Inspired by the medieval movie battles, Chivalry II takes the multiplayer experience into an era of knights and warlords. Here, players engage in massive player vs. player combat through a compact yet expanding battlefield where the clashing of swords and sledgehammers are always centered around a single objective. Whether you’re pushing a siege wagon towards the castle walls or trying to smash their gates open for the cavalry to swarm the fort, there’s nothing as chaotically fun or as bloody hilarious as grown men shout their battle cries as they charge forward or as they lose a limb or two.
Developed by Torn Banner Studios and a direct sequel to 2012’s Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, the game delivers the same level of gore and action but with a bit more flair aside from the obvious graphical improvements to its nine-year-old predecessor. Now if you’re like me who doesn’t have a pedigree behind medieval sword clashing combat there’s a very lengthy and in-depth tutorial that you can partake in which teaches you everything you need to know including the Spartan-like kicks and panic weapon throws.
For starters, the game teaches you the multiple ways you can strike enemies with your weapon of choice. There are the wide horizontal slashes that are great when you have multiple enemies in front of you while overhead slashes or thrusts are your two best choices when you have teammates around you since the game does inflict team damage which can kill your teammates just as much as everything else. Although what makes Chivalry II actually unique to other hack n’ slash titles is how each of them has its own cute little intricacies. Doing a horizontal slash for example would put you into a more advantageous position if you move your camera in the same direction which imitates how you would normally swing a sword. Meanwhile doing a thrust attack as you run towards an enemy makes you more likely to get a hit off before they can strike back. You can also hold the button to execute a stronger and heavier attack than what you would do normally on a single tap.
Meanwhile, blocking an attack whether with your weapon or shield can also put you into an advantageous position to counter with your own swing as soon as you repel their own strikes. The only caveat to this here is that you can only block strikes in front of you which makes positional awareness another key role to surviving in Chivalry II. But probably the most interesting part of Chivalry II is its ability to throw anything that your two hands can grab. Now if you’re holding a sword or a halberd, you can throw it off on a distant enemy to deal damage or even steal a kill before you grab another weapon nearby from the dead bodies at your feet. Heck, decapitating someone and throwing their head off like an ace baseball pitcher is probably the most fun I had aside from throwing off barrels and crates from the onlookers below my castle walls.
And with four base fighters like the archer, vanguard, footman and knight that also unlocks three other specializations like a knight that starts off as an officer but can eventually become a guardian, there’s just enough versatility to how you want to play since each class also has their own specific starter weapons and abilities despite being able to throw and grab other weapons you can get from the environment. These classes and weapon types can also improve their separate ranks by using them in battle which can let you purchase and use more intricate weapon designs and armour. These customizations still stay in line with the medieval theme of the game and nothing too crazy are available or at least not yet.
When it comes to its live combat execution, there is a handful of modes that range from team deathmatches or free-for-alls for specific maps like the Tournament Grounds which is specifically designed for these two modes. Meanwhile the other five of eight total maps currently available are made specifically for team objectives which are honestly the main attraction when it comes to a medieval hack n’ slash game. There’s a handful of objectives that are separated in multiple stages which varies per map but as an example, you can look forward to maybe doing an ambush to the marching Masons or the Agathas pushing siege weapons to scale the castle walls. Here you can try to stand your ground and go toe-to-toe with the marching cavalry however some areas also offer things like ballistae mounted in castle walls to snipe enemies from afar or as an attacker you can line up the catapult and arm it with stones to fire back at your foes.
The game also offers three matchmaking modes; namely free-for-all and the 40 and 64 players mixed modes. Now for me, this is where the game kind of drops the ball here as there’s a lack of manual searches for rooms or being able to know what kind of room I’m jumping into. Since the game only allows you to choose one of the three multiplayer modes before throwing you into any ongoing match, you can never really tell whether you’re going into a session that would be right for you unlike let’s say Battlefield V which allows you to do manual and filtered searches for sessions and also give you the stats for each one like the region, current map and your internet compatibility for a flawless online experience.
Because unfortunately, Chivalry II while not the worst online experience still has its delays when it comes to registering hits which unlike doing it on offline practice with bots becomes pretty obvious on how long each of the hits register. So for something like a 250mbps connection which is at the midrange of where most households would be on, that split second hit delay does put me off especially when there are no stats that would tell me what my connection is like until after you’re in a match that normally ranges from 80-100ms, while on Battlefield V, I’m at a stable 20-30ms on an Asian region.
In a nutshell, Chivalry II is easily one of the most chaotically fun yet absurd medieval multiplayer game I’ve played in 2021 and it’s something that should at least be considered as a game that you’d play if you’re into anything along the lines of For Honor but in a more massive and Battlefield-like environment. There’s not a lot of game modes or maps out right now but if anything, the ones that are currently available do look great enough to immerse you in its world while also being interactive enough for you to have fun in more ways than you can imagine.
Developer: Torn Banner Studios
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, and PC
Publishers: Tripwire Interactive, Deep Silver
This review is based on the PS4 version of the game which can be purchased here for £34.99
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