Rushing along the mud-soaked battlefield, I threw up my battlecry - which came out more like a whining whimper. My footman wasn't overkeen jumping into battle against the heavily-armored Vanguard troop in front of me, brandishing a Dane Axe over his head. However, I dodged to the right, out of the way of the devastating blow and followed up with a stab of my polearm, hoping to score a hit on the enemy. It was then two more combatants joined the fray, lobbing my arm off. Across the screen the words "It's just a flesh wound" flashed as my character sauted around, flailing about as he bled out. I laughed, remembering my Monty Python, and readied for the next bout.
Chivalry 2 is the sequel to Torn Banner's 2012 Medieval combat sim, Chivalry, which sees teams of the Agatha and Mason orders battle for supremacy. It's over the top, gruesome, and down right hilarious to play, even when you're losing. In fact, it might be one of the few combat games I can play with other people that I don't mind losing the match, because at the end of the day the moment-to-moment gameplay never leaves me bored.
It helps that Chivalry's combat is just as equally wonky and tight as it was before. You'll slash, stab and overhead your enemies with swords, axes, warhammer and more. It's a deadly dance of who can land the first blow and follow it up with devastating effect. Bowmen wreck havoc on the battlefield amongst all the hand to hand combat, providing for some hilarious moments when you're sprinting at full speed at an enemy only to be clotheslined by an oncoming arrow to the face.
The combat in Chivlary 2 has seen some improvements as well. You'll still use the mouse as your main way of aiming and attacking (assuming you're playing on PC). Turning a strike into your opponent can mean the difference between striking first of getting caught by their blade. Learning to predict an opponents moves and starting your own attack before they connect can result in a counter attack, leaving your opponent vulnerable. Dodging is key too to stay alive, something that is seemingly forgotten amongst the outrageous melee that happens in every fight.
It's a ton of fun to run at an enemy and start to engage in an honorable duel - though it is rare if the people around you let it continue as just a duel. It's hilarious when you respawn and are running into battle, only to turn around and see your friend crawling on the ground, an enemy stabbing him in the back as he howls in laughter on Discord. Rushing a bulwark in a seige tower only to be met with a line of vanguard knights with bowmen support is both challenging to breakthrough, and hilarious when you don't initially. At least for me.
It's this mindless fun of hacking and slashing my way to victory with my friends (assuming we don't crash or a display driver fails, as would be all too common during our hundreds of hours playing the original Chivlary back in the day) that makes the multiplayer combat game so attractive. While it's defiitely not an MMO (seriously 64 people isn't massive when you consider the battles fought in other MMOs - like the 12 thousand people who tried to participate in an EVE Online battle a few months back) but it feels like the perfect amount for the team objective missions. These missions see one team defending a keep while the other is attacking. Some have you scale walls using the aforementioned seige towers, while another sees you battering down the gates with battering rams.
One fight we had saw my team trying to take a narrow bridge, creating a chokepoint for the enemy to trap us in. Across the bridge archers set up raining arrows down on us while we pushed forward. This battle lasted a few minutes with it seemingly going back and forth the whole time, though in the end the enemy team held and we lost. But I didn't feel discouraged. We fought valiantly, almost taking the bridge and taking down the banners that was our objective. Instead, I found myself laughing with my friends about how we could possibly do things better next time in order to take it - or just join the defenders in order to win one.
Chivalry 2's beta reignited my desire to play this when it comes out in June. It's been a while since I've had just pure, mindless fun while playing a game. I wasn't worrying about missing a skill in a rotation or playing a raid boss incorrectly, causing us to redo the fight. Instead, when I got teamed up by seven enemy knights, seeing my body crumple to the ground, all I could do was laugh. It's good, mindless fun. And I've missed it.