Released back in 2012 on PC, and then landed in a few years on the main consoles of Microsoft and Sony, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare he had managed to combine the depth of the fighting with the white weapon with the immediacy of the game controls, through a fairly successful formula capable of making multiplayer games as chaotic as they are fun.
- PC, PS4, PS5, XONE, XSX
- action, multiplayer-online, simulation
- Exit date:
- June 8, 2021
- Torn Banner Studios
- Tripwire Interactive
Thinking about the moderate success of the team’s first job Torn Banner Studios – with an important slice of admirers who remained firmly anchored on the title, net of some limitations – expecting a more refined following was more than a must, a sequel that was capable not only of giving more prestige to the original idea of the Canadian software house, but of expand its potential in the public eye – demonstrating how the misstep made with Mirage: Arcane Warfare in 2017 is to be considered an isolated case.
From this assumption it arises Chivalry II and we dove into its brutal battlefields to hit left and right (taking too many, actually), and enjoying the very essence of the game. But let’s go in order.
Fighting respawn after respawn
Chivalry II proposes massive PvP battles with up to 64 players, take sides with the faction of the Knights of Agatha or with the Order of Freemasons through matches in rapid succession that alternate sieges of imposing fortresses and fighting in the open field.
In the first case we have a greater depth for the variety of objectives to defend or attack gradually to get to victory, while in the second we have no target to focus on other than eliminating the enemy troops as in a more classic deathmatch.
There is not even the possibility of carrying out more limited matches with a maximum of 40 players, but we found in both cases a very fast matchmaking and with a punctual use of bots when necessary. Solution that avoids problems of balance between the sides and long-lasting waits to enter the game, punctually enhanced by the cross-play extended to all platforms since day one.
We also report the possibility of playing in a more classic all against all where the first one who reaches the most kills wins. Mode, this, focused on close combat with no holds barred, where it will be necessary to look back over and over again to avoid some nasty surprises.
The gameplay behind Chivalry II highlights the range of possibilities related to hand-to-hand combat, where the structure of its predecessor has been improved. To affect (literally) is the type of weapon equipped, for damage, lunge speed and parry ability. We are talking about a surprising layering that is simple to learn as a basic mechanic, but it requires a lot of training to be best learned by the most demanding players.
We have the triggers used for the simple attack – which can be chained in several shots – and for the parade, as well as the possibility of shooting useful kicks to break the opposing guard and throw objects (including the weapons themselves) against the unfortunate on duty. Combined with the possibility of being able to make feints, counterattacks if the parry takes place with the right timing, lunges and moves that anticipate the opponent’s attack by exploiting the footwork, it is soon understood why the combat system of Chivalry II it may take a considerable amount of hours to be best learned with every single weapon.
It is about a combat system that can be appreciated especially in one-on-one fights that allow you to think better about the timing of each shot – and we hope that the developers introduce a special duel mode as soon as possible – while in the chaos of the battle it leaves for obvious reasons room for confusion and simplifications necessary to bring home the skin, given the risk of falling into an endless cycle of deaths and respawns.
The overall result for the clashes of Chivalry II still holds up more than dignified, but you have to take into account that you have to endure a bit of frustration for the excessive random deaths that can happen during online sessions, especially in the first few games.
Choose a weapon and I’ll tell you who you are
As for the selection of our soldier, after each respawn we have four classes to choose from – divided in turn into three subclasses each – with specific weapons, grouped according to different strength ratios between speed, health and energy; choice that allows you to customize your approach to matches as much as possible, meeting every type of gamer.
We can choose between a primary and a secondary weapon, as well as having some extra objects depending on specific abilities (different for each class) such as a horn that when played improves the statistics of the closest allies or some incendiary bombs.
Obviously it will be necessary to complete in-game actions such as kills, assists or various team objectives in order to level up and gradually unlock all the available subclasses with related skills.
Avant-garde it is the class suitable for the front line and with incredible resistance to blows, through the use of mainly two-handed weapons that with a well-aimed blow can be lethal for most enemies. The Valet instead it encloses the subclasses of Chivalry II dedicated to support with pole weapons such as spears or spades, with a greater lunge that prevents the enemy from getting too close if used with the right timing. This is accompanied by the possibility of using extra heals for teammates.
The Knight it is the most versatile for the possibility of wielding a devastating two-handed war ax, as well as using a shield with hatchet or glaive, without excessively sacrificing speed of dodging or stamina for parrying. Last, but not least, the class Archer focused on medium distance, to the detriment of much tighter health, with which to juggle to shoot darts between bows and crossbows to eliminate enemies with a handful of well-aimed shots.
The classes of Chivalry II they are all well varied and balanced; the combinations between weapons and class and subclass statistics, as anticipated, they ensure fun and depth both for frontline players and for those who prefer to approach with a minimum of tactic or caution.
Personally, we especially appreciated the use of the Knight to wreak havoc among the enemy lines, taking a few hours (between more or less stupid deaths, we admit it) to become familiar with the subclass equipped with shield and sword and start to come out unscathed even from the fighting. outnumbered, through adrenaline-fueled battles that could not fail to leave us a grin of extreme satisfaction.
Only for the Archer class there is an excessive danger, in part wisely arranged by limiting its use during the game to a small number of players at the same time. In fact, if the crossbowmen compensate for the excessive damage with a (realistic) slow reload, which leaves the player uncovered for a few seconds after each shot, the archers have a dangerously high rate.
We admit that in the hands of players more accustomed to classic FPS it can be a class that is as fun as it is devastating to use, but some further precautions would be needed which would further benefit the balance of the game in general.
Country you go, siege you find
Content-wise speaking, Chivalry II is presented at launch with eight maps, five of which are decidedly layered for sieges and conquests with related objectives, while the remaining serve more as arenas where the pitched clashes become real bloodbaths in the most classic deatmatch. The development team has already promised to be working on new content such as maps, methods and weapons already in these first months – to vary the offer while keeping the attention of users high – and it could be the right way to go to build loyalty in the community: a necessary condition to allow the title to breathe even in the medium -long period and being able to express oneself without excessive constraints.
Special mention for the matches of Chivalry II which concern the defense, or the attack depending on the deployment, of objectives in succession, and which reflect a great job in terms of level design. A match can last a few minutes as well as continue for half an hour until the strenuous resistance in the final phase, generally coinciding with the elimination of a specific target.
We found ourselves driving siege machines in front of the enemy walls under the incessant fire of arrows and stones, defending a fundamental funnel passage to avoid the escape of some prisoners, without forgetting ambushes and brutal face-to-face assaults where weapons and armor they collide with ease, almost in a dance of amputated limbs and blood.
In our test of Chivalry II carried out using the latest generation PC, the Unreal Engine 4 graphics engine shows all the muscles of the project thanks to numerous details and polygons for the various settings, weapons and armor. Some small doubts remain for the rendering of the fire, as well as for the polygonal models used for the faces, rigorously customizable, for which we would have preferred a more accurate work in line with what positively distinguishes the rest of the production.
The involvement during the clashes remains extremely impactful, with also the possibility to switch in real time with the camera from the first to the third person to have a better peripheral vision: thanks to a good job in terms of the sound sector, well-kept and varied in the feeling with your equipment. The audio manages to represent the heaviness while moving, dodging and parrying – without forgetting the hits that hit that emit that typical hiss of metal that creeps into the flesh.
Version reviewed: PC
If you want to dive into the battlefields of Chivalry II you might consider doing this by taking home a competing priced gaming PC like this one.