Assassin’s Creed Mirage Review Round Up: Back To Basics

Assassin’s Creed Mirage Review Round Up: Back To Basics

Reviews for Assassin’s Creed Mirage dropped overnight, the first small-scale game in the series since AC Origins in 2017. Ubisoft’s pitch was that it would return the series to a mechanically simpler time in the franchise’s history — that of the 2010s, when the series was all about cities, stealth and parkour.

It currently holds a Generally Favourable rank on Metacritic, clocking in at aggregate critic scores of 77, 77, and 78 across PS5, PC, and Xbox, respectively.

With reviews now out in the wild and the game out in full release today, let’s check in with what the critics thought!

The Kotaku Review

May as well start with our own review, courtesy of Kotaku US, who got the rare opportunity to have a Ubisoft review live at embargo. You can read Zack’s full and unscored review right here — the broad strokes: he really liked it but also found the story’s rather low stakes made it hard for him to get invested in Basim’s arc from thief to Assassin.

With that, let’s check in with the Aussies.

The Aussies

Stevivor awarded it the highest score from the local cohort, an 8.5/10, saying, “If you’re old enough to know who Desmond Miles is, and have a desire to return to the series’ origins, Assassin’s Creed Mirage hits the spot. It reins in the endless expansion and has very clear direction.”

Checkpoint Gaming gave it an 8/10, saying “Assassin’s Creed Mirage might be a smaller experience than the mammoths that have preceded it, but that doesn’t make it lesser. Clocking in at a decent 20-30 hours of focused gameplay and story, it’s a great return to form to the stealth-focused days of Altair and Ezio. While the main missions could have used more variety, it’s encouraging to see that Ubisoft hasn’t forgotten the franchise’s roots.”

Gameshub felt similarly, also dropping an 8/10: “Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a great stealth fantasy game, with a fantastic setting you want to just simmer in, and a pace that gently but consistently pulls you through interesting missions you find yourself eager to tackle. Its focused scope gives you the breathing room to invest more interest and care in the makeup and history of the world, along with the plights of its characters, and leaves you feeling content with the time you spent in it. This is how all Assassin’s Creed games should be.”

Press Start came in at an 8/10 as well: “Assassin’s Creed Mirage makes great effort to simplify the Assassin’s Creed formula and bring it back to when it first found popularity. The solid stealth mechanics lend themselves well to creating satisfying infiltrations and the open-ended assassinations are some of the series’ most engaging contracts. It’s just a shame that in scaling so much back, the optional content is lacking and the story ultimately goes nowhere. Still, if you’re here for an experience akin to the original Assassin’s Creed, you’ll find little wrong with Mirage. It’s an endearing callback to what made us fall in love with the franchise over a decade ago, for better or for worse.”

Well Played, another 8/10: “Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a gorgeously crafted love letter to the memory of the franchise, establishing a vibrant new world but coming up a little short on ideas to match it.”

Sensing a pattern forming here.

Player 2 came in at the lower end, awarding it a B rating (which Metacritic interprets as a 7.5, you are free to agree with that assessment or not): “Mirage is a good-but-not-great entry in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. It is wonderful that the series went back to its roots but it is just a shame Ubisoft didn’t use this opportunity to fix the problems that these foundation games always had.”

From there, let’s see what critics around the world thought.

The rest of the world

GamesRadar gave the game four stars, feeling that it delivered precisely on expectations, saying, “Ubisoft Bordeaux has delivered exactly what it promised. Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a compact, stealth-focused adventure that punishes anyone trying to go in loud, and it does so in a world that’s always a delight to explore (and be chased through).”

The Guardian, also four stars: “In returning to its roots, Ubisoft has made a more focused Assassin’s Creed, one that those with limited time have a hope of completing. And in setting all the action in a single city and its surrounding countryside, the team has packed its sidestreets with fascinating snapshots of life – such as heated hagglers bickering in the bazaar, musicians drawing a crowd beside a mosque and pigeon fanciers feeding their birds on a rooftop aviary. Ubisoft lets down the liveliness of its world with a well-trodden story, but after a string of formless open-world games, Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a stab in the right direction.”

Dexerto, also four stars, saying: “Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a brilliant homage to those that came before, highlighting just what makes the franchise so popular. With any luck, Mirage will set a precedent for future releases, incorporating the best aspects from Assassin tales old, and new.”

Screen Rant, another four-star review: “Despite some disappointing narrative moments, Mirage is a refreshing return to what Assassin’s Creed used to be, and consequentially a glimpse into what has been lost by the series being waylaid into vast, open-world adventures.”

VGC gave it four stars as well, saying: “Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a short, sharp trip through the blood soaked streets of Baghdad. A welcome return to the series’ roots, Mirage is a breath of fresh air in the endless sea of open world adventure games.”

Eurogamer, yet another four-star review: “Golden Age Baghdad, along with a return to a more focused, stealth-based design, makes for a rich and characterful adventure.”

Game Rant with still yet another four-star review: “Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a game of compromise: some things fall behind for others to soar. Assassin’s Creed Mirage feels more like a sequel to AC1 than a 2023 game, and if that’s a compromise players are okay with, then they are going to have an absolute blast in the sandbox. AC Mirage is a love letter to these classic games, and luckily, the sheer freedom of its design makes sure it is players who draft that letter.”

IGN, an 8/10: “Assassin’s Creed Mirage‘s back-to-basics approach is a successful first step in returning to the stealthy style that launched this series.”

Game Informer, another 8/10: “Mirage teases a larger mystery that connects to Basim’s role in the earlier Valhalla release. But in this case, the resolution of that mystery is unsatisfying and feels like an odd wrap-up to an otherwise self-contained narrative. Concerns about the conclusion aside, I still had a wonderful time in Baghdad’s ancient alleys and palaces. Not everything is perfect, but the “less is more” design philosophy goes a long way to making this one of the most consistently engaging titles within the series for some time.”

PCGamesN gave the game, if you can believe it, ANOTHER 8/10, saying, “Assassin’s Creed Mirage delivers a renewed focus that trims the fat from its predecessors to commemorate the very best bits of the series, but familiar parkour problems and anemic combat hold it back from true greatness.”

PC Gamer gave it a 77 out of 100, and becomes the second outlet on this list to use the term “stab” to illustrate the change of direction, saying: “Assassin’s Creed Mirage isn’t the triumphant return to glory that I hoped it’d be, but it’s a good first stab.”

Destructoid gave it a 7.5, saying: “When Assassin’s Creed Mirage is at its best, it’s an entertaining experience. But in between those moments, the repetitiveness really starts to weigh it down. The middle part of the game is a bit hard to get through just because of how boring it gets. For those looking for a pure return of form to the original Assassin’s Creed, you’re going to love Mirage. After all, the stealth, parkour, and accompanying systems are the best they’ve been. And Baghdad is one of the best cities we’ve explored in the series yet. But for me, I can’t help but wonder if the true mirage was thinking this return to the old formula was the right direction to take.”

Gamespot gave it a 6/10, sayingAssassin’s Creed Mirage is a true prequel to Valhalla, only able to tell a compelling narrative arc for Basim with the knowledge of what he becomes later in life. At the very least, you don’t need an encyclopedic understanding of Assassin’s Creed to appreciate Basim’s growth from a young street thief to a duty-bound assassin to a truth-seeking detective as he looks into the interconnected investigations that unlock the enjoyable Black Box assassination missions. And though uninteresting characters mar the experience, an emphasis on social stealth and a history-rich city curate a fun (and educational!) gameplay loop.”

TheGamer gave it a three-star review, saying “When it comes together, Mirage does manage to evoke the same feelings I had back in 2007 running round Acre for the first time. There’s an exquisite stealth sandbox nestled away in here, but a few excellent missions don’t make up for the frequent bugs, lifeless city, utterly pants combat, or the fact it completely wasted The Expanse’s Shohreh Aghdashloo on some of the flattest, most perfunctory writing the series has ever seen.”

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