Torn Banner / Tripwire Interactive
It’s hard to believe that Torn Banner’s initialforay into the medieval fighting genre, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, debuted over eight years ago. Since then, the only alternative for folks who wanted to play out their gruesome medieval fantasies was to play Triternion’s Mordhau.
But it was only inevitable that Torn Banner would create a sequel to their 2012 project and seek to reassert their franchise as the crème de la crème of the genre. And with Chivalry 2 they’ve succeeded. Simply put, Chivalry 2 is an improvement over Medieval Warfare in virtually every aspect.
While Chivalry 2 offers a similar grueling medieval combat system, this new beast has received a gorgeous graphical boost since computer technology has advanced exponentially since 2012. Also, one of the first things I noticed about the sequel is that you can play the game from either a first or third-person perspective.
While first-person may seem to be more natural, Chivalry 2’s third-person perspective lets you see more of what’s around you and prevents others from sneaking up on your flanks. It also allows you to better prepare yourself before taking on multiple opponents, which the game’s handy tutorial also trains you for. There’s nothing like facing down multiple opponents and dispatching them all on your own.
Thankfully, the game’s speed is slowed down and tactically paced, as men in heavy chain and plate armor should be. Every swing and jab of your main weapons—should that be a polearm, battle-ax, or sword, also takes time to execute. If you depress the button for a longer duration, you can pull off a rather devastating attack that can end one’s digital life all in one go, although this heavy attack takes longer to complete.
On the other side of the equation, the defensive combat system has been improved significantly as well. Not only can you block your foes’ attacks, but you can also counter and parry their strikes. These latter systems are tricky to pull off, so you’ll know a more skilled player when you encounter them.
Chivalry 2 sports some gigantic maps that 64 players (32 vs. 32), per server, can battle across. Naturally, these are mainly of the castle variety. What’s brilliant is that most of the maps are objective-based. In other words, your team will be tasked with either attacking or trying to defend sequential objectives in a certain order. This gives each battle an epic, almost cinematic appeal.
There are four main classes to choose from in Chivalry 2— Vanguard, which is your typical glass cannon/damage dealer; Knight, the leader/tankl; Footman, the jack-of-all-trades; and Archer, the ranged specialist. I’d say that the Knight class is probably the best choice for players who are new to the series, because of their high health and ability to carry shields. But Footmen are also a good choice because of their versatility. Archers are a much more nuanced selection because their bow and arrow attacks are more difficult to pull off—unleash their arrows too quickly and they won’t have that much bang behind them, and if you hold your draw back for too long, you’ll hear your little digital avatar begin to whine, at which point his or her arm will become too exhausted to maintain their draw. For the sake of versatility, additional subclasses offer different spins on each of the four main classes.
During combat, you can throw your primary weapon at enemies. You can also pick up weapons that you come across laying on the ground, which is handy if you’ve been disarmed. Indeed, just about every object that you encounter, whether that be fish, or even live chickens, can be flung at opponents. The full-fledged combat system is where Chivalry 2 is most ingenious.
Graphically, Chivalry 2 has also gotten a much-needed facelift. Utilizing the Unreal 4 engine, the shimmering reflections on the character models’ armor look convincingly shiny, while each weapon looks hefty and feels weighty. Likewise, the over-the-top limb chopping and decapitations are all well animated and give the game a Monty Python-esque appeal.
In the end, Chivalry 2 is a return to form for Torn Banner—it’s the ultimate medieval combat simulator and is elevated by its general sense of exaggerated humor and weighty, substantial-feeling combat.
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