Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is a multiplayer slice-and-dice action game from Torn Banner Studios and Activision.
The game doesn’t waste war-time with anything as irrelevant in a multiplayer dust-up as plot. The menu starts with a series of choices: game modes – either vs. computer bots in single player, or against other players in multiplayer, and then adds objectives such as team deathmatch, free for all, king of the hill, capture the flag, last man standing… etc. Then you choose your team – the blue Agathian Knights, or red rebels the Mason Order.
Battles range across a variety of interesting, varied arenas like deserts, snowy hills, medieval towns, battlefields, throne rooms and castles. Each arena is well designed and big enough to enable tactics like creeping up and circling the other team.
There are four loadout classes: the archer, the man at arms, the vanguard and the knight. Each has its own combat strengths and weaknesses, and you’re allowed to swap whenever you respawn to adapt to the other team. Depending on how close to the blood spurt you want to be, there is a choice of either a first person or third person POV.
The combat takes place in real-time. Watching two players swinging swords and running random circles around each other trying to land a hit, I assumed it was just a laggy connection but quickly learned it’s how battle is done in Chivalry – weave in unpredictable circles to evade while simultaneously chopping as accurately as you can.
Chivalry does not have a ‘lock on’ attack system, and the real-time makes it possible for each player in a duel to evade strikes. To score a hit, you have to keep the enemy in sight while you both run in crazy circles around each other. It’s exactly what I expect warfare in the Middle Ages was actually like – a lot of erratic sword swinging and not a very long health bar.
The first person POV really puts you in the middle of the action, and you really get the rewarding feeling of seeing your technique improve. In a group clash, with an accuracy score of around 60%, I’m now slightly less likely to accidentally chop a team member’s head off than the enemy’s I aim for. Gamers who prefer a bit more method to their madness can opt for a more considered, parry and wait for the opportune moment to strike strategy. I didn’t meet many of these on the battlefield.
Chivalry is warfare at its most primitive – close quarters, unpredictable, respawning and running back into the melee if you can find it again. If you ever wonder about being in a medieval battle or just want to try something different to other multiplayer shooters, this is a game you need. Hilarious battle cries rally your team, and the sound effects combined with the extreme gore system will freak out your neighbours. At times the lag is a disappointing, when you think you’re winning a duel and it turns out the opposition is actually twenty paces away. I’m really glad that this game got sent my way. If it had a 2 player option, it would have scored another point on my scale. Highly recommended.
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