Chivalry – Medieval Warfare review
It is a First Person Slasher, with Competitive Multiplayer Focus. That is what their developer, the indie team from Torn Banner Studios would say. Let me be more direct and blunt. This is a bloody game filled with gore and severed limbs where you are trying to cut your opponents to shreds before they do the same to you.
Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it? Chivalry: Medieval Warfare follows a simple concept and pushes it through to the near perfection, and the said concept is basically one where you either stab, slash or smash your opponent with a sharp/pointy/heavy blunt tool before he manages to do the same to you. The specified activity can be pursued in groups up to 32 players, on several interesting, well designed and quite pretty maps. Well, this is it, in a nutshell, for this review. I could go right now and treat myself with a well deserved beer, but something tells me that you, our cherished readers, would like to read just a tad bit more about this game. Oh, well, guess that beer can wait. For a while at least.
Die by the Sword
Simplicity does not equal neither instant boredom nor lack of quality. In fact, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare thrives on its simple model and its adept execution. The emphasis is on the skill and abilities, and not so much on your equipment. The melee combat system has been implemented quite well, is lively and exciting, guaranteeing that a skillful player will definitely last longer. You are able to swing your weapon or block incoming attacks, very much as you can also stab and thrust forward or connect two attacks into a combo. Timing, as the saying goes, is everything; an opponent who is wildly flailing with his weapon can be easily countered, parried and stabbed to death if you can assess the situation properly and figure out when to block and how to strike. You can also aim for specific body parts with your attacks, so your archer can, using his secondary weapon, the dagger, dispatch the attacking knight when hitting him in the areas where he is not being protected by impenetrable plates of armor.
One would like to talk about strategy beyond that, but it ain’t gonna happen. C:MW may very well be the embodiment of the actual warfare conditions in the medieval times, where battles often culminated in uncontrolled, isolated one-on-one duels all over the range of the battlefield. There are brawls, everyone is running across the map to the spot where the fight is and thus a bloody carnage and general state of mayhem ensues.
There are four classes that are available in C:MW; the archer, man-at-arms, knight and the vanguard, from lightly armored and with long range weapons equipped soldiers to heavy armored knights with two-handed swords and axes. Each is armed with a primary and secondary weapon,of which players got a wide selection at their disposal, from simple swords and shields, bows and crossbows, daggers, throwing axes up to the two-handed swords, two-handed axes and spears and pikes… Yeah, a whole arsenal of pain inflicting tools at your disposal. Oh, yes, and you can kick your opponents in the groin, as well. Or in the rear end. Which is probably the most humiliating way for one to die, being kicked in the soft rear end and tumble off the edge of the building to his death several stores lower.
Cake or death!
To make things simple, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is all but chivalrous and everything but dull and uninteresting. This may very well be one of the best games of the genre ever made, competing with titles such as War of the Roses and Mount & Blade, even though it has no singleplayer worth mentioning (except training and some bot combat) like Mount & Blade titles nor has it the multiplayer scope of War of the Roses. And not only competing, but also seemingly wining the popularity contest with the player’s base, getting great feedback from the community. There are many reasons why the game deserves praise, starting from the quite responsive and entertaining melee combat (which is the very essence of the genre, actually), covering pleasing, yet grim graphics, accompanied to similarly horrifying sound effects of wounded and dying men, to name the few. But when narrowing everything to the “simplest common denominator”, C:MW wins hands down for having the most mesmerizing combat system out there at this moment.
But not everything is rosy in this medieval garden, even if – oddly enough – the game’s shortcomings have been widely ignored by the fan base and the reviewers in general. We can understand that only too good, since the game is quite good “as is”, but in our humble opinion, it has the potential to become even better. The classes are currently not very balanced, and man-at-arms is being largely ignored; most of the players will choose either archers as a long distance damage dealers or the “heavy” units with 2h weapons, encased in thick armor. Hopefully, that will change with further tweaking. There is no mounted combat, which is not a deal-breaker, but it feels like a gap when the game is compared to its aforementioned rivals. However, the greatest problem so far is the server lag. While not prevalent or even often, when it hits, it rather messes up the gameplay badly. The game would be perfect with no lag, where all the combos and special attacks could be used at the right time, including faints where you attempt to trick your opponent to think that you are actually attacking, thus luring him out and baiting him to throw up his defenses in vain or even attack because he thinks he saw an opening. But Intrawebz is by no means the perfect world and, sadly, the game will oftentimes will be reduced to the choppy play of two combatants, both swinging their 2h weapons and retreating back a few step, gauging the amount of lag and its effect to their fight. Also, at the very beginning, matchmaking had some difficulties and glitches, match lists wouldn’t refresh properly, but the players weathered them in high spirits and now those seem to be the thing of past, for the most part. Today, it is sheer amazing to see that the server list is filled with players, and that you need to work hard to find a server with some free spots so you can get into the game. One thing is certain, this game will have secured its player base for the foreseeable future.
Some courtly love
Despite of these less fortunate issues, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is simply a great first person slasher based in medieval setting. It is filled with blood, gore, severed limbs, screaming wounded and dying soldiers, it’s grim and dark and absolutely violent – and we love it! Extra points are awarded for the fact that the game was made by an indie studio, so hats off and two thumbs up for the crew from the Torn Banner Studios. We are very much certain that the game will be improved upon and that the dev team will keep adding content to it for a while to come, because unlike most of the “professional”, big budget studios that turn themselves to their “next big thing” right as they publish their game, indies – for the most part – love their games and work on them for a long time, thus justifying the faith of the players who bought and play their product. One could almost say that they fall in love with their games and woe them for a long time, in the spirit of medieval courtly love. And Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is definitely worthy of your attention, perhaps even some of that galant courtly love.
Alas, tis the time for that flagon of mead!
- Excellent Melee System
- Blood and Gore
- Great maps
- Huge popularity and always a huge crowd on servers
- No mounted play
- No Customization
- Classes need balancing
- Bugs and glitches, some lag