Set in Baghdad in the year 861, "Assassin's Creed Mirage" is a deep dive back to the Middle Eastern roots of the franchise.
Tighter and denser than most mainline entries in the franchise, the effort from the dev team led by Ubisoft Bordeaux delivers a meticulously crafted, endlessly entertaining adventure that draws on the series' heritage and paints a bold path toward the future.
Due out Oct. 5, the follow-up to "Assassin's Creed Valhalla," the game is set in a gloriously imagined version of Baghdad when it was a cultural and economic hub. Teeming with life, culture and audiovisual wonders, the city is one of the prime characters in the game.
As you race over desert rooftops and romp through bazaars while playing out sequences, you feel as though you've entered via a rift in time. No game series makes history come alive as much as Ubisoft's flagship, and "Mirage" continues the tradition with gusto.
You play as Basim, a side character in "Valhalla," who is a master of stealth and parkour. More than in most games in the series' past, you'll need to rely on deception and sly maneuvering to stalk and kill targets with the most efficiency. The challenging, yet coolly forgiving nature of the gameplay manages to keep you intrigued while rarely frustrated.
As part of the fabric of the Hidden Ones -- the forerunners of the Assassin's order locked in eternal conflict with Templars -- you trade blows with the Ancient Ones, who will evolve into the Templars. Wrestling for control of the future of mankind, you must operate in secret against overwhelming numbers and strength, exacting your order's directives by chipping away at the Ancient Ones' power base.
Paced with deep storytelling, spellbinding cutscenes and compelling combat, "Assassin's Creed Mirage" is yet another triumph for the storied franchise. While some may crave the vast worlds of the more recent entries, the return to more succinct and penetrating quests on which the "Assassin's Creed" name was built. The title may be "Mirage," but there is substance to this trek to ancient Persia.
Publisher sent review code.