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‘Assassin’s Creed Mirage’ iPhone 15 Pro Review – Great Touch Controls but Not So Great Performance

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Back when Apple announced multiple big console game ports for iPhone 15 Pro and iPad (with macOS in some cases), I had already experienced three out of the four games announced. The one I hadn’t really played, and one I decided to skip playing until iPhone, was Assassin’s Creed Mirage (Free) from Ubisoft. Assassin’s Creed Mirage was billed as a return to the more traditional entry in the series with a shorter runtime. That might not sound great to those who haven’t paid attention to Assassin’s Creed, but despite how good most of the new games are, there has been a desire from the fanbase for older games. I enjoyed Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey quite a bit, but they are very long RPGs. Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a shorter experience, and I was curious to see how it would scale on Apple hardware. Since launch, I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed Mirage on iPhone 15 Pro and PS5 with my progress syncing between both platforms through Ubisoft Connect for this review.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage is set in Baghdad, and you play as Basim Ibn Ishaq on his journey. Assassin’s Creed Mirage is set before Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and it was originally planned to be an expansion to that before being changed into a full game in the series. It initially felt weird going back to the classic parkour, stealth, and well assassination focus compared to the full action RPG the recent games have, but I have no real complaints with Assassin’s Creed Mirage when it comes to the story and gameplay. It feels great to have a modern game with a classic series focus, and I hope we see more like this in the future in between the larger RPG entries in the series.

Having waited nearly two weeks since launch to see if any update releases to fix any teething or launch issues in Assassin’s Creed Mirage, I’m going to assume this is what players should expect for the near future when it comes to features and port quality. On launching the game, you need to download about 7.5GB in-game. I didn’t test playing with Ubisoft Connect as my aim was to play Assassin’s Creed Mirage across my PS5 and iPhone 15 Pro. I did try playing offline a few times and the game let me load my save. I can’t check if this works throughout though.

The Resident Evil ports and Death Stranding play great with a controller, but are quite a mess with touch controls. Assassin’s Creed Mirage on the other hand has seen the developers actually add a bespoke touch control option for playing on iPhone 15 Pro and iPad that makes it feel like a big and modern mobile game rather than a console game ported over with a ton of on-screen buttons. This is something I hope more developers do when bringing over console games to mobile. Just slapping a virtual button for every single input on a controller isn’t feasible anymore unless your game has only a few action buttons. Assassin’s Creed Mirage feels tailor made for iPhone 15 Pro when it comes to its controls at least, aside from a few tiny touch targets.

Customizing controls in Assassin’s Creed Mirage lets you move virtual buttons around across different control sets (swimming, base, etc), and also lets you increase or decrease button sizes. I like how the game has a red zone to indicate overlap issues as well when you are trying to tweak the layout to your liking. The issues I have with the UI in Assassin’s Creed Mirage have to do with a lot of the non gameplay sections. The touch targets in some menus are often too small. While the game is capped at 30fps as of this writing, there’s no need for the menus to feel sluggish as well. I hope this aspect can be improved over time.

I waited a few more days before publishing this review because I wanted to try it on my new Backbone One PlayStation Edition USB-C controller, and I’m glad I did. This feels like one of the first few games I’ve played where it not only properly detects the controller with PlayStation button prompts, but it also has Backbone One button prompts for the menu and other non gameplay buttons. The game plays perfectly with a Backbone as well.

Visually, I was mostly impressed with Assassin’s Creed Mirage, but the performance is where things fall apart. Playing with the high graphics preset results in a good image, but performance is unacceptable. I ended up tolerating the game’s performance in the medium settings, but combat really struggles. In addition to the unstable frame rate in these parts, frame pacing is also an issue with the 30fps cap not being perfect. Even if you play on the low graphics preset, there are drops from 30fps, albeit not as bad as in the medium or high presets. This is quite disappointing, and I hope patches can improve this at least on the low and medium presets. High will likely be best for newer iPads.

MrMacRight on YouTube has an excellent video covering how the game is across different iPads. I don’t currently have an iPad that can run Assassin’s Creed Mirage though. I do have the game on PS5, and I was curious to see how I’d feel playing it on that and iPhone with my save syncing across. The PS5 version runs and looks a lot better with 60fps gameplay and a much crisper image. I did enjoy Assassin’s Creed Mirage on my iPhone as a way to continue playing bits of the game though when I was away from home.

While I like the gameplay and story, I want to highlight the music. Assassin’s Creed games usually excel on this front, but I think the audio design in Assassin’s Creed Mirage is just superb. This is one to play with headphones for sure. The voice acting is a bit inconsistent in English, and I also wanted to check out some of the other dubs. You need to download more data in-game for this so keep that in mind especially if you want to play with Arabic voices.

This is more than a solid base for Ubisoft, and it is a few patches away from being superb. Having cross progression through Ubisoft Connect makes it even better though. While this isn’t a game I see myself coming back to later on unless it gets some notable DLC, I hope to see Ubisoft continue bringing cross progression support. I enjoyed using it in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Riders Republic, and Immortals Fenyx Rising on console already, but seeing it on mobile is a good sign for future Ubisoft ports.

One aspect I want to cover is the price point. Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a free to try game with a $49.99 unlock for the full game, just like on other platforms. In addition to this, there are optional DLC packs like the Deluxe upgrade, weapons, and more. The reason I bring this up is to make sure everyone knows that these are the same DLC packs sold on consoles and not new ones for mobile despite the way things appear on the App Store page. I don’t like having this stuff in a full price premium game, but sadly that ship has sailed with Ubisoft’s releases. Just keep in mind that you only need the Assassin’s Creed Mirage full game unlock and nothing more to get the proper game experience.

I’m in two minds about Assassin’s Creed Mirage on iPhone 15 Pro right now. It is a great game and Ubisoft put in a lot of work into making it feel good to play with touch controls, but the performance issues hold it back right now. Since Assassin’s Creed Mirage is available as a free to try game, I recommend giving it a shot, but make sure you play until you get to experience some combat so you can properly judge how it will run on your own device. Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a great entry in the series, and it is worth your time even if you are a newer fan to experience a modern take on classic Assassin’s Creed. I can’t wait to eventually see how Assassin’s Creed Shadows feels on iPad after playing it on PS5.

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