Chivalry: Medieval Warfare Needs a Revolution

I’m not sure I entirely understand why Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is considered out of beta. I mean, I would assume that it’s because games out of beta can earn a bit of money by being sold as “complete games,” but Chivalry doesn’t fit that description. To be blunt, it’s a damned mess. The tutorial’s buggy to the point of being impossible to complete, and gameplay itself is unbalanced and revolves around a mechanic that supposedly makes it unique, but instead makes it more frustrating and unbalanced.

For the sake of being meticulous, as this is a newly released game (or so I would hope), I’m going to cover the tutorial first. The initial goal is to teach you the fundamentals of combat. Normally, that would be all fine and dandy, but then come the bugs. Standing near the wooden pillars after completing an objective may permanently lock the training instructor in place, as you cannot move while in a cinematic, and he cannot walk past you due to clipping/poor pathing.

When performing the specialist training, failing to correctly perform the “dashing strike” may lock the trainer in an infinite dialogue/camera draw loop, making progression impossible. Because of the nature of these glitches and the general irritation brought on by gameplay, I didn’t attempt the tutorial following my fourth encounter with lockdown glitches.

I’ll cover the mechanics and classes briefly, then I’ll get on to the dealbreaker issues. I’ll start with classes. The Archer uses range and light melee, has a smaller reserve of health, and gains bonus damage from backstabs. The Man-at-Arms wields melee and is naturally faster, utilizing a dodge ability to avoid incoming attacks, but is also relatively squishy in terms of health. The Knight is slow, heavy, and hits like a truck (or so you are to believe), and may wield two-handers in one hand, and use tower shields. Vanguards wield long-ranged melee weapons, may use sprint attacks, and deal impressive damage.

Attacking is straightforward for melee, and even moreso for ranged (point and click). Left click to horizontal slash for standard damage, mouse wheel up to stab for high damage, and mouse wheel down for an overhead swing, dealing major damage. Sounds pretty easy, right? Pretty simple? It would be, if it weren’t for the fact that the only part of a weapon that can be blocked/can deal damage is the very tip. Hopefully you’re already noticing the problem.

Blocking with a weapon isn’t very effective. You raise your weapon in a very brief but repeatable block stance that deflects attacks during a short period, and will only work if the tip of your enemy’s weapon is in the center of your screen. As such, only very experienced players may actually block reliably. Shields are the second option, and aren’t much better. They may provide a constant block, but they severely obstruct your vision and make it that much more difficult to tell where the tip of your enemy’s weapon is. Tower shields are even worse.

That’s why I dislike the block mechanics of Chivalry. In an attempt to make blocking more realistic, they instead make it useless. If you don’t block the tip of your enemy’s blade with your person sized tower shield, the blade passes right through your guard and cleaves your head off. Clipping? What about the rest of the sword? If the length of the blade can’t pass through solid objects, I can’t see how the tip can reach the blocker’s body when they have a veritable wall in front of them.

My final issue is with Knights. Supposedly the “tanky high damage” class, they are instead the most reliably killed. Because of the worthless block mechanic and the apparent uselessness of all that extra armor, a horizontal swing directly at a blocking Knight can cleave his head off. One hit to bring down a tank, through his enormous shield. Balanced? Get back to me on that after some heavy updating. We’ll see.

Case and point? Chivalry: Medieval Warfare never made it out of beta. You shouldn’t need to pay for it at this point in development, because you’d be paying for an incomplete, extremely buggy, and overly imbalanced game. Since that’s not the case, I recommend ignoring it in entirety until most of the defining errors have been resolved. It may have bots, it may have amazing visuals that can cause stuttering even on a high-end Alienware laptop, but all in all, the vices overshadow the virtues by far as it stands now. Only a sudden hail of bugfixes and mechanics tweaks could even inspire the slightest hope of bringing Chivalry out of the Dark Ages.

Justin Fenico of EGMNow will probably provide you with a much less biased alternative review. His experience was likely a lot less oriented around the can’t-do of the bugs and more about the can-do slash and slaughter fun that Chivalry shows off on the cover. I tore this game a new asshole because I’m not going to sugarcoat my review as so many other sites are paid to do. Still, I won’t deny you a politer review, so here it is:

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