Assassin's Creed Mirage Assassin's Creed Mirage PS5 Review PS5 Review Ubisoft

Assassin’s Creed Mirage Review (PS5) – A Compelling And Thoroughly Enjoyable Stealth Game That Brings The Series Back To Its Roots

Assassin’s Creed Mirage Review (PS5) – In the 15-plus years that Assassin’s Creed has been stalking prey from the shadows, Ubisoft has taken the franchise in just about every direction imaginable.

We’ve scaled the heights of grandiose Italian architecture during the Renaissance period, cut a bloody swath through the Golden Age of Piracy on the high seas, taken a Leap of Faith off the top of Big Ben in Victorian-era London, and lopped off limbs as pugnacious Vikings in the Dark Ages. And that’s only handful of examples.

Indeed, at this point you have to wonder where Assassin’s Creed could possibly go next, and Ubisoft has the answer – back to the beginning.

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Wave goodbye to the RPG shenanigans of the past few years. You won’t be swapping out gear to constantly buff your stats; nor will you be attempting to sleep with anything with a pulse in every town you lay your head.

You also won’t be fighting enemies with numbers above their heads. In leaving all this on the cutting room floor and trimming the fat, Assassin’s Creed Mirage feels raw and – dare I say it – fresher for it.

It embraces the very fundamental ideals of the series’ titular, throat-slitting brotherhood and the basic design philosophies of 2007’s franchise debut, where stealth is order of the day. In doing so, Ubisoft has crafted what is easily the most authentic Assassin’s Creed game in years.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage Review (PS5) – Live By The Creed

Humble Beginnings

Assassin’s Creed Mirage is set decades before the events of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, with Basim taking centre stage as he ascends from street thief to the upper reaches of the Creed.

The backdrop is 9th century Baghdad and its sandy dunes, shanty towns and sun-drenched landscapes, which are as much a character as its denizens.

After a soft opening featuring Basim’s humble beginnings pinching his way through the dusty streets, the game begins proper with the slippery thief joining the Assassin’s Brotherhood; it’s a bit rushed, but there’s believable motivation behind his decision and conviction in his voice acting, making him an instantly likeable fellow.


Ubisoft wasn’t exaggerating when it spoke of how Mirage really doffs its cap to the original game in pre-release material. Remember those Assassin bureaus from 2007’s outing in each town, which you’d visit to prepare your stabby antics?

Well, they’re back here, and serve as the hub for Basim’s activities through each main location, where you’ll pick up story-based missions dubbed Investigations, which swell into full-blown cases with multiple branching narratives.

I was really impressed by just how organic and satisfying each mission is in terms of both progression and execution. Clues must be nabbed to unearth new wrinkles in each case’s tapestry, and the game really pushes your role as assassin to achieve this. Pickpocketing, eavesdropping, nattering to the locals, even dispatching lower ranking Order members all come into play, so you’re never bored or feel a nagging pinch of repetition.

There’s a great sense of progression as you methodically comb the seedy underbelly of Baghdad to progress each case, almost like a 9th century gumshoe. Mirage really pushes stealth to the forefront here, and it’s a better game for it.

Players are taken all over Bagdad and brush shoulders with all manner of colourful characters, some unscrupulous, others simply desperate for your help. This lends each Investigation a sense of identity and uniqueness.

Returning mechanics also benefit from some spit and polish; pickpocketing has you hitting Triangle at just the right moment, while listening in on a conversation is as easy as plonking yourself on a bench and hitting R3.

Some of the more recent additions return to great effect: your avian companion is once again used to mark foes and pinpoint items of interest, and you’ll still be raiding bushes to munch on life-giving berries and whistling at guards from cover to lure them to a silent end.

Feel Like An Assassin

The main assassinations are brilliantly executed. Each kill zone as it were offer multiple ways to approach, be it means of entry into an enemy stronghold, luring your victim out into the open, or gaining access to their hidden quarters.

Even if something doesn’t work out for whatever reason, there’s always a second (or more) way to ensure your blade meets flesh. It’s this sense of freedom that really makes each mission feel more rewarding, as you are never forced to take one path; the game encourages you to explore all opportunities, and it really makes you feel like a seasoned assassin as a result.

They are quite literally mini sandboxes much like the Hitman games, and are real highlights. Plus, every key Order member you assassinate really fills you with a sense of accomplishment and feels like you are gradually hacking at the foundations of this shadowy organisation, not to mention the fact your foes are well-written and have unique backstories and motivations.

They’re not nameless NPCs you kill just for the sake of it; there’s always very real threat to eliminate.


Speaking of which, stealth is pushed to the forefront of the action more than ever. The city is your playground, with crowds, benches, haystacks, grass and more allowing you to maneuver effortlessly and inconspicuously.

Plus, by eschewing the levelling-based progression, you’re free to instant-kill foes with the Hidden Blade and rock up at most areas without fear of having your arse handed to you by a bloody chicken who happened to be a higher level than you.

The feeling of satisfaction as you surreptitiously and methodically eliminate a palace worth of guards unnoticed, or silently stalk your prey by blending in with crowds to close the gap, is palpable to say the least.

New to the table is the Assassin’s Focus. By hitting R3 to slow time and mark up to five targets, you’re then poised to hit X to seemingly teleport and slay your victims complete with a somewhat incongruous and jarring visual effect. It’s a great addition, and can’t be spammed needlessly as you can only refill it by performing stealth kills.

Meanwhile, Basim has a bunch of handy tools to help remain incognito including the return of throwing knives, smoke bombs, non-lethal explosives that stun enemies, and more.

These can also be upgraded further at the Assassin’s bureau with the necessary crafting items, and you can unlock more tool slots on your wheel (accessed by hitting L2) to give you even more options available in the field.

Stealth Really Is Your Best Friend

Combat often feels more like a last resort than a viable option. You won’t be going up against huge numbers of foes, severing limbs and unleashing powered-up attacks like Evior here. Basim is easily overcome by just a couple of enemies, although that doesn’t mean you are totally helpless.

R1 and R2 execute light and heavy attacks, respectively, while L1 parries a blow allowing you to kill your adversary with R1. Foes also have attacks that can’t be parried and must be dodged, while some are heavily-armored and can only be damaged in the legs or from behind. It’s definitely a more stripped down approach to getting your hands dirty, and recalls the earlier titles; that’s not to say it’s any less enjoyable, mind.

The controls feel responsive and encounters are genuinely challenging, but it’s obvious Ubisoft really wants you to play things from the shadows.


The notoriety system is pretty unforgiving too, as the more naughty deeds you perform, the more guards will come after you. It starts off as basic grunts, but you’ll soon have archers and mace-wielding behemoths to deal with, and they’re tough buggers to lose too. If you do slip up, you can reduce notoriety by bribing the Munadi and ripping down posters.

Elsewhere, there’s still a whiff of the previous games’ RPG dabbling lingering around. You upgrade your weapons at blacksmiths (you’ll need to hunt down components and schematics to do so), and costumes can be buffed with extra punch by dyeing them, which is a nice touch.

You also have skill points to dish out in three unique trees (Phantom, Trickster, and Predator) that unlock new assassination techniques, extra capacity for tools and healing etc, and buffing Enkidu’s abilities among others. It’s nothing revolutionary, but definitely rewards you with a feeling that Basim is growing more capable and offers a sense of progression.

Baghdad Is A Character In Itself, And A Beautiful One At That

Baghdad itself is an absolutely stunning location. Smaller in scale to the sprawling open-worlds of Odyssey and Valhalla but as dense as Revelations’ Constantinople, the city and surrounding areas are brimming with atmosphere.

From the bustling markets where locals and stall holders chatter vociferously, the grandeur of the Round City district that is home to immense wealth, to the dusty trails and farmlands that punctuate the city outskirts, the locations really do a brilliant job of grounding you in a believable and lived-in world.

Scaling crumbling towers and sumptuously-detailed villas and domes alike is made easy thanks to the intuitive parkour system that simply uses X and Circle for climbing and descending, respectively.


The city is ripe for plundering too. Hidden chests contain upgrade components, Lost Books can be unearthed to bring back to the local library, and Mysterious Shards can be pinched from Order members roaming the streets.

You can also learn a heap of great info about the history of Baghdad by locating Historical Sites and adding it to your codex, so there’s plenty of reason to explore as much as possible. Meanwhile, Basim’s old mate and famous peddler Dervis will dish out ample rewards for having you pickpocket valuable artifacts from the wealthy.

Assassin bureaus also allow you to pick up Contracts, which have you assassinating targets, escorting merchant, and stealing items in exchange for upgrade materials, while Tales of Baghdad offer bite-sized narrative distractions where you’ll get to rub shoulders with some of the city’s more interesting citizens.

All these are entirely optional, but I wanted to pursue them as exploring Baghdad was very enjoyable and the missions are varied and interesting enough to keep me invested.

Let it be said that on the whole, Assassin’s Creed Mirage is polished-looking game. Environments look stunning and Baghdad oozes character, be it the dusty shanty towns of the poorer districts to the grandiose of the wealthy, with its looming domed structures and bustling Bazaar. At times I found myself stopping just to admire the view atop a viewpoint: it looked that beautiful.

The game runs buttery smooth on High Frame Rate Mode too, with barely a dip in sight. Characters are showing their age a bit due to the continue commitment to cross-generation releases, and lack the nuanced details seen in modern big-budget titles exclusive to PS5 and Xbox Series X; NPCs in particular look a bit ropier compared to Basim and his co-stars.


Assassin’s Creed Mirage does a lot right. Sure, the RPG-heavy titles were fantastic games, but by scaling back and cutting the fat, Ubisoft has been able to bring the focus back to what Assassin’s Creed really should be about: stealth.

This is a game that rewards methodical play and careful planning, wrapping a compelling narrative around superbly-designed missions that really squeeze the most out your role as an assassin and offer plenty of variety and memorable characters.

Ideal for newcomers and fans alike, Assassin’s Creed Mirage the perfect celebration of 15 years of the franchise and the most authentic entry in the series in a decade.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage is out for PS5, PS4, PC, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One on October 5, 2023.

Review code kindly provided by publisher.



The Final Word

Assassin's Creed Mirage is a fantastic return to form for the long-running franchise, and by leveraging the very best of the series' offerings and doubling down on the original game's design philosophy, Ubisoft has created the most authentic Assassin's Creed game in a decade.