I skipped over so much of what makes Mordhau great in my Mordhau review. Yes, it’s a multiplayer medieval melee where 64 swordboys duke it out in hectic battles, then retire to duel servers for more sophisticated brawling. Yes, there’s a cool customisation system. Yes, it’s hilarious. But I don’t think I properly stressed how silly it all is.
This video of two men running around a battlefield as shirtless boxers does though.
In the (typically) 64 player Frontlines mode, at least one person normally goes topless. They typically attack with frying pans or lutes, embracing a joy de vivre that usually gets them killed. Not so with “In Pu”, and his boxing buddy “Machofish”.
Despite the heavy (and stylish) editing, these are exactly the kind of shenanigans you can expect to see in-game. Mordhau works splendidly as a serious, intense fighting game for seriously intense people who want to get better at swords. It also works fantastically for people who want to goof around, largely thanks to an emote system that I heinously failed to talk about in my review.
You can dance if you want to, you can leave your sense behind. You can shrug, cheer, salute. You can extend your arms in a “come at me gesture” that doubles as a pretend aeroplane. Best of all, you can wag your finger at behaviour you disapprove of. Mordhau would still be silly without those emotes, but with them moments can border on the sublime – especially when combined with manual voice lines. You can access those by tabbing through a pop-up menu, but you can also just press ‘V’ to do a big shout. If you do it as you’re charging out of spawn, people invariably join in. It’s an important button to know about.
Those brawlers capture much, I think, but so does this video I took in a duel server with one of the numerous people who like to roleplay as referees.