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Chivalry II Review. War without limbs

 

What makes a one-day project different from a game that you want to come back to again and again? It's not just a matter of quality. "Normal" releases - quite in line with expectations, but not particularly memorable - appear several times a month. And soon they quietly disappear into oblivion.

Likewise, Chivalry II, the new work of a small Canadian team at Torn Banner Studios, at first seems like just another network action game set in a medieval setting. There were enough of them in the 2010s, and now they are enough: the next, "thieves" variation on the theme came out quite recently. But it is worth looking at how a bright, intelligent, and varied game, at the same time bloody and cheerful, is revealed behind a not very original facade.

Bulat Field 1342

Many might call the Chivalry II unprepossessing. It does not pretend to be historic (or at least its semblance) and a hardcore simulation of battles in the spirit of Mordhau, and in terms of visual quality, the project is noticeably inferior to the same For HonorIn addition, even though the game is technically released, its real percentage of readiness raises questions. All mechanics seem to work stably, and the content is more or less enough for the status of a "full-fledged" game. However, some of the declared functions (for example, horseback riding) will appear only in future updates, and the interface and the training mode now look frankly rough. Where the conditional Ubisoft would prepare a separate video tutorial on match rules and specific mechanics, Torn Banner Studios simply throws recruits into the thick of the battle. They themselves will figure it out somehow. In general, it is difficult to shake off the suspicion that the announced year of exclusivity for the Epic Games Store is actually a poorly disguised "early access".
There is something old-fashioned about this approach, but it is not surprising. The original Chivalry: Medieval Warfare grew out of a fan-made mod for Half-Life 2, and it seems that the developers are still concerned not so much with the user experience as with the flexibility of settings and the variety of possibilities. For example, each graphics parameter in Chivalry II can be customized, which helps a lot optimize the game for ancient PCs. There is also a separate menu for finding servers in an old-fashioned way, and in the future Torn, Banner Studios plans to add support for custom servers and modifications. New skins and community-created modes have kept the first Chivalry afloat for a long time, and the sequel is clearly being tipped to do the same.
Nevertheless, for the first time, the basic content will be enough - three game modes spread over eight locations. Smaller cards are given for classic deathmatch, in a team or alone. They are not particularly complex in design: fighters of different classes (three melees, plus one ranged) run to the center of the clearing and give each other cuffs, and the losers return to battle in a couple of seconds. The only striking exception is the gladiatorial arena, in which a variety of traps are generously placed. There, the winner is not the one with the longer messer, but who is the first to lure the enemy under a stream of fire or send him into a pit with spikes with a courageous kick. To heighten the effect, you can shout something about madness and Sparta into the monitor.
However, the real Chivalry II is revealed in large-scale operations for 48-64 people. Conceptually, they are all similar (one team attacks, the other defends), but specific scenarios are very diverse: here and a daring raid on a prison, and looting a disgraced village, and storming an enemy citadel using siege weapons. Battles are divided into several stages - each has its own gameplay tasks, a timer, and a dedicated area on a huge map. This means that in 20-30 minutes of a match, the battle conditions have time to change several times. Here we are, under continuous fire from catapults, pushing forward a bulky ram, then trying to hold the city square, and after that, we desperately climb the tower fortifications or hunt the enemy commander; his role usually goes to the most productive player.
As you move towards the goal, the scenery also changes. Even within the same map, the developers skillfully maintain the dynamics, alternating forests and ruins, market tents, and narrow harbor streets, where a bloodbath cannot be avoided. At the same time, in almost any situation, you can find a workaround or a convenient hill to help the allied swordsmen with crossbow fire ... Or maybe, on the contrary, sneak along a steep cliff and go to the annoying arrows in the rear. Despite the complexity of the architecture, the right strategy is often intuitive - and this is a sign of the great skill of the level designers.

And my cock is with me

All of the above is already enough for a "normal" medieval action game, but in Chivalry II there are many subtle nuances behind every basic mechanic. In this sense, the unwillingness of developers to lead newbies by the hand, paradoxically, turns into a plus. The joy of discovery ("wow, was that possible too ?!") - one of the most frequent emotions in the game, and it does not cease to give pleasure for a long time.
Take the combat system, for example. Strictly speaking, it boils down to just four actions: horizontal attack, vertical attack, thrust, and block. With such an arsenal, even a fledgling fighter will be able to earn a couple of kills - fortunately, the developers further simplify the task, sometimes diluting the team with bots. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. In Chivalry II, it is not only the type of blow that matters but also the position of the body and the factor of the initiative. Turning in the direction of attack, it can be accelerated or hit several targets at once with one stroke; in turn, already a quick strike allows you to block someone else's attack, albeit a stronger one. A berserker who thoughtlessly waving a club in a crowd of opponents will only use up his stamina reserve: his initiative will go to opponents who have put a block in time.
Chivalry II is one of that rare breed of action games that are easy to play but hard to master. There are too many aspects that need to be kept in mind every second: stamina, initiative, ways of the arrival of reinforcements, enemy vulnerability to certain hits, speed, and radius of attack of weapons. The latter here, by the way, is enough for a whole pavilion in a medieval museum. Halberds, Morgenstern, axes, clubs, spears, two-handed and one-and-a-half swords, and even a pitchfork or a blacksmith's hammer - the arsenal in the game is, without exaggeration, huge. In addition, the locations are full of interactive objects that can also be used in battle, sometimes in a rather unexpected way. Suppose the functionality of ballistae and catapults is quite obvious, but that, for example, will be when interacting with a well or a church candlestick? How can a loaf of bread pick up at the market help in the heat of battle? Surprises and new opportunities literally lie under your feet or hang over your head: it is better not to linger under the chandelier in the throne room.
Thanks to its interactivity, Chivalry II unexpectedly resonates with the Hitman series and its absurd sense of humor. By some miracle, the developers manage to balance between a more or less serious tone and a completely cartoonish comedy in the spirit of the farcical "Monty Python"Infantrymen with a joyful whoop fly on the catapult, the archer replenishes the ammunition, pulling an arrow straight from the head past the running ally. The heroic knight loses his hand, but it doesn't matter - there is one more left! And the enemy, meanwhile, raises a freshly severed limb from the ground and continues to advance.
A separate source of jokes is created by the social system. Chivalry II, already in the tutorial, teases players to insult each other using a wheel of lines, fully voiced in several voices. The injured party even receives a special notification so that they can immediately respond to the offender. And it is no coincidence that a separate button is allocated for the battle cry - every time the team respawns, the race to the front line is invariably accompanied by collective shouts. The developers do not hide their hopes for full-fledged role-playing; however, it will most likely require separate servers with well-defined rules and rituals. But the potential is certainly there.
Chivalry II will have at least a couple of years of successful life and development. Behind the mask of "yet another multiplayer action", it hides a ton of unexpected mechanics and comedic elements, thoughtful level design, and a deep combat system. And although not all of its advantages are obvious at first glance, the game quickly intoxicates with freedom of choice: in weapons, tactics, but even in-jokes. And this, whatever one may say, is more valuable than any gloss.
  Pleased
Chivalry II Review.  War without limbs
  • simple but exciting battles;
  • a huge selection of weapons;
  • excellent location design;
  • lots of witty details;
  • high potential for modifications.
  Upset
Chivalry II Review.  War without limbs
  • unfinished interface;
  • unobvious match rules;
  • few differences between classes;
  • cosmetic microtransactions.
  How we played
In what: The key is provided by the publisher.
What: PС.
How much: about 10 hours.
  Achievement of the editorial office
Chivalry II Review.  War without limbs
"If a friend turned out to be suddenly"
Make it so that a wounded enemy is accidentally finished off by his own ally.

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