I never actually played the original Chivalry when it was released in 2012, so when I booted up Chivalry 2, I was unsure of what to expect. The description I had read was that it was a multiplayer first-person slasher, inspired by medieval movie battles. This makes it sounds pretty overwhelming to someone new to the series. However, within five minutes, I discovered this to be an invitingly accessible bloody action game, with some deep mechanics to differentiate new and veteran players. The outcome is a chaotic war where you’re either the hero who saves everyone or just one of the many who fall and respawn to rejoin the ranks. Either way, you’re going to have a bloody good time.
During my time with Chivalry 2, I was able to play through team deathmatch and objective-based maps. The objective-based map was the highlight for me, to say the least. Like many objective-based game modes, you are tasked with either attacking specific points or defending them. As you lose points, the attacking team gets further into your castle until they reach your king. Once the king is dead, it’s game over for the defenders as the invading team ransacks the palace.
I enjoyed the thrill of rushing in headfirst, trying to take on as many opponents as possible before dying. This doesn’t ensure victory for your team at all. In fact, I lost most of the matches I played within the allotted time to try the game. I never got angry about these losses. I instead just wanted to get back in and try my hand at killing the opponent who bested me just moments ago.
There is something about the way the controls feel, from sprinting into battle to swinging your sword. Every action I did felt like it was a deliberate decision that could carve a bloody swath through my foes or leave me impaled by a mistimed strike. To achieve this, though, the controls take some time to get used to, and you will find most of your first games ending quickly at the hands of more skilled opponents. After this initial period, you will begin to understand defensive maneuvers and timing to the point where you can easily take on multiple opponents simultaneously.
For this reason, I found the deathmatch mode slightly more accessible than the objective mode to find my bearings. In this mode, the two teams face each other on a condensed battlefield as their respective commanders give a short speech before ordering you to your death. Each team gets two hundred lives to be spent by the entire team, and the first one to zero loses. This game mode manages to be more hectic than objective but distills the experience down to everything that makes Chivalry 2 fun.
Chivalry 2 lives up to everything that it promises to be, and more even if you aren’t a fan of multiplayer games, there is something here for you. The combat is designed with a layer of depth that encourages you to learn how to get the most of each rush to the enemy’s gates. Still, the controls are simplified in a way that makes newcomers just as deadly as they violently swing their weapons around without thought. I’m already itching to jump back into the carnage when Chivalry 2 launches on June 8th.
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