Medieval battles have been the fantasy of every young boy, teenager, man and especially gamer for generations. Fuelled by movies like Excalibur, Braveheart, Gladiator and in more recent years experienced through games like For Honor, Mordhau, Mount & Blade and the previous title in this current game series we are reviewing, Chivalry. Chivalry 2 launched recently and expands and improves on the hack and slash large PVP battles of it’s predecessor but now with the power of the latest PC gaming hardware, PS5 and Xbox Series X spurring it into battle. Does Chivalry 2 emerge victorious? Let’s see.
So, first of all, what is Chivalry 2, well it is a medieval, multiplayer battle, objective-based game where you and your army of fellow players either fight over objectives in the fashion of Overwatch or rack up kills until one team hits the kill goal first. The large “swordalicious” battles, both frantic and hilarious play out over fairly large arenas and your characters can be customised and levelled up as you gain experience in the game. Chivalry 2 does not have a campaign leaving the team at Torn Banner Studios to focus all of their efforts on getting you fighting with fellow players.
With a very difficult combat system to come to grips with Chivalry 2 takes some getting used to before things start to click, which isn’t a weakness as when it clicks it’s both exhilarating and hilarious. There is a lengthy tutorial that will teach you the skills you need to bludgeon your enemies on the battlefield, which I recommend you do straight away before delving into the game itself.
With the option of first and third-person perspectives to fight from, there is some wriggle room to try different approaches to combat. Your combat ranges from swinging to poking and even hurling your weapon at the enemy but using these moves correctly and at the right time is the key. You can speed up your long swings by turning into the strike or using your block to perform a riposte and counter strike when using the block button at the perfect time. If you can afford the time to practice you could very well hit that coveted high skill ceiling, master the combat system and lay waste to multiple players effortlessly.
There are four classes to choose from. Archer, Vanguard, Footman and the tin man himself, the knight. Each class has a different play style and weapon set from the range of the archer’s bow and arrow to the slow but devastating blows from the vanguards battle axe. Knowing your classes strengths and weaknesses on the battlefield come down to common sense and trial and error. You can progress each class to unlock three different versions of each class with a slightly differing loadout, like adding in a shield on the knight class.
Right now Chivalry 2 has three main game modes other than it’s tutorial and offline practice options.
- 64 Player Mixed Modes
- 40 Player Mixed Modes
Both the 64 and 40 player modes consist of playlists of varying castle siege style team objective or deathmatch modes and the free-for-all being what you would expect with smaller arenas and smaller player counts. The bigger modes are great for experiencing long drawn out conflicts whereas the free-for-all is just great practice and can lead to some hilarious moments. You do also have the option of disabling crossplay with other platforms if you are struggling with mouse and keyboard players but this may impact wait times for games on occasion.
Graphics-wise Chivalry 2 isn’t mind-blowing but is a huge improvement over its predecessor and plays really well on the Xbox Series X, I am yet to experience any noticeable frame rate drops from its native 60fps and only one freeze which happened on launch day. The audio in Chivalry 2 is really good and with your headset on you will be hearing all of the war cries and death rattles between the metallic clattering of swords and armour. The sound and lighting do a good job of putting you in your avatars boots especially while playing in first-person perspective.
Chivalry 2 plays really well with lobby wait times rarely hitting forty seconds before getting into a game with crossplay off, putting you straight in the action quickly and with the game benefitting from Xbox’s “Quick Resume” feature getting into a game from switching on your Series X is super fast. Matches flow nicely and the combat seems well balanced with ranged attackers being limited on projectiles before having to find more and melee classes requiring careful stamina management.
Matches play out brilliantly with arenas made to funnel players together for battles and evolve as the objective advances. One match yo will be sieging a castle like a 64 man “Battle for Helms Deep” and the next you may be in the fighting pit dodging traps and knocking rival players into spike lined pits. There’s a small variety of maps at launch for now while people are still learning the game and coming to grips with the tricky combat system. Hopefully we get some more modes and arenas soon because otherwise the limited arenas and modes could cause fatigue and repetitiveness to dwindle the player base a few months down the line.
Where Chivalry 2 excels is in the little moments during battle when you take on 2 opponents and time your blocks and attacks perfectly, resulting in a bloodbath befitting a warrior of your standing, or when you lop off an opponents arm in one swing and he hilariously just turns and runs. The sandbox style of combat and your hilarious, random implementation of them can cause some absolutely gut bustlingly funny moments. One of the funniest moments for me so far is when I ran into a manic melee of players and just hurled my broadsword Braveheart style into the crowd to have it stick in an opponents arse as he’s running around like a headless chicken. Brilliant.
Chivalry 2, like the previous game does not come with a campaign mode and where a good campaign is always welcome I can appreciate that single-player isn’t what this game is made for and lucky for us the retail price of £29.95 sort of compensates for that.
Chivalry 2 will keep people entertained for hours, whether you want to “Git gud” and perfect the combat and kick ass like a boss or just play it after a few hours with a few mates and a few beers then there is plenty of fun to be had. At launch, there is not enough content to keep it going past a few months without further content. Hopefully more modes, maps and classes are added in the near future and the support continues. It has the potential to get a huge following on consoles.
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Chivalry 2 - Xbox Series X Review
- Overall - 8/108/10
- Fun combat system
- Great arena design
- Decent selection of classes and weapons
- In-depth tutorial
- High skill ceiling
- Lack of content
- Slightly dated graphics
Gamer, dad and supporter of @SpecialEffect Charity. Dark Souls fan and gooner!