Developer:Torn Banner Studios
Publisher:Tripwire Interactive, Deep Silver
Platforms:PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox Series X|S, Playstation 5
Release Date: Available Now
Price: $39.99 – Available Here, $59.99 – Available Here
Sometimes you just want blood. Chivalry 2 puts up to 64 players against each other, in one epic battle so a winner can be declared. Yep, what you see is what you get, and sometimes that is all it takes. Torn Banner Studios have shown they have a decent proof of concept, and now look to allow this sequel to define itself with more features, humor, and gore this time around in a true multiplayer slash and gash. How does it hold up? Let’s find out.
There isn’t really a story behind Chivalry 2 whatsoever. Players will be enlisted in one of two teams, and aside from being labeled The Agatha Knights and The Mason Order, all the player has for a sense of identity is what they bring to the battlefield. That said, there is lore to be read which adds a bit of depth to the experience, but once you play any kind of match, you quickly learn that it isn’t team you land on, but more what you do during that short period to define yourself and make an impact.
This is where it all matters. The concept of Chivalry 2 is simple. Pick a mode, select a class, and start killing. Objectives center each battle, where one team must defend, while the other attempts to not only attack, but achieve a specific objective. Offense may have to do something as simple as breaching a castle wall, or take out a specific landmark to achieve victory. Of course, numbers are important – so no matter what the task must be, staying alive and causing as many casualties as possible is still the focus, no matter what the circumstances.
The gameplay itself is quite interesting. At first, it takes a while to get used to the heavy controls and variety of attacks (as well as defenses) as you barrel towards enemies. Once you have it down though, everything feels fluid and natural for this chaotic environment. Players choosing hand to hand combat fare will have the grasp of a sword and shield, where they are able to deliver devastating attacks quickly, while avoiding ranged targets such as archers and projectiles that seem to flood the soil. Other classes have support roles built in for assisting others, while the poleman (my personal favorite) act as more of a glass cannon to destroy as many units as possible in a short burst. Combat kind of has a “paper, scissors, rock” approach, where the attacker may meet his end quickly at the hands of a parry or defensive maneuver, so one wrong shot or maneuver could lead to a grizzly end if the player doesn’t apply a bit of strategy to their tactics.
It sounds kind of serious, but Chivalry 2 manages to keep a light overtone about itself by creating an engaging experience that is both fun and satisfying for all, where newcomers may end of playing a pivotal role in a battle based off a simple choice. The environment is also fully interactive, allowing players to destroy almost everything in sight and chuck anything (even chickens) to gain momentum against an enemy. Despite the dark aura of death that approaches, there is a silly, fun feel here thanks to some rag-doll physics and over-the-top kills that can make anyone bring a smile to their face. It has been a while since I have found a game that I just want to hop on for a few minutes and play a match, and that is what the experience is all about. Though addicting, this burst gameplay is well paced and varied, which can keep you on for hours or minutes with the same gratifying experience regardless.
Visually, Chivalry 2 isn’t the prettiest game, but it does its job well enough. What may seem like wooden soldiers at first quickly turns toonish due to excellent and over-the-top animations that have been incorporated. Environments all feel distinct as well, with plenty of living fauna to interact with that really sets up an atmosphere of insanity. I did have some clipping and a bit of sluggishness at times, but those moments are surprisingly limited, leaving the gameplay feeling a lot smoother and polished than I ever expected.
Clanks, screams, and general silliness can be heard almost everywhere, which may make things a bit intimidating for a rookie. Once you hear that impact of a blade through flesh however, it gives an instant sensation of satisfaction that most titles could only dream of providing. The soundtrack wasn’t anything too memorable, but who is really listening to music when they are paying attention to environmental cues that may keep them alive? The sound as a complete package is wonderful and truly a feat for Torn Banner Studios, who made a multiplayer title feel like a AAA epic.
Chivalry 2 is what a video game should be. It is nasty, silly, unfiltered fun that is easy to jump into and get a load of entertainment at one go. Sure, there could be more lore or stories and so on, but I think that would take the focus off player experience – which is what really can make or break a unique release such as this. While it may not be historically accurate or narrative-driven, this hack and slash is sure to be a great time solo or with a group of friends. With more updates planned, it is really exciting to see just where this title will go next.