The excitement of engaging in continuous violent melee encounters with the possible result of decapitating your enemy is the addictive and intense gameplay that lies within Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. As a whole, the game has a solid footing on its own, but it is the finer details that truly make it a medieval first person combat game worth owning.
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare introduces us to the conflict between the knights of Agatha and the Mason Order as they battle for dominion over the lands of Agatha. The absence of a single player campaign is a little disheartening, but the training tutorial and the ability to compete against bots do offer some offline gameplay. Attending the training is highly recommended as it will teach you how to stay alive, but also informing you on other, more strategic, attacks that you can use against your enemies on the battlefield. Other than that, the game’s primary focus is on online play, offering several different game modes: Capture the Flag, Free for All, King of the Hill, Team Deathmatch, and Team Objective. Team Objective is the most in-depth mode as each map offers different objectives that present a similar feel to a single player experience, which will make you forget about the lack of offline gameplay.
“…each and every kill is an extremely rewarding experience. This is especially true when you find yourself dismembering or decapitating an enemy with a carefully placed attack.”
The control scheme is not merely clicking the mouse repeatedly as there is an impressive, yet user friendly, control implementation that favors strategic placement and timing over luck and the ‘right place at the right time.’ The variety of attacks include a slash, stab, overhead attack, firing an arrow, kick, and the ability to bash opponents with a shield. You can also engage in combat with nothing other than your fists, creating a medieval fight club. The targeting system grants the attacker additional damage upon striking towards the head with the possibility of decapitating your foe. Feel free to also land a devastating over the head attack and dismember an arm or two, or crouch to evade attacks and stab at their legs. You may also change to a third-person perspective, giving yourself a better view and lessening the risk of leaving your flank exposed.
There are a total of four classes to choose from: Archer, Man-at-Arms, Vanguard, and Knight. The Archer observes the battlefield from a distance, engaging enemies with the pull of a string. However, the lack of armor and defensible weapons will make melee encounters short-lived. The Man-at-Arms resorts to using speed and their dodge ability to inflict suffering upon the more heavily armored units. While similar to the Knight class, the Vanguard maintains a dominating force on all battlefields due to their superior reach from weapons such as spears and polearms. Heavily armored and powerful, the Knight intimidates with crushing blows and an almost impervious defensive stance when wielding a shield. Each class has an arsenal of weapons at their disposal, which is situated within three categories: a primary enforcer weapon, a lighter secondary weapon, and a special item that can, at times, turn the tide of battle. Small at first, your arsenal can be enhanced by killing enemy units. The differences between each class complement one another very well, creating an enjoyable and unique experience every time.
The fast-pace and intense combat is immediately recognized as you engage in battle for the first time. The urge to swing openly at your opponent will be met with an attack that will send you to your grave. You will then return to battle to try a different approach, noticing that strategic and defensive maneuverability will extend your life during duels. Breaking an enemy’s guard with a shield bash or kick will throw them off balance, leaving them open for an attack. Surprising your enemy with the feint ability, which cancels an attack midway, will “let you piss everyone off with your shady tricks,” as Maestar Lewin states during the advanced training session. Unlike most other games on the market, each and every kill is an extremely rewarding experience. This is especially true when you find yourself dismembering or decapitating an enemy with a carefully placed attack.
An overlooked gameplay aspect pertains to the siege engines that are available to unleash destruction in certain maps. You will find yourself pushing battering rams toward gates, firing at enemies with a ballista, and raining death upon combatants with a catapult. Watching hurled boulders crash near you with both friend and foe being annihilated definitely makes you aware of your surroundings. With plenty of potential, the ballista was not as impressive as the catapult. Placement and the obvious bug of being able to fire two projectiles even though one is loaded hampered the overall impression. The ability to redeploy the ballista at different locations would greatly increase the strategic force it brings to the battlefield.
Utilizing the Unreal Engine, Torn Banner Studios has produced a visually impressive and well designed game. The medieval atmosphere is brought to life in Chivalry. One visual aspect that immediately warranted attention was the sky. Can you name a game off the top of your head that has clouds that move during gameplay? Many do not, but this one does in certain maps; an accomplishment in its own right. The six maps presented illustrate a variety of environments that invite players to experience several different aspects of medieval combat. You will find yourself storming castles, charging across grassy plains, maneuvering through arid ruins, clashing in a throne room, and fighting for survival in an arena.
The sound of swords cleaving arms, piercing flesh, enemy movement, and the reassuring metallic sound that confirms you have successfully parried an enemy attack play a huge part in Chivalry as they create an immersive experience when in battle. The process repeats as you kill an opponent and move onto the next enemy. You can even demoralize your foes by yelling out a battle cry. The option to taunt is also available, but your skills better reflect your dominance before issuing an invitation to your enemies. At times, the voice overs can seem a bit silly, even though they provide some humorous relief in an extremely violent atmosphere. The sounds produced during arrow-cam - the ability to have the camera follow your projectile - seems rather loud at times, and can be a little annoying.
The simplistic approach to a rather in-depth first person melee combat game creates an addictive and exciting gaming experience that includes an abundant amount of violence and dismemberment. An overall immersive experience is created due to the realistic feel from the weapons and the sounds encountered throughout the battlefields. The excitement during battle reaches a climax when you deliver that final blow and your success is reaffirmed by your opponent’s death cry as they fall to the ground. You then spot your next opponent and hastily move to their position with your blade displaying the blood of your previous kill. Repeat. Chivalry: Medieval Warfare will offer countless hours of violent enjoyment.
Release date : 2012-10-16
Publisher : Torn Banner Studios
Developer : Torn Banner Studios
Gameplay : Action
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