08/07/2021

⚔️๐Ÿ›ก️ Chivalry 2 | Xbox Series X | Review | 8.5/10 | "An Axe-Throwing, Head-Lopping, Catapult-Lobbing Joy" ⚔️๐Ÿ›ก️ @TornBanner #GameDev #IndieGames

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Historically, I’ve never really played many online multiplayer games. I even have a very close group of friends that regularly meet up virtually to play games that I thoroughly enjoy in single-player modes but don’t appeal to me in multiplayer, maybe I’m a recluse…hence the name of my band (www.recluse.bandcamp.com).

And yet…when I saw the trailer for Chivalry 2, the weighty-looking combat completely won me over as it reminded me of Kingdom Come: Deliverance (another game that completely bowled me over by surprise) and I am a sucker for some medieval action, these two factors led to me taking a dive into the game and it is a choice that has rewarded me deeply!

The sequel to 2012’s Chivalry: Medieval Warfare –  a game I’m not familiar with – Chivalry 2  begins by introducing the two warring factions, The Agatha Knights and The Mason Order (or ‘blues and reds’) and a tutorial to explain how the combat works. I do recommend that this tutorial is completed, as the game is quite complex in terms of melee combat as well as different character classes and abilities, it’s easy to miss certain key commands – such as the ability to press the shoulder buttons and throw your axe at someone’s ‘Hale and Pace’. Also, please take note of how the person who guides you through the combat appears to be the angriest man in Somerset.

Whilst the game does have an offline mode, the AI is pretty ‘swarmy’ and this is only really useful as a primer for practice at the main game, online multiplayer is where the real money is.

There are currently five maps that feature differing objectives:

  • Fall of Lionspire
  • The Slaughter of Coxwell
  • The Battle of the Dark Forest
  • The Siege of Rudhelm
  • Escape for Falmire

There are also other three maps that focus on pure deathmatch:

  • The Fighting Pit
  • Tournament Grounds
  • The Battle of Wardenglade

Whilst all-out deathmatch is fun, I quickly realised that the more ‘objective based’ stages were of huge appeal to me. Whether it was laying siege to a castle, defending peasants in a township or even just pushing wagons through a valley (something that I found oddly enjoyable, due to how open it leaves you to attack and how satisfying it is to make headway) I was hips deep in the action – and blood. Torn Banner has also stated that the game will at least double in size and include cavalry in future updates which will definitely add to the carnage and variety.

The game works by throwing you into one of the online games and, after your first death you’ll be able to select a class from one of the four available, all of which have differing abilities and specialities. The archer class can be some serious fun, picking off distant targets with well-placed shots and I genuinely believe that firing an arrow that proceeds to weave through a crowd of your battling team-mates to drop an enemy with a perfect shot to the temple is one of the most satisfying things in all of gaming. Archers, fun as they are – are limited to a certain amount on each side so you aren’t just dealing with a deluge of pointy things. The weightier combat comes into play with the other classes, such as the knight class which has you bashing in brains by heaving a massive hammer around or perhaps more nuanced sword fighting with nimbler weaponry, the choice really is up to you.

I seem to get endless joy from dipping into Chivalry 2, not really caring which stage I’m thrown into or which side I’m on because the base level of fun is always high. As light-hearted as the game is with ridiculously lengthy battle cries and people hurling themselves over battlements from catapults or – my favourite – throwing their main weapon blindly away and running – screaming – at a wave of fully-armoured enemies brandishing their bare fists, when you get into the action; it really does feel like death can come at any moment from any angle.

You may hack your way past several enemies and time your run through an open portcullis so perfectly that you avoid the mounted crossbows and spilling oil but did you expect a firebomb to be dropped down the tower as you made your way up the winding staircase, throttled in a crowd by your panicking, burning team-mates? Yes – you won that knackering broadsword duel with a pinprick of heath left – but all that means nothing when a solitary arrow flies out of the distance to slam squarely into your chest because you are too fatigued to even raise your shield. The game thrives on these moment-to-moment set pieces that feel special and individual.

Chivalry 2 completely took me by surprise, it’s a game that I continue to dip into for an hour or so on a regular basis and the promised upcoming feature deliverables mean that it will only get better. Usually, freshly launched titles take a while to find their feet but Chivalry 2 seems wonderfully glitch-free and I had no disconnection issues at all. In fact, the only issue I had was that I keep getting killed because I get excited and throw my sword at the nearest enemy when my health gets a bit ropey.

Developer: Torn Banner Studios 

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