Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior Review (PC)
The TV show “Deadliest Warrior” did something that no other factual show ever managed to accomplish. Every week, at nine o’clock on Wednesday night, I would ensure I was in my living room, with snacks in hand and drinks at the ready, to watch it. I’d always make sure to take this time out of my video gaming and homework schedule, and that made it all the more special to me. When the show stopped airing in Britain after its second season, I had to go online to watch its third (and final) series.
The success of the show spawned two great fighting games, namely Deadliest Warrior and it’s superior sequel Deadliest Warrior: Legends. Since then, however, DW had fallen into silence, lost in that tragic passage of time and space usually inhabited by great shows cancelled by fox.
Deadliest Warrior is back in the expansion to the PvP battle arena Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and it is better than ever. Rather than the traditional classes from Chivalry (Oh, by the way, you can check out CalmDownTom’s review here) you get to choose from some of your favourite Deadliest Warrior combatants. All of the greats from the first season of the show are here. We’ve got Pirates and Knights, Vikings and Samurai and of course, Spartans and Ninja. Each class comes with its trademark weaponry and appearance; the Pirate wields a flintlock pistol, the Knight a mighty broadsword, and the Spartan has his legendary shield and spear.
The character models and weaponry all look and feel pretty fantastic, as do the environments. There’s real weight behind each swing and thrust, with each weapon given a unique and distinctive animation set. There’s a lot of different ways to do something as simple as swing a sword. You’ve got basic combos, which you execute by mashing the left mouse button, and see your sword flailing wildly from left to right. By using the mouse wheel, though, you get access to some more advanced moves. Sliding the wheel down lets you bring your sword down in an overheard slash that easily bypasses most shields, while rolling the wheel up gives you a long range thrust that can skewer enemies in one go. Interestingly, you can choose to throw certain weapons at your enemies. The Spartan can do this with his spear, while the Viking can toss his swords at enemies. While this is funny and can get you some unexpected kills, you can end up with no weapons left, which essentially guarantees your demise.
Jumping into the games tutorial as a complete novice to the Chivalry franchise, I spent a lot of time in each of the training rooms. I found the offense training really interesting. When you attack, you get shown the information of the movement, lines that change colour to show you the effectiveness of your weapon during each part of the animation. For example, your spears do more damage when at the full extent of their lunge, while your sword does more damage the more you twist your character into the swing. Positioning and timing are everything in this game, and the way the game teaches you this reminded me a lot of the show itself, when Geoff Desmoulin would use one of his ultra-advanced gizmo’s to record each fighters abilities.
My first experience of true glory on the battlefield came during a twenty player free-for-all in which I had opted to play as the Knight. I had just been slain in a 2vs1 fight against a Spartan and a Pirate, and had the good fortune to re-spawn nearby. The pair were locked in combat so, raising my mighty greatsword towards the sky, I charged towards them. The pirate saw me first and stepped away but the Spartan wasn’t so lucky. He turned just in time to see me take his head clean off with a single, brutal strike. Before his body had even hit the ground, I was advancing on the Pirate, swinging and slashing away at him while he tried his best to dodge more than he blocked. I spotted a Samurai heading towards the fight and knew I had to kill the pirate quickly to stand a chance; my stamina was running low and I couldn’t block from two directions at once. I started an overhead slash which he moved to block, but it was a feint and the follow up thrust hit true. Choking to death on his own blood, I rushed past him towards the Samurai. He had charged into the fight and missed his mighty lunge. A fatal mistake.
“Are you not entertained?!”
Sadly, a pesky Pirate had wandered nearby while I was caught up in the glory and managed to use my moment of triumph to line up a shot with his rifle. My head exploded and my killing spree was over. You win some, you lose some, I guess.
Speaking of which, you’ll probably do a lot of losing when you start playing Chivalry. As with all PvP games, there are gamers who have been playing for much longer than you have and the difficult curve of finding your feet in the game can be pretty brutal. But do you want to know something funny? I never found it frustrating. I learned a little in every fight, grew to know which classes I could fight and expect to win, and what sort of battles I should be wary of. There’s a good variety of game modes, so you can experiment with them all to find your favourite. Everything from capture the flag, to free-for-all death-matches, to fantastic, multi-team death-matches which I always thoroughly enjoyed. There’s just something about huge teams of Spartans, Vikings, Knights and Samurai all descending upon each other that I got a real kick out of.
My favourite game mode, hands down, was Duel. After picking your character and weaponry, you spawn in the level of choice unarmed. To challenge an enemy to a duel, all you have to do is punch him. If they accept, you and your opponent get transported to an enclosed duellist arena, where you can have epic 1vs1 battles. My favourite class in the game was the Knight, and I found that while I was usually in the top ten of most leader boards in big games, when it came to Duel, I won round after round. I developed a real sense of satisfaction maintaining my place at the top of the scoreboard, accepting any and all challengers, daring them to dethrone me. Very few were able, but you re-spawn so quickly in most game modes that it’s simply a matter of dying, shrugging your shoulders, and jumping straight back into the fray.
The environments for Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior are all gorgeous, every single one. They’re also satisfyingly varied, with each map featuring a great range of environments from wide, open spaces to areas with multiple levels, and enclosed tunnels. There’s a map for each character, which I thought was a really nice touch; the Viking hails from a frozen fishing village on the coast of Norway, the Pirate can be found amidst the gold-filled caverns and palm-tree lined beaches, and the Spartans fight in a beautiful Greek-style area, complete with a giant pit of death for all your King Leonidas fantasies. THIS IS CHIVALRY!
Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior kicks ass. It kicks a lot of asses, actually. It kicks more ass than pretty much any other game I’ve played in a long time. I couldn’t find anything wrong with the game other than the usual lag issues that come from server-based games, and that’s certainly not the fault of developers Torn Banner Studios. It looks, plays and feels great on the Unreal Engine, and there’s enough variety in the weaponry and environments to keep you coming back for more. All I could ask for is another expansion with even more of Deadliest Warriors finest combatants. I’d love to see a duellist-style class in the form of the Musketeer, a swift, highly mobile killer from the Zande tribes of Africa, or the 300 Rival of the Spartans, the Persian Immortal.
5 decapitated scoundrels out of 5Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior Review (PC),