Old school medieval blockbuster with a hazy future
Online games with sword fighting units. And among singles, there are few places where fencing is done at least interesting (I remember only Dark Souls). The original Chivalry: Medieval Warfare was once called a breath of fresh air among endless military shooters. But over the past 9 years since then, Mordhau has managed to come out, in which all weapons work according to the laws of physics, and the animations are as smooth and natural as possible. The blades slide over each other, and the arrow can be deflected with a sword with a good reaction. After Mordhau, battles in the first Chivalry look like a hectic dump with jerky animations.
At the end of April, Torn Banner Studios launched a closed beta test for Chivalry 2. We remembered which side to hold the sword, learned the difference between riposte and counterattack (the game insists on this), participated in large-scale sieges for 64 players, and we hasten to share our feelings with you from the long-awaited second part.
First of all, I was pleased with the updated tutorial. Even in Mordhau, it turned out to be too superficial – many of the subtleties of fencing are difficult to grasp on your own, and enthusiastic fans still find new ones. And in Chivalry 2, most of the mechanics are clearly explained and given practical advice against enemies with shields and against an overwhelming number of opponents. You can, for example, kick the shieldman and immediately stab him in the head. If two attacked, then we block one, then we transfer the block to a riposte, which allows us to inflict a chopping blow on both, blocking all attacks from the front while the sword is moving. And if we attack on two ourselves, then you need to hit one, be sure to immediately go to the defense, putting a block or rebounding. Otherwise, the second will have time to attack.
Such detailed preparation will allow beginners to be much more confident in real online battles.
I would recommend sometimes re-going through the tutorial in the early days of the game in order to better consolidate the basics, and not go through once and fix mistakes due to forgotten hardware (although you will not be able to use this advice until June 8).
The tutorial finally teaches you how to resist multiple enemies
During the closed beta, there were only two modes available: Team Deathmatch and Team Missions. In the first mode, up to 32 players are fighting in each of the two teams. Whose team will destroy 200 people of the enemy reserve earlier, she won (the reserve is replenished due to the respawn of the killed). The second mode is mainly about fortress sieges. And they turned out to be well directed.
At the beginning, the commander in shining armor makes an inspiring speech. This is how the relationship between the factions is revealed: the order of the Masons (red) calls the knights of Agatha (blue) a greedy nobility, and the knights, in turn, call the Masons cowardly traitors. The assault team then runs near the siege towers or battering ram, suppressing the defenders and pushing the structures forward. After that, there is a battle for walls and gates. Artillery works, archers shoot from loopholes, knights get lost in a tight space and push each other from a height. It becomes almost impossible to fence – only blows from above or thrusting so as not to hurt your comrades. Then the battle continues in the courtyard and flows into the fortress, where you need to get the ruler (the best defensive player in the match), breaking through the tight lines of defenders. The course of the battle is accompanied by the commander’s comments,
But let’s talk more about the melee mechanics. For those accustomed to physics from Mordhau, the local complex scripting system may not be to your liking at first. In the first hours, combat Chivalry 2 seems more primitive than that of its main competitor, and even outdated. But she’s just different.
The sequel’s combat system is really based on the original, but heavily refined and deepened. If in Mordhau weapons interact in a natural way, then in Chivalry 2 there is rather a struggle between the scripted techniques of the fighters. For example, there are no chambers (repulsing enemy attacks from the same angle) and flares (collisions of blades from opposite sides) – just an oncoming faster attack interrupts the animation of a slower attack. But the main thing is different – for every action there is a reaction.
If you do not rush headlong into the midst of enemies, but try to destroy the enemy soldiers one by one, you can feel the depth and beauty of local duels. The movements of the fighters smoothly transition from one to another, while they exchange blows, and the blades strike sparks during parries. To win, we look for a gap in the enemy’s defense and make an appropriate attack. If he manages to react, he will seize the initiative and we will have to repel a series of his attacks again. And if he does not have time, then all that remains is to finish him off with the reverse movement of the blade.
Also in Chivalry 2, the class system has been deepened. The old 4 classes became archetypes: knight, vanguard fighter, infantryman, and archer. Each archetype is now divided into 3 subclasses with different combinations of weapons, armor and speed. Some knights wear medium armor with a shield and short sword, others wield two-handed, but barely move in heavy armor. Infantrymen are armed in the same way as knights, but more often they can dodge attacks due to their light armor. Vanguard fighters combine speed with defense and use polearms or throwing weapons. And the archer can retrain into a crossbowman or dart thrower.
In the same Mordhau, there are no fixed classes (except for trial presets) and you can create your own by thoughtfully spending limited equipment points in the editor. This provides more freedom, but creates confusion. In battle, each class has its own role: the heavy infantry holds the front, the middle one makes breakthroughs, and the light one provides support from ambushes and cover. A free class editor leads to the fact that some run around with a two-handed naked and in a helmet, while others try to grab a little of everything from their equipment. As a result, in team battles, it is not clear to whom and what to do. And in Chivalry 2, you can try all the ready-made classes and understand which ones are more suitable for your play style or for a specific task at a certain stage of the battle. And it is much easier to coordinate the actions of a team consisting of clear classes.
For all the difference, the classes have common points and some freedom of action. Any soldier, regardless of class, can restore health once using bandages. Also, all fighters are able to bounce to the side or back to dodge an attack or arrow. But only light infantry can do this often, and knights in armor take a long time to restore their ability. In addition, you can pick up any other people’s weapon on the battlefield (even a two-handed ax, being an archer) and many items – even throw the heads of enemies or grab something edible to replenish health.
In general, the game has a lot of black humor (and not only) in the style of “Monty Python”. You can steal a chicken from the peasants, set it on fire and launch it at the enemy. You can grab a goblet off the table in the banquet hall and whip ale with one hand as you fight. And if your fighter loses his hand, then the game will report that this is “only a superficial wound” and will offer to continue to fight with one hand for ten seconds before dying. All that is missing is the lute and the ability to play as a peasant who does not know how to wear armor and is only able to poke a pitchfork.
If you sip ale, the image will float, but it’s even more fun.
In general, Chivalry 2 still looks like a worthy competitor to Mordhau. And even if the game is based on the old mechanics, their revised version turned out to be interesting and effective. The local combat system is well balanced, and the variety of ready-made classes gives hope for an esports future. For the release on June 8, the developers promise access to all modes and customization of characters, and later they will add horses.
On the other hand, the creators of Mordhau can adopt the best ideas of Chivalry 2 and offer all the same for three times less price, and even with fencing based on physics, not scripts.
And whose steel will shine brighter and longer, only time will tell.