Torn Banner Studios’ Mirage: Arcane Warfare is the studio’s first follow up to their cult hit Chivalry: Medieval Warfare that trades the previous game’s turn-based swordfighting in for some swashbuckling with magic. The game’s been in beta for a decent while now, but I wanted to make sure this was as solid an overview of the beta as I could give you. And also I’ve been horribly distracted by Persona 5, so the lateness here is mostly on me.
Now, what I’ve liked about Mirage from the start was the game’s obvious Arabic and Persian influences. This is definitely not another eurocentric fantasy title, and that’s always a godsend. Sure, that middle-eastern influence could be cause for concern if there were much of a story to Mirage, but really, it’s just a MOBA with swords.
That said, the combat is focused almost entirely on your abilities. Despite Torn Banner Studios’ fantastic efforts in Chivalry, the melee combat in Mirage is somewhat lackluster. You could tell that the major selling point for everyone with this new game was going to be the magic. It’s right there in the title, isn’t it?
The magic is pretty damn impressive when used accordingly and shined despite the game’s occasionally odd graphics quality. Mirage certainly looks like an indie game sometimes, doesn’t it? It’s all there in the obvious geometric quality of everything. But I’m more than willing to overlook it, because you just look pretty fabulous when throwing fire around anyway. And I still play Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind in my spare time without modded graphics. So that wasn’t going to be a killer for me.
In the beta, you’re limited to 6v6 combat, but because this is coming from the people who brought you Chivalry with it’s massive 32v32 battles, you can absolutely expect that those will be included in the game’s full release.
The six different classes in Mirage give you a decent amount of variability in terms of skillset, while still requiring you to have some kind of skill with that basic class. If you aren’t good at being a stealthy assassin, then you might want to stick with the Vigilist and go run headfirst into things with a nice, handy shield.
But where this game really shines is your ability to target specific limbs. I didn’t think this would be a selling point for me, but here we are. You can target specific limbs on your enemy to rip them apart at your desired pace. What limb you target affects the dynamic gore of the game, and yes, dynamic gore is exactly what it sounds like. And exactly what you never knew you needed. Or maybe I’ve just become in touch with my inner psychopath and I just need to go find myself a padded room to buckle down in, because choosing which limb I’m going to sever from my opponent sometimes took me completely off track.
Yes, I was murdered a few times while sitting there trying to decide which limb I wanted to take first, and got so caught up in my daydreaming of manslaughter that I found myself missing a few vital pieces. That’s the fun of a battle arena though. You never know when you might die.
I did wonder at Torn Banner’s decision to make the beta conditional on purchase of the game, as a beta is supposed to be a step in the Quality Assurance process, but they aren’t the only ones to be making that kind of distinction. And at least the beta was run far enough in advance that any bugs could be fixed. But mostly the beta was just a limited early access period where battle sizes were restricted, but the game was essentially finished. So in that sense, this beta failed at it’s purpose.
It has worked as a pretty solid way to get yourself prepared for the full release, so you know all the tricks before getting into your first massive melee. And what will sell you on Mirage is absolutely going to be the scale of the battles you can engage in and the dynamic gore. Everything else is just details.
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