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Game Review: Chivalry: Medieval Warfare

Many gamers remember the first Half Life game fondly. While most of its fame comes from being a truly classic game, it is also remembered highly for its many and varied mods. Though perhaps not the original source of modding altogether, Half Life was where the modding community budded into a creating almost entire new games. This trend only continued after the release of the Source engine. Among the many games that have spawned from Half Life and its descendents, there may be none quite so unique as Age of Chivalry. Set in medieval times and using medieval weapons, players are pit against each other in a variety of objectives. After earning much fame for the Age of Chivalry mod, the recently formed Torn Banner Studios has remade this medieval experience using another common platform for gaming start-ups; the Unreal engine. Chivalry: Medieval Warfare has continued on the success of its predecessor and seeks to perfect the experience it created.

Game review: chivalry medieval warfare
A Mason triumphs over multiple Agatha corpses.

Chivalry: Medieval Warfare made real!

Matches in Chivalry(I’ll be calling it that from here out) consist of a variety of objectives, from king of the hill to storm the castle or even a plain death match, there are modes for most styles of play. As in the first game, players join either the Agatha or the Mason Order and then choose which class they will play. Four classes are available no matter what side is chosen, but aside from weapons this choice also changes what special ability is given to the character. Archers choose between a crossbow, longbow, and javelin as a main weapon(every class gets a secondary as well as a shield or throwing weapon) and are additionally granted a 50% bonus to backstab damage. The Man-At-Arms class focuses on one-handed weapons and is able to use swords, axes, and maces, also gaining the ability to quickly sidestep enemy attacks. Knights are the main melee force on the battlefield, able to take more damage and use less stamina to block arrows. Their weapon is chosen from among the greatsword, greataxe, or maul. Finally the Vanguard class, which is able to sprint into battle while attacking, makes up frontline defense with choice from a spear, halberd, or greatsword. This class can be changed between rounds much like in Planetside.

Game review: chivalry medieval warfare
An archer letting loose an arrow from the back to avoid the stabbies…

Chivalry like none other!

Chivalry is a game that has defined is own genre. Playing this game is a truly unique experience, blending first person shooter control with precise weapon swings based on mouse movement. To become better at the game requires a true feel for your character and the weapons he is using, so much so that even switching from one greatsword to another may completely change the feel. This makes for a realism that is only bolstered by the graphics. Having been made with the latest Unreal engine, enabling the games full graphical abilities will show depth and shine that only immerse the player in the experience more. Overall, the one thing that holds all these features together is the games tactical nature. No matter the objective, teamwork is essential to succeed, especially since friendly fire is enabled on every map. From what classes are on the battlefield to where they position themselves, everything affects the outcome of the match which makes tactical battlefield maneuvers quite viable. Each class also has a choice between blocking or using three separate types of attacks, each one useful in different situations

Unfortunately, like most things, Chivalry is not perfect.  The game suffers from the same issue that many first person shooter games do, a repetitive nature. While there are several game modes in existence, the game doesn’t have any lasting hold to it when your arms get tired from chopping heads off. Though the game manages to give a very realistic feel, it can also result in feeling like the game is not moving fast enough. A swing that appears to be timed correctly and in range of an enemy may not actually connect due to a somewhat sluggish feel to certain motions. None of the issues the game faces are serious enough to be reason for not trying it, however, they do create a rather high learning curve. Be ready to die many times before you get the hang of when to swing and block successfully. Even as a ranged class it is still very difficult due to becoming a main target of melee characters.

The game experience itself is one worth having. After making your class and weapons choices(for better or worse) and beginning the round, the game has a very solid immersion about it. With the exception of waiting for respawn, Chivalry keeps a player sucked in by designing maps that allow easy ambush. Much like playing a first person shooter game, in Chivalry you must constantly be checking your back and listening for people moving. Combat itself can last only a split second or drag on into a long duel between two(or even a group) of players lasting close to a minute. Though the respawn time is a little bit of a long wait after death, the game does keep a very fast pace that draws players to the edge of their seat.

Eventually someone has to win.
Eventually someone has to win.

Forging a path to be well trodden

With most companies trying to make the best game of their genre, Chivalry has done something new by plowing ahead with their own. Redefining the first person experience, this game is very refreshing for any long time gamers seeking to find something unique. The ability to have true medieval style duels between players online is incredible, truly pitting skill against skill like never seen before. Not only are game skills tested by precision movements, tactical thought is required to truly succeed in winning. While there are a few minor frustrations for the new player to get over, this is a title worth checking out and telling all your friends about.