Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Torn Banner’s Chivalry is probably the funniest multiplayer game I’ve ever played. It shouldn’t be. The game’s depiction of feudal swordplay is ferociously violent, a montage of amputations, decapitations and eviscerations that would make Vlad the Impaler feel a bit peaky. Opponent’s shriek in agony when separated from their limbs and gurgle bloodily when a well-shot arrow thuds into their ribcage. There’s even an objective based map where the first task is to slaughter a village filled with peasants and burn all their homes.
Thematically Chivalry is utterly horrific. But during play the game is hilarious, thanks mainly to the fluid, unpredictable and ever-so-slightly awkward melee combat. The system seems to have in-built comedic timing, allowing a split-second for you to whisper “buggrit” under your breath between mistiming a block and being brutally beheaded. Hijinks are most prevalent in standard deathmatch, where it’s perfectly acceptable to rush a pair of Knights locked in noble battle and dispatch them both with a single swipe of your poleaxe. It’s Red Wedding levels of chaos and claret, only everyone is having a wonderful time.
While it isn’t short on absurd black comedy, Chivalry still works both as a serious team-based multiplayer and as a pure duelling game. The latter comes courtesy of the post-release “Duel” mode, added when the developers noticed players arranging their own informal tournaments in the deathmatch. Unless you can still find a Jedi Knight II server running in the Internet’s basement, Chivalry is your best bet for multiplayer melee madness.