2012 was a very busy year for the video game industry. Between major franchise releases such as Assassin’s Creed, Boarderlands, Diablo, Fable, and Snipe Elite, it’s not hard to imagine that some smaller games may have been lost in the crowd. Well, that’s exactly what happened to Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. Produced by Torn Banner Studios and released in October of that year, Chivalry did not get nearly as much notice as it deserved.
Now, the premise behind Chivalry is nothing new: a first-person multiplayer war game that hosts team orientated, objective-based missions or free-for-all games. However, it takes that tried-and-true formula and revamps it in one of the most satisfying games of its kind.
Just as the name implies, the game focuses on medieval combat as opposed to the more common shooter-orientated games of its class. There are four classes for players to choose from: Archer, Man-at-Arms, Vanguard, and Knight. The classes, from former to latter, increase in armor rating and potential damage output at the expense of speed. With a wide array of period weapons and armors to choose from, almost every class is different from person to person – and this becomes very apparent at the higher levels as more equipment becomes unlocked. But it’s not the class system that makes the game so good – no, that goes to the combat itself.
Chivalry is gory to say the least. There are decapitations, dismemberments, impalements, burnings and a whole host of ways to be killed while playing and each death is given it’s due with overzealous voice acting and sound effects. Instead of just pulling a trigger and watching the opposing player’s avatar perform a generic series of moves, Chivalry pits the players in face-to-face combat to hack and slash away at each other, allowing them to revel in every kill as their enemies fall to the ground as nothing more than a bloody lump. And what’s even better is that the controls are so mindlessly simple, that new players are just as dangerous as veteran ones.
Since Chivalry is a PC only game for the time being, the controls are fairly straight forward: left-click is to attack, right-click is to block, w/a/s/d moves the character forward/back/side-to-side, e is to use an object, shift is to sprint, and c is to scream. Yes, that’s right – scream (or, more of a battle cry of sorts). If a character is standing still when the c button is hit, they perform a form of taunt involving some weapon gestures and some saying to legitimize their sides claim to rule (the two teams are a sort of loyalist/usurper combination). However, it’s when the button is pressed while sprinting that it goes from a somewhat interesting taunt to something downright hilarious. This is where the screaming comes in. Depending on the armor level of the class, the scream/war-cry will vary from deep and intimidating to shrill and nonsensical. Better yet, because the button is so readily accessible and lacks any sort of cool-down period, the battle field is constantly rife with the bellows of war – adding a much more realistic feel to the gameplay (especially opposed to the larger titles that have such eerily silent soldiers).
So, if the idea of brutally dismembering your friends in a Feudal era castle setting as you let loose a harrowing war cry sounds somewhat like a good time, then swing on over to Steam and pick yourself up a copy. During the regular, non-sale season the game goes for $25, but is worth every penny. Also, encourage others to look into the game as well. If enough people join in on the fun, Torn Banner has hinted at taking the game to the consoles as well.