The long awaited return of Chivalry is here. Torn Banner Studio’s Chivalry 2 has been out for a week and I’ve been spending a lot of time with the multiplayer medieval warfare game. Full disclosure, I had not played the original Chivalry game but after watching a lot of footage on Chivalry 2 and needing a game that was just a fun time, I gave it a shot.
Chivalry 2 is a large scale multiplayer game where teams of 32 square off on eight different maps with a different narrative behind each map. One map might see the Agathians trying to free a Duke that was imprisoned by the Masons while the other might just be a head to head battle in an open field between the warring factions. That is one detail I appreciated about the game is that they made each map an important battle in the war between Agatha and the Masons, you aren’t just swinging through enemies mindlessly for no reason, you are swinging through enemies mindlessly to raid gold from the opposing faction or free a prisoner of war.
While in these larger scale battles, you have the opportunity to play one of four classes – archer, vanguard, footman, and knight. Each of the four classes has three subclasses with two of the three needing to be unlocked by gaining experience with the class. The archer is pretty self explanatory so we will focus on the other three classes.
The Vanguard a heavy weapon class that starts off with a two handed axe and progresses to weapons that hit even harder. They don’t have as good defense as the knight class but the hit harder and can hit multiple targets more consistently. The footman are very good for the people that want to be in the thick of things with out getting into too much trouble. They use two handed spears and other melee weapons that are good for keeping distance. They unfortunately also don’t have the best defense as they are meant to hold down barricaded positions or choke points. The knight class is the class that is best suited to defend and hold chokepoints. The second tier of the night class gets a shield to help defend against archers as well.
I have spent the most time playing the archer and knight classes during my time in Chivalry 2. The archer is definitely a very difficult class to play as arrow speed is slow and the projectile drop is also pretty tough to get use to. Because the projectile speed is pretty slow with the bow, you have to do a lot of movement prediction with your shots and it can be difficult at times because all melee class move pretty well and every player has a dodge mechanic. The challenge makes it that much more satisfying when you start hitting shots and taking out opposing archers.
The melee combat is very fun but definitely feels a bit arcade-like. You are able to guide all melee weapon attacks to be able to hit multiple targets and even if the weapon barely brushes the character it hits as though you were swinging at full strength. That means if you are a steady enough flick you can almost swing in a 360 degree arc when you swing. The blocking is also inconsistent at times and the game has a kicking mechanic the instantly breaks someone’s block. Personally, I don’t like the mechanic because it takes away from the skill of swinging, blocking, parrying, countering and all that.
What really sets Chivalry 2 apart from other hack and slash combat games is that it keeps things very light and fun. You can go into the battlefield screaming at the top of your lungs, there is an emote wheel to taunt the opposition and the game even lets you sit on random chairs and thrones throughout the maps. The most fun part could be that there as quite the assortment of objects throughout the maps that you can just pick up and use as throwable weapons. From barrels body parts, to loaves of bread, each map really becomes a playground.
If you are looking for a deep progression system with lots of unlockable weapons and items, Chivalry 2 is not the type of experience for you. Each class only has four primary weapons to them and your only reward post game is in game currency that is used to unlock cosmetics for your character in each class. There is a good amount of customization items for purchase but there is no greater goal in the game, but that’s okay. The game is presented as a fun medieval experience and that is exactly what is delivered in Chivalry 2.
All in all, Chivalry 2 is exactly what I was hoping for: a fun experience that replaces the tension of competitive multiplayer with light-hearted – albeit violent – fun. The melee combat is fun and does rely on a bit of quick thinking to gain the upperhand on opponents. Ranged combat is challenging but satisfying and maps are dynamic enough to give ranged weapon users an opportunity for sight lines. The game isn’t a technical masterpiece, it is just a game you jump into and have loads of fun. The moments created in the game are some of the funniest I’ve had in a multiplayer experience. If you are looking for a unique multiplayer experience that shoots for fun over competition, Chivalry is a must buy.