Before my first Mordhau match, I read several Steam reviews that gave me some details about the game. In this hack n’s slash medieval combat simulator, not dissimilar to Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, lute-playing minstrels—more formerly known as Engineers in Mordhau—are apparently a protected class.
I decided to put this theory to the test, so I joined a pvp multiplayer server and picked the Engineer class. I traversed the harsh battlefield-themed map, complete with the moaning bodies of downed soldiers and knights that were strewn across it, and encountered my first gaggle of enemies. I whipped out my lute and began playing it, and surprisingly, none of my would-be foes raised their weapons at me.
Just then, an arrow struck me in the back of the head and I was instantly killed. I soon found out that the arrow had been of the friendly fire type and had accidentally struck me instead of my seemingly memorized adversaries.
Mordhau is filled with these sorts of unusual moments and I’ve grown to enjoy them. The game only has four maps on offer right now, but there are nine classes that you can choose from in all. You can pick from the more heavily armed and armored, frontline types, such as the Knight and Protector, or as mid-range ones such as the spear-wielding Footman. There’s even a long-range bowman called a Huntsman if you prefer picking off enemies from afar, as well as a Scoundrel class for laying dastardly traps down at certain chokepoints.
Mordhau’s flagship game mode is called Frontline, where up to sixty-four players can square off against one another as part of either a red or blue-colored team. There’s also a battle royale mode, as well as one that pits a smaller team of players against the AI, which come in waves. At the base of all three of these modes is a highly intricate combat system that is a real thrill to play around with. Simply put, both Mordhau’s melee and ranged combat systems are easy to pick up but hard to master.
You can perform a number of slashes and feints from different angles, but these can be not only blocked; they can be deflected in ripostes as well. You can also thrust at your enemies if you have pointy weapons such as spears or polearms, but trying to poke at foes with blunt weapons such as a sledgehammer isn’t going to be that effective.
With all of these complex mechanics at play, at its best, Mordhau duels can look like a thing of art—with combatants trying to fake each other out with feints, throw one another off balance with ripostes, and the like. However, many folks seem to prefer to basically run around and blindly attack their enemies with the simplest of attacks possible.
Luckily, the more skilled players have already figured out how to deal with the button-masher types, and both patience and skill usually trumps mindless hysterics and swinging for the hills. You can also play the game in either the first or third-person perspective, although I personally feel that things are more immersive in the first-person.
The game’s visuals are definitely up there as far as the amount of detail they cram into the character models and environments. Although not quite on par with Ubisoft’s For Honor, Mordhau obviously isn’t going to have triple-A graphics because it’s made by an indie developer. The only thing I think might hurt it is that the limited amount of maps to play on begin to feel a little stale after a while, so I’m really looking forward to new maps being added at some point.
In all, Mordhau is a breath of fresh air within the medieval combat genre. For those who find Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is not polished enough, or For Honor to be too unbalanced, Mordhau will probably be a new home for those longing for some truly addictive combat along with some great graphics as well.
Mordhau features some pretty nice looking graphics that make its medieval combat gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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