Ever want to experience the glory of war in a medieval fantasy? Do you often catch yourself reciting quotes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Are you a fan of multiplayer PC games? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then perhaps Torn Banner Studios’ Chivalry 2 might just be for you! Recently, we had a chance to try the game in its pre-alpha stage, getting a chance to experience the combat of this large scale multiplayer game.
Taking inspiration from medieval films, Chivalry 2 aims to put players in epic battles just like the movies. While visually, it has a gritty serious tone, the concept never takes itself too seriously. Focusing more on the dramatics of medieval combat, the game encourages war cries, theatrical heroics, and fighting to the last breath. The game takes the foundation of the battles of the first game, and then it expands it even further. What was once up to 32 player skirmishes can now be 64 player wars. Maps are larger than ever and the combat continues to evolve in more realistic ways.
I never played Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, but I know it originally started as a Half-Life 2 mod, Age of Chivalry. Releasing back in 2012, the first Chivalry rose to cult status, gaining praise from both critics and fans. Being an eight year old game with a multiplayer emphasis, a sequel feels like the next logical step. In the transition to Chivalry 2, the developers focus on improving the original game as much as they can. One of the biggest changes was the change to the animation, making it more readable and more satisfying to look at.
The game plays in first person or third person, letting players choose their favorite perspective. Since the game has a heavy focus on melee combat, Chivalry 2 encourages a full motion control style. Players can use their attacks like normal, but it’ll be more rewarding for those that put their whole body into it. Want to swing your sword faster? Move your mouse in the direction of your swing to turn into your attack. It might be a little disorienting at first, but it’s actually pretty immersive, and it’s somewhat crucial to success.
Players can attack with normal or heavy attacks, or even strike with a sprinting charge. Using the scroll wheel, players can also strike with a stabbing attack. Many units will have a shield, which will help with defending incoming attacks. The way it works is that whoever lands an attack first can connect the second attack before their opponent. If the opponent blocks, they open up an opportunity to strike back before their attacker. This dynamic obviously changes up when multiple combatants enter the fray, but in one-on-one battle, it works pretty well. Other options like riposte and feinting attacks adds an extra level of depth to the combat.
There are two teams in Chivalry 2, continuing off a light story from the first game. Taking place 20 years after the first game, the Mason Order and Agatha Knights are still up in arms. Each side has their own variation to classes, including knights, archers, and vanguards. While weapons and aesthetics can be different, the game feels pretty balanced. Players will not only discover their default weapons like swords, bows and knives, but they’ll be able to find others on the battlefield too. You can even throw weapons and shields at your opponents if you like. Some weapons will be more traditional, like pikes, while others will be more unorthodox, like branding irons and trumpets.
As mentioned before, the game has a focus on the theatrics of war, sometimes moving into the sillier territory. Players can lose limbs in battle, and like typical Monty Python and the Holy Grail Black Knight fashion, they can fight till they have nothing to fight with anymore. Of course, in the grand scheme of battle, this likely won’t last too long. If you end up decapitating your foe, you can even pick up their head and use it as a weapon. The game doesn’t take itself seriously, and it doesn’t ask that of its players either. Honestly, I was having a lot of fun just shouting war cries as I stormed into battle.
Of course, being in pre-alpha stages, there were some features of Chivalry 2 that I couldn’t try yet. Some of these features were battle conditions and objectives, which fans of the original would be familiar with. Another new feature I couldn’t test out was the mounted combat, though we did have a battle in the middle of a jousting field. Since the game still had a lot to do, the other members of the press and I didn’t have much to do except endlessly slaughter one another. Luckily, nobody took it very seriously, so it was a lot of fun to experiment and try different things. And there was much rejoicing (yay!).
While my time with Chivalry 2 was far from the norm, I still had a lot of fun. I’d love to see how the game looks in a real multiplayer match with objectives and full features available. It seems that Torn Banner Studios is dedicated to making a game that lives up to the original, and it feels like they’re succeeding so far. Fans of the original game may want to keep it on their radar too, especially in the event of alpha or beta tests. Chivalry 2 is currently aiming for a 2020 release on PC, exclusive to the Epic Games store. For more information on the game and to keep up to date, feel free to visit the official website.