Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior preview: faction warfare

By Ozzie Mejia, Sep 16, 2013 11:30am PDT

Chivalry: Medieval Warfare gave players the chance to take up arms as noble knights. Having Arthurian-style knights battling to the death is fun, but now it's time to shift to the age-old question of who's the deadliest people of them all. Chivalry developer Torn Banner Studios has joined forces with 345 Games to answer that question with the upcoming expansion, Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior, based in part on the popular Spike TV show.

Like Medieval Warfare before it, the idea of Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior is to engage in realistic melee combat, using slashes, thrusts, blocks, and parries to mow down your opponent, often in gruesome fashion. The game will feature six classes. Four of them were playable, as the Ninja and Pirate are undergoing some final tweaks. "We picked these six classes, because based on the show, they were the more popular episodes and they were the ones that got the most attention," said 345 Games senior producer Matt McEnerney.

Each warrior features their own authentic brand of weaponry. For example, the Spartan will wield a spear and shield while the Viking can use a two-handed hammer. Weapons all have their own qualities, like damage, speed, and reach, though many of them will also carry other stats, such as how much damage they do against armored foes. With each warrior able to take unique stats like dual-wielding and heavy shielding into battle, it means they essentially function like classes.

Combat continues aiming for realism, as button-mashing and slashing blindly will get you on the fast track to death. The left mouse buttons and the center wheel are used for attacking, while the right mouse button becomes the much-needed block button. Players not only need to aim their attacks with the mouse, but also need to aim and time their blocks. Failing to do could mean loss of limbs, if not all-out decapitation. With that said, the mouse-based control scheme is easy to get the hang of and the only control that might feel a bit cumbersome is the F key for kicking.

The Deadliest Warrior label also allows Torn Banner to show off their level design chops. There are six stages, each designed to complement each individual warrior. I spent much of my time with the game running across the Ninja's dojos, distinct for its numerous rooftops that allow players to ambush opponents from above. I also got to try out the Spartan's stage, decked out like an ancient Colosseum, complete with a 300-style bottomless pit. And yes, you can kick opponents into it.

Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior is also introducing a couple of new game modes to help add to the spirit of the TV show. Warrior Duel will pit two players in one-on-one combat in smaller arenas, creating more of a fighting game atmosphere. And to truly find out which civilization is the strongest, the expansion is introducing multi-team battles. Up to six teams of up to ten players can do battle, with integrated teams of different warriors or segregated tandems.

I spent the entirety of my time with Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior in a one-on-one setting. I fully agree that these individual battles feel like a sophisticated fighting game. I anxiously await to see the all-out chaos that ensues from full 32v32 battles or even from the 10v10v10v10v10v10 ones. But judging by the characters, stage design, and the addition of class-specific leaderboards, Chivalry is taking the Deadliest Warrior subtitle seriously and is eagerly trying to do the show justice.

The beta for Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior begins later in September with the full expansion expected to release this fall on PC.

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