Chivalry 2 sets you up with its jovial tone almost immediately after booting it up. Even the name is meant to mock itself. Taking these historic scenes of mighty warriors and codes of honour, only to entirely throw it out the window in a mist of team-kills and wild screams.
Luckily, the gameplay is so satisfying and the combat is so rewarding that even Chivalry 2's worst moments are quickly glazed over as you boot up the next game.
Just One More Game
Chivalry 2 does to me what many multiplayer games fail to do - it makes me want to wake up tired.
That joy of playing just one more game when you know you shouldn't. For your insubordination to your sleep schedule, it rewards you with enough blood and guts to make a GTA player feel squeamish. It is absolutely delightful.
The story is nothing special but Chivalry 2 could have zero story and it wouldn't be a problem.
Seeing a war between Mason and Agatha, you must pick your side and fight on their behalf. Agatha are the blue draped loyalists who pledge to the crown and their archaic religion. The Mason Order take up red as their colour and are essentially rebels against the Agathian knights. This choice can be changed at an instant, making no real difference outside of cosmetics.
This being said, one of the best things about Chivalry 2 is its ability to let you roleplay.
As you charge the battlefield, you can start screaming with your character. They will shove their fists in the air and approach their opponent.
The great thing about this is how well your opponents pick up on it. You can often start that wave off and, suddenly, twenty of your fellow soldiers are screaming at the top of their lungs. In some games, this might be a hindrance; in Chivalry 2, it’s genuinely enthralling.
You can customize your characters to make them feel even more your own too but this is fairly limited in scope and one of the least inspired things about Chivalry 2’s approach.
Weapons have a few toned-down reskins but nothing all that interesting. It doesn’t have to be whacky to be interesting either - with just a little extra lore or something more custom, this system could feel much better. There are lots of categories to change like your voice and face but the weapons feel a little less interesting.
This is something that could be much better in the future but feels a little meaningless right now. The general level grind is a lot of fun but I often found myself just not bothering with the customizations. This is a shame, as there has clearly been plenty of work put into it but little of what there is to customize actually feels worthwhile unlocking.
The Bad and The Ugly
This isn’t helped by Chivalry 2’s microtransactions. You can purchase a new currency to buy weapon skins early or the most expensive things outright. It’s a shame to see this from the very start of the game as it takes a little bit of the punch out of unlocking them organically.
Alongside this, there are a few issues that permeated its launch. Server issues were rampant over the first few days and have since resurfaced.
As well as this, map selection is a little sparse right now, with a few of them feeling very similar. Where one map might start with burning down a village or capturing a castle, another might be a small battlefield with little to do. Luckily, this is something intended to be fixed with free updates - something I’m very happy to hear.
Getting the worst parts of the game out the way early is important as I have nothing but praise from here on out.
Chivalry 2's gameplay is varied and fun enough to trample over all the little issues launch is hampered by. The combat, for one, has this great skill ceiling to it where anyone picking up a weapon can cleave someone's head off but a good player can take on an army with it.
All four classes are varied and interesting, with three different subclasses to test out. The ranged classes are deadly but incredibly weak, making them just as annoying as you would think.
Charging into a sniper firing at you or away from a barreling hulk of a soldier comes with an exhilarating thrill that is hard to fully encapsulate. Never knowing if your dodge will clear you out of the swing or if their cheeky bob and weave mechanic will actually get them out of there - this is what makes me want to play over and over again.
Deaths feel fair and consistent - a product of your own ineptitude or poor planning. Hitboxes are accurate and the ability to intentionally mistime swings or choreograph the wrong movement gives this micro strategy to every single swing you make.
Essentially, you have a handful of swing types to use and these can be cancelled or changed on the fly, at the cost of time. If someone is a few paces away and not yet swinging, you may have time to feign a long swing or sly poke.
Although there is strategy to combat, each round is so fun that it often gets left behind with all your coordination and tact.
Why bother to snipe from a distance or hold down a doorway when you can throw your buddies head at someone or bash an enemy with a stale piece of bread. It gives everyone the option to play seriously but hopes they take the funny way out, ready to die and start again.
There’s something to be said about games that prioritise fun above all. Amongst the varied slate of releases in 2021, it's great to see Chivalry 2 thriving.
Chivalry 2 is one of the most fun games I’ve played in years, despite a handful of issues. Luckily, its issues are only skin deep and its sense of fun has kept me up until 3am. Who is the winner here? Everyone except my sleep schedule.
RealSport Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
We reviewed Chivalry 2 on PS5 & Review Code provided by Torn Banner Studios.