‘Chivalry II’ is stupid, dark ages fun for the whole family

By Aidan Finn, Staff Writer

Historical shooters have always been a staple of the FBS genre, ever since its inception with “Wolfenstein 3-D” all the way back on DOS machines. What’s more interesting though, is the public’s reception and tolerance to historical shooters. 

To give context, the 2000s were flooded with World War II shooters following the success of “Medal of Honor,” which piggybacked off the success of Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan.” With this trend, it eventually grew to dominate all environments from PC, PlayStation and even Nintendo DS.

Alas with time, it grew stale on gaming audiences, and with a grand finale of “Call of Duty: World at War” in 2008, World War II simply died in the mainstream shooter scene, being overtaken by modern day, counterterrorism inspired settings. Even then it only took another decade more towards the end of 2013 for the genre to die again, with the concluded modern warfare trilogy and highly panned “Battlefield 4” pushing the mainstream to adopt another setting, this time being futuristic shooters. Yet again, and in incredible speed, the genre grew oversaturated with the likes of “Titanfall and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.” A pattern can be seen of the genre wanting to move progressively forward, yet then came “Battlefield 1.” 

A WWI inspired shooter from DICE took the internet by storm, snagging the spotlight from “Call of Duty’s” futuristic game of that year, “Infinite Warfare.” From then on, the floodgates opened to more unconventional historical settings amongst FPS games, with more WWI titles like “Verdun” coming from smaller studios, Cold war proxies were center stage with titles like “Arma Reforge” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.” Even Civil War battlefields were brought to life in “War of Rights” on PC. 

The point here is, the FPS genre has been more bizarrely diverse in the past five years than it has arguably the last two decades. To add to this is likely the most unhinged of settings for a multiplayer FPS game, the medieval era. 

Set some time in the 1400s, “Chivalry II” is a massive multiplayer FPS combat title from Torn Banner Studios that puts the player in the muddy, bloody chivalry of knights in shining armor. Pitting the players into two fictional kingdoms at war, and taking visual inspiration from the crusades and Arthurian legend, it truly is like nothing else seen on the consoles, apart from its less-polished predecessor. 

There is a multitude of weapons at the players’ disposal, as well as various methods of striking opponents from the top and around the side, with multiple combinations of attacks and dodging mechanics to allow skilled and engaging combat. 

All of that completely falls apart the minute you enter into a scuffle. 

The player is then thrust into what is essentially a 64-player game of rock paper scissors, with sudden decapitations and gang attacks of four, sometimes six, on one, being commonplace. You are lucky to even make it a solid minute before having to respawn.

The various maps have authentically themed objectives like pillaging villages for gold and their livestock, killing peasants and destroying churches to establish your divine retribution, all for a good cause as you and your squadmates emote and chant war cries that feel written out of a rejected Monty Python special. 

There is a pure irony and surrealism to the setting of “Chivalry II,” with all the horrific violence and war crimes, being done in a humorous tone, akin to an edgy subreddit or the ramblings of a middle schooler interested in history. Gut laughs and giggles are plentiful, bearing witness to church clergy throwing fish at the invading crusaders and an armless knight taking on three opponents in a display of broken physics. 

Overall “Chivalry II” is one of the weirder FPS games out there, but it completely scratches one’s itch to crusade if one hasn’t thought about knights since they were five, and it will surely make you question why you were obsessed with knights as a kid in the first place. 

Chivalry 2 is available on Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S and Windows.

 

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