I stand on the shores of Lionspire alongside my brothers in arms, while our commander riles us up with an impassioned speech about the battle that lie ahead of us. I look forward to see dozens of enemy soldiers lining up along the beach and grip my trusty polearm in anticipation. Before I know it my allies and I are sprinting full force towards the enemy with our weapons raised, and within moments the two sides have crashed together in cacophony of clanging metal and screams of agony. I swing my weapon at any man I can see, and I can only hope that I am killing foe rather than friend. I keep pushing forward along the beach hacking and slashing at anything that moves. After a few moments of this I look up to realize that all of my comrades are either dead or have retreated, and I am now surrounded by nearly ten of my enemies. They don't take long to hack me to pieces, and once again I have been brutally murdered in Chivalry 2.
Over the weekend I was given the opportunity to check out Torn Banner's closed beta version of Chivalry 2, and it was frankly one of the most exhilarating multiplayer experiences I have ever had. The beta was fairly limited in scope, so we were only able to test out a few different maps and game modes at this time. Additionally there wasn't enough time for me to test out all of the different weapons and classes properly, but the small amount of content that has already been shown off is extremely promising. With some final polish and additional maps, Chivalry 2 may wind up being the next big thing in multiplayer combat games.
Hack and Slash Your Way To Victory
Chivalry 2 is a medieval combat simulator that takes its inspiration from movies and TV shows that feature large scale medieval battles. Matches in Chivalry 2 are reminiscent of the many sieges and skirmishes that are shown off in the likes of Game of Thrones and just as gory. Whether playing Team Deathmatch or Team Objective, both modes begin with players on opposing sides staring each other down and then rushing to meet each other in battle. This makes the opening moments of a match chaotic and brutal, and typically both sides will suffer pretty heavy losses in the opening moments. Once players respawn or break away from this first skirmish they can then begin playing with a little more strategy.
Combat is incredibly fascinating in this game because you are given a lot of control over how exactly to attack and defend against enemies. The combat mechanics can be as complicated or simple as the player wants them to be since Chivalry 2 gives them so many options. At first this is simple enough with the basic attacks of swinging your weapon across, swinging over your head, or thrusting. The player can also charge each of these attacks up for a heavy swing though, and use a special heavy attack that is dependent on the class that is being played as. What is really interesting though is that when the player attacks they must move their aiming reticle and body to determine where an attack will land and get past their opponent's guard. To further complicate things, you also have the ability to use mechanics like riposting and parrying to turn the tables on your enemies.
Become A Master of One on One Combat (or Don't)
Players who are able to employ these mechanics properly can become masters of one on one combat, but what truly makes Chivalry 2 shine is that it is not a one on one combat game. Instead those who survive aren't those who are combat masters, but rather those who are smart and can outthink or outnumber their opponents. I wasn't anywhere near being competent with the complicated combat techniques in Chivalry 2, but I quickly determined ways to bring down skilled fighters. If I saw someone carving through my allies I could keep my distance and throw secondary weapons or nearby rocks at them to deal damage, or goad them with a couple of attacks before leading back to a group of three or four friends. No matter how good a player is in this game they usually aren't able to take on a group of other players on their own.
"If everything goes well upon the full release of Chivalry 2, we could very well be looking at a massive multiplayer hit with players all around the world."
Out of the two game modes that were shown off during the beta, Team Objective was by far the more interesting. During the mode teams were either the defenders or attackers during the siege of a specific location. The match is then broken into smaller objectives that the attackers must complete in order to push their way further into the defending castle. These objectives were things like guiding siege towers to the castle walls, burning supply tents to the ground, or capturing the caste courtyard itself. The defenders on the other hand are tasked with either protecting certain things from being destroyed or pushing the attackers away from locations. The attackers win by pushing their way inside the castle and killing the Heir (whoever the top ranked defender is), while the defenders win by holding an objective until time runs out.
The Next Big Thing in Multiplayer Games
Like many online games there is a class system in Chivalry 2. There are four basic classes for players to choose from: Archer, Vanguard, Footman, and Knight. Each of these classes has several unique weapons to choose from that the player will unlock as they defeat enemies and level up. The classes themselves also have unique abilities and special items that can be used in combat as well. I spent most of my time with the Footman class because I enjoyed the long reach that its weapons provided, particularly when I unlocked the spear. The Footman as well allows players to throw medkits at allies in the middle of a fight to heal them and also lay down spike traps for enemies to run into.
The beta did show off a couple of issues with the game right now that will hopefully be fixed by the time Chivalry 2 gets a full release in June. The biggest problem was a couple of server issues during the weekend that made console players unable to play for a short amount of time as matchmaking was brought down. There were also issues with servers running slowly and some pretty large lag issues that seemed pretty widespread despite users having a stable internet connection. There were also a few smaller gameplay issues like some class and item balancing that caused some minor annoyances. For example, I personally feel that the crossbow is far too powerful at this time when in the hands of a competent defender. All of the issues I ran into though were small problems that more than likely will be taken care of as a result of this beta weekend.
Overall I believe that Torn Banner Studios is on to something major with Chivalry 2. The small amount of content that I was able to check out this weekend improved upon everything that the original brought to the table, and I personally don't think I have ever had that much fun playing an online multiplayer game and this was only the beta version. Let's hope the full release can bring that same level of excitement in June.
TechRaptor previewed Chivalry 2 using a PC code provided by the developer and played using medium settings. Chivalry 2 will release on June 8th, 2021 for Xbox One, Xbxo Series X/S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.