More Than A Fleshwound: Chivalry – Medieval Warfare

By Adam Smith on September 21st, 2012 at 12:00 pm.

He doesn't know his knee from his neckbone

I had a jolly good time with Chivalry when I played it at Gamescom. In fact, I intended to write more about the siege I participated in, pouring boiling oil onto bots and firing a ballista with such unerring accuracy that men were affixed to castle walls in a most entertaining fashion. Then, as so often happens, something else distracted me. The release date for the multiplayer medieval murderfest is now set for October 16th and I’m hoping to rally the troops before then, leading the brave knights of RPS into combat and then giggling as they flop about on the floor entirely bereft of limbs. The combat is surprisingly tactical, which this gloriously violent trailer doesn’t particularly care to demonstrate.

When there are heads to be lopped off, I will never use a ranged weapon unless I am forced to by circumstance. That’s the sort of personality trait that really wins over new acquaintances.

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56 Comments »

  1. mrmalodor says:

    So what is the difference between this game and War of Roses?

    • Zankmam says:

      This is what I want to know.

      Chivalry or War of Roses – Wat do?

      • FloorBelow says:

        As someome with near 500 hours in Warband multiplayer, and who is also in the WOTR beta, I feel obliged to comment:

        WOTR’s combat feels like the devs were aiming for a slightly more realistic Warband, while still being easy-to-understand and ‘arcadey.’ IMO, they didn’t pull it off. Combat feels slow and unwieldy, and players handle like tanks more than they do people. The player’s bounding boxes are so big and the weapon ranges so small that the only way to reliably hit someone with anything shorter than a greatsword is to hold W and swing wildly. there’s no momentum system, and you can run the same speed in all directions, so there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from running backwards and spamming attacks (which is what most people end up doing.) The armour system, while it seems a neat idea, just means that everyone takes plate and doesn’t even have to worry ’bout blocking. There’s also no hitstun, so it’s more profitable just to spam attacks and never even try blocking.

        On the other hand, Chivalry looks amazing. I haven’t played it, but from what I’ve seen it’s much more fast paced and skill based than WOTR. There’s no money system (though you do choose primary weapon, secondary weapon, and special ability at spawn) so fights are almost purely skill-based. Attacks seem to have momentum, and so does movement, so footwork is inportant. Animations are better telegraphed and attacks are much less sluggish. There is a perfect collision detection – attacks will hit exactly where you see the weapon go. And the camera is much, much better. WOTR’s camera is for some reason placed so low that you litatally cannot see yourself block down or thrust with a one-hander.

        Yeah, I’d pick Chivalry.

        • wodin says:

          and that from a beta tester..says it all..Chivalry for me.

        • zaphod42 says:

          Thankyou for this! Just what I needed!

        • mrmalodor says:

          Mkay, Chivalry it is. I’ll poke you with a halberd if it sucks.

        • derbefrier says:

          though i have never played mount and blade this is a fair criticism of the beta. The game desperately needs a stamina system or something to actually make your choice in armor and weapons mean more than how much damage you do or can take. The result of this as you said is everyone will be running around in heavy plate armor with the biggest sword they can find. Dark Souls i thought handled this issue quite well with their stamina system, big weapons do tons of damage but are very slow and tend you leave you wide open after a swing, heavy armor weighs you down and greatly affects your mobility compared to lighter armors and so on. For all its faults though WotR is still a pretty fun game in my opinion but obviously it still needs quite a bit of work. The good news it seems like every day i turn on steam the beta updates, they seem to be working hard on it. the bad news is i have been too wrapped up in Borderlands 2 to test out any improvements

        • gritz says:

          Thanks for this. It’s pretty baffling that a comparison this obvious has yet to be addressed by one of the RPS writers.

        • SexualHarassmentPanda says:

          I’ll chime in here and say, while I enjoyed the WotR alpha and beta, the arcade elements get in the way of things. The finishing moves and resurrection mechanics take away from the deathmatch style since you never truely kill your opponent until you fire off a canned face stab animation which leaves you defenseless for several seconds. This wouldn’t be so bad, but it happens on every single kill as a melee unit. I’ve heard crossbow can insta-kill people with headshots, but there really should be more fatalities from the other weapons. Right now the most effective point scoring is coming from face stabbing or reviving every downed person you see, which gets old after the 50th or so time. The combat, while servicable, is also nowhere near as smooth as M&B.

        • Syra says:

          So what you’re saying here is the grass is greener on the other side, and you don’t actually know anything about chivalry from first hand experience.

          Thanks for clearing that up!

        • syntax says:

          And as someone in the Chivalry Beta (and WoTR for what it matters), this game is _awesome_. Combat is great, very meaty and varied, and also well balanced. Graphically it looks nice, and the community is tight-nit. The devs are very interactive, they are on the servers every night and you can play with them and ask questions. I once participated in a slow motion (the devs turned it on server-side) spear wall with all of the developers, great fun.
          Here is a video I made showing dueling other players. It shows how varied the combat is.

    • Simas says:

      War of the Roses is a blatant copy of Mount & Blade while Chivalry is more unique and innovative. There.

    • SimulatedMan says:

      I’d like to know if either of them understand the concept of footwork. For good examples of this, see for instance Oni or Dark Souls. For bad examples, see almost all games that do melee combat, including M&B.

      Easy test: Does swinging a weapon in any way affect your movement?

    • Mattressi says:

      Chivalry is first person, while WotR is third person, for starters. WotR has combat more like M&B (though, seemingly slower), while Chivalry has combat like the Chivalry source mod – the former is a lot about blocking and swinging in different directions, while Chivalry is a little more about timing and rock/paper/scissors mechanics with the classes. I found Chivalry (the mod) to be more varied in combat/mechanics than M&B. Also, Chivalry seemed less unbalanced. M&B has a steep learning curve which doesn’t peak for a long time – the more you play, the better you get. Someone who’s played 1000+ hours simply won’t die to someone (or even a large group) of people who’ve only played 50-100 hours. I’ve seen players who’ve played 3000+ hours who can take out an entire 15-man team by themselves…naked…with a wooden staff as a weapon. Chivalry, from what I saw, was/is more balanced regarding skill level. Certainly skilled players would do much better, but not so much that people literally could not kill them.

      Also, this is coming from a guy with 1400+ hours in Warband. I only played Chivalry a little before it died, so I don’t have a huge amount of experience with it. I’m certainly not biased towards Chivalry.

      I think both WotR and Chivalry will be good games, but there will be a big difference between them in terms of combat/mechanics/balance.

      • tigershuffle says:

        I played the source-mod aeons ago too……found it a bit too run n gun/slash at the time so I stuck with M&B.

        As ‘simulated man’ states no game seems to have got the balance of wielding a heavy blunt weapon. You really should have to think about your strike. Running around Warband maps with a Maul permanently in the overhead position whilst jumpin in circles in plate armour is one of my pet hates.

        Give us fun and a little bit of realism with regards stamina etc or you will end up with just another slasher/spam fest.

        • Mattressi says:

          I completely agree with you. I also hated the “lolstab” as it became known – stabbing with the greatsword while spinning, somehow did piercing damage, confused the crap out of the opponent (who has just been “stabbed” by a fully extended sword which smashed into his head, when the opponent had actually started stabbing 90 degree away from him) and apparently even added damage due to the spinning motion of the stab.

          I’d love to see more mechanics added so that it’s not completely about having the fastest/most correct reactions, as Warband was. Also, as you said, making the combat less horribly unrealistic. I remember the weapon hits not annoying me as much in Warband as in Chivalry (Chivalry really seems to amplify the whole “sword flies straight through a man as if he weren’t there”, whereas Warband didn’t make it as noticable).

          • syntax says:

            Blunt weapons take a huge amount of timing in Chivalry. Also, the “lolstab” issue is gone as you have limited turning once you initiate an attack.

          • Mattressi says:

            Excellent! Thanks for your replies in this thread – I haven’t heard from someone who’s played the Chivalry alpha/beta, so it’s good to hear that it’s doing well combat/mechanics-wise. Looks like I’ll be picking up Chivalry and only considering WotR, at this rate.

    • MrLebanon says:

      so which one do I throw my money at?

  2. ZIGS says:

    Embed video doesn’t show?

  3. f1x says:

    Looks good, even if “collisions” are a bit awkward sometimes
    And that head exploding… Lol

    Anyway, for us that have not played and cant remember about the last article, how is the combat controlled actually, it seems that you can sort of choose how to move your sword? at least the angle or something, I take that from how they block in the videos the combat system is a bit more complicated than it seems?

    • olemars says:

      Blocking works much the same way as in M&B, although timing is far more important. Attacks are completely different. You have your standard forehand slash (can be followed up with a backhand slash), a stab and an overhead strike, each with their separate key mapping (the default is a bit awkward). You can also feint, dodge, kick, shield bash and charge, depending on class

    • Kuromatsu says:

      What’s insane is that Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is an outright PLEASE-USE-ME template for First Person melee combat. Yet everyone’s hung up on the Let’s-swing-a-sword-like-a-crowbar-model-replacement gameplay.

      Not to mention games that have tried for a more analogue method of controlling strikes. Wasn’t melee combat in the middle ages more about stabbing than slashing?

    • syntax says:

      As well as what others have said, you can feint, which turns out to be a very important tactic against other players.

  4. razgon says:

    I want to like these games, but the fact that the weapons always pass right through the body without anything to stop it has always left me cold. Except for blocked attacks of course, but on the video you can see there’s little to no substance at all to the bodies of enemies you attack. They might as well have been made out of air.

    • syntax says:

      Yeah having weapons accurately stop sounds good on paper, but the Chivalry devs tried it in an Alpha build and I can tell you it takes the fun right out of using a sword.
      So in terms of balance and fun gameplay, it’s better the way it is.

  5. Warduke says:

    It’s educational videos like these that leave me wondering if a mace could truly decapitate someone.. Hmmm… Off to breakfast!

    Game is looking pretty good I’d say though.. looks like it would be fun w/ some mates.

    • Zanchito says:

      Of course a mace can decapitate anyone! You just have to swing it very, very hard.

  6. Davee says:

    I found WotR to be pretty fun, but lacking in some areas. Right now I’m leaning more toward Chivalry (I loved the Source Engine mod) for my next melee-combat-oriented action game after I played (and modded) M&B Warband to death some time ago. :)

  7. Kohlrabi says:

    Does this game have mounted combat like M&B or WotR?

  8. Gurrah says:

    I’m sorry, but seeing a two-handed sword just disappear in a model and a bit of splatter being the only indication of there having been a hit (sorry about the pun) just doesn’t cut it anymore, especially when this is supposed to be a game about cutting things (people) with big sharp things (swords). It’s 2012, there’s DirectX11, people don’t need radiators anymore because their graphics cards can keep an average room at a nice and cozy temperature – make it happen. As it is I am not impressed, nice shaders aren’t everything.

    • derps says:

      ಠ_ಠ

    • Reapy says:

      Chiv is a small independent team, not a AAA studio. In beta so far the gameplay is very fun and accessible, and I’d say one of the things done best is a good visceral feeling to weapon impacts. It’s a bit different in full speed (if this is the slow,o trailer, it’s not showing on my iPad)

      • Gurrah says:

        Being small and independent doesn’t really mean anything nowadays, have you seen what the Overgrowth-guys are doing with damage indication? It’s gut wrenching to be honest but it looks amazing and this frankly is the kind of thing I’d like to see nowadays with the new tech that’s floating around.

        • derps says:

          Don’t make me repeat myself.

          • Gurrah says:

            Repeat the rather cryptic sign you posted in answer to my comment? Please do, I’m amazed you can conjure such a sign with a regular keyboard. But I’m guessing you are not in agreement with me, might I ask why?

          • MrLebanon says:

            ಠ_o

        • wodin says:

          yeah and how long have they been working on that game..and they really still don’t have an actual game as such yet…

        • syntax says:

          Overgrowth is using a built-from-the-ground-up engine that is able to do anything Wolfire devs want it to do. Chivalry is using UE3, and the dev statement on character damage indication other than decapitation is that they are severely limited by the engine.
          Also, Overgrowth just traces blood lines along the plane of weapon/character intersection. Effective, but not that high-tech.

      • f1x says:

        The thing is that is indeed not related to budget,

        when weapons clash in the video is perfectly fine, the collision is visible and realistic

        when a weapon collides with a body then its a another thing, it makes it looks like the bodies were just made of air, I’m sure they will improve this because its a bit strange at the moment
        Other example is at some point you can se a swinging sword barely touching a neck and half a second after the head is flying away in an arc

        I’m sure the game will be awesome, I’m quite excited for it but some things definitely need to be polished

    • syntax says:

      I asked the devs about this a while ago, they said it’s a UDK/Unreal Engine limitation.

  9. wodin says:

    This was the game I was thinking about in the WOTR comment. looks loads better than WOTR which to be honest is a cut down M&B without the single player aspect…

  10. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    Decapitating 3 armored men with one strike. Now that’s one sharp sword.

  11. wodin says:

    Those who fought in those days must have had massive bollocks…not literally obviously as that would have been abit of a problem I feel…

  12. Danny says:

    Thanks RPS, this post reminded me to process my credit card payment for Kickstarter, as they couldn’t charge me initially.

    Bring on October 16th! Finally another good MP melee game on the PC, after Rune and M&B: Warband?

  13. Dezztroy says:

    This looks neat, but it seems like they don’t simulate armor at all? Seeing a man wearing a steel helm die from a sword slash to the head is a bit silly.

    • MrLebanon says:

      lets test it!

      Go put a metal bucket on your head and I’ll hit you in the head with a baseball bat and see how long until you fall :D

    • syntax says:

      In the game currently, blunt weapons do much more damage to armor than swords. However it visually looks the same.

    • remoteDefecator says:

      Had the exact same thought. Game looks freakin cool, but man, the dismemberments look like Fallout, which is not a compliment.

  14. Ostrego says:

    As someone who has played Warband, the wotr beta, as well as Chivalry at their booth, I’d have to say that Chivalry does everything right that wotr does horribly wrong. It understands the need for a stamina bar, first and third person camera, a gritty medieval experience, as well as amazing fps melee mechanics. You can fake strikes to throw people off, you can knock off helmets, perform decapitations, and it definitely doesn’t suffer from Wotr’s poorly handled executions. Hands down, Chivalry.

  15. Mrice says:

    Oh! Fantastic! The old source mod i used to love seems to have turned into a full fledged game! They even took down the old website. This is awsome. I cant wait for a polished version of that combat.