Assassin's Creed Mirage Review - Back To Basics
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Assassin's Creed Mirage Review - Back To Basics

Back in 2020 when I reviewed Assassin's Creed Valhalla, I talked about how much that game's story had a real sense of finality to it, bringing together and concluding dozens of narrative threads from across the franchise. Although it serves as somewhat of a prequel for Valhalla, Assassin's Creed Mirage doesn't push the series' story in new directions, opting instead for a narrative that is heavily dependent on you already knowing Basim's story in Valhalla. Mirage does get back to the basics that first defined the series by refocusing on social stealth and making it fun to learn about a city's history, but a weak cast of characters keeps it from reaching the same heights as some of its earliest predecessors.

Ubisoft Bordeaux's vision of ninth-century Baghdad stands out as the most compelling part of Mirage. While I can't speak to its authenticity, Baghdad's colorful, multi-layered architecture creates a playground of possibilities, offering numerous avenues for navigating the city, sneaking past guards, and reaching your objective. Freerunning is intuitive, though occasionally clumsy in its design, with Basim sometimes getting snagged on corners or leaping off rooftops in a way I didn't intend. These mishaps are thankfully not very common, allowing you to focus on strategizing how you want to get from one building to the next.

But most of all, Baghdad feels alive in its history, incorporating pinnacles of the city--like the House of Wisdom--into main story missions and highlighting every discovery and fresh face with new pages in an expansive codex that details the history, culture, and importance of the setting. In the earliest days of the franchise, Assassin's Creed helped me pass my History classes by making European history fun to learn about, and Mirage does the same here for Baghdad, highlighting the golden age of a city and culture not often touched on in world history and certainly not in modern media.

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