I really really, really, really, love Chivalry. I got all my friends to buy it, I play it every free moment I have, I turn down seeing pretty girls to play it, I’m pretty sure I’m developing a severe split personality disorder where one side is the timid gentleman you know and love and the other side is a brutal, merciless knight who loves nothing more than punching defenceless peasants in the face till their screams are replaced with gurgling as the blood fills their tiny poor people lungs.
I thought I would love writing this review telling you all about how good it is and how you should all buy it but all I’m thinking about is how good the game is and how much I want to play it instead of writing about it. I imagine this is how people that draw cartoon porn feel when they are trying to work, constantly having to bash out a cheeky because their work is so good. I keep having to give myself ‘just one/four rounds’ just to appease my addiction otherwise I start playing out matches in my head.
I apologise for that unbridled positivity and will now continue with a totally balanced and subjective review.
I first noticed Chivalry: Medieval Warfare when I was looking at the footage of PAX East earlier in the year and although it was still in alpha the demo I saw got me salivating. Fast forward 7 months and I was finally able to swing my virtual hammer at some virtual people’s brains while screaming “After I’m done running you through I’ll go see your mother!” in my virtual ‘ye olde’ English voice. I couldn’t be happier and at this point I didn’t even realise there was more than one attack button.
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is an astoundingly addictive multiplayer medieval… warfare game. Each little duel with another player could go either way at any time, he could kick you, breaking your block, you could dodge to the left then stab him in the ribs or he could slash you around your shield turning you into a ragdoll which floats under the ground while you still take damage from anything happening to the space the computer still thinks your body occupies before suddenly being teleported behind the enemy player armed with only a shield. Fan-buggy-tastic.
If, like me, you are an idiot and do not play tutorials you may easily miss how much depth there is to the combat of Chivalry. There are 3 different attack inputs, left click for sweeping attack, scroll forward for stab and scroll back for a skull sundering overhead slash. Each attack has their own role in combat but can also be chained together in combos that drain your stamina but result in crazy high damage.
‘Slash Noob’ is the Chivalry version of ‘Camper’ or ‘Noob tuber’, players (read: retards) are under the impression that if a player just keeps spamming the basic attack on you and you can’t press right click at the right time you are instantly turned into a martyr for skilful players everywhere (Rest in peace xX_W33D4205N1P3R_Xx you were too beautiful for this world). In my experience however if a guy comes at me slashing like an idiot the next thing that goes through his head will be a sodding great axe already drenched in the blood of my own team. The ‘slashy-slashy’ combat technique passed down through the ages from scrub to scrub is so easy to counter that by the time you finish your first game you can run circles round them, punching them to death if you feel that simply killing the peasant isn’t humiliating enough.
When you get two mid-skill level knights with great swords the fighting becomes very tame, this is not a complaint of the game itself however because I assume they think people will do more than just stand at max range moving a step closer to swing then moving out straight away. It becomes a battle of attrition with who will fall out of the pattern of click, block, click, block, click first. High level duels are really a sight to behold though, players manoeuvring around each other looking for openings, using feints, kicks and dodges to force their opponent to make a mistake instead of just hoping you aren’t the first to drop your guard.
There are 4 varied classes that each have their own area of specialty, even if that specialty is being an annoying dick from afar (archers). Knights can soak up damage like a mink coat soaks up caviar (Rich people reference) or your trackies soak up Iceland sweet and sour sauce (Poor/student reference), annoyingly the knights also have the highest damage per strike weapons making them the choice class for new players and old players that realise you may as well play the best class. The negatives to a knight class are they move slower than the others and… nope that’s it, the overpowered bastards.
Vanguard are slightly faster than their knight brethren but have less health as a trade-off. Their weapons have a longer reach and after sprinting for a while you the next basic attack causes you to leap forward in a very cinematic way driving you’re spear hopefully into some poor archers chest/heart/lungs then spine. The more archers you get on your spear kebab the better.
Man at arms are the fastest class and have a dodge ability. They can use any one handed weapon with a shield or swap the shield out for a throwing weapon (Knives, axes and the incredibly annoying oil pot which burns people in a large aoe). The best player I have seen in the game so far, a noble gentleman by the name of ‘Dr. Zoidberg’ successfully won a free for all using just his fists (Not a valid option for anyone but this guy) while playing man at arms. He combined dodging, ducking under swings and perfectly timed kicks and feints to destroy the competition. If you are out their Zoidberg you are my idol.
Lastly are the archers which have the least health and use to the team.
As I previously mentioned there are some pretty devastating bugs. The most prevalent one being the one where you sink into the ground after taking damage which came about after the last patch and only happens if you are wielding a 1 handed weapon and a shield. I’m sure these bugs will be patched out soon and even then it’s not a big deal as it happens very, very rarely. My major bug complaint is the fact the hunting knife does not work without having a shield in your off-hand. There’s nothing like shitting on a knight as a man-of-arms with a tiny little toothpick while he keeps swinging at you with his great axe.
There is a lack of aesthetic polish on the game in certain areas but they are forgivable considering the size of the development team and price of the game. There are few maps but each one has been crafted astoundingly well both balance wise and the sheer beauty of them (look at the roof of the chapel map). There is a map where after pushing a cart filled with plague victims into the water supply of a castle you emerge from the sewers into a thundering rain surrounded by your brothers in arms before setting siege to a fort filled with the Queens family. It makes you feel so powerful if you are playing well and you know people are thinking “Damn son that guy knows how to click.” Because the fights are so personal and you know when you have been outskilled.
The larger maps are for the objective game mode where you and your team must accomplish tasks from killing defenceless villagers to slaying heavily armed player controlled kings. Each completed task moves you to another varied area of the map which is just as beautiful and balanced as the last. If you would rather just have team deathmatches however you can do that with both a ‘last-team-standing’ elimination mode or a ticket mode where you can respawn. My favourite has to be the duel servers however. After an hour or so spent honing your skills against the best the game has to offer you can easily outplay the majority of the unskilled chumps in the other modes.
We have a ton of plans to update the game post release,” developer Steve Piggot told Forbes “It is a great time for developers to add to the core experience of the game and work without as much pressure, we are really looking forward to being able to add a lot of content to Chivalry after release. There are already at least 12 new weapons planned, a duel mode, multiple new maps and more customization options for characters.”
The developer also allows community members to mod the game which has proved successful for Mount & Blade in the past in terms of increasing a games longevity and maintaining popularity.
While a rough-cut gem, Chivalry is some of the best multiplayer fun I have had in years and I know it is a game I will be playing for a long time coming. At £18.99 ($24.99 in monopoly money) it is well worth the modest price tag if you are a fan of challenging close combat games like Mount and Blade or Dark Souls.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.