Chivalry: Medieval Warfare Review

By Marc Hollinshead, 10 months ago
Previously released on PC, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare received many favorable reviews and sold a reasonably high amount of copies. Since then, the game has come to last gen consoles and hasn't seemed to live up to its reputation on PC. Now, current gen consoles have been given the chance to show off the brutality of battle with a new mode and a few improvements, but has the title managed to reclaim its former glory?

This is going to get messyThis is going to get messy

Chivalry follows an increasingly regular trend of being a multiplayer only game. Apart from a quick training mode to get you to grips with the basics of combat and the specific classes, the only gameplay is against other players. A distinct lack of content is noticeable right from the start, and a singleplayer mode would have added variety, however this omission doesn't hinder the game as much as one might think.

There is no actual story in Chivalry, but it does a satisfactory job in giving the player context as to why two factions are so eager to lacerate each other. The fictional world of Agatha is host to a civil war between the Agatha Knights, an elite company of loyal soldiers to the kingdom, and the Mason Order, former Agatha Knights who have left the ranks to take the region for themselves. Matches will be played across varied landscapes and villages with numerous weather types as both factions battle it out in first-person, but particular maps are better suited for certain modes. The developers promised many maps and locales to play in, and there are a few memorable areas that shine above the rest, but that number feels too small. You will quickly cycle back through previously experienced maps, and map voting will regularly be favoured towards the same areas.

If this area appears as an option for the next match, you bet your Xbox you'll be thereIf this area appears as an option for the next match, you bet your Xbox you'll be there

Chivalry gives you access to a total of four different fighter classes. Archers are self explanatory. Their main focus is using powerful arrows to take enemies out from a distance but if opponents get within melee range, they are able to switch to a light weapon to put the fight on more of an equal footing. This class is slightly harder to use efficiently as extra skill is required to take out other players, and they are much more vulnerable to damage. Therefore they become easy prey when spotted by others.

The next available class is the Man-At-Arms. If you go with this fighting style for a match, agility and skillful use of your shield will be the key to success. This class focuses on using lighter weapons and armour to quickly move across the battlefield, but they still remain very unpopular. This is because they don't have the benefit of fighting at a long distance like archers, and their weak weapons and armour struggle to take down the heavier classes quickly. If you desire a safer option that can get you plenty of kills, the next two classes will be more to your liking.

The Knight is the complete opposite of the Archer and Man-At-Arms. They wield heavy armour, giant shields, swords and powerful two-handed weapons to slice through anyone nearby. They greatly suffer in speed because of this, but their damage output is much greater and they are certainly more helpful for survivability. Their weapon choice is fairly diverse as well, due to the option of playing it safe with a shield, or focusing on pure damage with a heavy battleaxe.

Last, but by no means least, we have the Vanguard. This class easily reigns supreme on the field as they are the "all rounder." They are more agile than the Knight, but are far more powerful than the Archer and Man-At-Arms. Vanguards primarily use long two handed weapons with a wide range and, for the most part, they have extremely efficient weapons at their disposal. It is clear that they are the most popular class of the four due to their all-rounded nature and players regularly pick them. You're able to change your class whenever you like, even mid-match, but if the Vanguard is your first choice, chances are you'll stay with them for the remainder of the fight. Balancing issues feel all too common because of how overpowered Vanguards are, so unfortunately a couple of classes, especially the Man-At-Arms, are left out in the lurch.

This shield doesn't feel all that helpful right nowThis shield doesn't feel all that helpful right now

Despite being a multiplayer only game, the console version of Chivalry has taken away a couple of the PC modes and replaced them with just one other team-based mode. Horde mode is a new addition, which is exactly like you'd expect; you'll be working together with other players to destroy waves of increasingly difficult enemies. Strangely enough, there are only two maps to choose from, and one is clearly more creative than the other. "Horde Town", already hinting at its inferiority with its unimaginative name, is a fairly small map where, as the Mason Order, you'll be taking down the Agatha Knights and the town they are protecting. Where this map falls down is that on the harder waves, players will quickly die from the crazy amount of enemy spawns and it eventually becomes a frantic chase against the remaining few players, as they aimlessly run from the horde. This map doesn't feel as exciting as it should, and giving up will occur often.

The crypt is the only other available horde map, but thankfully it fairs much better. Brand new undead enemy types are used here and the map itself is interesting to navigate through. Once again, it can still be easy to become overwhelmed by enemies and getting trapped on a narrow staircase occurs regularly, but in terms of the fun factor, it's executed well.

A mode unique to Chivalry is Duel. Upon loading the mode, you will be placed into a list with other players with the option of automatically beginning a match with any one of them, or specifically challenging someone of your choosing. A win/loss count will appear next to each person to help you choose wisely, and once you begin, you'll be in a one-on-one fight and attempt to win a two round match against a player. While this can be fun for a time, as it tests your fighting skills in a new way, the game is clearly designed for larger scale battles and so Duel is overshadowed by the other modes.

Time those parries efficiently!Time those parries efficiently!

The other four modes on offer are Team Objective, Team Deathmatch, Free for All and Last Team Standing. Team Deathmatch and Last Team Standing are simple enough, asking your team to eliminate the other until they're all dead or you get the most points. Free for All is an all-out deathmatch against everyone and can be extremely chaotic and entertaining.

Team Objective is the most interesting mode available due to specific tasks being required of both teams to win and it plays out for the longest amount of time. For contextual reasons, the Agatha Knights are regularly in defensive roles and the Mason Order carry out offensive roles, apart from a few exceptions. Breaching defenses, killing kings, escorting bomb carts and destroying trebuchets are what comes with playing as the Mason Order, whereas the Knights usually have to keep the Order at bay for the allotted time. This mode portrays the concept of Chivalry the best, as war-torn landscapes regularly take precedence over calmer ones, but there is a problem with it. The Order seems to have the upper hand as the time needed for the Knights to successfully defend is far too long. Fifteen minutes is sometimes needed to constantly hold off enemy players from destroying a bridge and this is more than enough time for the rebel faction to break through and slaughter their former comrades. This is counteracted, though, with the fact that there are multiple objectives in a match and only one needs to be defended for the Knights to win. Regardless, the odds are always tipped towards the Order.

Although there isn't much in the way of content, Chivalry's main selling point is the combat. Whatever mode you're in, you'll always be swinging, throwing, or shooting something at a player. Brutality has been emphasised so heads will be decapitated, blood will spurt and battle cries will be heard throughout your playtime. This helps to convey the harsh reality of war, but the mechanics aren't up to scratch. Instead of quick, fluid movements, weapons end up swinging at a snail's pace and it can be difficult to determine whether your attack has actually connected with anyone or not, and when I say anyone, I mean anyone. You can hurt those on your team just as much as the opposition, and when you enter a large group, accidentally killing the wrong person will happen often. To make matters worse, the game punishes you for damaging your own team members by increasing your respawn time. Punishing you for something that can't be avoided is baffling, but putting up with it is all that can be done. There was also plenty of potential for a fantastic soundtrack to accompany the grand battles, but only when a match is nearing its end will music play, so the sound of steel clashing with flesh accounts for almost all of the in-game audio.

Maps for Team Objective can be largeMaps for Team Objective can be large

Despite its many pitfalls, Chivalry somehow still manages to be enjoyable. Progression only comes in the form of unlocking new weapons through killing with another enough and so ranking up is practically pointless, but flailing your sword into a group of players is surprisingly entertaining. Free for All shows this off in all its glory, due to everyone being against each other. The "Arena" map is obviously loved by all, and seeing every player charging into the middle for a violent death fest is genuinely hilarious. The adrenaline rush as you race to your team's aid in other modes can be just as thrilling and so the awkward mechanics do have a somewhat unusual charm to them.

The last gen version of the game was known to have a mass of bugs that didn't help it in the slightest, and fortunately this version isn't as prone to problems. However, it is still a severely unpolished game that looks like it came from the original Xbox. It barely passes from a graphics standpoint, and its clunky design makes it feel outdated. Both horde enemies and players alike will inelegantly bump against objects and each other, and the hilarity of five players simultaneously slashing each other is probably not what the developers were aiming for. To its credit, anyone can jump into the game without feeling too underpowered or useless.

Chivalry's achievement list is extremely basic, mirroring that of the last gen version. While there are a few interesting challenges, the majority of the 1,000G will come from ranking up to 20 and unlocking all the game's weapons. It's not a hard list as far as multiplayer games go, but you'll need to rack up a good number of kills to have it in your completed games list.


In this day and age of gaming, we are used to high-end graphics and extremely fluid controls and mechanics. Chivalry: Medieval Warfare doesn't really fit the bill in that respect. It's not a pretty game and it lacks in content as well as having slightly awkward mechanics. However, there are decent maps to be seen and a couple of the modes work very well for the game, namely Team Objective and Free for All. You'll get frustrated with the game deign, but also laugh out loud at how ridiculously entertaining it can be at times. It's a bit pricey for what it is, but the achievement lovers among us will be drawn in by a doable list. Chivalry is clearly not the best that current gen consoles can offer, but at least it's not a complete trainwreck.
2.5 / 5
  • Decent modes and maps for specific fights
  • Unintentionally funny at times
  • Very unpolished
  • Battles don't feel as fluid as they should be
  • Missed opportunity with lack of soundtrack
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent over ten hours shedding blood on the battlefield in all modes as both factions and earned 11 achievements along the way. A digital Xbox One code for the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Marc Hollinshead
Written by Marc Hollinshead
To summarize Marc in two words, it would be "Christian Gamer." You will usually find him getting stuck into story heavy action-adventure games, RPG's and the odd quirky title when he isn't raving about Dark Souls and Mass Effect. Outside the world of gaming, Marc attends and helps out in his church on a regular basis and has a not-so thrilling job in a supermarket.