Assassin’s Creed is one of the most recognizable titles in modern gaming. However, some might argue that the title has become the only thing recognizable about the series in recent years. With fifteen years spawning eleven main games, the Assassin’s Creed franchise has seen its fair share of changes.
Starting with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, which took a more comedic and lighthearted approach to its story and featured not one but two playable Assassins in the setting of Victorian London, the most modern setting the series has seen. This was followed by Assassin’s Creed Origins, which took the series in an entirely new direction by introducing heavy RPG mechanics and a vast open world to explore. The next couple of entries, Odyssey and Valhalla, continued this trend, straying the franchise farther away from its roots as an action-adventure stealth game. However, it seems as though Assassin’s Creed Mirage aims to give old-school fans the Assassin fantasy that has been missing for quite a few entries.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a coming-of-age story following Basim Ibn Ishaq’s journey from a young street thief to a Master Assassin. Basim is a familiar character in the series, as he is introduced in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, in which we learn that he is a reincarnation of the Isu, Loki. Mirage’s story will explore this fantastical side of his character while still telling a more grounded Assassin’s Creed story that focuses on the Creed itself and the philosophical themes present in the early games.
After being recruited into the Hidden Ones by the Master Assassin Roshan, Basim must prove himself and work his way up the ranks while trying to discover what his true destiny is. It’s similar to the story of Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad in Assassin’s Creed. One of the many ways in which Mirage pays homage to the game that started it all back in 2007.
Ditching the massive open-world approach of recent games, Mirage takes the series to ninth-century Baghdad, where players can explore the vibrant, densely populated city and take advantage of all the opportunities it offers. From bustling city streets that allow for social stealth to contiguous rooftops just ripe for parkour, Baghdad will serve as an Assassin playground, providing all the tools necessary for players to take on challenges the way they see fit.
Beyond the city limits, players will get to explore Alamut, a stronghold of the Levantine Brotherhood, where Basim trains to become a Hidden One. Longtime fans of the series might hearken back to Masyaf Castle from Assassin’s Creed.
COMBAT AND STEALTH
We still don’t know just how large Basim’s arsenal will be, but the game will have plenty of weapons and tools to aid players in both open combat and stealth. Here are some of the confirmed items in the game:
- Hidden Blade
- Throwing knives
- Smoke bombs
There is also a skill tree that’s split into three different categories. Phantom, Trickster, and Predator, each containing their own unique set of abilities that cater to a desired play style.
Mirage’s combat system will be a bit different from the past three RPG entries. Basim isn’t a medjay, a demigod, or a Viking. He is a Hidden One, and his fighting style reflects that. Based on released gameplay and promotional material, Basim wields a sword and dagger combo in open combat. He has basic attack moves and can parry enemy attacks, opening them up for an instant kill. Basim can also vault over his enemies to gain an advantage, like Ezio using his hook blade in Assassin’s Creed Revelations. Basim is a skilled swordsman, but he can’t fight an army alone. Taking on too many enemies at once poses a greater challenge. One that might give players an incentive to take a sneakier approach to their missions.
Stealth is one of the main pillars of Assassin’s Creed, and even though it’s never left the series entirely, recent games have made stealth feel more like an option than a suggestion. This kind of stealth implementation is strange in a franchise whose very foundation was built on this core gameplay mechanic. However, Mirage seems to correct this by bringing back all Assassin’s Creed stealth staples. Groups of people to blend with, benches to sit on, tall grass to hide in, and, of course, haystacks to leap into. Assassin’s Creed Mirage is going to allow players to truly experience what it is to be a blade in the crowd.
It couldn’t be an Assassin’s Creed game without, well, assassinations. They’re an important part of the series and arguably the most fun. No longer will players need to be at a certain level in order to pull off a one-hit assassination, like in the RPGs. Assassinations will be much more straightforward while still giving players the freedom to pull them off however they want.
The black box-style missions from Assassin’s Creed Unity and Syndicate make a return, but in a way that implements elements from the first game. Players will need to gather intel on their targets by doing things such as pickpocketing, eavesdropping, and talking to people in the world. Having more knowledge unlocks more ways to take out a target.
Parkour is another staple of Assassin’s Creed and one that is constantly changing. It’s always interesting to see what impact a game’s setting will have on parkour. Connor can climb and run along trees in Assassin’s Creed III because Colonial America had a lot of forests and smaller cities. In Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Jacob and Evie can use a rope launcher to zip from one rooftop to another because the buildings of Victoria Era London were far apart. And it seems as though Baghdad in Mirage is going to provide Basim with cool ways to traverse the city as well.
First off, Basim can’t just climb any surface like Bayek, Kassandra, and Eivor before him. Players must look for handholds to grab onto in order to climb up certain structures. This adds to the satisfaction of quickly planning strategic routes to keep the momentum going.
Players can also vault over obstacles and swing around corners, like in most other games in the series. But there doesn’t seem to be an inclusion of the back and side eject or controlled descent present in some of the previous games. However, Mirage’s parkour system does see the introduction of pole vaulting. Basim can use poles resting on the sides of buildings to clear large gaps. Something never before seen in an Assassin’s Creed game.
He may not run along rooftops with the swiftness of Ezio in his prime or the flashiness of Arno Dorian, but it looks like Basim’s adding his own flare to freerunning in Mirage.
It seems as though the modern-day story of Assassin’s Creed has been pushed to the sidelines ever since Desmond Miles’ story concluded in Assassin’s Creed III. But every entry after still seems to answer these questions: Who’s in the animus and why?
While details on the modern day in Mirage are scarce, as they usually are, it is confirmed that there are no playable modern-day sections in the game. But it is there. Based on Valhalla’s modern day, Basim is still alive in the present and meets Shaun Hastings, Rebecca Crane, and later William Miles. So, whether Basim is reliving his memories or William is the one using the animus, it’ll be interesting to see how that story continues.
That’s the rundown of Assassin’s Creed Mirage. Whether or not the franchise’s identity crisis ends here is yet to be seen, but it seems like Mirage will be an entry that satisfies both old and new fans alike.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage is right around the corner, releasing on October 5th for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, iOS, and PC.