Decapitated limbs, blood washed swords and headless corpses are an unsettling, yet familiar, sight on the battlefields of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. It’s an immensely brutal game which takes no prisoners when depicting the gruesome nature of medieval combat.
From a first-person perspective you can either fight for the Agatha Knights or Mason Order in a shield-splintering battle to the death against other online players.
Before heading into online battles it is advised to complete an offline training session; this is a really handy exercise that helps you familiarise with the controls and various classes. There are four classes to choose from: the Archer, Man-at-arms, Knight and the Vanguard, the latter being my personal favourite. Each class has its own perks and disadvantages, allowing you to switch between play styles.
For example the Archer is, as you would expect, pretty useless in close combat, instead focused on damaging opponents from afar. The Man-at-arms is quick on his feet and able to dodge incoming attacks but lacks any real defences.
After your training is complete you can dive into the full online experience – this is where the brutality ensues. You can either join a duel, free-for-all, last team standing or team objective lobby. With every game mode you should remember that no player, either on your side or the enemy, will show you any mercy at all.
Duel pits you one-on-one against another player. It’s a very tense battle, with both players continuously parrying each others’ attacks. Make one small mistake and that could spell disaster. Free-for-all is quite self explanatory, in that it’s an every man for himself battle. With over twenty players in the lobby you can expect a hectic affair with attacks incoming from all directions.
The last team standing is also another exciting game mode, although a lot less frantic than free-for-all. You’ll have to deploy a few tactics and work as a team to bring down either the enemy Mason Order or Agatha Knights.
Sadly I haven’t been able to join a team objective lobby. Despite this, even a few months after its release Chivalry still boasts a populated online community where you’ll have no trouble finding a game to join, helped no doubt by its appearance in the Steam Summer sales.
As I’ve said Chivalry is brutal. There are plenty of ways to get killed: arrows to the knee, a sword in the chest or you can even have your head taken off with a single punch. It’s all very visual too, with gallons of blood splatter and dismembered limbs flying around the place.
Given the amount of players and detail during the online battles, Chivalry runs fairly smoothly. At some points you may fall victim to a series of stuttering attacks or delayed reactions but there are no major problems. The game looks fantastic too if you play it on the highest settings, but for me that comes at the price of the frame rate, so I stick to low/medium settings as ever.[videoyoutube]What also must be praised is the sound. From the striking of swords to the sounds of metal plunging into flesh it all sounds very real. Mix that with the Medieval themed soundtrack and you have yourself a very authentic war game.
To the right is a short video I’ve recorded which showcases the duel and free-for-all game modes. Please bear in mind that, no matter how hard I try, I’m still really bad at the game!