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The Agony and Ecstasy of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare

Chivalry

The only advice I was¬†given before playing Chivalry: Medieval Warfare was, “Don’t use horizontal swings.” Wise words, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

My first match had me playing the role of the Vanguard, the long-hilted weapons specialist: spears, halbierds…you get the picture. I joined the match at the top of a grassy knoll, my comrades in arms sprinting down the hill, weapons raised, snarling their battle cries. I lowered my spear and chased after them to meet the enemy at the riverbed. Arrows whizzed past me as I ducked and dodged, gradually getting a closer view of the mayhem below me.

I spotted my target–a lightly armored (and armed) Man-at-Arms, who had just finished off my teammate–a plate armored knight–in the riverbed. I closed in, hefted my spear, and as I jabbed….was instantly decapitated by a stray flail from behind.

Shocked at the speed of my defeat, I consulted the scoreboard. How could I have missed seeing the second enemy? To my dismay, my executioner was actually a fellow teammate, who had caught my neck, instead of his foe’s, midway through a horizontal swing.

While friendly fire and team kills are common in many competitive multiplayer games, nowhere is it more prevalent than in Chivalry. It’s a common sight to see players dealing 20-50% of their damage to their own teammates. When you’re swinging heavy weapons in a confined space where one hit often spells death, precision just doesn’t factor into the strategy.

It makes the game ¬†frustrating, but it also has a lot to do with what makes it so addictive. You start to celebrate when you manage to dispatch an enemy without gutting a teammate in the process. You get better and more precise over time, but the risk is always there, and that’s the best and most unique thing Chivalry has going for it.

The game looks and often plays a bit like a half life mod. The modes are pretty straightforward, the equipment progression system pretty uninspired, and the visuals pretty has-been. But these shortcomings hardly matter, because it’s way too much fun to swing a broadsword around.

The game’s on sale right now, so go check it out.