FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Chivalry 2 Closed Beta (PC & Xbox Series S)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Chivalry 2 Closed Beta (PC & Xbox Series S)

There is nothing like emerging victorious in the middle of a muddy trench, whilst holding a chicken and declaring your strength. This is just a normal moment in Torn Banner’s sequel to Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. Recently we were given the opportunity to be part of the Chivalry 2 closed cross-play beta. To cover all bases, we managed to dive into both PC and console experiences.

David Carcasole’s Experience (PC, via Epic Games Store)

The first thing that went through my head when I started playing Chivalry II was “I can’t believe I haven’t played this before”. Not Chivalry II specifically, but I hadn’t ever played the first game so I was going into the beta not really knowing what to expect. I love having those moments of disbelief because they usually mean I’ve discovered a game that I end up really liking, and even just from my short time with the closed beta this weekend – I already really like this game. 

Chivalry II is all-out medieval warfare that looks as good as it is fun to play. The only two options within the beta were team objective and team deathmatch, and even in its early state the maps felt quite real and vast, like I actually was a knight of the times. The game can be incredibly immersive at times, and if not for the hilarious ragdoll mechanics bringing me back to reality I’d almost forget this isn’t a pure simulation. 

That’s part of the charm with Chivalry II. It’s both realistic and nonsensical at the same time, while the world around you looks very real as it were a dark, narrative focused RPG – the funny tutorial voice over is making you laugh as you learn how to properly impale whoever’s in front of you. Some of my favourite moments from the weekend weren’t even things that I did, but rather things that happened to me. Like the time I most likely frightened my neighbours as I very audibly cried out for battle along with my character only to be instantly killed by a swarm of enemy soldiers the next moment, and watched my knight’s corpse fall like a ragdoll and get kicked to the side. 

More than just being able to provide great moments of humour with its contrasting design, Chivalry II also has a very complex combat system that accounts for many intricacies such as the weight of your blade, timing of the strike and positioning of your character. Though the tutorial to learn all the different skills you can utilize in combat was long, I appreciated the detail in which the tutorial dealt for the combat. 

As much as it is about the fighting, Chivalry II is about the shared experience with other players. The humour and the combat are great to experience alone but playing with friends can make for a truly amazing time. Unfortunately the crossplay functionality wasn’t working properly for the beta, which did limit co-op options between friends, but that is most likely something that won’t be an issue with the full release. Outside of combat Chivalry II is also an excellent experience with others because of the wide range of gestures and ways to express yourself through your character.

All together Chivalry II is shaping up to be a very fun multiplayer game. The gameplay and combat stay fresh with the multiple classes and weapon choices, and each strike or block feels very weighty making it all the more hilarious when you’re chopping off limbs.

Kyle Gaffney’s Experience (PC, via Epic Games Store)

While the closed beta for Chivalry 2 initially brought on some frustrations due to issues with finding matches with your friends regardless of what platform they were on, the beta quickly proved itself as a title to keep a very close eye on as we approach the release in the coming months.

Jumping right into the tutorial it was brilliant to see the beta deliver on such an in-depth and well-executed introduction to the mechanics, mechanics which would only be somewhat overwhelming without the inclusion of such a guide. The beefy tutorial covers everything from your basic movement and simple combat all the way to advanced combat manoeuvres as well as introducing the role-playing aspect of the game through the emotes and the always entertaining battle cry. Whether or not I was prepared for a true battle upon completion of the tutorial is certainly up for debate, yet it absolutely got me accustomed to the keyboard and mouse controls, and with myself being a console player mostly, this was the biggest hurdle to overcome for me.

After some woes with failing to team up with some fellow JumpCutPlay team members, I eventually bit the bullet and jumped into the fray by my lonesome, accompanied by up to another thirty-one other players per team. Immediately what stands out about the title is that it looks pretty incredible, with the Medieval style being brought to life in all the gorgeous environments across the included four maps here in the beta. Playing on a mid-range PC with a 1660 Super, the game had no issues keeping up with the frantic nature of It all, with heads flying everywhere and anywhere as both teams charged towards each other colliding in an explosion of blood and gore in all its brutal glory.

In many ways, my short time with Chivalry 2 reminded me most of a game such as Star Wars Battlefront 2, a game that has only just recently peaked my interest. With the large-scale battles Battlefront is known for, the combat between lightsaber-wielding heroes and villains, and generally the overall presentation of both games, the comparison is an easy one to make. Like Battlefront, you can quite easily hop into a game of Team Deathmatch and manically swing your sword until it hits something, (often a teammate in my case), or you can truly become a master of the mechanics at play here, ensuring that you can take on the most difficult of encounters while never penalising a player for just wanting a bit of slashing fun. Despite not having a huge amount of time with the beta, it all comes back to that mentioned fun factor with Chivalry 2. While the beta lacked some polish to allow me to see if this could be me and my friends next go to chaotic multiplayer title, it made up for it with the just plain awesome gameplay that will be a real treat for fans of straight-up medieval combat mechanics. Perhaps an open beta down the line could allow more people to check out the title and see what all the fuss is about down the line.

Sam Comrie’s Experience (Xbox Series S)

The notion of porting a predominantly PC orientated experience always seems like an unattractive prospect to me. Despite having spent most of my life as a console preferable gamer, there are some games that feel at home on a keyboard and mouse. Surprisingly, Chivalry 2 manages to step up to the plate and provide a seamless transition to consoles. Whilst I didn’t dive into the much maligned console port of the series predecessor, the reception of it was enough to steer me clear.

Thankfully, not only does Chivalry 2 control well on the Xbox Series S – but it looks the part too. Even with the down-scaled hardware of the S to the big brother Series X, playing at a smooth 60FPS complimented by the elaborately recreated Medieval aesthetic was a joy to behold. My experience with the series comes Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and its fantastic Deadliest Warrior expansion pack that my friends and I spent many evenings dueling within. From the duel etiquette of bowing to exploiting the games combat system for glorious gore, I’m happy to say this joyous fun is present here too.

The closed beta presented players with only two modes (Team Deathmatch and Team Objective) in the form a playlist, unlike the server browser present in the PC version. Team Deathmatch is your run of the mill game-mode, it is Team Objective where the pure steel clashing chaos lies. Given the task of either attacking or defending a town equal to the size of your average Battlefield map, the “easy-to-learn-hard-to-master” combat really sells Chivalry 2‘s worth as a furiously addictive competitive experience. You can absolutely go round lopping to shreds BUT you can also engage others in sweaty duels that are immensely satisfying to win.

Couple this with the simplistic action of “battle-cry” and you are well and truly on your way to becoming a legend to fellow knights. Even with the ill-functioning cross-play features in this beta, I’m confident that Chivalry 2 will deliver the goods come June 8th.

Chivalry 2 is available to pre-order now.

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