Assassin’s Creed Mirage, the latest entry in Ubisoft’s long-running curriculum of stabby history lessons, is a tight, keenly focused game. But an absence of frills should not be mistaken for simplicity.
Mirage is every bit as dense, complex, and (at times maddeningly) enigmatic as its predecessors. Here are eight tips you should know before starting Assassin’s Creed Mirage. And if you find yourself lost at the start, check out our guide on what to do first in Assassin’s Creed Mirage.
Your eagle is your best friend
Assassin’s Creed Mirage pairs you with an eagle BFF named Enkidu. By pressing up on the D-pad (on console), you’ll assume control of Enkidu, automatically revealing nearby objectives. Any enemies you hover the cursor over will get tagged, allowing you to keep tabs on their location. Down the line, mid-level skills allow you to highlight keys (for chests and doors) and secret entrances while controlling Enkidu.
Before doing any mission, summon Enkidu and survey your surroundings. Tag every enemy you can, so you’re not caught off guard. Informally, see if there’s a more optimal route into an enemy base rather than the front door. (There usually is. And it’s usually via the adjacent rooftop.) You’ll want to get as much information as you can, because...
You can’t fight your way to safety
If you haven’t played an older Assassin’s Creed game in a while, you may have forgotten the old ways.
The previous three Assassin’s Creed games — Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla — were full-on action RPGs, and as such featured full-on action RPG combat. You’re exponentially more delicate in Assassin’s Creed Mirage. Not only do you die in a few hits, but you also deal minimal damage. The easiest way to kill enemies is via assassination — a move you can only perform when you haven’t been spotted.
In short, if you find yourself facing more than two guards, run, hide, don’t fight.
Guards will track you down
When you commit crimes in Assassin’s Creed Mirage, your wanted level — called “notoriety” in the game’s parlance — will go up. There are three levels of notoriety, with each one ramping up how intensely guards will hunt for you. You can reduce your notoriety a few ways, but the easiest is to tear down wanted posters. If you’re having trouble finding them, tap left on the D-pad to activate eagle vision, which highlights key objects in orange.
Photo mode is great for scouting
You can activate photo mode at any time by pressing in both thumbsticks (on console). You can even access photo mode while controlling Enkidu for an even wider birds-eye view of Baghdad. This is great for scouting out the solutions to Enigma puzzles, which usually task you with parsing an incoherent drawing to figure out a hyper-specific location.
Also the photo mode is just great.
The pickpocketing skill is the best skill
Pickpocketing characters activates a quick-time event. Stealing coins and basic items from the hoi polloi is never too tough. But when you want to lift a higher-value item — Mysterious Shards off Order members, say, or Dervis’ Artifacts off wealthy citizens — your window of opportunity is, like, four pixels wide. The Pickpocket Master skill, which costs four skill points and is near the end of the Trickster skill tree, expands the window significantly (see the photo above). Get it as soon as you can.
The blowdart is the best tool
Partway into the story, you’ll be able to select a new tool to add to your inventory: a smoke bomb, a blowdart, a trap, or a noisemaker. Go for the blowdart. It’s invaluable for taking enemies out from a distance, but it’s also one of the few tools that are effective in combat. You can shoot armored enemies — who are usually harder to deal damage to than normal enemies — with it, immobilizing them, and giving you an opportunity to kill them in one hit.
There are no limits on inventory capacity in Assassin’s Creed Mirage, but still, you should travel light — it’ll make you rich(er). As you loot chests and containers, you’ll pick up all sorts of random crap. If you don’t need it for crafting, it’s automatically designated as a “trinket.” You can sell all of your trinkets at once by visiting a vendor, tabbing over to the “sell” page, and holding down Square (on PlayStation).
Yes, you can pet the cat
And yes, cats in 9th-century Baghdad were apparently very well fed.