Review: Chivalry 2

About six years ago, the original Chivalry: Medieval Warfare launched and offered something that really hadn’t been done before. Despite issues with the title, the game would receive a sequel with Chivalry 2. Fans of Monty Python will fit right in as similar humor exists in these games and the second version is no exception. Chivalry 2 is an improvement in almost every aspect and sees a much-needed visual boost thanks to the latest hardware on the market. Ultimately, what holds the game back are the same type of issues but ironically, I can’t seem to stop playing the game.

Chivalry 2 maintains the same medieval combat that made the original unique. How the battle is fought is what has changed. Players can do battle in either a first-person or third-person perspective. I find the third person works best since it opens up the area around you where as first person keeps everything directly in front of you. At the same time, if you have a shield, staying in first person can limit your vision even more. Beyond that, the combat has been overhauled for the better. The idea is to better prepare players for multiple foes in mind.

The movement of the players feels slow and heavy, and it should, due to armor. You can maneuver your weapon, whether it be a sword, axe or many others, while swinging it to land hits on multiple foes. There’s an “execution” move that can be pulled off that will take longer to land, but can one-hit kill in some instances. The ability to not only block, but also counter and even parry is available. When you come up against a player that’s good, you’ll be able to tell in battle.

There’s also strategy involved as you can either see yourself capitalizing on a situation or getting bombarded by enemies. It’s best to help a friend in need and one of the best ways to land that “execution” move is to do it when the enemy is engaged elsewhere. Try not to leave yourself open to getting blindside nor should you run into a bunch of enemies as you will basically stand no chance. You must be smart and efficient while being effective during battle.

There are four different subclasses to choose from and one of those is being an archer. Archers can be the difference maker, but the learning curve to not only firing arrows but hitting your target is difficult. The other subclasses focus on the types of weapons as the speed and feel of what you’re using will help you find the perfect setup. Players will level up during battle and unlock more weapons and armor to expand their arsenal. Each subclass will also level up separately to offer even more options.

The one drawback is no matter what armor is used, besides unlocking some perks, it makes a difference on both your defense or your speed. Players also have the option to pick up weapons and either use or throw them on the battlefield. Other items ranging from fish to literal poop can thrown at opponents for whatever reason desired. Players can also take advantage in certain areas with catapults, battering rams and other medieval war weapons. The combat is no doubt where Chivalry 2 shines the most.

Players have the option of up to 64 player battles or can reduce to 40. There’s also an option for a free-for-all, which results in absolute bedlam. This is where Chivalry 2 starts to show its faults. While there are conquest mode options and a team deathmatch, this is all you’re limited to. There’s no single player campaign and the matches become redundant. There are only a few maps to play even though there’s a good bit of experimentation to try different things on each map. Some of the conquest modes are unbalanced with one of the maps having the defending team play as civilians. Twice. On the same map. The chat is normally full of people complaining when this occurs. The civilians are armed with rakes and they do nothing. There are custom servers available and some have duels setup, but other than that, you’ll be doing the same thing over and over again.

The visuals receive a severe update in the game as it runs on the Unreal 4 engine and takes advantage of more polished assets. Reflections on the armor look solid, albeit there’s no ray tracing. Player models are solid and the animations are fluid. There’s an occasional hiccup with the animations, but taking off someone’s head or a limb along with the amount of blood in the game looks cool. The player faces leave a lot to be desired, but the armor and player models feel much more modern than the previous title. The environments won’t blow you away, but there ‘s enough variety and detail here to make it not feel bland. Playing on PC with a NVIDIA RTX 3080, the frame rate at 4K and all graphical options cranked would range from 60-120 depending on the action.

The sound element of Chivalry 2 is a mixed bag. The voiceovers are new and improved while also retaining some of the same voice actors from the original. The humor and emotes are cringe level at times, and most of the time you’re just hearing battlecries in the background. Strangely, there’s no music during battle except when closing up a battle. It would help add to the mood if there was some sort of background music, but it doesn’t engross you. The sound of metal clanking is satisfying, as is the sound of removing someone’s head. Multiplayer connection is also a mixed bag. After the launch, some rooms would have lag and players would just disappear or the game would chug along. Some rooms seem fine with literally no issues and this happened more times than not.

Closing Comments:

While the content is short sighted with Chivalry 2, the improvements over its predecessor make it a much better experience. As of today, developer Torn Banner Studios has promised that the content in the game will double. The combat is fun and the draw to keep playing is to level up each subclass, while the archer provides a good change of pace. This is an excellent title to play a couple of rounds and come back to at another date. Those that want to grind and get skilled have the chance to do this. For PC players, the keyboard and mouse combo works well with the combat mechanics. As more and more content comes to the game including gameplay improvements, the experience should only improve. Either way, it’s hard to put the game down.