I’ve always been a fantasy fan. I love the times of kings, sieges and, of course, chivalry. Now, I know that chivalry is in the title of the game, but let’s be honest, there are really no manners in the heat of battle. You’ll find that out very quickly when you play Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. You’ll also find out that after playing around with the game for a bit, it’s a lot of fun.
Chivalry is a first/third person multiplayer melee game that usually pits two teams against each other in a fight to the death. The game has multiple modes, including Team Deathmatch, Team Objective, Free-for-All, Last Team Standing and King of the Hill. Most of the modes are standard, but what sets the game apart is the way you play the game.
Since this is a melee focused game, you will be killing other knights and combatants with different melee weapons that range in size from short swords, to gigantic axes and hammers. You can swing horizontally, overhead and in a stabbing motion. Since you can’t hold a block indefinitely, you have to time your blocks right in order to stop incoming attacks. Everything is based on a stamina meter that will deplete when attacking and blocking. If you see someone with a shield blocking, you can give him a good kick to throw him off balance and open him up for attack. You can even trick your opponents into blocking by feigning your attacks. Once they block, their guard is down for a short period of time. In these brief moments, you can take off their heads.
When I say you can take off their heads, I mean just that. Chivalry is a very brutal game when it comes to dismemberment. A well placed slash can take off heads and limbs. It is quite satisfying when this does happen, but when it happens to you (and it will, many times, whether you want it to or not) it will make you cringe. Both the visual style and the impressive voice acting are really what make this game for me. The sounds you hear when you kill an enemy are gut-wrenching. And the taunts you can throw out during a battle are hilarious at times.
The combat mechanics are rather simple, but don’t let that fool you. This is a very deep game when it comes to mastering what it takes to survive an encounter with cutthroat knights. Luckily, there is a well designed single-player tutorial that shows you the ins and outs of combat as well as the different classes and how they work. I do have to mention, the tutorial had me laughing at some points. What I can gather from my experiences with the game is that it never really takes itself too seriously. This is actually a breath of fresh air.
The different classes add even more strategy to the mix. There are archers that use bows and crossbows, but also have daggers that can be used to take on the melee attackers when they get too close. The Man-at-Arms class has light armor, but can maneuver better than any other class. The Vanguards have more armor and use weapons that have great reach, like spears and halberds. Finally, you have the Knights. These human tanks are slow but can take a good beating while dishing one out with great swords and axes. Each class plays and controls differently, and to make a good team, there should be a variety of different classes on the battlefield.
You start off with standard weapons, but can unlock more by making kills with weapons of the same type. This kept me playing to unlock the more powerful armaments. Unfortunately, you can’t upgrade or unlock new armor, but this is a good thing as it levels the playing field a bit.
There are also other environmental weapons you can use like catapults and ballistae, and for the objective based modes, battering rams and torches, which can set villages on fire. All work well, and give even more variety to the fight.
Even when you think you have the combat down, you need to keep in mind that this game is very difficult. You will die often, but when you make those kills, it really does feel like you have accomplished something. You get a good sense of wanting to protect your life. There is regenerative health, but running away from a near death battle may prove difficult.
The different game modes keep things fresh. Most revolve around killing the other team, but the objective based mode is where things shine. Teamwork is of the utmost importance in all of the game modes, and you will run into groups of players that will just want to brawl, but when you do find some strategizing players, the game becomes rather brilliant.
The experience is not without its faults. There are a few glitches here and there that can sometimes get you killed. There are some graphical glitches that happen in spectator mode as well as when using the environmental weapons. While the maps look and play great, there are a small number of them at the moment, and I found myself playing the same ones over and over again. I did experience some game-breaking lag, but most of that could be attributed to other players as well as the server I was on. The game utilizes controller support, but it doesn’t really feel optimized. I still found myself having to use my mouse and keyboard to do everything I wanted, but for the players out there that want to use a 360 controller, it works well for combat.
I really enjoyed my time with Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. It was a difficult game to begin with, but after some practice and finding a good team to play with, I couldn’t help but have a good time. Even when I was dying a good amount, getting those dismemberment kills was satisfying. For only 25 bucks, you get a good amount of game. If you’re looking for some good, difficult fun, you should really check this game out.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.