From time to time, I venture out of my gaming “safe zone” of RPGs, action adventure games, and puzzle games to visit other genres. One such genre is the multiplayer team based shooter. While Mirage: Arcane Warfare isn’t exactly a “shooter”, it plays very much like one. From the makers of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare comes a new title with a new focus on spell-casting, although very few of the available classes are true mages. Sadly, Mirage isn’t really worth your time or money due to several glaring problems. Let’s take a look.
The two factions of the world, the Azar and the Bashrahn, hold different beliefs on how magic should be used. The Azar Cabal live as outcasts in the desert, cast out from the city due to their seemingly overzealous communion with the source of magic – the spirits of the Jinn. They disagree with the Bashrahni for using magic in the name of power and production. Instead, their connection to the Jinn is far more spiritual, and less constrained. The Bashrahni Emirate represent the elite of their civilization, wielding the magic of the Jinn as a tool for power and industry. They dwell in the grand city of Bashrahn, with its opulent palaces and fine markets – and believe that magic can corrupt the mind and body if used in excess. These differing views naturally give way to conflict, and thus we have our reason for fighting each other in-game.
Much like Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, Mirage is a team-based FPS. You join a server, choose a faction, and choose one of six playable classes. Each class has six different abilities, but you can only take three into battle. You’ll be able to choose which to use before you hop onto a server against other players, so fear not. Here is where one of my issues with Mirage lies: There aren’t many mages, despite the game’s title. The only “real” mage type class is the Alchemancer. Other classes have spell-like abilities (such as the Entropist), but rely on other weapons to deal damage.
There are a handful of maps to battle it out on, and they too have a problem. Every map just looks and feels like a cobbled mess. There’s no structure, rhyme, or reason to the layouts of the maps. It’s like they just threw together a bunch of “paths” and called it a night. There aren’t very many strategic areas, points, or sections of the maps to take advantage of in combat. Almost all of your time will be right out in the open, visible and vulnerable…and that’s never a good feeling in an FPS. Movement and combat also feel very slow and clunky. It could definitely use some polish and speeding up.
Another issue with Mirage is the player base. It’s nearly non-existent. I hopped on to play a game or two before settling in to write this review and there were a total of 28 players online, across all servers and regions. I have a few theories as to why: At launch, there was a bug where the servers were up, but players could not see them in the server browser in-game. This was confirmed with the devs to be an issue on Steam’s side. However, this bug lasted many hours, and any hype players had to play quickly diminished as the day went on after initial launch. Another theory is the game’s price point. $29.99 for a multiplayer only game isn’t very well thought out. Once the game finally dies, and the servers are brought down, what’s left? There is no single player experience to be had, so a $30 initial asking price is a bit steep for many players.
Overall the game has a distinct Arabian feel. Think Aladdin, but much more fleshed out and detailed. However, the graphics used feel a bit washed out. It’s a very dark game, with almost no bright colors at all. I really like the designs of the buildings, but the same thought from the building designs weren’t present elsewhere. I feel like this part of the game was a tad rushed. Character models look okay, and they share the same gloom and dark feel as the environment. Magic effects are pretty sweet though, and are bright and vibrant when things explode or burst into flame.
I didn’t really notice anything pop out as far as the music went. Sound effects were very basic. You may as well turn all sound off and turn up your personal music choice in the background while you play. Which is probably the best thing to do with any multiplayer shooter anyway.
As pretty as it may look at first glance, Mirage: Arcane Warfare does not deserve your time or money. Even if you did buy it, good luck getting into a full game to enjoy it. The small and dwindling player base makes it hard to get anything out of this game. You’re better off with other options for a team-based multiplayer shooter.