baghdad to becoming a Hidden master. The game is committed to being a more narrative proposal that tells the story of Basim, with gameplay in the middle, in a way very similar to classic adventure movies. It feels different because Assassin’s Creed Mirage is different in many of the elements from other titles like Valhalla, but is closer to the narrative of Origins.

However, the most important weight is the world that Ubisoft Bordeaux has built for Mirage. It’s still a huge open world map, but it’s focused on Baghdad and the surrounding area. It is an important step for a more intimate adventure, but one that should not be misleading: in Mirage it is as easy to get familiar with the map as it is to get lost in it. In a way, it is very reminiscent of the beginnings of Origins, and anyone who has played this will only be able to find certain similarities, not only in its general narrative, but also in the beginning and evolution of the character. Not for nothing, for many, Origins It is one of the best installments of the franchise.

Assassin's Creed Mirage, PlayStation Showcase 2023

The game starter not only allows you to familiarize yourself with the new mechanics, closer to the original titles than the new ones. On this occasion, stealth is much more effective than direct combat, and in most cases, facing several enemies openly is synonymous with loading the last saved point. And Basim is less agile in combat than other characters in the saga, and although have included an option parry+execution that simplifies combat, it will always be more to behave like an Assassin than like a Spartan warrior. This is perhaps his weakest point and the one that offers the least depth.

This has a lot to do with the removal of RPG mechanics. The catalog of weapons is much more limited, and although they can be improved, there are no levels in them, nor in armor, so in general terms, the entire game focuses on the same level for the player, despite because there are areas (and enemies) more complicated than others. This is where the use of stealth and secondary weapons such as throwing knives, smoke bombs or decoys shines most, which They offer many more opportunities to get out of dangerous situations successfully. than direct combat.

Baghdad shines with its own light in Assassin’s Creed Mirage

Furthermore, Baghdad offers many opportunities for this. The city’s architecture heavily promotes being off street level and out of sight of enemies. And the existence of nooks, hay carts and areas to hide mean that the game is designed to rely on stealth in most situations. In fact, sneaking up on enemies always allows for an instant kill, even if the enemies are tougher than standard. The game allows you to hide in the grass and underbrush, whistle to attract enemies, hide bodies, create distractions…

Logically, the movement of the game, more in a city ​​as dense as Baghdad are very designed to bet on the Parkour. It’s very fluid, more so than in previous games, and allows Basim to move around the city very quickly. However, it still suffers from the problems of the previous games. In open areas or where we do not intend to do Parkourthe situation of climbing things that you don’t want to climb is constantly repeated, something especially problematic when we flee from many enemies, for example. Not that it’s common, but it’s still especially frustrating.

Baghdad is, without a doubt, one of the densest, richest and best-crafted settings in the franchise. Moving around the city is a huge pleasure, with bustling streets, lovingly built architecture and, in general, another protagonist in the game. This is complemented quite well by the graphic section of the game, which offers the well-known mode, graphics and performance and for which we will always recommend using the latter. At 60 fps, The game barely loses quality and everything feels especially fluid. The lighting is wonderful, and the particle effects of the smoke bombs, which you will use quite a bit, are also very well done.


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