Games being rushed out before they’re ready has been an increasing issue over the last few years. While true, that the more complex they become, the more bugs will go unnoticed some games still go through with not nearly enough testing. Battlefield 4 is a great example of this. What does that have to do with Chivalry’s Deadliest Warrior expansion pack? More than you’d want to think.
PROS: New spins on the gameplay. New content. Still very, very fun to play.
CONS: Bugs, and glitches from the beta are still present. Spawn system needs work.
STRANGE: That Spike TV would commission DLC based on a show they already cancelled.
I’m going to get the bad out of the way, because it needs to be pointed out. Deadliest Warrior should have been delayed. A pretty fun experience is hampered by glitches, and inconsistency. While many of the really egregious bugs from the beta (Like the clipping glitches causing players to fall under maps.) have been removed, or fixed there are other pretty glaring ones. The biggest one is a bug that cropped up in the base game after one of the patches that returns here. On some machines, the game doesn’t sync the level progression with Steam properly. As such many players will grind their way to a weapon they enjoy, only to have the game think they’re still on the base weapons when they play again later. This can really be annoying, as when you just get into a set of weapons you like, you won’t be using them if the bug hits you.
Oddly enough, I found my game would be spotty on my experience grinds. Two or three rounds in my stats would “Catch up”, and I would suddenly have the weapons I should have had three games ago. This bug should be Torn Banner’s biggest priority, as the rest of the bugs pale in comparison. Other bugs I ran into were all of the options being listed as “TextField” until I highlighted them with my mouse to see the much more sensible “True”, “High” or “On” one would like to see. There was also an issue in a Duel where the other player quitting caused me to freeze in place except for the ability to mouselook. Other bugs are mostly nitpicky things like some occasional texture pop in.
Fortunately, the underlying gameplay is still intact. Things have been slowed down a bit since the game was in beta status, but it is still much faster than the base game. As such mastering advanced tactics like dragging blades, and lookdowns will be much more difficult. The speed change goes a long way to making Deadliest Warrior seem like it’s own separate experience, which is what an expansion pack should shoot for. Of course the biggest reasons to jump into Deadliest Warrior are the new classes. Unlike Medieval Warfare, Deadliest Warrior’s classes are taken from multiple historical periods, and the Hollywood stereotypes that come along with them. The Knight class returns from the base game, and can use some of the weapons previously only meant for Archer, Man-At-Arms, or Vanguard classes. It won’t be uncommon to see Knights carrying bows, or larger swords. They still have the high health, high defense of the base game, and while their speed is faster by proxy of being in Deadliest Warrior, they are still far from the speediest class.
Joining the Knight are Viking, Samurai, Spartan, Ninja, and Pirate classes. Each with their own particular strengths, and weaknesses. Vikings tend to be about the same speed as Knights, don’t carry as much health, or armor. But they do get a couple of new mechanics that add to the gameplay. Vikings have the ability to throw certain weapons, and pick them back up. This makes them high risk/reward in clutch moments, as in a last ditch effort they can throw their shield for that final hit. Of course, missing or only doing little damage means running to find the weapon. Doing so leads to a very disadvantaged fighter until they can find the shield or weapon. Another cool feature with Vikings is the ability to dual wield. As such when encountering Vikings, one must really analyze their parry, and block game.
Samurais feel like a nice balance between the Knight, Archer, and Vanguard of the last game. But don’t let that sentence make you think “Re-skin”. The game literally gives them elements or weapons of each. They have a bow, and can fire them pretty quickly. They have the armor level of a Knight, but with a faster speed, but lower health. They are a pretty well rounded class that newer players may want to start with, maybe even instead of the Knight. A lot of the weapons are fun, and interesting. You may find however that his evenly horizontal, and vertical strikes makes dragging even more important, especially with overheads. Still, Samurais are not a Godlike tier in your heavily analyzed tournament fighter. They can be overcome, and you will see as many of them go down in a match as other classes.
Spartans were made to be tough. They aren’t very fast, but they do a lot of damage with most of their arsenal, and their huge shields mean that combatants really need to master circle strafing, dragging, and kicking to survive. The main drawback that they have is the lower armor, health. So once their defensive wall is breached they can be dispatched pretty quickly. Nevertheless Spartan is already a popular choice in this game. They also can throw certain weapons like the spear. Which seem to do more damage than the ones in the base game equipped by Archers. Unlike Archers however, they don’t get a multitude, so missing a throw is often a fatal mistake.
Ninjas have many pros, and cons. Many think of them like a Man-At-Arms class because they have a roll mechanic that works similar to the MAA dodge of the base game. But they would be wrong. Because beyond that they really are nothing like MAA. Ninjas can do all kinds of cool, and (If you are fighting one) annoying things to trip you up. They can throw star weapons that can be used as a stun attack or a lethal projectile. They can throw bombs that disorient you, allowing them to get some quick hits in. Speaking of quick they have the fastest run speed in the expansion pack. This allows for some devastating combos if you aren’t on your A game as a defender. Finally, they are very quiet. It is almost impossible to hear them sneaking up on you. However in the cons department they have very low health, almost as low as the Pirate. Their weapons have lower damage output so getting in a combo is paramount. Their roll is only so effective. A player who knows how to do lookdowns is going to cut down a Ninja mid roll. Finally, a little known secret, their throwing stars can be blocked not only by shields, but by melee weapons. So be sure to remember that when defending against them.
Finally, the Pirate enters the fray. Pirates will get a lot of heat out the door because of the fact they have guns. As I said in my impressions of the beta, they aren’t as big a deal as many would have you believe. For one they aren’t very accurate beyond 30-50 feet away. So they won’t deal much damage unless you get into melee range. This is slightly less so with a Blunderbuss, but even then, it’s still a swordsman’s game. The reload times of the guns is ridiculously long. Translation: If a Pirate misses, he is dead. It’s not anything like the Samurai who can maybe get another arrow off. The Pirate is a dead man. Especially if he’s being targeted by several players. Fortunately he does have a pretty good melee game with cutlasses, and makeshift weapons like Molotov cocktails, or the Shiv. Firebomb aside, the Pirate weapons are either speedy weapons that require a good combo to get kills with, or fairly respectable blades that hold their own. Of course Pirates are also the weakest class. Most weapons in the expansion will kill a Pirate in a couple of strikes. To compensate they have the special ability to restore their health by getting drunk on rum. But, even that has a caveat as they will have blurred vision for doing so, and have to stay still while drinking or it won’t work.
Deadliest Warrior also adds some new maps, and a modes. There is a hold the flag mode that requires a player or team to keep possession for 300 seconds. Unlike a lot of other games that do this, the flag can be used like a Bo Staff by the holder to try to keep it in their hands.
The other modes are variants of Team Deathmatch, and Last Man/Team Standing. Usually involving two to six teams. These modes are actually a lot of fun provided you can get everyone on even teams. Unfortunately, there will be rounds where players will try to stack a team to get easy wins by numbers. One can’t completely fault TBS for this, as it happens in other games too. But it’s a shame there aren’t more safe guards coded into the launch. That said, 6 Team Deathmatch is pretty cool when it’s played right, and there are even some TV episode themed rounds like Pirate Vs. Ninja where players are forced into one class to duke it out as in the Deadliest Warrior show would have done. There is the returning duel mode which takes place in a lobby map where people have to punch each other to offer challenges. Then areas of the map are closed off so they can go one on one without any interruptions. It’s a pretty cool update to the mode, it’s just a shame there is only the one lobby map.
Sadly there are no objective modes in the expansion pack. This is a real shame because one of the hooks for Medieval Warfare for a lot of players was the fact that you could have nefarious deeds going on by one side, like burning down villages or sieging castles going on while the other side defended. When a good room of Griefer free teams got together, these modes were a lot of fun to play, and felt great. Their omission here will definitely be missed.
The new maps in the game are all pretty cool. From the Acropolis map, to the Pirate island, everything does go a long way to trying to fit in with the wacky theme of it’s premise. There are even interactive models like in the base game from firing cannons, to returning catapults. Visually, it’s a minor step down from the base game, yet not so bad you’ll be repulsed. Geometry seems a little simpler, textures while cleaner seem a little less detailed, although it also seems to vary from area to area. However, one improvement does seem to be the lighting effects, as shadows look better, and move more realistically than in Medieval Warfare.
The maps all manage to be fun, and interesting. It’s just a shame the lack of any objective modes limits the appeal of the usable, in field weapons. TBS also took a page out of DICE’s book, and put up zone limits in maps based on mode to keep them from getting too large, and barren. While this is commendable, one thing that does suffer as a result, at least in FFA are spawn points. Without the maps being completely open many players will now spawn directly in front of an enemy or a skirmish only to die before they can press a single button. This will truly infuriate a good number of players. Hopefully, an upcoming patch will remedy this, along with the other major bugs..
Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior is a lot of fun. If you loved the base game enough to put hundreds of hours into it, it’s probably worth picking up. At $15 it isn’t a soul crushing purchase either. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the glaring problems with bugs in it. As such until they fix them, some of you may want to wait before diving in. Those who do dive in will find something to like, but those people will also need to be pretty forgiving. It isn’t nearly as bad as EA’s situation with Battlefield 4. But that doesn’t mean it gets a complete pass. It’s a terrific game saddled with some baggage.
Final Score 6.5 out of 10. (Bugs are the only thing keeping it from greatness.)