Torn Banner Studios made waves on PC back in 2012 when they released Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, a multiplayer game inspired by its Half-Life 2 mod, Age of Chivalry. Its tactical yet thoughtful gameplay and fully realized setting engrossed many people who are still playing it now, almost five years after its initial release. Those are big shoes to fill, and Torn Banner Studio’s newest multiplayer game Mirage: Arcane Warfare is hoping to do so, albeit with a less realistic and more fantastical style that puts an emphasis on magic.
After a long period in Alpha, Torn Banner Studios finally opened the game for pre-order, with those who buy it early garnering access to the game’s Closed Beta. After spending some time over the last month with the game and testing out its various characters and modes, I can say that Mirage: Arcane Warfare is a charming and easy to learn multiplayer game that seems like it will capture the attention of the same people who are currently addicted to Chivalry: Medieval Warfare when it releases next month.
Instead of Chivalry’s more realistic graphics, Mirage opted for more Arabian-inspired cartoony ones. I found the game to be much more colorful and vibrant than its dreary medieval counterpart, though the character models do look dated. The levels I played on were well designed and vivid, and the hilarious ragdoll physics are still in the spotlight, so the game’s charm still remains, even if it isn’t as visually compelling as more recent multiplayer titles like Overwatch.
Mirage: Arcane Warfare is a charming and easy to learn multiplayer game that seems like it will capture the attention of the same people who are currently addicted to Chivalry: Medieval Warfare when it releases next month.
The first thing I did after adjusting my controls and setting was hop into the Mirage: Arcane Warfare’s tutorial. I took control of the Vypress, one of the headlining classes, wielding two swords and magical chakrams. This fun and detailed tutorial taught me how to attack, block, and parry. Players have three kinds of attacks: the basic slash, a stab, and an overhead swing. These attack must be used in combination with each other to get through enemies’ defenses.
Players also have the ability to block with a right-click, negating some of their opponents damage. If one blocks at the right time they are able to parry an attack, which either leaves enemies dazed or reflects a projectile attack. Each character also has six special abilities they can use, such as the Vypress’s Chakram, three of which can put in one’s loadout and brought into battle. These abilities radically vary from character to character, but all have their own uses in the right situations, and highlight the game’s emphasis on magic.
Mirage: Arcane Warfare delivers a similar experience to Chivalry, but the gameplay skew towards magic definitely spices up each encounter, keeping combat from getting repetitive even if it can be a bit janky at times due to the animation. The game was also playable in both third and first person perspectives, although I found attacks to be less precise and the animation problems became more noticeable when playing in third person.
Matchmaking is easily accessible from the title screen, so I quickly made my way into my first Team Deathmatch. I chose to be the the Vigilist, who wields a large spear and shield. I was on the Courtyard map, a very bright and white map that was soon to be splattered with blood. As the match began I ran into the main courtyard and starting to fight me enemies.
At first I solely focused on attacking, not defending, so I died quite a few times. After reevaluating my situation, I decided to focus more on defending, parry, and using my special abilities, attacking only when I knew my foe was open. Once I got into this rhythm, I starting killing more enemies and digging myself out of a a K/D statistic that would disappoint any gamer. While my team did end up losing the match by only a few kills, I still had a ton of fun.
From what I have played, I have found myself preferring the more physical characters, like the Truant and Vigilist. While all the classes were pretty balanced for the most part, I found that I enjoyed rushing in the thick of battle more as Taurant than I did staying back and carefully aiming magic as a Alchemancer. While the more physical characters may excel in Team Deathmatch, the tactical ones have their time in the spotlight during more objective based modes.
Team Objective combines variants of classic multiplayer modes like Capture the Flag, Capture Points, and Push into longform matches. Each of these modes are also available on their own.While these modes were fun, I found the the Team Deathmatch lobbies were the only ones that were consistently filled when I played.
I hope the player base broadens their horizons when the game releases so some of the more involved modes can also get some attention. While none of Mirage: Arcane Warfare’s modes were out of the ordinary for a multiplayer game, they were all well-executed, even though some seem like they will get more attention than others.
After each match, the player gains experience and can eventually level up. Leveling up garners players new equippable items and skills. I am curious to see how late-game progression will be handled so more dedicated players won’t get burned out by the modes’ semi-repetitive nature after playing for a while and unlocking most of the items.
Mirage: Arcane Warfare seems like the natural evolution of the formula established in Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. It builds upon the gameplay heralded in that title with its new magical abilities that bring it more in line with modern multiplayer games.
Even though the graphics and animations are a bit rough around the edges, I found the world to be vibrant and the maps I played on to be well designed. Mirage’s gameplay is easy to learn, but hard to master with its precise attacking and parrying mechanics, so I am eager to hop back in and get better at it before the game exits Closed Beta next month.
Mirage: Arcane Warfare will officially release for PC on May 23.