Cristofer Hess On January 26, 2015 at 11:42 am

Chivalry_LogoChivalry: Medieval Warfare is a game. Any way you look at it, it is indeed an actual game. You can download it, and install it. You can load it up on your Xbox 360. You can even play it. You can! Really! But do you want to? That’s a really good question.

First, let me ask you, the reader, a few questions. Do you like medieval warfare? Are you sure? Does the thought of a game that is kind of like a first-person shooter, but substitutes swords and shields for guns and rocket launchers thrill you? What if I told you combat feels like you’re walking in a vat of maple syrup? And that vat of syrup was located on a far-away long-ago planet that had ten times earth’s gravity? Do you still want to play?

Sheesh, you’ll play anything, won’t you?

Okay, I’m being a little harsh. But just a little. The concept of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is a decent one: single-player or online multiplayer first-person combat, medieval style. Swords, spears, shields and armor, a proper time-appropriate setting, and lots of mayhem and gore. Various game modes as the ever-present deathmatch, last team standing, and capture the flag matches are included, and take place in varying landscapes and interiors: snowy forests, arenas, castles and such. All fine and good. But it’s not executed well.

The first thing you may notice when you fire up the game is that it’s pretty ugly. I’m not super picky about graphics. I love retro indie games, I love actual retro games. Chivalry: Medieval Warfare isn’t retro at all. It just looks outdated, and not very well put together in the first place. Characters are kind of blocky, environments are functional but look pretty bad, and everything just seems kind of generic and bland.

Now, I realize the game is intended to be primarily a multiplayer game, and maybe the graphics needed to be a bit minimal to alleviate a lag and such when played online. But it doesn’t help. There is so much lag that combat is seriously hindered, and sluggish. Moving in the game feels like you weigh a thousand pounds, and the sword is almost too heavy for your character to lift. Swing a weapon, and a couple of seconds later you’ll discover whether or not you struck your opponent. That is, if your opponent is even still standing in the same spot. He may be long gone by time you’re finished attacking, because of the combination of slow movement and lag. Combat completely felt like a random mess of “did I hit this guy?” and “how did he hit me? He’s ten feet away”.

Single player combat is much the same. The tutorial area feels broken, and is not very clear about where you need to go to get more training. The bots I played with and against were a perfect combination of omniscient and utterly stupid. They seemed to know where enemies were with laser-like psychic precision, but when engaging them, missed then when attacking, dancing around like drunk boxers practicing their footwork.

The game seemed pretty unpolished during combat as well. Characters glitching on top and around fences when walking, standing on top of other characters, moving erratically. It wasn’t very smooth at all. Overall, the main point of the game, being a medieval guy fighting other medieval guys, felt sloppy and, ultimately, unsatisfying and repetitive. Yeah, you can customize the look of your character to a degree, swap weapons in your load out and such, but it all just feels so bland and unexciting. And while you have some varying actions during battle, such as differing attacks, blocking, and multiple weapons, I found myself just sticking to one weapon and one attack. I don’t know if this was my failing or the game’s, but I’ll blame the game. I never found a reason to use anything else. So the game became me hammering a button and hoping something connected through the lag.

Side note: Don’t play as an archer. I found winning nearly impossible as an archer, which is usually my favorite class in games. When I switched to any other class, I had a much easier time. Bows and arrows also seemed to be dragged down by this weird gravity that plagued the rest of the game. Drawing was slow, and the arrows seemed to just drop to the ground.

Sound was adequate. Clangs and clashes of battle were appropriate, but not very notable. The voice acting I encountered, minimal as it was, was pretty terrible, if not outright embarrassing. And if there is music in the game, it is so unremarkable that I can’t remember hearing it after having played recently.

Worth noting is the level of violence in Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. The title alone signifies that you should expect some unpleasantness, but the game is gory, almost comical. Heads separate from necks pretty easily, limbs drop to the ground left and right. (Left and right… Limbs… Get it?) But the meaty underbits you get to look at when you take the lid off a guy are pretty nasty, and you see them a lot. Oddly, an arrow to an opponent’s face often results in an exploding head, which seems a little unrealistic to say the least.

To sum it up, if you couldn’t tell, I didn’t enjoy this game. The best thing I can say is that at the time of this writing, the purchase price was only $15. I can see that as mindless, multiplayer action with friends, it might not feel so tedious, and could even be a little fun. Personally, I found it to be more a chore to play than anything. At least the medieval setting was a change from the usual multiplayer arena game settings. It’s just so bogged down by sluggishness, what seems like luck when it comes to targeting and collision, and unpolished graphics and execution that any enjoyment just wasn’t possible.


Sluggish, glitchy movement. Inaccurate hit detection. Lag in multiplayer.


Not terrible, but the game looks old, generic. Had some pop-in.


Functional but unimpressive. Terrible voice acting.


Plagued by unresponsive controls, unbalanced classes, substandard graphics, and lag. More like a chore to play than fun.

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