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Chivalry: Medieval Warfare
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare

Genre: First Person Shooter Players: 1 (2 to 32 Online)
Developer: Torn Banner Studios Official Site: http://www.chivalrythegame.c...
Publisher: Torn Banner Studios
Release Date:
16th October 2012
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare Review
Review By @ 12:40pm 19/10/12
Considering how inherently cool medieval combat is, it’s a wonder that games based on knights and castles don’t rival zombies when it comes to first-person popularity. Thankfully those hankering for some heavily armoured king slaying now have a superb game that is just what the Knights Templar ordered. Costing a mere $25, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is a multiplayer-only, first/third-person, hack-and-slasher that grabs most full priced games by the throat, tells them they’re unfit to polish Chivalry’s armour, before running them through with three feet of tempered steel.

Being an indie game, I really didn’t expect much from Chivalry’s visuals. As my friends and associates can attest, I’m officially Australia’s biggest graphics whore, and for this reason I miss out on a lot of otherwise excellent indie games. Shoot me - I make no apologies for my love of eye candy. So when I fired up Chivalry and saw one of the most beautiful games of the year, I was truly surprised.

Built on the Unreal engine, each of the huge levels makes the areas in most other online shooters look like lifeless miniature movie sets. These vast medieval playgrounds are filled with huge castles, wooded forests, and moonlit cliffs. They’re not mere static backdrops for the carnage within, as each area is brimming with life; catapults flinging boulders at crumbling defences; ships circling in the bay under incoming ballista fire; the crowd cheering on in the arena. It ran like a dream on my admittedly hefty PC (i5 3770K at 4.5GHz, dual GTX 670 video cards), but other players with much more modest machines also reported fluid frame-rates. Full limb dismemberment and decapitation reward particularly effective strikes, and your weapons and armour will be covered in blood by the end of a match. Both first and third-person options are available depending on your preference; I favoured the up-close-and-personal approach so I could savour the sinew and cartilage whenever I’d graciously freed a foe of his cumbersome limbs.

Matching the visual brutality are some of the most gut-wrenching sound effects heard outside of a Hostel torture-porn movie. Men scream, whimper and gurgle as blood fills their throats. The twang of metal on metal is perfectly captured, but most fun of all are the various taunts and voice commands. The actors behind these must have screamed themselves hoarse during the recording session, and charging into battle with 15 other players all activating their “CHAAAAAARGE!!!” button at once never fails to get me chuckling like a drunken fool. This is some of the best voice-acting of the year, boggling for a game from such a small studio.

It looks and sounds great, but how does Chivalry play? This is a game all about melee weapons, so how the hell do you translate that to mouse and keyboard control? Pretty damn well, apparently. Longbows and crossbows control just like a normal shooter, except they take a little while to ready up. Swords, maces and axes require an entirely different set of buttons. Right mouse button is used to block, but you also need to aim your reticule at the incoming blow to ensure you head it off. Left mouse is used as a standard horizontal slashing attack, mouse wheel down is a thrusting jab, while mouse wheel up is a powerful overhead blow. Sounds simple, right? It’s anything but. This game is frickin’ hard. The problem is that you can’t hold a block indefinitely, which means you must block at just the right moment.

However, players can also feint their attacks with Q, tricking you into blocking early, then leaving you wide open for a follow up swipe when your block drops. There are also combos and kicks, and it’s possible to duck under or jump over incoming swings. Finally, a stamina meter that melts away for each blocked blow stops turtling. A hilarious tutorial gently eases the player into these mechanics, and also instructs in the use of siege weapons like the catapult, battering ram and ballista. Even with the excellent tutorial, prepare to get your ass handed to you for the first 10 hours or so as -- unless you’re a Mount and Blade veteran -- the combat here is unlike anything you’ve played before.

Mastering the basics of combat is made even trickier by the four different classes, which all have different strengths. The Man at Arms is the lightly armoured, highly mobile fella, and his double jump makes him a tricky foe to pin down in a fight. Archers have access to the longbow, crossbow and javelins, and can mount their shields in the ground to provide cover. Don’t let one sneak up behind you, as his backstab ability will have you eating dirt before you can say “ranged classes suck at melee”. Vanguards are moderately armoured foes with access to longer weapons like spears and halberds. These guys are tough to get next to, keeping you at range with their rapid fire thrusts. If you see one running towards you at high speed, get the hell out of the way, as his special charge attack can kill you with one strike.

Finally there’s the knight class, a heavily armoured walking tank who specialises in swords the size of a broom, and I’ve seen a solitary knight decapitate three men with a single swing. Unfortunately two of them were team mates, a gory reminder that friendly fire is always on. Nine different weapons are available from the get-go for each class, with another 20 or so unlocks. Unfortunately there’s no armour upgrading or customisation, the one area that War of the Roses has Chivalry beat.

Each class has a different role to play in the game’s brilliant objective mode, which plays out very much like a Middle Aged version of Enemy Territory’s phased maps. Each level is broken into several key areas, and to unlock the next you’ll need to do something suitably evil. It could be pushing a wagon filled with rotting corpses into a castle’s water supply, moving a battering ram up to the gate or murdering 50 villagers as you burn their village to the ground. Environmental animations and superb sound effects make each objective feel infinitely more satisfying than standing next to a flag. Watching a team of archers manning the walls of a castle, pouring boiling oil on the battering ram below, while dozens of knights and vanguards face off in duels around the gates is every wannabe knight’s wet dream. A handful of other game types help to round out the variety, with Free for All, King of the Hill, Team Deathmatch and Last Team standing, but don’t be surprised if the server you’re inhabiting spontaneously erupts into an ad-hoc duel mode if the majority agree to it.

Given the small size of the development team it’s easy to forgive the few bugs that are present. I’ve noticed bows that don’t fire and strange animations after unmanning a siege weapon, but that’s about it. More worrying is the level count, with just six environments at launch, but there are more on the way as free content updates. Finally, the first few days of play have seen most players charging into battle headfirst without any team co-ordination, leading to an easy win for the defenders. Hopefully teamwork will grow as players get better, and the inclusion of VOIP should make it easy enough to work together.

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m rather enamoured by the unique flavour of online combat presented by Chivalry. It’s fresh and fun, and like the very best games is easy to get into yet incredibly hard to master. I’ve honestly not had this much competitive online joy since Battlefield 3, and to think a $25 indie title can provide a level of enjoyment up there with a $100 million game like Battlefield is testimony to the skill of the developer. This might be the first commercial release from Torn Banner but it will definitely not be their last.
What we liked
  • A level of audio visual presentation that rivals most big budget blockbusters
  • Absolutely hilarious taunts and voice commands
  • The objective mode drives fierce battles while capturing the flavour of a real medieval battlefield
  • Costs less than a six pack of Heineken
What we didn't like
  • A few bugs at launch
  • Only six environments
We gave it:
Latest Comments
Posted 11:25am 20/10/12
Despite its steep learning curve War of the Roses is thoroughly good.

I picked up Chivalry yesterday and I must admit that my first impressions are not great, it definitely has more moving parts that WotR and is a lot simpler to get into, but graphics & game-play wise its doesn't seem to come even close.

Haven't played Chivalry enough yet to find out why people generally say its the better game, hopefully I will discover the hidden awesomeness...
Posted 07:37pm 20/10/12
I'm sold I think. I didn't like WotR because of the unimaginative game modes.
Posted 02:24am 21/10/12
I've heard a couple of people say they prefer WotR's visuals over CMW, but the overwhelming majority say the opposite. It must boil down to a matter of taste - WotR favours very simple but sharp visuals, while CMW goes for massive set pieces layered in bloom and lighting effects.

Don't let the simpler controls fool you - there's a depth to combat in CMW that I think equals WotR, if not being even deeper once you learning the intricacies. It'll take a good 5 hours or so before this starts to reveal itself though, so stick with it.
Posted 07:38am 21/10/12
I like WotR a lot more, it plays a lot better. Chivalry feels more arcade and cheap. It would be good if WotR had other games modes like Objective, They said they are working on another game mode though.
Posted 09:05am 21/10/12
Only someone that hasn't played much wotr could say that chivalry is cheaper because wotr is all about exploiting cheap tactics. (like spear forward thrust spam or milanese 2H sword spam) Although its harder to hit your target in wotr, once you master that skill chivalry ends up being a lot more than wotr despite being easier to learn the basics. wotr devolves into selecting an attack based on your targets armor and employing the 'skill' of hitting with it - where as chivalry, once you are past learning the comparatively easier 'skill' of hitting with attacks, becomes about setting up an opening to strike using more reliable attacks/blocks/etc

End result is MUCH MUCH more accurate combat. 1v1 duels are often a long series of traded parries peppered with dodges/feints/kicks/combos etc to try and outsmart your opponent rather than ultimately coming down to either new players missing over and over again or whichever player is better at judging range and timing one or two hitting everyone with the 2H sword.
Nerf Lord
Posted 09:22am 21/10/12
After watching this, I'm wondering if anybody can report how lag is? I'm presuming that there's local servers for this to be playable?

Posted 09:32am 21/10/12
That is how I currently feel with Chivarly, that the combat is actually quite advanced when you peak past the simplistic left click and scroll wheel attacking. Executing a successful blow is very hard if you simply just click, as your opponent's will simply block you. You need to feign, to kick or to parry their attack and then riposte.

Graphically, War of the Roses is quite nice looking, however it falls short of extensive battlegrounds that really capture the gritty warfare. Chivalry looks a ton better in regards to texturing and general feel of the maps. WotR has barely any gamemodes for a "competitive" game, and with the added negativity of Multiplay being the only server provider for WotR ($150 for a 64 slot server is beyond ridiculous) it really does come down to two things; do you want a large amount of customisation to armour, perks and weapons; or do you want realistic combat that makes you block, parry, riposte, kick and ensure you are always moving to position?

I found this video by Total Biscuit quite interesting and informative. I've never particularly liked him but he does touch on the subjects that both strive well in.

Posted 10:51am 21/10/12
Chivalry = pretty well balanced and a lot of fun. Footwork is important, as is timing. Blocks need to be aimed and timed against the enemy's swings and you can aim your own swings around their shields if you work your footing well enough.

Takes a little getting used to not having the 4 axis blocking / swinging and also takes even more getting used to feinting being an actual button now (though apparently right click is gonna feint soon according to some random online. Grain of salt).

I didn't like WoTR because-

A) Spammers - I tried to build against certain ways people were building in beta, but couldn't find a way to counter VERY fast swinging builds. People say the riposte skill, but I tried that.

They were literally just spam clicking the weak attacks and I was blocking as fast as humanly possible, but I couldn't get a timing window to return the blow because they'd always swing back faster and interrupt my swings.

B) Laggy f*****s! - At nights when I play, I often find Aussie servers are LOADED with people with latency well over 150ms. This often results in swords going through people like ghosts, weapons hitting you through your blocks and other fun annoyances.

I'm not playing the game until they allow servers to be ping-limited, but I havn't heard anything about that, so not holding my breath.

TLDR - Chivalry is fun when you work it out, WoTR has big issues that prevent me from having fun due to unskilled play beating out over skilled play in a lot of cases.
Nerf Lord
Posted 11:41am 21/10/12
Whao, first time I've seen war of the roses was in Eorl's vid, and it looks rubbish compared to Chivalry. I thought that it was meant to be some huge production?
Posted 11:44am 21/10/12
Done by Fatshark, guys who did Krater. It was published by Paradox but everyone seems to think they developed it. Also yes Nerf, Chivalry has dedicated, local and listen servers compared to WotR which has none of that, albeit a $150 tag for maximum servers from Multiplay.
Posted 04:18pm 21/10/12
I find combat in WotR is better and more enjoyable, I am the odd one out here it seems. I don't mind spamming, having a energy bar like Chivalry would be an option. Game modes are basic but what did people expect? CTF and TDM are standard for mutiplayer games. I get no server lag when I play, I do get booted off a server often. Not sure if that is a server problem or instability with the game.

They could do the attack swings better. currently when fighting someone in plate, it is best to use the down attack (piercing). It is the only decent way to fight unless you use a mace or hammer. They could fix it by having the other attacks do more damage against plate. I have not used a horse in game yet but I might next time I log in.

Chivalry to me feels less tactical and cheesy, Its almost like the Modern Warfare of these 2 games.

also :P
Posted 04:25pm 21/10/12
you're also the only person on this forum against ssd's.........

having really only watched that comparisson video i can tell that chivalry looks way more fun

it looks more like war of the roses is the COD version with the spam
Posted 04:41pm 21/10/12
game modes are basic but what did people expect? CTF and TDM are standard for mutiplayer games.

What did people expect? At the very least I expected storming a f*****g castle. It is a medieval swords and shields game.

CTF and TDM were standard, 10 years ago...
Posted 06:13pm 21/10/12
Posted 06:49pm 21/10/12
far out, chivalry is pretty rad. good recommendation!
Nerf Lord
Posted 10:07pm 21/10/12
Jesus, that was amazing qmass.
Posted 11:14pm 21/10/12
Sounds exactly like Mount & Blade multiplayer, even the grunty screams. How's it different?
Posted 02:21am 22/10/12
Awesome to see so many people picking this one up. We need more servers down under, as they've been full every time I've jumped on today. Good to see a little more teamwork as people realise charging into battle one at a time is a great way to get killed.
Posted 02:28pm 22/10/12
So I'm going to buy this when I get home and since I'm a cheap tight arse is there any way to reduce the price from $25 with coupons or anything?
Posted 03:24pm 22/10/12
f*** man. get 20% off and you couldn't get your ass a quarter pounder meal. i think there's a limit between sensibly thrifty and a tight ass mother f*****
Posted 03:45pm 22/10/12
I said I was a cheap tight arse. I guess I'll have to pay the full amount damn it.
Posted 03:59pm 22/10/12
If you buy a 4 pack with pals you get it for about $19 each.
Posted 04:01pm 22/10/12
After seeing Qmass' post, I have just bought it hahaha
Posted 04:27pm 22/10/12
It is pretty horribly optimized for a UE3 game.
Posted 06:25pm 22/10/12
It's pushing the UE3 engine pretty hard. Runs at 60fps for me, vsynch locked, all details on high and 1920 x 1080.
Posted 07:10pm 22/10/12
same, runs crazy good on my rig
Posted 07:12pm 22/10/12
anyone else have games not loading or taking forever to load?
mine just sits there on "Please wait while the game loads..." indefinitely. Does the same for every server.
Posted 07:18pm 22/10/12
if i try and connect to a full server it sometimes fails to connect and then gives me that same message every time. I think I need to push escape and refresh the server list before I can connect again.
Posted 11:52pm 22/10/12
The more I play and get comfortable with the controls the more im seeing long tactical fights with lots of back and forth - almost like a tennis rally... In wotr you can do most of what you can do in chivalry but its not as responsive which tends to make 'strategies' the key to success rather than by each move someone makes against you.

Good Example at the start of this dev tutorial video:

Nerf Lord
Posted 12:06am 23/10/12
You know, with Neal Stephenson's sword controller kickstarter being a success, I can actually see his Snow Crash sword-fighting-on-the-net narrative becoming realistic.
Posted 12:06am 23/10/12
pretty cool example of how the responsive/'simpler' controls lead to much more involved combat comes towards the end. You can 'delay' your strike by turning away from your target as the blade moves towards them so that their parry drops before the blade hits with the end of the swing instead of the middle.
Posted 12:28am 23/10/12
so many people with game of thrones names, I approve
Posted 02:24am 23/10/12
So Chivalry is now the top selling game on Steam! Fantastic to see a little studio with no marketing budget kicking so much ass. I get the feeling we're going to see a lot of free content and updates for this one, which should give Chivalry players several years of entertainment.
Nerf Lord
Posted 02:56am 23/10/12
Ahh god dammit, I wish that I had time to play this right now, by the time that I get around to it everybody is going to have left once again :P. But the world needs more optimal discreet priority queue binary heap structures.
Posted 09:55am 23/10/12
Nerf Lord, don't be so sure - the player numbers are actually growing daily rather than shrinking for this one. During peak hours it's often hard to get into a server.
Nerf Lord
Posted 09:59am 23/10/12
I mean like, march next year :P. I'm committed to some insane workloads for a while.
Posted 01:01pm 23/10/12
started playing this yesterday. God dam im having so much fun playing the vanguard. Charging around yelling warcries
Nerf Lord
Posted 01:43pm 23/10/12
Nope, bought. It looks to good to miss. Screw you guys and your having fun :P. One afternoon off for $25 of epicness is ok in theory...
Posted 01:46pm 23/10/12
You'll find me in the GameArena server when I can get on. I'll make sure to place my blade in your face.
Nerf Lord
Posted 04:13pm 23/10/12
Sir, I have played Thief, Skyrim, and Jedi Academy to unwholesome amounts in my youth, I really think that I shall be a god in this. Plus I have this super expensive mouse which I won through Ausgamers.

edit: Yep, first game, lawl. Now that I have verified that I am awesome, I can go back to working. (also spamming 'x' is half the fun of this game, in a good way)

Posted 05:10pm 23/10/12
Hay look I'm in that screenshot too.

HAhah. This game is heaps of fun, the yelling and other voice work is excellent. The combat, whilst simple to control is quite a challenge to land hits well.

IT is really, really satisfying to time your attacks and attack type just right so that you one shot people.
Nerf Lord
Posted 05:15pm 23/10/12
I'm pretty bad at judging lag and a bit of a graphical chug when landing my attacks (the game always goes from running great to s*** when people get in my face :/), but the middle mouse wheel stab is super OP.

Also I was the king who everybody was screaming that they couldn't find, when I was really just running after archers up top massacring those pricks. :P
Posted 11:04pm 23/10/12
Add me on steam ppl _TiT_
Posted 11:28pm 23/10/12
Yeah just hunt archers and you are sweet because they barely know how to attack/can't do close range well. I'm liking footman equipped with an axe and a sword plus a shield to be to my liking, can block and then swing without too much down time.
Posted 11:36pm 23/10/12
kinda sad face, i was originally working on this ages ago for a mod but i had to stop cause of uni hecticness :| fkfkfkfk
Posted 01:02am 24/10/12
I think archers are going to ruin this game for me, at least every round im on offense - being mildly useful on defense it doesn't bother me as much.

In wotr archers can be useful by bringing down tickets. In chivalry these a******* sit way back, basically at spawn, launching arrows across the map and getting a handfull of kills in a whole round. Meanwhile, the objective is being contested by 1/2-1/4 less players because they are too busy hiding in bushes making it virtually impossible to win

I kill all friendly 'long-range' archers on sight now, makes me feel much better about the whole situation.
Posted 01:35am 24/10/12
Nerf Lord - racking up a score like that while King doesn't mean a lot. He's got uber amounts of health, and I think he might also have super strong attacks. Try joining us peons and see how you go - I bet you $50 you don't top the ranks on your first game* ;)

*$50 of monopoly money
Nerf Lord
Posted 02:37am 24/10/12
Nah that was before King.

For some reason I suck at this game now, I go to hit people and they're just suddenly behind me, unsure if lag/skill/cheating.
The GuVna
Posted 09:48am 24/10/12
This game is hilarious, and for all the right reasons! Fills the void that Rune left, which I discovered I missed after playing De-Groot (or whatever it's called) in Team Fortress 2

Still trying to figure out which class I like, will never go a ranged class as that just seems to be opposite of what makes this game fun, but once you get your timing down you can go nuts on killing sprees, was very proud of my 41 - 25 for my second game, but I guess I was on defense. :P

Best bit was getting the entire server to do a synchronized battle cry hehe :)
Posted 01:07pm 24/10/12
Yer I have found myself laughing out loud for reals many times. The community is great too.

One of my favourite moments was storming pushing the Ram towards the castle with about 12 others in the team, ALL of us using the x-Yell. It made one hell of a noise and the Blue team lined up near their bridge clashing their shields together waiting for us to close the distance. A few arrows wizzing past from a couple of archers in the castle. Pure atmosphere.

Absolutely worth $25.

Nerf Lord
Posted 04:09pm 30/10/12
Update from their facebook page

It has been two weeks since release and it's past time for us to give you guys an update on what we are working on. It makes us very happy to be able to say that so far our release has gone very well and player numbers are much stronger than expected, so we are very excited! Which is great news for you aswell- because us being excited means you get patches faster and more post-release content!

So far we have been primarily focused on getting bugs worked out and the first big patch is coming soon, hopefully within the next week or 2. Patch one includes: a complete remake of the server browser, fixed auto-balance, new ranged crosshairs, fixed javelins and keybind improvements among many other items highlighted by our community. After that we're headed towards our first content update, which will bring a ton of new, free stuff to the game, first up includes new maps, new weapons and duel mode + plenty of surprises.

Basically what we are saying is, we are so happy with how things are going for the game and the reception we have been getting that we are committing to an insane amount of content updates for you guys. I also wanted to thank you all for your feedback so far, anyone who has been posting in our initial impressions post on the forums or just giving us suggestions or feedback along the way, it means a lot and we really are listening and trying to bring the content you guys are asking for. Everyone who has purchased the game has played a role in making our dreams come true and that is something we will remember.

So Thank you! And I shall look to pay deeper respects to you on the battlefield,

Steve & Torn Banner Studios

p.s. If anybody sees the fearsome warrior named Winnie the Pooh, it may be me.
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