Chivalry 2 is an action multiplayer FPS first person slasher game by Torn Banner Studios and published by Tripwire Studios. It released on June 10, 2021, on Epic Games Store, PlayStation and Xbox, and today it released on Steam alongside the Tenosian Invasion update, free for all platforms. Chivalry 2’s main game mode pits up to 64 players split into two teams, the blue and gold Agatha Knights, and the red and black Mason Order, in multiple game modes as you try to survive against clashing swords, storms of flaming arrows and sprawling castle sieges. The Tenosian Invasion update has added a third faction, Tenosia which are oriental themed and mounted combat on horses has been added which is fantastic.
The game features all-out brawling warfare and honestly, it’s so much bloody fun. Improving on the original Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, Chivalry 2 invites players to master the blade with an all-new and improved combat system that combines real-time strikes and a free-flowing combo system to speed up the action and let players become a whirlwind of steel on the battlefield. Created with the ability to fight multiple foes in mind, Chivalry 2’s combat mixes the best of both FPS and fighting game genres for an unmatched melee experience.
Players can choose to play as one of four classes in Chivalry 2 – knight, footman or vanguard for melee combat, and the fourth class is the archer. Each class has three subclasses that you can unlock by playing and levelling up that class. Knights, for example, start as an officer (melee/support/ranged hybrid) and you can unlock guardian (shield + 1-handed) and the crusader (tank). Archers start as a longbowman and you can unlock a crossbowman and a skirmisher. Footman plays as poleman (long weapons), man-at-arms (agile with 1-handed weapons) or field engineer (support), while vanguard play as an ambusher (melee/ranged hybrid), devastator (largest weapons) or raider (two primary weapons).
The developers took inspiration from epic medieval movie battles, and I can see where they are coming from, especially when you are in first-person view. You are feverishly attacking the enemy faction using horizontal and vertical slashes and stabs with weapons ranging from swords, axes and maces to large two-handed spears and hammers. At the same time, you need to be aware of what is behind you and listen to the woosh of a heavy weapon or the zing of an arrow as it passes your ear. The sound design is incredible with heavy weapons sounding different to the smaller one-handed variants, and the clang of steel against steel, or the thonk of an arrow as it lands in the wood beside you. It is a fully immersive experience, and I can only imagine how terrifying it would be as a VR game.
There is also friendly team fire, and I reckon I have contributed to many a teammate’s death by swinging my weapon the wrong direction. It is quite difficult to accurately swing and drag your weapon when you are in the thick of it. The tutorial does a good job of teaching you the mechanics. If you click the left mouse button and then move the mouse in a direction, you character should swing in the direction you moved the mouse. But when you’re in the thick of battle, trying to block, parry and then riposte all while trying to protect your flanks, it becomes a hardcore mashfest at times and I had so much fun.
Archers can be devastating from range and there are also throwing weapons. You can even throw your primary weapon at the enemy, vanquishing them as they try to limp away from you. There are also various items within the game that can be picked up and thrown at the enemy, including fish out of a well, chickens, barrels, and even body parts from vanquished throws. There is nothing more embarrassing than being killed by a teammate’s severed head, or a stray barrel thrown in jest.
The Tenosian update that came with the Steam launch added horse mounted combat and it’s honestly a game changer. For the Team Objective maps featuring horses, players will receive a prompt to Join the Cavalry, allowing them to spawn on a horse during the next wave of cavalry. These spawns are limited, and players will be randomly selected. Players will spawn with a lance in hand during a cavalry spawn wave. The lance will break after three successful hits. The player’s primary weapon will be drawn in its place. Horses can also be found around the map for players to mount.
For Team Deathmatch maps featuring horses, players will be randomly selected to spawn with a horse upon death. If an opposing faction member kills a horse-rider and then jumps onto that horse, the horse’s visual effects will change to suit the new rider’s faction. This was done to help players distinguish who is atop the horse at the time, as the combat is so hectic with blood flying everywhere that it’s often hard to see who team red is, or if it’s just a blood-soaked teammate.
To make things easier, if you are a long-time player of Chivalry 2, there is a new Tenosian Invasion playlist featured queue that you can click from the game’s base menu. The developers say this will be removed later and the maps will join the normal rotation. It’s good to see that Steam and Epic Games Store players can queue and play together with ease. The Console Server Browser launched with Tenosian Invasion update with plans for cross-platform party functionally to follow at a later date.
The game runs exceptionally smooth despite the amazing graphics and scale of the large battlefields, as well as supporting up to 64 players fighting each other in close-quarters combat. I did feel though, that the 64 player battles felt like there were too many players. You either found yourself alone, up against 4-6 or more of the enemy, or it was the other way around. Swarms of players would easily overwhelm almost any defenses. I had much more success on the 40-player map variants. New 52-player maps were added with the Tenosian Invasion update.
Overall, Chivalry 2 is fantastic for both new players joining now via Steam and also for veterans returning since launch. The addition of horseback combat with lances from the Tenosian Invasion update is a game changer and should see both an influx and retention of players. The 52-player map variant is a good middle ground I think for performance as well as tactics, and the hectic combat is fun as heck.