Assassin’s Creed Mirage has finally launched, inviting players into a visually stunning interpretation of Baghdad where we witness street thief, Basim, become a fully-fledged Hidden One.
Mirage has directly built upon past entries in the series, heralded as a ‘return to form’ for the Assassin’s Creed franchise, with a shorter story and fewer RPG mechanics to mess around with. In my opinion, Ubisoft has finally done a brilliant job at making you, the player, feel like a real assassin lurking through the towns of Baghdad on the hunt for trouble.
And what Mirage does lack, which is very little (unless you were hoping for combat to be a little more rigid), it makes up for in cats. That’s right. You heard me. One of the most wonderful things about Baghdad in Mirage is the cats – and there’s plenty of them.
My first interaction with a cat wasn’t much of an interaction at all. I heard some meowing and began looking around… no cat. I took off my headset to check I wasn’t losing my marbles, and to my dismay, there was no cat in my flat either. I returned to the game and continued doing 'Basim things'; investigating and assassinating, thinking that I must’ve misheard the feline yelps.
Alas, while rummaging through Hunayn the Translater’s quarters a short while later, I find a cat meowing at Basim’s feet. Now, I started to feel a little bad about robbing its owner blind, but this cat didn’t care. With a press of ‘Y’, the bundle of joy curled up in Basim’s arms and begins meowing about it.
After this, I started to keep an eye out for cats around Baghdad, and have begun to pet them wherever possible. Going from infiltrating restricted areas and slaughtering waves of guards, to then cuddling with an adorable cat, certainly makes things in my head-canon a lot more jovial.
In my Mirage head-canon, Basim – regardless of his notoriety and status in other games – is a brutal assassin with an affinity towards felines. He’s a mysterious guy with a dark past, but that won’t stop his love of cats. It’s a hard life being an assassin, and each Hidden One must have their vices, after all…
At one point in Mirage, you’re asked to retrieve some flowers for a Zanj widow. While out flower-picking, I hear meowing again, and soon enough, a small black cat appears out of nowhere. It begins to slowly run off, almost beckoning for Basim to follow it, so off we went.
The cat soon comes to a stop, so I begin looking for what this four-legged creature is trying to show me. Sure enough, there are two snakes in our way. I kill them, and the cat keeps on running until stopping at even more snakes. I kill them too, of course, and the cat continues to run before stopping at a small farm.
A woman runs from the farm over towards the cat, and without muttering a word, you can tell from her body language that Basim has just accidentally reunited this lost cat with their owner. The owner thanks Basim, and that’s that. There are no rewards and no dialogue here; it’s a simple, small interaction that is easy to miss, but one that tells me the folk over at Ubisoft Bordeaux must love cats as much as I do.
Small interactions that are discoverable off the beaten path have gone a long way in making me admire Assassin’s Creed Mirage more than I already did. Helping the people of Baghdad, whether it’s by being an escort, saving innocent lives, or rescuing cats is one of the more rewarding things in my experience, and proves that there’s more to Baghdad than the assassins that lurk in the shadows.
Sure, Mirage has its dull moments, but for each dull moment there is a secret to be uncovered. Or, at the very least, a cat to go and cuddle.
For those playing Assassin's Creed Mirage right now, take a look at our tips and tricks to help you make the most of the game, as well as how to reduce your notoriety level across Baghdad. If you're planning on slaughtering guards like there's no tomorroe, you'll need it!.