The Assassin’s Creed series, developed by Ubisoft Bordeaux, celebrates its 15th anniversary this year with Assassin’s Creed Mirage. Originally intended as an expansion to 2020’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Mirage’s overall size has definitely been reduced this time around. Expect a shorter, more descriptive adventure – and that’s not a bad thing. Not every game has to be epic. Mirage this year also focuses on a main character named Basim – a new recruit to the Assassin Brotherhood who shows off his parkour skills in a beautiful adaptation of 9th century Baghdad. From the barren outskirts of the city to the hustle and bustle of Damascus, everything is brought to life by the Ubisoft Anvil engine. But how much, if at all, has AC technology improved since Valhalla?
Although Mirage is related to Valhalla technology, it is a small project overall. Although scaled down in scale, the Mirage District of Baghdad is still beautifully designed by Ubisoft artists. Every area of the city is full of details: among the fountains of the dye works and even the stables in front of the prince’s palace. The use of volumetric lighting is also important: at dusk, dust explosions are captured by strips of light that convey a strong sense of depth. The only downside is that character details can’t be maintained: cloth physics only kicks in at a certain distance, while things up close don’t look quite right from a human perspective. Mirage’s world design is great, but the character models that make it up are still not up to par.
This applies to every console from the PS5 to the series The first good news is that all three consoles launch with the same options There are two modes – like Valhalla: a 60fps frame rate mode and a 30fps HD quality mode. While the PS5 series aims for 30 frames per second, resolution is the deciding factor. You get 4K dynamic resolution on the PS5 and PS5 series. In the S series we get an impressive dynamic resolution of 1620p with a lower limit of 1512p.
In terms of visual differences, the difference between the PS5 and Series X is when comparing the Series S to the Series X. We see the real difference in the 30 fps quality mode. Focusing on the two Xbox consoles, the margins are slim but noticeable. First, the S Series controls detail settings for geometry, shadow and tree quality when taking panoramic shots of big cities. However, the drops in game flow are hardly noticeable. In 60fps mode, the Series S’s shadow quality drops further, but it’s still a good version.
Overall, the 60 fps mode compromises image accuracy as expected. This means a drop to 1800p dynamic pixels on the PS5 and on the S series, the dynamic resolution in this case is 1080p, with 864p as the lower limit, which represents a noticeable drop in image quality. Different details are less specific, but running games at 60fps is a fair compromise. Resolution isn’t the only factor that’s dropped to 60 fps here. Take the series It is worth noting again that geometry and plant LOD are omitted. Otherwise, both modes offer a very similar on-road experience. Texture quality, volumetric blur and even the number of NPCs seem to stay in place regardless of the situation.
As far as performance testing goes, the Mirage is expected to have a similar profile to previous series entries. There’s good news if you want to stick with the 30fps quality mode. Based on the first three to four hours of play, that’s a watertight 30 fps on any current-gen console. During parkour movement, reading does not affect a single frame. From horseback or flying from a bird’s-eye view, the city’s intricate inner city flows seamlessly into one another. Simply put, the Mirage’s camera stays at 30 frames per second no matter what you do.
The 60fps mode isn’t as sophisticated. Indeed, this is the case 99 percent of the time, but there are ways to stress the engine to find out the remaining 1 percent. The bottom line is that any quick movement of the camera from the sky to the city increases the GPU load drastically. GPU load increases at this moment. The screen cracks at the top of the screen and, in the worst case, the picture fails. The same goes for the fast camera from suburbs to cities: the game’s DRS GPU tries to downgrade to native resolution as quickly as possible after detecting a spike. Both the PS5 and Series get a consistent 60fps in almost every situation, and these moments really stand out from the overall experience.
With the S series, Ubisoft Bordeaux has again made good optimizations for the system’s 4TF profile. The dynamic 1080p resolution is fair enough here: it runs at 60 frames per second, with the same occasional screen flash that mars the series. It is very playable at 60fps The only important thing to remember is that cutscenes in the engine convert at a maximum of 30 frames per second Unlike the PS5 and the series, nothing is lost from the actual gameplay. The Ubisoft Anvil engine can easily be upgraded to the Series S and it can handle frame rates even in complex urban areas while driving.
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Celebrating the legacy of the Assassin’s Creed series, Mirage doesn’t disappoint with its latest range of consoles. Many of Valhalla’s problems – primary problems with frame rate stability in 2020 – seem to have been fixed at launch this time around. All of the PS5 series hit the mark as expected, with only the odd burst of 60fps preventing every picture from being perfect.
I recommend sticking with 60fps, especially since the drop isn’t that great for premium consoles, with 1800 dynamic pixels and minor LOD differences. For the Series S, of course achieving a dynamic 1080p resolution for 60fps playback is a bit sharp, but if you’re not happy with that, the 30fps quality mode is a good option.
So back to my first question: Has technology evolved much more than in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla? The truth is that we expect minor changes overall, but that’s okay when the final product is strong. However, we can’t help but feel that the series’ technology is still very much rooted in the cross-generational era – and we hope that Ubisoft shows more ambition in whatever comes next.
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