Chivalry: Medieval Warfare
I’ve determined that my primary function in multiplayer arenas is to be a meat shield, but gosh darnit, I’m a good one. I’ll spend minutes sneaking up on someone, stealthily moving from cover to cover, only to be sniped by someone all the way across the map. To add insult to injury, the killcam tells me that they did it with a pistol, blindfolded, whilst updating their Facebook page and making a soufflé. “Chivalry: Medieval Warfare” puts me back into the ring, though this time, I’ll be wielding medieval weapons instead of an AK-47. Before I start looking into whether or not my health insurance policy covers dismemberment and arrows to the knee, I’d like to thank Steve Piggott from Torn Banner Studios for sending me a free review copy.
The main menu allows players to join a game, create a game, participate in training, adjust game options, and view credits. Creating a game enables an offline match to where you can set the environment, the number of bots, your starting side/class, and have at it. Joining a game allows you to play with real people online. Training will teach you the basics and then some, which is something I recommend before heading into a multiplayer match. The configuration menu address your usual features like video, sound, keybinds, and etc. I took issue with some of the above, but I’ll cover that towards the end of the article.
The game features four different classes, each with their own unique fighting style and attributes. The “Man-At-Arms” is the quickest of the melee fighters, relying heavily on dodging and speed in order to stay alive. The “Knight”, on the other hand, is a slow but powerful unit that sometimes takes on the role of a tank on the battlefield. “Vanguards” are well-rounded and support long reaching weapons that are extremely powerful. Finally, “Archers” are primarily used as ranged support, but do have the ability to backstab unsuspecting enemies for extra damage. When playing medieval-esque games, I often take to mage or archer class characters simply because I enjoy inflicting damage at range. I found however that playing an archer class in this game requires quite a bit of skill, considering how often players move about in unpredictable patterns. There’s also the danger of shooting an ally in the back…something your friends will absolutely love you for.
It wouldn’t be a medieval arena battle if there wasn’t a wide variety of weapons to choose from, and in this case, Torn Banner Studios delivers. The archer class alone has a nice selection of bows and crossbows to choose from, each with their own unique characteristics. The shortbow, for example, is relatively weak but can be fired quickly whereas the warbow takes some time to prep but is much more powerful. You’ll even be able to choose between different types of arrows. On the melee front, players will have access to a variety of swords (claymores, greatswords, longswords, etc.), daggers (broad, thrusting, etc.), blunt weapons (cudgels, morning stars, mauls, etc.), axes (double axes, war axes, dane axes, etc.), polearms (halberd, brandistock, bardiche, etc.) and more. There are also throwing weapons available and items that can be used to allow a player to gain a tactical advantage. Shields are also an option to give players a better way to defend themselves. What I don’t like about the weapon system is that you are forced to unlock some of them by playing in matches…I would have prefered to have everything available from the get go. To be fair, and from what I understand, weapon unlocks persist from game to game.
Classes? Check. Weapons? Check. Now, where do we put them? The game has six different environments that players can participate in. Some of them offer only one playable mode while others offer a few different play options. Free-For-All, Team Deathmatch, Last Team Standing, Capture the Flag, and King of the Hill modes are available on some of the maps and the rules are fairly self-explanatory. Team objective modes task one side with completing a set of goals while the other side tries to prevent them from doing so. In the grand scheme of things, the six maps cover enough to keep things varied, though I’m secretly hoping for more maps that offer a change in scenery.
Combat itself, I must admit, is a lot of fun. I like having the ability to switch between first and third person views and I haven’t decided which I like better. First person view can really stunt your ability to see behind you and beside you, but offers a more realistic field of vision. I found blocking / parrying in third person view to be difficult, but I could see more of what was going on around me. Parrying and blocking mechanics are available, but must be timed just right and positioned toward the attack in order to be effective. There is no insta-block button…you’ll have to earn it. Players will also have to keep their stamina bar in mind when engaging the enemy as you won’t be able to just spam attacks until someone is dead. Running out of stamina will leave you exhausted, which obviously comes with consequences.
Newcomers to the game can expect to be killed, a lot. Surviving in this game requires finesse and a good sense of timing. Once players become accustomed to what each class and weapon is capable of, they’ll be able to better predict their opponent’s behavior and act accordingly. Regardless of player skill, you’ll still be able to pull off some fairly satisfying blows even if you didn’t mean to do it. This game is all about the hack and slash, through and through. Personally, I found myself coming back to try out different class and weapon combinations to see what kind of damage they’d do in the field of battle. I might still be a newb all things considered, but it was oh-so-satisfying to parry an attack and run an opponent through on the followup.
As a parent, I wouldn’t recommend this game for younger kids. Body parts do fly off and player deaths can be spectacularly gruesome. To be fair, it’s medieval warfare. What were you expecting, swords made of rainbows? Teddy bears in place of arrows? (Though, I must admit, that would be pretty funny) Speaking of body parts, players will take more damage when different parts of the body are hit, encouraging all involved to think about their approach and attacks. One might think that a game featuring melee combat would be simpler than a game with guns, but in this case, it simply isn’t.
There are some issues that I’d like to address. For one, the left and right arrow keys don’t allow me to strafe like the “A” and “D” keys do. I also had trouble finding information on how to go about unlocking weapons for use in the game. Through research, I discovered that you have to earn so many kills to unlock the next weapon in the row, but this should have been explained more clearly in-game. There is also no information in regards to how to create and customize your own server for all to see. Through research (again), I discovered that you need to create your own server through third-party means. The “create game” option on the main menu seems to be solely for offline, single player matches with bots…again, this could have been explained a bit better. There’s no ability to set map rotation under the “create game” option either. I would have liked to have created my own server for my friends and I to hack bots up on, but I have yet to figure out how to go about doing it. If the devs can clean up the bugs and make things a bit more user-friendly, I’d recommend this game in a heartbeat.
In the end, “Chivalry: Medieval Warfare” makes me want to watch the siege battles in the Lord of the Rings movies again for the umpteenth time this year. It’s a great way to unwind for the day without having to think too much, but the combat mechanics will still keep you engaged nonetheless. As I indicated above, I’m not a big fan of games that feature multiplayer arenas (mainly because I’m terrible at them), but I took to this particular one almost right away. It is unique and a lot of fun to play, even if you find yourself at the wrong end of a longsword more often than not. This game is best played online, with friends. A not-so-friendly interface / manual will make newcomers scratch their heads in regards to how to access certain features and there are still bugs to be worked out. The “create game” feature feels like an afterthought as it is missing some vital settings, but the game shines where it needs to. Bottom line: whether you’re a fan of the medieval era like myself or in need of a new multiplayer arena fix, “Chivalry: Medieval Warfare” won’t disappoint.
Final Verdict: 8/10
You can learn more about and purchase “Chivalry: Medieval Warfare” by visiting the following websites:
You can view the game’s manual, here:
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare Play Sessions: