Multiplayer games can be way of life for some gamers. From the free-to-play grindfests to the celebrated add-ons to some of gaming’s most popular franchises, multiplayer components if done correctly can be a continuously thrilling experience shared by many simultaneously. Not only does Chivalry 2 (Torn Banner Studios, Tripwire Interactive, MSRP $39.99, PS4/5, PC, XBOX One/S/X) provide many of those multiplayer thrills but does so with a distinct flair and style that only venturing back into the medieval realm can bring.
Set in the medieval lands of lore, Chivalry 2 is very simple and straightforward in its approach to multiplayer gaming. A melee combat simulator of the highest order, the tasks given out vary but it only really provides a back drop for the actual star of the game, the chaotic combat itself. The feel of the combat is one of the moist fun and gritty experiences anywhere for first-person gaming. Technique and skill become more important as with experience comes the knowledge of how to use a shield properly or time and utilize a proper parry, riposte, block, or kick that can be the difference between staying alive and finding yourself on the ground alongside a severed limb or head. What makes Chivalry 2 stand out among other similar battle simulators such as the first Chivalry or Mordhau is how much easier the system is to pick up and and feel competitive and have fun, yet understand how much needs to be learned in order to become a master.
Classes start with a basic allotment of Knight, Vanguard, Footman, and Archer with each having three subclasses branching out among them. A warrior will always go to battle with a primary, secondary, and additional small weapon with them, along with the capability to utilize the environment around them to their advantage. Whether wielding a sword, raising a bow, arming yourself with an enviable array of handy weapons, instituting a battle cry alongside several of your comrades, or picking up the nearest object (or recently removed head) and throwing it at an enemy, Chivalry 2 never ceases to inspire and entertain.
The variety of the maps (eight) provided upon release basing their names off of the medieval familiar lot entitled siege, battle, fall, and slaughter among others for now is sufficient, although additions sooner than later will help keep this community thriving. Each map will have one of three overarching narratives per match, broken down in various stages to keep the combat flowing. There are always kingdoms to defend (or raid), prisoners to free (or keep detained), or villages to lay waste to which for now has everyone’s interest. An idea perhaps could be to not only expand the medieval archetype in future DLC, but add on the great gameplay style to other time frames say Ancient Rome, or famous periods rooted in Arabic or Asian culture.
Customization is limited initially, especially for female options, with the caveat that paid microtransactions or an abundance of grinding for in-game currency can broaden things more in how you can change and modify the look of your warrior. The modes offered currently available are a free-for-all, 40-player battle, and the most satisfying 64-player confrontation. This will also be one of the areas Tripwire can look to improving, whether its providing more expansive and/or intimate offerings. Outside of the occasion graphical glitches that often come with such an ambitious multiplayer, the ability to mount up and use larger more stationary weapons such as catapults, battering rams, fixed giant crossbolts is intriguing but quite often becomes very difficult to be effective for very long on the battlefield and more times than not leaves you as a wide open target.
Overall in a year that while not as plentiful, has had already its numerous critically-hailed releases. It is safe to say that Chivalry 2 can be easily be counted among them. Its challenging, yet extremely fun and inviting gameplay can offer laughs and competitiveness from the get go while offering layers of depth that entices players to keep coming back. If some of the early wrinkles can be smoothed out, and additional challenges, modes, and locations can be added, this will wind up being one of the standout releases of 2021.
(Please note that for this review, Pop Culture Cosmos/Game Source did receive a review code/model/sample from the company/developer/public relations firm responsible for distribution to the press.)