STAFF REVIEW of Chivalry 2 (Xbox One)


Tuesday, June 22, 2021.
by Adam Dileva

Chivalry 2 Box art I review a lot of games, and sometimes the odd one lands in my lap that I wasn’t following at all, only knowing it by name, and come away quite surprised after digging in. This is the case with my latest endeavor, Chivalry II, and I love being pleasantly surprised like this. It’s time to return to the medieval battlefield with Chivalry II, a first person hack and slasher where brutality takes a front seat. Without much downtime, you’re going to be almost always on the battlefield trying to decimate the opposing team in 64 player online battles across all platforms. So grab your swords, halberds, maces, crossbows and literally anything else you can find on the battlefield and aim for those heads; it’s time for war.

First off, there’s no story mode, no campaign, simply online matches with up to 64 players in brutal medieval combat, and the focus of competitive multiplayer makes it a better experience overall, as you’ve got to have something special to compete with the other medieval games in the genre that are more narrative and single player focused. Chivalry II knows what it is and does it well, not trying to be anything more or less.

Very few movies and TV shows actually convey how brutal medieval warfare truly was. Thankfully, Chivalry II isn’t trying to make a Hollywood movie, but instead embraces the brutality of combat, allowing you to fight alongside a band of brothers as you try to dismember and decapitate your enemies on the battlefield for glory. I never played the original Chivalry so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, especially for it being a first person melee based game. There’s something awesome about picking up a battle axe and simply swinging it in a crowd of enemies and friendlies, even before you start to learn the combat nuances that are included for those that want to become more proficient.


64 player carnage across a handful of different objective based maps means you’ve always got something to fight for. Sometimes you’re storming a castle, burning down huts or simply fighting the opposing team in team deathmatch. While there’s only a handful of maps the chaos and carnage is always evolving and changing each match, and even though I played the same maps numerous times, each battle felt different and unique due to what the players were doing.

There are essentially three different game types: Team Objective. This is where you’ll have different objectives based on if you’re attacking or defending. This was the mode that I enjoyed the most, kind of like how Conquest is the main mode Battlefield is known for, Team Objective is where Chivalry II really shines. You then have Team Deathmatch where the two factions simply go at it with one another until one team’s spawn counter reaches zero after a certain amount of kills. No objectives to get in the way here, simply kill every enemy you come across. Lastly, and my least favorite, was Free-For-All mode. Here it’s everyone for themselves, usually ending up in complete chaos. These arenas are much smaller and the first player to reach a certain score wins.

There are two factions, the Mason Order and Agatha Knights. While neither has unique traits or perks, you get to choose your playstyle by choosing one of the four classes, each with three subclasses to unlock. Each class and subclass has their own unique weaponry and abilities, though there is a little overlap with a few of the choices. Each class has their own stats, with heavy armored Knights that have a higher health pool compared to the much weaker Archers.

Knights tend to gravitate towards your more traditional tank architype, eventually unlocking swords and shield combos. Footman is kind of the middle ground, able to use long range weapons. Vanguard seems to be heavily DPS, slow to attack but are the ones wielding the massive weapons. And lastly, and my personal favorite, are the archers, able to pick off enemies from afar but have a very limited ammunition that must be found to replenish. You’ll need to reach certain levels with each class to unlock their subclasses, and while this doesn’t take too long if you focus on one at a time specifically, this is going to vary based on how proficient you can get kills and experience. Once I was able to start head-shotting with my crossbow, I was earning huge amounts of experience and unlocks.


Each subclass also has a unique ability as well. Think of this as like your Ultimate; once charged fully by doing damage and getting kills you can utilize it to help your team in various ways. Some abilities will heal nearby teammates, others will allow you to set your arrows on fire for a short period and more. There’s a handful of different abilities, though as mentioned above, some do overlap. Healing for example is doable by more than one subclass, though albeit a little differently (playing a trumpet as opposed to putting a banner down).

As you level you’ll earn new unlocks for each class, mostly cosmetic skins for your weapons and armor. Gold is earned in game by simply playing, though there is a premium currency for those wanting to unlock the coolest skins right away, as gold doesn’t tend to come in very quick, so it can be quite a grind to unlock the pricey items. Thankfully these are all simply cosmetic, so it makes no difference to the gameplay.

Combat is where Chivalry II really shines, feeling very ‘weighty’ and satisfying when you land a killing blow, decapitating your enemy after blocking and countering their attack. Combat is all about what swings you take, the angle of your attacks and timing. Combat is very fluid, and while you’ll need stamina to continually swing or block, you can also become easily outnumbered if two or more decide to gang up on you.

Interestingly, you have three separate attacks. A horizontal slash, a stab and an overhead swipe. These moves can be combined together provided you have enough stamina, and you can also hold the buttons for a longer wind up stronger attack but this leaves you open to being hit as well. Learning how to ‘drag’ is how you’re going to start winning fights. For example, if you just hit the trigger to do a horizontal attack, you’re going to have to wait for the animation to start from the far side until it connects with your enemy. When you ‘drag’ your attack, you essentially hit the swing then rotate your body so that the tip of your weapon hits the enemy sooner. It’s a really unique system and does take quite a bit of getting used do, but the practice will pay off, as many battles are won by who can land that critical first strike.


There’s a cat and mouse game pertaining to combat as well. Do you go on the offensive and hope that your enemy misses their counters and blocks, or try and parry against their attacks instead? This rock-paper-scissors style of gameplay can be quite exciting when you’re throwing in feints, kicks, mixing quick and heavy attacks and finally get that sweet well-earned kill. When you start to get really fancy you can even throw whatever weapon you’re holding at an enemy if they decide to run away. Yes, this will leave you defenseless, but you can literally pick up any weapon you see on the battlefield, even tons of random objects like barrels, crates, shovels, pitchforks and even chickens in a pinch.

It seems that crossplay is enabled by default, as I wasn’t able to see an option to disable it. This is fine, as matches fill quite quickly and I never really stood around long waiting for a match to populate. But on the other hand the most of my deaths came from PC players that are going to have a bit more finesse when it comes to ‘dragging’ the melee kills. With 64 players in a match you can decide to run in head first into a pile of enemies and just start swinging away hoping for the best, but you can also cause team damage as well, so this isn’t always the most viable solution. Also, once you get surrounded by two or more enemies, it’s very rare for you to survive when you’re outnumbered.

While there’s no traditional narrative or story, you do get some speeches you’d expect to see in a movie just before the two sides clash against one another, getting you hyped for the upcoming battle ahead. The sounds of war are brutal, as weapons clashing makes a distinct sound, as does your team mates utilizing their battle cry as they run into the battlefield after a respawn. Some instrumental music plays in the background, adding some ambiance without drowning out the shouts of your teammates and the fierce sounds of combat. Combat not only feels weighty but sounds it as well, the highlight of the Chivalry II experience. Visuals are decent, especially for having 64 player matches and large arenas that you progress in, but the models themselves are a bit dated and there’s not many skins that made me go “wow” and want to drop some real cash on.

There’s a fine balance of arcade-like gameplay that allows anyone to simply jump in and swing a massive halberd around to get some kills, but also a deep enough combat system that allows for refined and purposeful attacks that rewards your skill after hours of practice. While it’s a grind to unlock all of the subclasses and gear, it never become a frustrating chore, as I’m always happy to jump into one more battle to add a few more heads to my glorious collection.

**Chivalry 2 was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**




Overall: 8.5 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 9.0 / 10

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