Assassin’s Creed Mirage is an impressive port – but too demanding for iPhone 15 Pro

July 10, 2024
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Apple has been feeding iPhone and iPad owners a steady diet of big-budget console ports, from Resident Evil Village, Resident Evil 4 and Death Stranding to this month’s tentpole release of Assassin’s Creed Mirage. Mirage is the last of Apple’s game announcements from the iPhone 15 event last September, and promises a fully-fledged version of what is a good-looking and technically accomplished AC title. That said, it comes with somewhat muted expectations given the inconsistent technical quality of those prior iPhone releases. How does Mirage fare on iPhone hardware, and what lessons can we take from the recent spate of console ports – including Capcom’s new rendition of Resident Evil 7?

There’s no other way to say it: Assassin’s Creed Mirage is substantially downgraded on iPhone. Perhaps the most striking cutback is the huge reduction in asset quality. Assets that look pretty good on Xbox One are decimated badly on iPhone, suffering from much lower texture resolution – a difference that is obvious on the iPhone’s small format display. Perhaps a more elegant solution would have been to reduce the quantity of environmental assets, but the density of models appears largely unchanged between the Xbox One and iPhone versions. I suspect that this may be in part motivated by getting the install size down, as at just shy of 12GB, it’s about half as large as its eighth-gen console counterparts.

Some lighting effects, like bloom and volumetrics, are toned down or absent on iPhone too. Shadows aren’t quite as pin-sharp on iPhone either, though I think they hold up well enough. In some cases, I found the iPhone’s more softly-filtered shadow presentation a little more appealing than the crisp, clinical shadow presentation on the One S.

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