This week here at 3Bit, we have been going multiplayer for a first-person experience that is truly medieval. That is right, we have been playing Chivalry 2, a highly anticipated title for the team here at 3Bit that released this month for Xbox and PlayStation consoles along with PC. But how has Chivalry 2 fared in the 3Bit scoring? Was it glorious like the sweet taste of victory, or was it as painful as getting your arm lopped off in the heat of battle? Check out our full review below to find out our take.
Audio: Songs of War
Chivalry 2 has some killer audio throughout the game, from the well-composed menu selection theme, the pivotal soundtrack piece to the game right through to the savage audio effects, spot-on voice acting and songs of metal on metal in the heat of battle.
Starting the review strongly, Chivalry 2 has some killer audio throughout the game, from the well-composed menu selection theme, the pivotal soundtrack piece to the game right through to the savage audio effects, spot-on voice acting and songs of metal on metal in the heat of battle.
There is relatively little soundtrack to be found within Chivalry 2, which at first was a bit weird to me in a medieval game such as this, as you often expect some thematic lutes or harps to be playing almost like your battle was a tale being told by a lute. Chivalry 2, however, moves away from this stereotype instead of giving us an epic piece as we go through the menus, but when playing the game, the only songs you will hear are that of battle crys and bloody combat. The lack of soundtrack is absolutely perfect, as it would only detract from the environmental sounds that surround you.
Chivalry 2's sound effects are so incredible and immersive that they really pull you into the battle, whether battling alone in a free for all or laying siege to the many strongholds featured in this title. Every clash of the sword, flip from an arrow and taunt from your character, you are really drawn into every situation. Through the audio alone, the scale and the glory of the battlefield can truly be felt in every moment.
Another noteworthy addition to the audio is in fact the voice acting, which isn't in any way AAA but is in fact an incredible addition, from the gruelling voice of commanders and pitmasters that give us our pre-mission briefing to the shrill cry of the average infantryman and the commanding roar of the knights, every class has a unique sound suiting to their character, and personally, I think that is an incredible touch that should not go without mention.
Gameplay: Tis But A Flesh Wound
The gameplay of Chivalry 2, whilst being the most important section in this review, is also the one that has me the most split on how I feel.
The gameplay of Chivalry 2, whilst being the most important section in this review, is also the one that has me the most split on how I feel. On the one hand, we have an incredible game with savagely addicting combat, filled with customisation and multiple ways to play. On the other hand, we have several server issues, network issues and graphical bugs.
Starting with the strongest point, when it works, Chivalry 2 is some of the most fun I have had in a multiplayer game in a long time. The hack and slash action, which is paired perfectly with the epic scale of the maps and player numbers, is as intense as it gets when it comes to multiplayer games, one second, you could be absolutely nailing it, but the next, you could be getting stabbed in the back by a sneaky infantryman. Dying in Chivalry isn't like in other multiplayer though, there is no frustration in death (bar the somewhat confusing respawn timer) as you are thrust straight back into the action, ready to slash the opposition all over again. Death in Chivalry 2 is also some of the most brutal I have seen within a multiplayer, too, as there are some truly barbaric moments within the chaos. Friend and foe alike can be pierced, slashed, stabbed, dismembered or even beheaded, but it can also get even more humiliating as in one game, I watched an ally be finished off by having another decapitated soldiers head flung at them.
Chivalry 2 offers a tonne of ways to play too, with multiple class choices such as Knight, Archer and Vanguard, each with their own set of subclasses, each with their own weapons and abilities, including crossbows, oil bombs and shields. Each of these subclasses is unlocked by levelling up your character whilst playing as the main class. This means there is a lot of challenges to complete, and that's before going into levelling up your weapons which unlocks new cosmetic features. Personally, I love the variety within the classes. I hope that as we get future updates, we will see even more classes and weaponry come to Chivalry 2, as I am certain some players have already maxed out most classes.
Moving away from the blood and guts, the variety of levels is also fantastic within Chivalry 2, as the game is filled with objective-driven and deathmatch content. Each map also possesses its own unique quirks, such as The Fighting Pit, a coliseum-styled map filled with spike walls and deadly spike pits just waiting for the unsuspecting and the unlucky who may end up getting kicked down them. Another great map is more objective-driven, Siege of Rudhelm, which dives straight into the action with one side defending their castle walls and the other laying siege, with siege towers comparable to those from The Lord Of The Rings: Return of The King. As the siege progresses, the defenders will continue to be forced back through several layers of defences before having to ultimately defend their leader within the keep. These objective-driven maps can last anywhere between 10 minutes and an hour depending on how well both teams play and can lead to some purely chaotic moments, including one such playthrough where I saw an almost impenetrable shield wall formed around the Mason's leader in the final stages.
I really wish I could leave the gameplay at that, as from this alone, Chivalry 2 is a perfect game. Unfortunately, there is also a lot that needs fixing within the game; from sync timings to graphical glitches, there are quite a few problems that plague the medieval experience, though before I continue, it is important to note that these are slowly getting repaired.
The biggest issue I have come across within Chivalry 2 is that on numerous occasions, I have come across numerous players sporting my team's colours running across the map, only for them to suddenly be sporting the other sides colours, leading to not only team damage moments, but for enemies to be passing through friendly lines unscathed before striking you down. Whilst this issue has become a lot less frequent after the first week, it is still a rare occurrence and, without a doubt the most frustrating.
Another issue I have come across is the networking between games. Whilst it is safe to say I haven't experienced "lag" and rubber banding within a game, there have been several occasions where attacks made by myself and my allies have simply passed through an enemy, almost like attacking a ghost. Meanwhile, their attacks will still hit, and sometimes from where they aren't even standing. One great example of this was whilst witnessing a fight within a map called Wardenglade, where I watched a player pretty much teleporting around another player in an almost anime-like attack style.
My final frustration is one that is certainly less frequent now but still present, and that is finding a game that isn't almost at an end (if I could even find a game at first). Nearly all of my original games within Chivalry 2 would thrust me into a battle that is in its final objective or a death match that is down to the last few spawns, meaning my games were all but 5 minutes before queuing for another game all over again, with no chance of even getting enough experience points to have made the match worthwhile. The issue has been fixed slightly, but finding a game from the very start is still incredibly rare in the first game from the menu selection.
These issues that I have listed above are why I elected to delay this review until Chivalry 2 was fully released, and the true stress tests began to see how Torn Banner would react to the issues found within the game. Whilst the response has been adequate, and improvements are slowly rolling out, with over 1million players already on the battlefield, these following weeks are honestly going to be made or break for the games overall player base, where it could either improve enough for growth or turn into a cult classic with a select player base that moves on when the next major release comes along. Personally, I hope Torn Banner Studios do fix all of the issues so that Chivalry 2 can reach its full potential and be enjoyed as a multiplayer game we all really need to experience to believe.
Graphics: Chaotically Graphic
Chivalry 2's level design is absolutely incredible! I absolutely love the scale, along with the level of detail that has gone into each level.
Chivalry 2's level design is absolutely incredible! I absolutely love the scale, along with the level of detail that has gone into each level. From the hatches that lie over portcullises right through to the vast plains that lay before a castle wall, every detail has been accounted for in what we would describe as a medieval battlefield. Of course, the level limits are not the end of the stunning design either as we can see into the horizon with each map, whether that be the dense forests that hide an ambush, the sea crashing into the waves below, or even the path to where the main siege is taking place, everything within the levels has been though about.
Moving onto the character models, there are some absolutely brilliant designs, especially with the variety of available skins for each character. The level of customisation is as in-depth as most modern RPG titles, allowing you to edit many key features, not just the armour. Another great aspect about the characters is how they react to certain events in the game, more specifically, in the form of dismemberment, where for a brief moment, you will be able to fight your foes with your one remaining limb before bleeding out. During these intense moments, you will see yourself bleeding from the wound and may even see it on your screen in a shocking moment, but the true spectacle is watching another player try to use a character in this state as the flail around almost helplessly the missing arm spurting blood across the battlefield as they slowly fade from the fight. Other gory scenes also occur on death, such as your character grasping at a fatal wound or even desperately trying to extinguish a fire on you as you are incinerated from an oil bomb. These graphic scenes really do add to the chaos and immersion of Chivalry 2's battlefield.
Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, some graphical issues need to be resolved within Chivalry 2. The main one is the armour colours changing, which can cause you to fail to identify red and blue (the two team colours). Another issue is that the animations, at times, do look a bit static, which whilst only minor does on occasion detract from the moment. Thankfully this is not something you would not really notice too much, as the gameplay is so fast-paced and intense that you would really only notice it when sitting on the sidelines … if you are given that opportunity.
Value For Money: Time It Right
Right now, I would say that this title is worth the money for those who want to get ahead of the curve and be the absolute best warrior or archer you can ever be.
Chivalry 2 is currently retailing at £35.99, which in itself is a reasonable amount for a fully working multiplayer game of this scale. Unfortunately, there is still a fair amount that requires fixing in order to call Chivalry 2 a perfectly working game. However, it is still early into the release, and the team at Torn Banner could bring out some fantastic fixes very soon, which to me would make Chivalry 2 100% worth its asking price. Right now, I would say that this title is worth the money for those who want to get ahead of the curve and be the absolute best warrior or archer you can ever be. However, if you are expecting a game with all the bells and whistles coated with a thick layer of polish, I would advise waiting for a few more weeks hoping that Torn Banner correct the issues that remain.
Audio: Songs of War
Gameplay: Tis But A Flesh Wound
Graphics: Chaotically Graphic
Value For Money: Time It Right
Chivalry 2 is a title that I really wanted to love, and with time and fixes, I am sure I will, but in its current state, this first-person medieval battle experience Overall, Chivalry 2 is a lot of fun and has the potential to be this year's multiplayer game of the year. However, a lot needs to change before that happens, and I seriously hope it does, as Chivalry 2 has so much to offer that separates itself from a shooter dominated environment. As I mentioned before, this is still early doors for Chivalry 2, and Torn Banner could really turn around what is a shakey launch into potentially one of the better multiplayer experiences currently available on console and PC. The overall experience of Chivalry 2 won't easily be forgotten and is a lot of fun to play alone and with friends. There are many immersive qualities that can really rope you in, especially when all the bugs are finally ironed out. That is why I am giving Chivalry 2 7 Bits out of a possible 10. Do you agree with our review for Chivalry 2? Join us in the comments of this review on Facebook and Twitter, and let us know!
Fantastic Medievil Gameplay
Brilliant Level Design
Some Early Teething Issues