Assassin's Creed Mirage is focusing on stealth and I'm ready to feel like an assassin again

Assassin's Creed Mirage
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Hiding in haystacks. Parkouring across rooftops. Taking out enemies unawares with my hidden blade. Upon being caught, a well-timed smoke bomb cloaks me from pursuers. Then finally, after searching from shadows, I locate my target and work out how to deliver that all-important fatal blow. "Requiescat in pace." Nothing makes me feel like a bonafide Hidden One quite like the classic stealth assassination missions in the earlier Assassin's Creed games. From Ezio's sneakily stalking across the rooftops of Italy in the second outing, to memorable landmark missions in famous locations like Notre Dame in Assassin's Creed Unity, there are so many classic assassination missions that made me feel like a stealthy master of the Creed. 

But as more recent games in the series  - such as Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Assassin's Creed Odyssey - have shifted to sprawling open-worlds with RPG elements, I've been missing the more intimate, stealth-focused assassinations which were always at the heart of the original experience. While I've certainly enjoyed the RPG direction of later entries, Assassin's Creed Mirage looks set to be the answer to my prayers. The prospect of returning to an AC experience that puts its focus squarely back on stealth is a very welcome move, and its smaller scale is just what we need right now.  

"Welcome, Hidden One" 

Assassin's Creed Mirage protagonist shows off hidden blade.

(Image credit: Ubisoft)
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Assassin's Creed Mirage

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

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With the Ubisoft Forward showcase in just a matter of days as part of the E3 2023 schedule on June 12, we're set to see more of Mirage very soon. While I can't wait to get another look at the adventure, the latest gameplay trailer shown during the PlayStation May 2023 showcase just made me fall in love with the prospect of Mirage all the more. In it, we see Basim parkour across rooftops, make use of smoke bombs, sneak past guards, and take out foes with his signature hidden blade from above and below. All of the ingredients of old school Assassin's Creed are on display front and center, but a little tease of the style of mission we can expect is what makes me ready to take a big leap of faith that Mirage will deliver what I've been yearning for. 

"We need to find a way to get you inside without being seen," a figure says to protagonist Basim as they sit perched on a rooftop. "You could bribe the guards to look the other way." Then, Basim responds with, "I shall see what flavor best suits me", before we see a series of stealthy takedowns with throwing knives and hidden blades galore, followed by a shot of the assassin sneakily tailing a guard, and nicking some coin from another who sits down unawares. 

Seeing this, I had just one thought: Now this is what Assassin's Creed is all about. Rather than expansive worlds, action, and viking raids or mercenary bosses, give me tightly focused missions that are all about stealth, staking out approaches, hiding your presence, and getting stabby from the sidelines. 

"The stage is yours, Basim"  

Assassin's Creed Mirage

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

It's safe to say that I'm excited to see Mirage bring back the old school assassin tools and put the spotlight back on stealth. But we also have the added bonus of looking forward to new abilities, with some - such as pole vaulting and a neat Focus feature that allows us to target multiple enemies in succession - shown off in the trailer. Better yet, though, is the "flavor" Basim mentions, which reignites my growing sense of anticipation surrounding the return of 'Black Box' style missions, which were first found in Unity. 

These missions, which Ubisoft confirmed will be making a proper comeback, are big assassination missions that can be completed in a variety of ways. Some of the most memorable assassinations in the series are because of this style, which allows you to discover and open up unique ways to off your target as you exploit various stealthy avenues in the environment. 

The infiltration missions that popped up in the Assassin's Creed Valhalla  Siege of Paris expansion had the same kind of spirit, and even convinced me to return to Unity because of the way they make me feel like a proper assassin. The fact that Mirage will feature assassination missions that can be "carried out and completed in multiple ways" will no doubt allow us to get creative with our toolset in the new setting of Baghdad.

Just like many other fans, I've been looking to dive into a more traditional AC experience, and Assassin's Creed Mirage looks set to deliver exactly that. After so many huge open-world installments, the smaller scale is more than welcome. Above all, though,  I couldn't be happier to see Mirage put the focus back on all of the stealthy features that made me fall in love with the earlier games in the long-running series. I'm ready to put my hidden blades to use and strike from the shadows once more.

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Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.