I remember being very, very excited for Chivalry: Medieval Warfare a decade ago. Though I do love some Mortal Kombat and Tekken, I can’t say I’m a huge fighting game buff mainly due to their inherent two-dimensional design. While there are plenty of 3D fighters in existence, very few are talked about with any kind of reverence, fewer still when conversation turns to player versus player action.
While I’m not comparing Chivalry to a fighting game, it was part of a wave of other PC hits alongside War of the Roses and Mount & Blade that definitely scratched that itch; a longing for multiplayer medieval melees where battles were more sophisticated than brief bouts of frenzied button bashing.
Strangely enough, Chivalry 2 hadn’t really been on my radar until I had the chance to spend a few days hacking and slashing my way through countless siege battles. I can now safely say it’s one of the most ludicrously fun games of 2021 so far.
For those who have never heard of Chivalry, let’s just back up a moment. At its most basic, Chivalry 2 combines the accessible action of online shooters with a fantasy theme, swapping grenades for poleaxes, and AK47s for arbalests. On one hand this sequel feels even more approachable than the original, but there are also layers of new and improved gameplay systems – along with a minutia of advanced mechanics – allowing players to fully realise their medieval fantasies.
During the recent beta, testers were able to dive into a team deathmatch or hit up one of Chivalry 2’s objective based maps, both of which took the forms of epic siege battles. Where betas can sometimes be pretty sparse, we got to sample many of the classes and weapons that will feature in the full game while also benefiting from full cross-play support (particularly useful in filling those 64-player lobbies).
Despite the tutorial bombarding you with myriad duelling concepts, the combat gameplay in Chivalry 2 is pretty straightforward. Landing blows on exposed opponents will deal damage, though there are plenty of opportunities to block, riposte, or counter. Through stamina management and clever footwork you can get around your foe’s defences, spicing things up with a shield bash or a kick here, or even throwing your a weapon.
From broadswords and bows to warhammers, each weapon class has its own unique properties and special attacks, though there’s some helpful overlap with button presses assigned to sweeping, stabbing, overhead, and special attacks. Playing on PlayStation, a part of me really wasn’t looking forward to playing Chivalry 2 with a controller, but I was really surprised how intuitive and easy to pick up it was.
There will no doubt be a competitive Chivalry 2 duelling scene where fighters can flex their mastery over the more advanced aspects of combat. However, you’ll mostly find yourself caught in the midst of hectic teamfights, trying not to clip your allies with a rogue sword swipe while also trying to keep a head on your shoulders. These 64-player scrums become even more intense as Chivalry 2 doles out objectives, tasking attackers with push siege towers, battering down gates, holding control points, and destroying barricades. Meanwhiles, defenders will man the walls, raining down arrows, ballista bolts, and boulders to stop their advance.
Those rougher edges of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare have also been rounded off, especially if you’re playing on newer hardware. Chivalry 2 ran flawlessly on PS5 with the game servers also holding up well even when playing on a subpar connection.
If it wasn’t clear enough, Chivalry 2 has shot to the top of my must play list for this summer – it’s out on 8th June. With plenty of classes and weapons to unlock, coupled with a steady drip feed of new content, hopefully the full game will go on to have a long tail, or at least enough of an active community to keep battlefields looking busy.