Picture credit: Assassin’s Creed Mirage promotional material (Ubisoft)
Assassin’s Creed Mirage has the second worst user Metacritic score in the entire franchise and yet for many series veterans it’s the best entry in years – so what’s happening?
A long franchise
The Assassin’s Creed franchise is approaching its 16 year anniversary; in that time the series has had over 10 mainline entries, countless spin offs, all set in varying time periods and sometimes donning significant gameplay shifts.
With this history, varying communities have emerged in the Assassin’s Creed fanbase, with different demands as to the series’ direction.
For some it’s the slow, meticulous nature of AC 1, others have been captivated by the stealth and deeper parkour system of AC:Unity. The role playing game (RPG) style of the newer entries has its own massive community of ardent fans and others just want to be pirates again in the style of AC:Black Flag.
These are just some of the demands being levied at the franchise and with Mirage, the community may well be at a boiling point.
What are the fans saying?
Despite the game’s shortcomings and rumours of it starting development merely as additional downloadable content (DLC) for Valhalla, the emphasis on stealthy, mission driven gameplay is for some all the game had to do to warrant a positive and sometimes perfect score.
Others, disappointed by the story, de-emphasis of combat and expansive worlds, would much rather just have had another RPG entry in the series.
Game reviewers and content creators
Critics have been overall more positive, commending the game for the inclusion of “social stealth” (blending into crowds to avoid suspicion), more traditional stealth of hiding in bushes and on rooftops, a useful selection of tools/gadgets and a cool setting.
They have however levied criticism at a sub par story, forgettable characters, under developed features and a lack of enemy variety. It may be the case that stealth oriented, smaller scale experiences simply aren’t a priority for Ubisoft and Mirage was a brief and one off gift for those fans that demanded such an experience.
It’ll be interesting to see what lessons Ubisoft takes from the launch of Mirage. The buggy and unpolished launch of Unity was thought to have killed the hopes of any future sneaking oriented releases but the marketing and of course gameplay of Mirage was clearly steered at that crowd.
Does Ubisoft’s recognition of stealth fans promise similar releases in the future? Or does the sub par reception of Mirage seal the deal and make Ubisoft go all in for open world, RPG action games? It’s hard to tell, but what does seem inevitable is that regardless of where the series goes, a significant portion of fans will be disappointed.