Chivalry: Medieval Warfare Review
Some frustrating bugs mar this otherwise entertaining and visceral medieval combat game
While the market for competitive pseudo-realistic first person shooters has exploded in the last five or so years, Mount and Blade has remained relatively uncontested in the realm of on-the-ground Medieval combat simulators. The multiplayer-only Chivalry: Medieval Warfare intends to challenge its title, and while it offers up some incredibly satisfying and complex melee combat, a myriad of bugs and a fairly limited number of maps cast a shadow over the game's better aspects. However, with developers promising to provide extensive post-launch support in the way of additional content and patches, this is definitely a game anyone who likes the idea of medieval warfare should keep an eye on.
In a nutshell, Chivalry lets you choose a class and a weapon, then throws you into a multiplayer game with up to 32 people. From a first, or less ideally third person view you must slay your foes to whatever purpose the game mode you are playing dictates. While the premise sounds overly simple, the melee combat in Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is so good that it alone makes the game worth playing. You must learn how to block, when to use which attack with each of the varied weapons, how long it takes for your swing to wind up, and how long the reach of your weapon is.
While all of this probably sounds familiar to Mount and Blade veterans, the thing that sets Chivalry apart is that the combat has fantastic weight to it. You get a great sense that you are swinging a big heavy weapon that actually occupies space in the world, and when that weapon makes contact with another player, the result is glorious. The sense of impact resulting from a direct hit from a claymore or maul is fantastic, and you will want to re-create that feeling over and over. The weapons seem so deadly that at first you will feel empowered, and will likely charge into battle swinging madly. While this might cause some damage, you will likely be hacked down by more experienced players who have learned some of the finer points of the game's combat.
Chivalry's hammy but serviceable tutorial will walk you through the principles of combat that will prove essential if you want to survive and serve as a helpful member of your team. Since friendly-fire is always on, a bad player can actually directly harm teammates, so it is a good idea to try and learn the basics before heading onto the battlefield. The most basic and probably the most important thing you will learn how to do is block. Blocking in Chivalry is a bit more complicated than in most games which involve swordplay; unless you are using a shield, you can only bring your weapon up to block for a couple of seconds before it is automatically lowered. This means that you must time your block just right so your weapon of choice is actually blocking when your opponents blow comes in. Furthermore, you need to be pointing the reticule on the center of your screen at the tip of your opponent’s weapon for the block to be successful. Pulling all of these things off in the heat of a chaotic battle is a tall order, but once you get into the rhythm of parry-and-repost, the combat develops a great flow.