Chivalry 2 is a medieval combat game and a sequel to the hit 2010's title of the same name. The sequel brings a whole host of improvements and successfully brings everything that was marvelous about the original. Loved the setting? Enjoyed the combat? Hated abusive animations? All of that and more are present and fixed in this renaissance of classic medieval combat, now back and ready for action in 2021.
In short, Chivalry 2 is a combat game where two teams battle it out across several medieval-themed maps. Players pick from five varied classes of medieval soldiers and battle across several game modes for the honor of two factions: Maison Order and Agatha Knights.
The battle between the Maison Order and Agatha Knights also takes center stage, and the plot of the game revolves around it. However, the game is less interested in plot, using the store more so as a simple premise and backdrop to the gameplay.
Regardless, the premise works just fine in-game, ultimately setting the tone of Hollywood combat set pieces of how medieval combat should look and feel as a gameplay experience.
For instance, at the start of each match, the player receives a narration and debrief of the map and game mode's primary objective. This introduction serves as a sort of story narration for the game, which is a pleasant and welcome addition to the series.
Although these debriefs provide small glimpses of a plot, there is not much else beyond this in way of a story. But overall the story is not the reason to play, as the game is a fighting game first.
Bloody and Gory Gameplay
Chivalry 2's primary focus is providing players a medieval combat arena that's a chaotic mess, and it succeeds. Battles are gory, and limbs will fly everywhere. In short: it's awesome.
There's also a wide range of weapons that all hit satisfyingly and feel great in use. My personal favorites were the spear and the great axe, as they both felt so versatile, allowing for swift attacks and quick response times to approaching foes.
In general weapons also have real weight to them and feel realistic when you swing and hit opponents. A mace produces a thud effect and simulates the crushing force of how it would feel to swing home on a foe's head.
Archery is also more enjoyable in Chivalry 2, as well, feeling faster but not too overbearing or overshadowing the melee combat. Compared to other games in the genre where developers seem to hinder and discourage archery, the mechanics feel much more balanced here. The game simply limits how many archers are on the map, resulting in a better, more structured and fun system.
However, there is a steep learning curve to some elements of melee combay system that uninitiated players might feel disheartened by during a first play-through of the game.
The main part would be the drag system, as it might be tough for new players to get the hang of. In short, it's a system where the player swings their swords and tries to make it hit early. It's not hard to do for those who play these games often, but I can definitely see it being off-putting for new players.
But beyond this initial hill to climb, there is a lot to be enjoyed about the core game, from everything to classes and even the game modes offered at launch. These game modes are Team Deathmatch, Free for All, and Team Objectives, and each offers a unique experience for certain types of players.
Team Deathmatch is for those who just want to kill other players but work as a team to do it. Free for All is similar, but everyone is killing each other and there are no teams. Team Objectives is like deathmatch, but players must work together to either attack or defend a series of objectives. Each offers an experience for everyone, but Team Objectives is the best as it offers more of a challenge in the long run of the game.
Maps are also well designed and provide exciting challenges, but get a bit overused and lack variety due to a small amount of them being in the game, this results in a lot of time playing on the same maps. However. what's there is varied in what's being offered and style. You got your castle maps, and you got maps where you have to attack convoys to free prisoners and you got your battle arena map.
What's currently in the game is nice, but whether or not Torn Banner Studios produces ongoing content will affect the game's longevity. It's also something I feel hindered Mordhau's success as a competitor in the genre and its player base. Over time, playing on the same maps can only be so fun for so long, and if you only have a few in rotation, the problem is worse. Luckily, Torn Banner Studios plans on adding content very soon and will continue to support the game with a brand new map that will contain horse combat. But what's in the game now compared to Mordhau's launch has a lot map-wise on offer while also providing a more balanced experience.
A Balanced Experience
The first thing would be the class system, where there are five main classes and three subclasses for each. Detailed in our All Chivalry 2 Classes Explained guide, there are classes such as the Knight, the Footman, the Archer, and the Vanguard.
These classes provide a level playing field where everyone is separated by skill rather than equipment. The classes as well have unique skills and purposes in the game. For example, the Vanguard is meant to be a glass cannon of sorts, while the Footman is a frontline class and medic. However, the abilities between classes still seem to get reused, which is head-scratching.
For instance, why would a crossbowman need an ability that can heal nearby players when it would only be useful in the thick of the action? In a place, trust me, a range user should not be in, lest they want their head removed within seconds.
This results in some classes to feel weaker than others, such as the second Vanguard class with merely an extra weapon as its main focus. While it adds some uniqueness to the class, one extra main weapon feels a little unoriginal where there is opportunity for more. Of course, the contrary dictates that the Vanguard can use two different weapon types, thus being able to kill multiple types of player classes.
Besides few small gripes, classes in this game make the experience more enjoyable across the board. Torn Banner Studios also doesn't allow players to create abusive builds or to create nonsensical creations that hinder rather than add to the experience.
However, there seems to be less variety in the types of weapons these classes can use. This might further hinder the life span of the game as the same logic applies, using the same weapons can only be fun for so long. Yet again, what is here is varied just enough to provide players with plenty of avenues to fight in the game, so I don't think it's a huge problem, just something to note.
Beyond classes, Chivalry 2 is also more balanced in the way it handles both its weapon mechanics and systems. Everything feels right, and when you eventually die, you don't feel like someone abused tricky animations to get the upper hand on you. I think the game avoids this problem because animations are smooth and don't bug out, thus not allowing abusive spins or helicoptering players to dominate the battlefield.
Nonetheless, eliminating buggy animations also helps its combat system, which is best for the game as a whole. There's also a decent variety of attack moves that work in conjunction in a fight, and you can often find yourself defaulting to autopilot, becoming a true cog in the machine of these fights, all due to the combat feeling so rewarding once the dragging system feels more understandable.
At times I was even surprised how quickly I performed certain moves and was able to slay multiple players; that's how good Chivalry 2's combat system is. The more you play it, the better you understand how everything works and progress up the leaderboard, which is cause for moments to pause and marvel at the result of your rising skill level.
Chivalry 2 Controls Well and is Visually Appealing
From a control standpoint, everything in my experience plays and feels like it should. However, the drag system, where players will swing a sword across a screen to hit foes early, can take a bit to get used to for uninitiated players. But beyond this potential trouble with getting the hand of the drag weapon system, I feel players will find no problems with how the game controls overall.
Visually I feel Chivalry 2 has outdone its self and has managed to provide perhaps the best graphics out of all of the games similar to it out there. Maps also benefit from the visuals and become extremely appealing experiences because of them.
Sound-wise, Chivalry 2 once again exceeded expectations with its musical source and sound effects. The game also has a highly amusing cast of voices for players to use to roleplay in the game, and it is a joy to hear them all. Weapons sounds are also immaculate and bring the experience of medieval battlefields to new heights.
In terms of pure gameplay, Chivalry 2 excels on nearly all fronts, but the game's longevity will depend on more content being added, as playing on the same maps and with the same weapons can only be fun for so long. There needs to be a stronger rotation between maps as well, so you are not playing on the same map too quickly right after each other. With that said, I've gotten plenty of enjoyment out of Chivalry 2 during my time with the game. It exceeded my expectations and managed to keep me hooked for hours on end, and I can't wait to get back in to join the battlefield.