Mirage: Arcane Warfare

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Mirage: Arcane Warfare Game Poster Image
Awkward, bloody take on magical multiplayer combat.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Not much of any message here, short of kill or be killed. Some elements of teamwork, but it's overshadowed by competitive nature of game.

Positive Role Models & Representations

None of the characters have fleshed out personalities, motivations, etc. They're basically just over the top caricatures meant to differentiate between classes.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn, especially for those familiar with first person shooters. But with a much greater focus on melee combat, defensive moves, lot of little nuances that take time to use effectively.

Violence

Despite somewhat cartoonish style, gore is still over-the-top. Just about every attack results in blood flying everywhere, staining walls, floors, your weapons. Players can also dismember each other in combat, causing mutilated bodies, body parts to fly off in separate directions. 

Sex
Language

While characters provide a few lines of commentary during matches, only real offensive lines more likely to be heard via in-game chat with teammates, opponents, a pitfall of many competitive online experiences.

Consumerism

Game is a spin-off/pseudo-sequel to Chivalry: Medieval Warfare

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters, particularly the Entropist, occasionally make references to drinking in dialogue.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mirage: Arcane Warfare is a downloadable multiplayer team based shooter. While most matches require some level of teamwork, the main focus of the game is on killing the opposing team with a mixture of medieval fantasy melee weapons and magical spells. The game is relatively easy to learn, though there are some complexities added to the usual first person shooter formula, including the ability to parry attacks. The violence is pretty extreme, with blood, gore, and dismemberment par for the course in matches.

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What's it about?

MIRAGE: ARCANE WARFARE is the spinoff of/follow up to Torn Banner's previous fantasy FPS, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. This new adventure pits up to twelve players, armed with and arsenal of both swords and sorcery, utilizing their unique skills and abilities to do battle across the desert sands of Persian-inspired nation of Bashrahn. After a great cataclysm releases the power of the Jinn, civil war soon breaks out, with two sides divided over the use and control of these new magical resources. All-out war takes the form of 6v6 Objective, Team Deathmatch, and free-for-all Arena combat. With six different classes to choose from, players must hone their skills with strategic mix of melee, magic, and defensive blocks and dodges to win the day.

Is it any good?

This action based multiplayer game feels somewhat awkward in gameplay, but is incredibly over the top with displayed bloodshed. With most first person shooter games, combat is a fast paced, frantic test of reflexes, with the winner decided by who has the faster trigger finger or who got in that one lucky shot. That's not usually the case with Mirage: Arcane Warfare. Sure, there's plenty of action to be had in the game, but there's also a more methodic use of strategy. By giving players the ability to block both melee and ranged attacks, that action takes on a much slower pace. It's not just a matter of players thinking out their moves, though. The game actually moves at a much slower pace than most shooters. This is likely done out of necessity, with characters taking more exaggerated moves during attacks in order to give players time to react and successfully parry in response. Still, it's hard to ignore the fact that it gives the overall sensation that the characters are all moving through molasses, something made all the more apparent by the game's somewhat stiff animations.

What Mirage: Arcane Warfare lacks in speed, it tries to make up for in brutality. Much like Chivalry before it, Mirage doesn't shy away from showing the bloodier side of combat. In fact, the game features more carnage than you can shake a dismembered limb at. Just about every hit, every block, every spell results in some sort of blood splatter, limb loss, or other gory consequence. While this definitely illustrates the violence of the fantasy combat, it's done to such an extreme that it's almost comical. A character could stub its toe and end up looking the victim of a horror movie. It's a bit over the top, but then again, the game never seems to take itself too seriously to begin with. In some ways, that's probably the game's biggest flaw. The characters' attitudes and personalities feel out of place, almost as if this was meant to be a completely different setting but was forced into its Arabian Nights style at the last minute, and the developers decided to dump in buckets o' blood and a few wisecracks in order to cover this up and hope no one noticed. The end result is a somewhat awkward, but still strangely entertaining, experience that's at least a taste of something different.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Does a game's setting or style affect how the violence affects the player? Is it easier to accept brutal gore when it takes place in an unrealistic environment?

  • Talk about sportsmanship in games. What are some ways to practice good sportsmanship in video games, particularly when playing online in a highly competitive environment? What are some positive ways to deal with others who are poor sports in a game?

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