There's no shortage of games set in the medieval period, but most are usually single player games, or RPGs - not that there's anything wrong with that. Still, the very idea of a big battle multiplayer game set in the medieval time period is only something that Torn Banner Studios has ever really explored with its title Chivalry: Medieval Warfare - a game that launched back in 2012. Almost a decade down the line, Torn Banner is back with a sequel, Chivalry 2, a game that takes the chaotic nature of the original and brings it to the modern day to make for a multiplayer title that is fun at pretty much every turn.
Chivalry 2 is a multiplayer game that uses the first person to deliver maximum immersion. The game offers large lobbies packed with players to create epic battles, which includes objective-based modes such as castle sieges, as well as various maps that specialise in deathmatch modes. Chivalry 2 doesn't feature a sprawling campaign, or a variety of modes to dive into, it is essentially Battlefield but set in the medieval period. That does mean that where it lacks in narrative, it makes it up in truly action-packed combat that will keep you hungry for more.
As it is a multiplayer game, the majority of what Chivalry 2 offers is based around its combat. Torn Banner has created a system that is both simple to understand, yet filled with depth, and gives the player multiple options as to how they will cut their opponents down to size. You can block, parry, throw your weapon, strike in multiple ways (each of which can be combined to engage in feint attacks to catch your opponent off guard), and all of this is before looking at the different classes and their unique abilities, the siege weapons, and the interactable objects. The point is, what might seem straightforward is actually overflowing with opportunities that allow you to approach combat in a plethora of ways.
Which brings me onto the aforementioned classes. Chivalry 2 features four available classes to learn and take into combat. The Knight, Footman, and Vanguard all use melee weapons and each excel at either being a little more agile, or instead more armoured. Each of these chaps are pretty similar in what they bring to the table, it's only really the archer (who wields a bow and arrow and excels at range combat at the behest of being prone to damage) that is a truly unique class. Aside from having a unique main weapon, every class has its own special ability. The Knight for example, can use a trumpet to inspire and heal allies within a radius, and the Vanguard on the other hand can throw an explosive oil pot to ignite unfortunate enemies (and allies) caught where it lands.
Each class can also be levelled up to unlock two new subclasses that each bring a new special ability, and a slightly different way to experience that class. Putting the archer aside, there doesn't really feel like too much of a difference between the various classes and subclasses, but that isn't inherently a bad thing as it makes the combat in general feel more balanced and encourages players to try their hands at everything on offer.
The combat is thoroughly enjoyable and is a little challenging. It can be hard to come to terms with the many different tricks that you have at your disposal, and the more advanced Chivalry veterans will punish those who are not as versed in fighting. But, considering most of the game will see you packed in chaotic battles where you are shoulder to shoulder with allies, and dealing with a constant flurry of steel intended to cleave your head clean off, technique often gets left to the wayside in the place of pure survival instinct. The battles are truly wild, but that does mean there is never a dull moment in Chivalry 2.
Of course, with this being a sequel to Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, being a battle simulator is not all that Chivalry 2 brings to the table. Torn Banner has created a system that allows you to emote and say phrases in the heat of battle, to make the world feel that more alive. Instead of being more realistic, this often gives the game a more humorous take that elevates the enjoyability that bit further.
I do think that Chivalry 2 lacks a little bit in its available content right now. Unlike a shooter such as Battlefield where weapons have various differences that warrant giving them a go, it can be hard to want to take a falchion into battle over a broadsword - at the end of the day, they're both swords and are pretty much the same weapon. This and the fact that the game modes are currently 64-player mixed modes, and 32-player mixed modes basically funnels you into playing the game in one of two ways, which makes me long for a bit more variety in what's available.
Chivalry 2 is a really fun game to dive into, but I can see its medieval setting and limited options becoming a little dull as the weeks from launch pass. This game is quite frankly what it says on the tin, and if you are not a fan of running headfirst into a fight, sword at hand, this is probably not going to be the game for you. But, if melee fighting, castle sieging, and weird medieval humour is up your street, Chivalry 2 will make for a great way to enjoy epic, action-packed battles. Just don't let me see you sporting the Agathian blue on the battlefield, or else we're going to have trouble.