Highly addictive, comical, and loads fun! Quite a breath of fresh air in the first person action world!
The gameplay has a short learning curve, but is just involved enough to keep you on your toes. The training mode does a great job of teaching the various aspects of attacking, blocking, evading, and tricking your opponent. You're placed in an outdoor training ground with different sections for each aspect of combat, ranging from basic attacking and blocking to more advanced techniques such as combos and feinting. At the time I write this review, the archery portion of the training is bugged and cannot be completed, however, it doesn't take long to pick up online. Archery is especially challenging because you have to predict where you're target is going, and at long distances you have to account for the arrow drop. Like most first person shooters, a head shot will take someone out faster than a body shot (this applies to melee too). I've read a couple of reviews that complain of archers being useless in melee combat. Granted, they can't take much of a beating and only carry a dagger, they're still quite capable of dispatching a knight if played properly.
More on melee...
Each different attack has a set amount of speed, range, and damage, so you really have to watch your opponent closely and plan your next move accordingly. Where you aim your attacks matters, too. If you're swinging high your opponent can crouch and take a quick jab at your gut. If you're swinging at his feet he can jump and land an overhead strike, splitting your skull in half. If you're blocking, a well-aimed jab can poke its way right between your arm and your shield. You can even use the environment to your advantage by lovingly kicking your opponent into a spike wall or off of a cliff. Combat can be quite intense and sometimes down right nerve-racking, and that's what makes it so addictive.
There are 4 classes in Chivalry, each offering a different play style. Archers are obviously your ranged class; nimble rogues that can't take much damage, but can down an enemy with a single head shot, or finish off a wounded opponent with an arrow to the knee. The Man-at-arms is your lightly armored, small arms wielding agile class that comes equipped with a handy dodge feature. They're great for fast hit-and-run approaches, but like the archer, will go down in just a couple of well executed power shots to the sternum. The Vanguard is your standard soldier class capable of dealing high melee damage with long reaching polearms and broadswords. They can handle a reasonable amount of damage. The Vanguard comes equipped with the ability to charge into battle with a very powerful lunge attack that will usually dispatch a foe with a single hit. The heavily armored slow-moving Knight is capable of sustaining the most damage while also dishing out a fair amount of their own. The knight consumes the least amount of stamina. Learn more about stamina when you buy the game.
There are 2 siege weapons in Chivalry, each with its own unique role. The ballista is fairly accurate and a guaranteed 1 shot kill, but takes a while to reload. Just like archery, you have to predict your target's movement and aim ahead. It has a very small amount of splash damage, so you can sometimes explode someone's feet if you get just close enough. The catapult is very powerful and offers a wide area of splash damage, but it is very slow and you're often times unable to see where you're launching. This often results in lots of friendly casualties. Lastly, you're highly vulnerable while operating siege equipment.
One more creative way of dispatching foes from afar is the boiling oil, currently only found on one map. You can't see below where the oil will be falling, so you have to communicate with the team to correctly time your pot toppling knight roast.
The voice acting in Chivalry does a superb job of adding to the atmosphere. The accents are perfect, just like what you could expect from any well produced full length feature film. You have a list of emotes ranging from a simple "yes" or "no" to taunting, laughing, and riling up the group. You also have a battlecry that does a fine job of tickling the adrenal glands when you're running in a group of 20 other soldiers all screaming "FOR AGATHAAA YEAAAAAAA!!!" The most interesting part of the emotes is each one has a list of about 4 or 5 variants it randomly cycles, so you may first hear "no" and then you may hear "we are in disagreement" the second time. It really builds the mood when you're defending a cart of dead bodies with your buddies and everyone is screaming "HOLD YOUR GROUND! WE FIGHT HERE LADS!" Yes, there is a scenario in which the enemy is pushing a cart of dead bodies through the woods and you have to defend it, if you play blue.
More on sound...
I absolutely love the ambiance in Chivalry. From the clashing of steel swords and armor, to the whisps of arrows narrowly missing your head or clinking off a shield, to the distant battlecries and pleas for help from your allies and foes on the battlefield, the sounds really pull you in. I'm also a musician, so quality sound is kind of a big deal to me.
You'll hear people complaining about bugs, and Chivalry isn't without it's fair share of them. Sometimes your block just won't work and you have to cycle through weapons to get it back on track. Sometimes you'll spawn with your fists out instead of your weapon (yes you can take the mike tyson punch out approach to combat). I've noticed a couple of times the sound will completely cut out upon joining a server, and come back if I disconnect. Could be my audio driver, who knows. A simple reboot fixes it. Most of the bugs are very minor and far from "game-breaking" as some extremists so carelessly label. I have yet to come across any bugs that hinder my ability to enjoy the game. They have already released one patch, so the developers are clearly aware of and working the issues.
For $25 I'd say this game is worth every penny. It has massive potential and is so underrated. Everyone I talk to online absolutely loves the game. There's plenty of room for expansion/modding. I can't wait to see what else it can do.