The Knights, Archers, and Pikemen of the Middle Ages are the iconic images of everything heroic and noble in that dark world. The Arthurian legends took the Knights of the round table and made jousting and questing look like a relaxing pastime. Yet on the other side, we have Monty Python and the Holy Grail which lampooned the whole affair, hilariously yet gruesomely providing a different take. Chivalry 2 manages to combine both the heroism with the humour, never afraid to poke some fun at itself whilst coating your screen with buckets of blood. Are you ready to swing your broadsword and scream the loudest warcry?
Chivalry 2 is the follow-up to the highly popular Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, a game that provided a multiplayer experience full of medieval madness. With Chivalry 2 though you choose a side – the Masons or the Agathians – who for some reason are locked into a permanent war against each other. But before you chuck yourself into the affray, it’s highly recommended to spend some time with the tutorial first.
It’s here where you get some training from a humorously gruff Sergeant of arms who takes you through the basics of what to expect. You can choose between four different classes of medieval warriors; the Knight or a Vanguard who are basically the tank classes, with heavy armor and big bloody swords to swing about in the fight. Then you have the Footman, complete with long weapons like a pike to keep the enemies at a distance while they attack. The last in the group is the Archer and you know what they are good for – best at the back of the battle throwing arrows in and trying hard not to get noticed.
The basics of the attacks are all played in the first person, yet you have several tricks in your arsenal. There is both a light attack and a heavy option, and at all times you are encouraged to switch between the two to vary up your attacks. There is also the usual block and counter if you get your timing right. Further is the chance to dodge attacks, manoeuvring your way past strikes before following up with an attack of your own, hoping to gain the best possible results. There is the ability to throw your weapon too, action a long special overhead slash and charge the enemy as well. All these attacks are simple to get the basics of, but it’s how you master them which will make you the best fighter in all of the land.
In Chivalry 2 there are three modes on offer, all across PvP in teams or solo. There is a free for all mode that puts you in an arena and just delivers full-on carnage; the first to get several kills wins. It works well too, with one specific arena that is particularly enjoyable full of traps; spikes on the walls and fire pits that you have to avoid or push your enemy into. The other two modes are a 64-player and 40-player all-out war in the form of team battles. As you would expect, each team will have objectives to fulfil – defending a bridge, killing prisoners – whilst the opposing side tries to stop them. It’s all deep and destructive, but the humour kicks in with the use of chat emotes; practical ones like “Hold the ground” or “Over here”, and good old stupid laughter or a witty barb.
It all works brilliantly and Chivalry 2 is a lot of fun. Yes there are the occasional stutters, especially when there are 20-odd warriors swinging at each other in a bundle, but overall the experience is very good and stupidly violent. The difference in game modes is nice too, and it’s always a pleasure to jump into the busy servers. That said, how long Chivalry 2 will keep your interest up will depend on how committed you are to the serious needs of tackling progression. Personally, without a campaign mode that interest could well wane. But for others, things are just warming up.
Chivalry 2 also looks extremely good, especially in the detail of the different skins for the warriors shining away. It’s helped that the maps themselves are interesting and feel alive. In fact, it’s when limbs are being hacked off and people are dying all around you that Chivalry 2 becomes a joy to behold, tremendously fun to be part of. Audio-wise and the soundtrack is spot on with an epic score that builds tension as the clock meter ticks down towards the end of the match, whilst the crunching sound effects, grunts, and screams are brilliant throughout. And yes, the voice-over work is very Monty Python heavy.
I wasn’t expecting too much from Chivalry 2, mostly as I like to involve myself in solo campaigns as much as the madness of a multiplayer. However, Chivalry 2 is easy to pick up and play, with much of the draw coming from the fact you don’t have to worry about learning a crazy amount of moves. There is nothing better than meeting a worthy opponent on the battlefield and going 1-on-1, block for block, slash for slash, countering each other carefully. Some may need more in terms of game modes and further incentives to keep them there for the long term, but for now, you can’t go wrong with a bit of medieval PvP mayhem with Chivalry 2.
Chivalry 2 opens up the battlefield on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One – head on down to the Xbox Store