Hear ye! Hear ye! Your supreme lordship requires heads — heaps of heads. So brandish your knightly blade and take it to the frontline. The time has come to discombobulate, decapitate, and dismember your adversaries in ruthless mortal combat. Clash swords with your opponents in an intense battle of human Fruit Ninja. Those who leave with their appendages intact win. Chivalry 2 is a first-person PvP slash em’ up set in the medieval era of epic castle sieges, riotous full-scale battles, and untamed, brutal warfare. Developed by Torn Banner Studios and published by Tripwire Interactive, Chivalry 2 is available on PlayStation, Xbox, and the Epic Games Store.
A Mutual Royal Pain
Led by King Argon II, the devout people of the Agatha Knights modestly reside in their wealthy provinces, basking in their glorious culture of fidelity, honor, and justice. However, the fierce Mason Order have had enough of the Agathian’s pompous ways and are determined to turn their enemies home into an absolute “knightmare.” General Malric will not rest until every Agathian soldier kneels before his Mason regime, with or without their knees.
Pick Your Poison
Each match in Chivalry 2 begins with letting you pick between either the blue Agatha Knights or red Mason Order. Whatever side you choose doesn’t actually matter, as both sides feature the same four classes: Archer, Vanguard, Footman, and Knight. The only difference is the objective you must partake in on the battlefield. If the Masons are raiding a village, then the Agathians must protect the hamlet. Likewise, if the knights in blue are sieging a Mason castle, the soldiers with the red coat of arms must do the defending. Oddly enough, if your faction is losing, you can simply switch sides whenever you please, granted there’re slots available. As a result, winning or losing become rather pointless, so it’s best to jump in Chivalry 2 for the gruesome fun rather than striving for victory.
“Cutting-Edge” Weaponry and Classes
The four classes in Chivalry 2 are pretty self-explanatory and easy to understand. The main difference between each is the type of weapons you’ll be wielding in battle. The Archer can fire projectiles from afar, taking down foes from a safe range. The Vanguard and Footman have a diverse armory to choose from, varying from long-range melee spears to high-damage battleaxes. Finally, the Knight roleplays as an all-around tanky soldier but is also capable of packing a punch. Bear in mind each class also possesses different stats in Health, Stamina, and Speed. This means your experience in combat can vary depending on which infantry type, weapon, or subclass you favor.
Your Majesty, I Crave Violence
Chivalry 2 lives and breathes by its morbid, bloodthirsty gameplay. The battlefield becomes a human blender where up to 64 players rabidly flail their blades about with little discernment for friend or foe, turning quaint courtyards or foggy forests into a wild, blood-soaked circus. Your movement will be clunky and slow, but your attacks will hit hard and cut deep. It’s the satisfying combat Kingdom Come: Deliverance failed to deliver. The sound, visuals, and feeling of cutting through your opponent’s arm like butter never felt better.
Speaking of sounds, throughout every match, from start to end, your ears will be assaulted with feral battle cries, painful screams, and an unending clashing of steel on steel. The goal is to mow your foes down as quickly and efficiently as possible to complete your team’s objective in order to progress to the next area. The side that can either finish all the required objectives or stop the enemy team from completing theirs will win the match. However, most players (and bots) will just stick to making the arena an enormous blood bath up until the last few minutes of a mission.
Goofy and Gory
While there is some cathartic pleasure in disemboweling your foes, Chivalry 2’s strongest point is arguably in the comical way it delivers its experience. The amusing over-the-top shrieks to the humorous voice lines of the infantry lessen the severity of lobbing another player’s head off. Not to mention, the environment is full of useful (and useless) interactables that can be used in battle. Lost your knightly sword? Smash the bloody Masons on the head with an anvil. Did you run out of arrows? Chuck live chickens or roasted turkeys at your adversaries. In Chivalry 2, the most fun comes from messing around and having a good time. For instance, I found a bottomless tankard of ale sitting on a bench and downed it incessantly as I drunkenly swung my sword about like a madman. Another time I played “catch the sword” with a teammate. We impaled each other from a distance until one of us died. Having said that, Chivalry 2 isn’t meant to be played like a serious PvP tournament. Instead, it’s a goofy death-speedrun simulator for seeing how many laughable ways you (or your enemies) can be mutilated.
The Sights and Sounds of the Battlegrounds
The gameplay of Chivalry 2 made not sound exactly pretty, but the visuals are satisfactory. From war-torn bridges and battered castles to stunning sandy beaches and striking feudal vistas, Torn Banner Studios skillfully delivers on Chivalry 2’s design with grim battlefield scenery but also medieval visual wonders in its environments. The soldiers themselves are beastly-looking, but their glistening armor and detailed weaponry add a sense of awe and epicness to the experience. The sound design is excellent and is precisely what you’d expect to hear in a medieval warzone. Clanking chain mail, clamoring voices, and harsh, fleshy sound effects — it pleases the Knight within me. However, one complaint I have is with Chivalry 2‘s soundtrack or the lack thereof. While the title menu and the last two minutes of completing an in-game objective have some impressive musical scores, there’s a strange void during a battle where “insert epic soundtrack here” should be. Other than the expected sound effects, I found the lack of in-game music rather disappointing, especially for an action-packed game like this. Turning on “background battle music” via YouTube somewhat remedies this matter, but I wish Torn Banner Studios provided Chivalry 2 with more memorable OST to couple with the intense in-game excitement.
“Mid-evil” Players, Braindead Bots, and Bloody Bugs
Not all the battles are fought chivalrously in the world of Chivalry 2. Like cheaters in Fall Guys, some players take the barbarous, raunchy fun in medieval warfare too seriously. While you’ll seldom encounter the occasional troll, the bigger issue is the testosterone-driven toxicity in the in-game chat. A quick solution would just be to turn off the chat, but I was still appalled by how “earnestly” players would play Chivalry 2. Another problem is Torn Banner Studios’ poorly programmed bots. Many times, you’ll join a server where over a third of its population is bots. These bots will sometimes block your path, display poor pathing in some environments, or get stuck in geometry. One time, I saw some bots literally disappear before my very eyes and spawn somewhere else, while others would suddenly turn and saunter into a corner like they were in timeout. The bot behavior can be entertaining to a degree, but more often than not, it’s annoying. Finally are the bugs such as melee hits not registering, absurd spawning points (I spawned on spikes once), and inconsistent environmental collisions. I don’t think any of these glaring issues are game-breaking at all, but they do show a lack of polish in Chivalry 2‘s overall experience.
Sir Dies-A-Lot’s Final Thoughts
Chivalry 2 is a wild ride of gory violence mixed with some bizarre and witty humor. Chopping off arms and heads has never been so glorious and disturbingly fun. The game accomplishes what it sets out to be, albeit in a sometimes unpolished fashion. The few issues Chivalry 2 does have probably won’t stop people from trying it out or playing it. However, its shortcomings do hinder it from delivering a much better medieval warfare experience.