If Quentin Tarantino made a video game, that video game would probably look something like “Chivalry”. Within fifteen minutes of playing “Chivalry” you will be decapitated, disembowel a knight, watch a man clutch the stump of his severed arm, and have your skull caved in with a warhammer.
I’ve heard “Chivalry” called “Call of Duty in medieval times”, but I don’t feel that comparison does the game justice. However, there are some similar elements. Both games feature simple gameplay and fast-paced multiplayer matches. Objectives aren’t much more complex than, “Kill the other team more than they kill you”, and both games feature an abundance of weapons.
“Chivalry” looks like a AAA big-budget game, but it was actually made by independent developers at Torn Banner Studios. It is the studio’s first commercial release, and they’re very proud of it. “You control the action,” they say on their website for the game. “Not like Assassin’s Creed where you press one button to do a triple back flip and kill five guys, in Chivalry you individually select each action that your character performs and always retain full control. This allows the player to perform expert level maneuvers, like ducking under or jumping over [their] opponent’s strike. This is important because when you die, you die at your opponent’s feet. The game gives a true sense of competitiveness.”
Deaths are especially gruesome due to the game’s deathcam. After a player has been mortally wounded, their vision blurs and their body slumps to the ground. Players often see their victorious enemy taunting above them in some fashion. On one occasion, this monster of a knight used his warhammer to play croquet with my severed head. Even in death, “Chivalry” is entertaining.
Despite the unforgiving gameplay and realistic graphics, “Chivalry” is hard to take seriously. That’s a good thing, and it was part of the design. Players know that the game is supposed to be goofy from the very beginning, thanks to their personal trainer named “Captain Neckhole”. When spying on other players, it’s not uncommon to see two knights put away their swords and begin punching each other to death. Of course, it’s not too long before a man with a spear impales both of them, and only a moment after that receives an arrow to the throat. Players can’t help but snicker when the spearman makes a horrible death gurgle, drowning in their own blood. That’s part of the game’s sadistic beauty.
However, there are a lot of annoying bugs in Chivalry, and it’s constantly being updated to address these issues. Cheaters often exploit glitches, minimizing the window is not possible, not all text features work appropriately, and there are complaints of balance issues. There are currently only four selectable characters, and some have very strong advantages over others. Torn Banner hopes to work on these bugs in the future, and also add new features. The studio is looking to add new weapons to the game, as well as customizable helmets. That way, the clean-up crew can identify who’s severed head it was they found in the well.