Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
I’m genuinely sad that ‘Chivalry with magic’ didn’t excite enough people for Mirage: Arcane Warfare to have an active player base. Despite giving the game away for free for a brief period, the servers for this multiplayer stab n spell ‘em up are still empty. It’s a shame, because the game is great for all the same reasons that Chivalry is – with magic attacks that add to that experience rather than detracting from it.The melee combat works in exactly the same way as Chivalry. It’s the deepest system I’ve seen for melee brawls, with advanced techniques to learn that are as satisfying to pull off as they are effective. You can speed up or slow down your strikes by moving the mouse appropriately, or even – in a move that’s fondly called ‘the matrix’ by the community – duck under attacks by looking directly upwards.
There was plenty to think about without the addition of magic, and maybe that’s why people are still chopping off heads in Chivalry rather than Mirage. For me, the spells felt like a natural extension of the combat, making dances more colourful, varied and exciting. It brought a touch of games like Overwatch and Paladins into the fight, where learning the nuances of each fighter’s different abilities could give you the upperhand.
My favourite character was the Vypress, an agile assassin type who could teleport. Skillful use of my abilities meant I could occasionally win 2v1 fights, which would never really happen in Chivalry. Maybe one day the game will go free-to-play and I can get my fill of mage murdering.