Recently two very similar games were released; War of the Roses and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. I was so interested in both games that I couldn’t decide which to buy. It was only after watching The Game Station’s Chivalry Battle Royale that I was convinced. So I hopped onto Steam and bought Chivalry, ready to render my foes asunder.
There’s something I need to say here; there’s a really serious bug that has affected a lot of people. If your game refuses to run then you need to hop into the binary files and run both redistributables and the DirectX setup. There’s a guide here. With that out of the way, on to the meat.
Chivalry is medieval war game in which you control one soldier at a time, wading into a battle with various objectives to complete. You can choose from four different classes who each have a wide range of weapons and shields to pick from. Combat is gritty and the maps are beautifully designed. The concept of chivalry actually gets thrown out the window within seconds of a battle beginning. Running to your first objective (my favourite being ‘slaughter peasants’) and being confronted with ten angry knights supported by eight archers makes you abandon all hope of a fair fight and wade into the slaughter.
The combat mechanics are fluid and take a lot more skill to master than I expected. You have a variety of attacks available and likewise there are defensive choices. A man-at-arms can dodge the slow swings of a knight’s hammer if he’s quick enough, but will need razor sharp reflexes to block an attack from a short sword. I was delighted when I saw an incoming decapitation avoided by the other player simply ducking, allowing the blade to pass over their head. As they rose to counter a vanguard ran up behind and removed everything below the knee with a swift swing of a halberd. The ranged combat is also enjoyable, but having played Mount and Blade back in the day I can’t help but feel it’s a little cheap compared to the viscera of melee.
Speaking of internal organs, this game is fucking brutal. I brought a mace down on my opponents head, crushing it completely. As his body his the floor there was a gurgle of blood filling his windpipe and a little bit of brain stem poking out of his neck. I’ve watched autopsies and been to human body exhibit and Chivalry hit me just as hard. I think it’s the addition of audio, the crunch of vertebra followed by a gurgle and thud.
Could this game become competitive? There’s certainly a high enough skill-ceiling and the game mechanics allow for it. There’s a spectator mode and objective based game play. The biggest problem I foresee for any attempt to competitise (new word, dibs) the game would be the number of players. Battlefield has always suffered from being a great competitive game that requires thirty people working in sync on each team, that’s hard to do. Never mind getting that many people, making sure they’re all available for competitions and training is virtually impossible.
The graphics of the game are pretty nice, I would like to see a little more colour but I don’t think that’s the style they’ve gone for. As an aesthetic point the skins and customisation options of your character are very limited, only helms can be altered. Opening the game up to allow people to customise in detail would be a very nice feature, think of the Dawn of War series. The game also lacks cavalry which is a little disappointing and definitely an area where War of the Roses wins out.
To conclude, Chivalry is not a game I regret buying. There’s definitely room for improvement but to put it bluntly, the game is just damn good fun to play. It’s gritty with great feedback and combat, kept fresh by the class choices and objective based game play and a positive step for the medieval melee genre! It’s available on Steam for the reasonable price of £18.99.