Grab your sword. Grab your board. Grab a pile of horse poop. Better yet, grab the head of your enemies rolling on the ground and lob that at your foes. Whatever, you do, grab something and get ready: Chivalry 2 is here! Like a wet fart when all you were expecting was a silent killer, Chivalry 2 will sneak up on you and pop you right out of your seat. Whether it’s a hilarious killshot or an intense 1v1, its ridiculous, violent combat is something to be experienced.
Chivalry 2, as one can imagine, is the follow up to Chivalry: Medieval Warfare by Torn Banner Studios. It is a first-person action combat simulator based on western medieval warfare. Technically, you can switch to a third-person point of view, but it works similar to the Elder Scrolls games. Yes, you can technically change the camera, but that’s just not going to work out well for you. The game plays out in matches between two factions. You pick a side, compete over the objective, and win or lose. You’ll probably die a bunch of times in each fight, but the respawn is so quick that you really aren’t taken out of the game for long.
Combat encourages skillful play but it isn’t required
The combat in Chivalry 2 on paper is very simple. You have three primary attacks: slash, overhead slash, and thrust. You can also hold a block that consumes stamina or throw whatever weapon (or miscellaneous object you’ve picked up) at your opponent. Finally, you have a kick and a special class ability.
That really is it. However, you can actually elevate these few moves into a fairly elaborate and skillful set of attacks. Timing is a huge part of the combat. One example is a riposte in the game. If you can pull off quick block and counter strike on your opponents, your counter attack will make you block any incoming attacks. This is huge when fighting more than one opponent, and the opportunity for skillful and impactful play is something that really interests me in the game. In fact, it really makes me wish for this sort of hand-to-hand combat in Sea of Thieves. (If you didn’t have a chance to read my thoughts on that, the summary is that the melee combat was absolute trash with almost no skill opportunities. It really could benefit from even a slice of what Chivalry 2 is offering.)
Honestly, my first impression of the combat made me think of For Honor or Absolver. The rough concept is the same. In both For Honor and Chivalry 2, you’re in a first-person PoV watching your opponent and looking for a movement or weakness to exploit and land an attack. The difference in For Honor, though, is that the combat is much more structured and formalized. There, you actually lock on to an opponent and your stance (typically) is telegraphed. It’s like playing rock-paper-scissors. In Chivalry 2, it’s a lot looser. You don’t formally lock on to a target; you can swing your weapon wildly like a maniac, and you can swipe around to hit whoever is standing nearby.
Somehow, I’ve never played the original Chivalry, so I can’t offer much in the way of comparisons to the combat there. At first blush (aka watching a few YouTube videos), it appears to be almost the exact same game. My takeaway from the old game to the new one is that the combat is improved and much less likely to be cheesed.
Now, with all that said about the skillful play, it is totally not a requirement. I mean, I learned most of those moves in the tutorial, but really you can just run out into an arena like a lunatic and wildly click and throw your way to some kills. Sure, you might not be a leading killer, but you can absolutely have some success and have a great time playing even without being very good at the game. I have to admit, this is a huge bonus for me in playing too because some games are just brutal if you aren’t very good at them. Seriously, I am a bad loser. I don’t like it. I don’t sit silently and accept it. I don’t lose well. So in Chivalry 2, just go out there swinging and have a good time!
Multiple game modes done right
We don’t have a limitless number of game modes to play, but there are enough different modes to satisfy most players. I’m a huge fan of this because single combat modes get really stale eventually (*cough* Guild Wars 2 *cough*).
First up is the free-for-all mode. Just as the name implies, it’s you vs. everyone else. On entering this mode you’ll be dropped into an arena with about 40 other players. The first player to 35 kills wins the match. The game will display along the top who is in the lead so you always have an idea of who is winning (and who deserves your scorn).
There are two other, but similar, modes: 64- and 40-player mixed mode queues. These queues will take you through some different modes, like team deathmatch or objective based arenas. Deathmatch is fairly self explanatory: The first team with enough kills wins. The objective ones that I played so far included defending (or besieging) a keep. It had several stages from breaching the outer walls to breaching the inner walls to ultimately killing the keep’s lord. In another version, one team was tasked with overrunning a small town and stealing its gold while the other attempted to stop the invaders.
Of course, there are 1v1 duels – an absolute must-have in a game such as this. It’s a good mode to really test your skills and more than likely learn just how far you are from being an expert.
Finally, if you want more say in the type of arena you join, there is a server browser. It doesn’t look as if players can create custom servers, but maybe it will be a possibility in the future.
One last note related to the different game modes is the tutorial. I often spend a lot of time describing and explaining my distaste for a game’s tutorial. I must admit, though, while this one isn’t perfect, it is a great way to start out the game. As I mentioned above, I’ve never played Chivalry before, so it was a huge boon for me starting out. If I hadn’t played the tutorial, I’d have just assumed the combat was a random click-fest with little to no skill involved. You can knock it out really fast, so I’d highly recommend new players give a go before jumping into the arenas.
Tons of customizations and cosmetics to choose from
The game has a bunch of different ways for players to customize their characters to make them a bit more unique. The overall palette to choose from doesn’t vary wildly, but that’s probably for the best. In some games, the theme gets totally blown away by some of the offered cosmetics. Whether it’s amazingly bright glowing swords or flashy rainbow gear, it just gets a bit absurd. But here, all the gear falls into the reasonably realistic category.
Now, one thing I did notice that was a bit of a letdown was the number of male vs. female face options: 31 male and only 13 female. Pretty weak. On closer inspection of the faces, though… woof. Do you want to look as if someone just finished slapping your face around, throwing it against a wall and then peeling it off only to glue it back to your head, or do you prefer the “lifeless eyes that have seen too many unspeakable horrors” look? Really, the choice is yours.
Seriously, though, funky faces aside, there are a ton of cool gear choices, and through play and leveling up you can earn and unlock even more wearables.
The game launches on June 8th, which is just around the corner. So if you are interested in action combat games where you can test your skills versus other players, or if you simply want some brain-dead, hilariously gruesome combat, check out Chivalry 2 and let me know your thoughts!