Ubisoft have done a good job of rekindling the feeling of the playing the original with all the modern bells and whistles
You know when I knew Assassin's Creed Mirage had got me? I found myself searching for the historical places and people just to learn more.
That's something I remember fondly doing when playing the original on my Xbox 360 and Ubisoft have done a great job of recreating that feeling from all so long ago.
With ever ballooning worlds and busy work to complete in previous titles, a lot can be said for a more focused directed experience.
If you've bounced off previous titles, this could be the game to bring you back the world of the Hidden Ones.
Basim our hero, has a pretty familiar thief caught in a bad situation origin story.
The street rat finds himself in trouble pretty early on before being saved by the impressively deadly Roshan, played by the incredible Shohreh Aghdashloo, a master Assassin or Hidden One as they are known at this point in the timeline.
Quickly your pushed back on to the streets of Baghdad, hidden blade strapped to your wrist ready to investigate exactly what powers are at play here.
Basim it seems is as much detective as he is mass murderer, opening and investigating cases as he opens the necks of the Order members standing in your way.
It was fair to say that the massively expansive worlds of Odyssey, Origins and Valhalla feel almost unapproachable when you're faced with a map screen piled with icons, so I gave myself one rule.
Don't stray too far from the path, you've got a mystery to solve.
By playing this game as a much more linear experience than most would I found that I didn't feel any of those tugs of FOMO as I darted past chests and other collectibles.
I don't know if this is just how I've changed personally when playing games, but it felt really freeing to just move through the story.
The good news is that the pioneering gameplay of previous titles has been maintained and fighting and parkouring across the landscape feels fun.
It's also really good to just go loud, I would sometimes start street brawls as I did in the earliest titles just to see if I could fight my way out alive.
The combat changes of the last couple of generations make you feel skilled when you can pull off this deadly dance, but there are items and equipment that you can use to specialise your playstyle.
A lot of the improvements of previous titles are here, you have a friendly eagle who can do some aerial recon to find your next objective for one example, but it doesn't feel bogged down with an endless shopping list of possibilities.
Itemisation though feels mostly set and forget which I really appreciated, while they can be upgraded with a number of different resources for percentage stat boosts, again dig into that if you want.
I kept that original title in my mind trying to recapture that feeling and it's really very close.
Alternative to History
The lore of the Assassin's Creed games has grown massively since the original cataclysmic scenario of the original trilogy (plus bonus side stories).
While you could spend hours researching and grounding yourself back into this world, honestly the historical playgrounds these games inhabit are more enjoyable than any of the metaplot.
It's helped dramatically by a fantastic cast of characters both historical and fictional who made me feel welcome in this familiar feeling world.
I often think about how much I've learnt from playing games like this, inspired by real historical events the title card says as you boot up the game.
Those historical events inspire so much curiousity in me when playing I almost forget I'm here to kill just about everyone.
That's honestly the best praise a game could get, something that'll linger in your mind well past when you put down the controller.
If you've not touched the series for many years, this could be the game to bring you back in, but don't worry about those side quests, free yourself from the choice paralysis and explore this incredible world.
A copy of ASSASSIN'S CREED MIRAGE on Xbox Series X|S was provided to SIFTER for the purpose of this review.