It’s been just over 24 hours since Chivalry II hit the market, so you can only imagine the hellfire going on in lobbies everywhere. Essentially the collective internet is trying to figure the game out, in real-time. Strategy is changing on the fly currently, so it doesn’t make much sense to cover yet. Fortunately, one thing that we know won’t change is the swordplay tactics in combat. So why don’t we give them a good, long look?
Starting off, you do get to choose between first and third-person perspectives with the obviously selected ‘P’ key. Why you’d ever want to play Chivalry II in the third person is a bit beyond me. All I got from it was shitloads of trouble. It didn’t take long until I was forced back into first-person, simply in the name of self-preservation. In another predictable mapping, the ‘E’ key lets you pick up and interact with random objects in the environment. Just be careful with what you grab. I mean, who knew that holding a baguette in my left hand and a sword in my right would prevent me from blocking?
Navigating the world
Aside from the standard ‘WASD,’ there are a handful of other moves that can feed into the navigational controls. In Chivalry II, you spawn weapons by using the 1-5 keys, as long as you have an object equipped in that slot. Sprint is mapped to ‘shift’ and crouch gets the ‘ctrl’ treatment, which also shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The different variations of the jump and dodge actions are mapped to the ‘space’ button. The direction the player is moving at the time jump is pressed, determines what type of move is performed.
Things get a little more interesting with the actual swordplay. The controls seem to require a bit more finesse than you might think, especially when trying to pull off combos and chained attacks. Of course, there is always the standard left-click to strike and right-click to block. Interestingly, some attacks are mapped to the scroll wheel. Scrolling downward kicks off a brutal downward strike. It delivers more damage than standard attacks, simply by virtue of it being a headshot. The problem is, like any other kind of headshot in games, it can be far more difficult to land than you might think. Additionally, if you scroll up on the wheel, you’ll dive into a quick stab-like strike.
Specials wrap up the core combat buttons with the ‘Q’ key. It took me quite a bit of time to get accustomed to each unit’s special, but more on that in an upcoming guide. A jab with the unarmed hand can also be thrown using ‘R.’ Directly under the jab on the keyboard is ‘F’, which makes logical sense to deliver a kick attack. Lastly, if you’re desperate to drop a retreating scumbag, you can use ‘G’ to physically launch your weapon like a fucking javelin. As much as I like the move in concept, it didn’t take long to realize that if you don’t recover the weapon, you won’t have it until the next respawn.
These rather basic controls make up a majority of the action. The real trick is finding out ways to combine these in interesting ways. As you might expect, there’s always the time-tested left-click mash to chain together a quick flurry of strikes. However, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see this coming and effectively parry it away with a well-timed block. If you want to keep your adversary guessing, it’s probably best to chain together a slash, overhead strike, and poke in quick succession. Oh, and don’t forget about your jabs and kicks, as they can also be thrown into the mix, just for good measure.
Another aspect of the combat that I hadn’t considered before playing Chivalry II, was the effective use of the camera while an attack is being launched. For example, if you perform a slash while dragging the camera horizontally across the screen, your combatant can potentially hit multiple enemies in a single slice. Be careful though, because these attacks apply to striking teammates as well. Plan your strikes accordingly. These camera shenanigans can help with damn near every offensive move. Also, you may want to experiment with the timing around the camera pans, because they can help to ensure a strike lands before your opposition’s does.
Transitioning back to the defensive side of the battlefield, there’s also a surprising amount of nuance in the controls. While you could run around with the block constantly engaged, that wouldn’t do much good because it would eat through your stamina far too quickly. The trick is to time a block for the last possible second, which then launches your adversary backward and potentially opens them up to a frontal attack.
When an enemy is lurching back, there are two separate types of combat responses in Chivalry II: riposte or counters. In the case of counters, after successfully delivering a perfect block, you then need to perform the identical attack you just defended against. The benefit of this maneuver is that the effects of knockback and stamina are nullified. In the case of ripostes, this is once again performed by delivering a perfect block. However, you must then follow it by any attack other than what you just deflected. The advantage is that it prevents all incoming attacks from landing for a short window of time.
Chivalry II combat and swordplay — don’t faint
Another advanced mechanic is the feint. Now, this shouldn’t be confused with the combo, because the timing is extremely crucial. If you attack directly after an attack lands, you land a traditional two-strike combo. However, by launching another attack while you’re in the process of a strike, you instead switch course into the alternate move. I found the feint to be extremely helpful in some of my early matches. So I’m curious if it will remain as effective once folks grow more accustomed to the gameplay.
And there you have it: all that you need to know when heading into battle with swords equipped. Have fun going medieval on their asses! Stay tuned for more, because we’ve only scraped the surface of what Chivalry II has to offer.