Mirage: Arcane Warfare hits both elation and frustration. One minute you're on a killing spree, and the next you're consistently dying in 2v1 or 3v1 situations. I'm apprehensive of its release next month as currently the beta needs a few tweaks, and what's not there yet could have a huge effect on the game.
If you ever played Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and wished for magic, abilities, colour, and more interesting map design – in other words, a completely different game – then Mirage: Arcane Warfare might be for you. Mirage is developed by the same team behind Chivalry, Torn Banner Studios. It's a multiplayer FPS for PC with abilities bound to those pesky keys you'd expect - Q, E, and F. Thankfully, these abilities aren't instant kills in one on one situations; every ability and melee swing is able to be parried if you have enough stamina, and stamina is rarely an issue.
In Mirage: Arcane Warfare, Torn Banner Studios have had more freedom in world, map, and character design. The seven maps currently available are all appealing, and even when the screen is filled with various abilities, Mirage still looks fantastic. Understandably, it's a less realistic looking game than Chivalry, but the freedom that its fantastical premise allows for shows off just how much creative flair the team at Torn Banner Studios has. Mirage has a very colourful, fantastical, Arabian and Persian-inspired world with maps of market bazaars, deserts, and grand palaces.
There are still a few things that need polishing before Mirage's release next month, and Torn Banner Studios are working on them in the beta. Some details I'll go into can still change; recent updates have included re-balancing stamina usage for example. Mainly, I feel Mirage needs further animation polishing. It's affecting the flow of the gameplay, which also needs tightening for a more fluid experience. Mirage can sometimes feel quite sluggish to play also due to extreme mouse deceleration shortly after attacking. Balance changes to the six classes of Mirage are still being worked on as well, but I've not seen many issues in regards to class balance.
I am currently enjoying the spear- and shield-wielding Vigilist. She attacks slow, can hit for a lot of damage, and can parry with her shield. Every class can utilise abilities to move toward enemies, create AoE, and move away from enemies. To distance itself from many comparisons I'm sure it'll get, Mirage's classes have three ability slots that each have two to choose from; similarly there is a choice of weapon A or weapon B for each class with stats separating the two. Only one of the classes has full ranged capabilities – the Alchemancer. The classes in Mirage are shield, two-hander, trap layer, rogue type, and part healer – all obviously having fancy names like Taurant and Entropist.
There is an as yet unfinished level-up system which worries me. If I level up, I supposedly get an item that I can equip, but I get no information on what it is or what it does in this beta patch. This I imagine will be part of Mirage's also unfinished customisation, and I'm hopeful that customisation in Mirage won't go anywhere near microtransactions, but if it does then let's hope it's cosmetic only. Stat values in purchasable gear will only cause headaches; just ask Ubisoft.
Mirage: Arcane Warfare needs to take off well when it releases. I'm fearful a player base won't stick around for long, and the £22.99 price tag may deter players to start with. There is a learning curve that starts with finding the class you enjoy the most. Then it's about learning what your class is best at, and timing the parries. Winning a 2v1 match tends to be a great feeling, and that's because winning them doesn't happen often. On the other hand, I felt 3v1 is pretty impossible to win; with the deceleration problem, any player behind you can make it hard to parry and attack more than one player at a time even if you utilise Mirage's third person camera.
Fingers crossed Torn Banner Studios continue to make changes during the beta. We'll find out on 23rd May whether they were the correct ones.
Mirage: Arcane Warfare releases on PC on 23 May. It's currently in closed beta, which is accessible through pre-purchase.