- The Assassin’s Creed series has always prided itself on its depiction of history, utilizing its gaming universe as a vehicle to bring players into these rich and dynamic worlds.
- All the characters we encountered in Mirage, from a random NPC to a major story character during our demo were fully voiced in Arabic.
- Assassin’s Creed Mirage will launch October 5, 2023, for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One with support for Smart Delivery and Optimized for Xbox Series X|S. You can pre-order the Standard Edition and the Deluxe Edition today on the Xbox Store.
When Assassin’s Creed Mirage was first revealed as a modern take on some of the features and gameplay that helped to define the series, moving away from another RPG epic, I was both surprised and a little relieved at the same time.
As a father of two and a tremendous fan of the Assassin’s Creed series (I cut my teeth as a writer authoring a strategy guide for Assassin’s Creed II), the time I can dedicate to gaming these days is limited. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was excellent, but it was also enormous, and conquering Saxon Britain isn’t totally compatible with parenting. But an entry that’s more focused on stealth gameplay, narrative-focused, and centralized in ancient Baghdad? That’s something I can probably fit in my life.
Beyond the more focused scope of the upcoming game, another feature revealed this past summer was intriguing: we’ll have the option to play the entirety of Assassin’s Creed Mirage in Arabic. That made me take out my big red pen and circle Mirage on my calendar as something to keep an eye on this year – something that I truly hadn’t come across before in a game like this.
Recently I had a chance to go hands-on with an early build of Assassin’s Creed Mirage, and I took the opportunity to get a better sense of what playing in Arabic would be like. In short, I found it to be a compelling and immersive experience, and it didn’t feel half-baked in any way, shape, or form.
Now I don’t speak Arabic and cannot vouch for the precision of the dubbing, or how it stacks up to how accurately the language was spoken in 9th-century Baghdad, but the intonations of the dialect and how well it matched with the characters in and out of the cinematic cut-scenes was impressive. All the characters I encountered in Mirage, from a random NPC to a major story character during my demo were fully voiced in Arabic. Even the crowd chatter is fully voiced, helping land me in the moment as I glided unnoticed amongst street vendors and guards in pursuit of my targets across the streets of Baghdad. The level of authenticity gave this a whole new vibe.
The Assassin’s Creed series has always prided itself on its depiction of history, utilizing its gaming universe as a vehicle to bring players into these rich and dynamic worlds. More expert folks than I will of course be able to discuss the in-depth success of how Arabic has been used here, but I applaud the effort being taken, not only for cultural awareness but for helping bring a new level of immersion to the series I didn’t think was possible.
A Robin Hood in Baghdad
Narratively, Mirage follows a young Basim Ibn Ishaq (who we first met in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla), setting this as a prequel of sorts to Valhalla, as he joins the Hidden Ones, seeking to cut out the corruption that has started to fester in ancient Baghdad. And as billed, the gameplay I had a chance to play through was all much more stealth-focused than we’ve been used to from the series in recent years. Also, parkour is back in full form, letting you transition easily among rooftops, up buildings, and across scaffolding — it’s on track to deliver a richly detailed world while still feeling like a grand Assassin’s Creed adventure. Mirage clearly wants to represent what made the series great to begin with, and it still requires a bit of investigation into would-be targets to track them down.
For example, Basim’s willingness to take on multiple favors to gain information on his targets reminded me of classic Assassin’s Creed intel gathering quests: retrieving a stolen item, listening in on conversations, and more. All these activities fit nicely within the moment-to-moment gameplay, establishing Basim as not just a talented thief and assassin, but as a helper of the people (who in turn help him with info on his targets). A Robin Hood in Baghdad, as it were. It will be interesting to see how Basim’s day-to-day activities play out in the world of Assassin’s Creed Mirage and if there will be a larger payoff to come as his exploits grow throughout the game.
Patience Pays Off
In one of the earlier instances of our playthrough, once you’re given your full suite of tools at your disposal — throwing knives, smoke bombs, and your signature assassin blade — I played a bit with the open-ended nature of ways to complete your task, which was to steal a crate of spice, housed in a small warehouse surrounded by guards.
First, I played with the idea of eliminating the guards one-by-one, utilizing my ‘whistle’ to lure them over to a mysterious wagon of hay, or to blend in with the crowd and slip my blade between their ribs. This resulted in a local citizen ratting me out to the guards. I then tried to use the cover of smoke to run in and grab the crate, but was quickly detected and struck down. Despite my best efforts, these approaches always seemed to eventually draw too much attention, leading to a swordfight in which I was quickly outnumbered. Time to reassess.
Approaching the task with added patience paid off, as I scoped out the surrounding building to reveal a more subtle way to accomplish my task — I threw my knife through a window crack to break the deadlock on an adjacent door. Now I could slip into the upper floor undetected and steal the box of spices, hop out the window back to the streets, and walk away with no one the wiser.
This is where I noticed that the game really wants you to take the time to really assess your task, guiding you to a patient, more stealth-oriented approach and away from having to engage in swordplay. When it did come down to brandishing blades, I found the combat to be free-flowing and accessible with only four key elements to learn: strikes, parries, dodges, and counters. It works, but as you’re taught earlier in the game, it should be treated as a last resort as you can quickly become overwhelmed by the city guards – best to run and hide and wait for the commotion to blow over before you try again.
Too Much Good Stuff
It’s fantastic to see Ubisoft playing with the series’ past like this – but it’s equally exciting to know that the developer could change tack again in future. There’s practically an embarrassment of riches on the way with (at least) three other Assassin’s Creed games in active development that we know about. Mirage will be the first out the gate to usher in this next era for the franchise and with the care and attention to detail that we’ve had a chance to experience so far, that future continues to be incredibly intriguing for one of Ubisoft’s premiere franchises.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage will launch October 5, 2023, for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One with support for Smart Delivery and Optimized for Xbox Series X|S. You can pre-order the Standard Edition and the Deluxe Edition today on the Xbox Store.
Assassin's Creed® Mirage Deluxe Edition
Assassin's Creed® Mirage