[fighting video games]It’s Just a Flesh Wound： Top 5 Medieval Fighting Video Games
The release of Chivalry 2 just around the corner is a great reminder that, when it comes to medieval combat, there is actually no lack of pretty strong games. Sure, the middle ages have not been as popular a setting as, say, the zombie apocalypse or some imagined future with clashing cybernetic warriors, but the games on this list are evidence that getting your knight on can be a blast. Historians will probably quibble with the accuracy and tactics in most of these games, but true to life or not, there’s no denying the visceral thrill of melee combat and slicing and dicing your way through the ranks of armor clad medieval infantry.
This is the game that started it all and set the template for a whole bunch of copycats and variations. Chivalry is based on Age of Chivalry, a mod for Half Life 2. When it appeared in 2012, it stood out for its exaggerated, almost cartoonish amount of gore and medieval mayhem. Like most of the games on our list, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is a multiplayer experience without much of any single-player component, but there are lots of options when it comes to game modes: solo and team deathmatches, capture the flag, last team standing, matches with multiple objectives and more. Although its graphics are unsurprisingly dated by now, its action still holds up and has an active and enthusiastic player community.
Unlike the other games on our list, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a single player action RPG that attempts to hew a little closer to historical accuracy in both its combat and crafting. Kingdom Come: Deliverance is an open world, story-driven game about exploration and retribution and includes period-accurate weapons, clothing, and combat styles. Thanks to a steady stream of updates and graphics mods, players can experience the world of 15th century Bohemia in stunning detail. Its environment and combat are excellent.
Set in the early middle ages, Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord combines third person action with strategic combat and unit management. Although it has a robust multiplayer component, Bannerlord’s focus is on its lengthy and engaging single player campaign that does an excellent job of balancing RPG elements with strategic battlefield combat. Bannerlord probably does the best job of striking a balance between historical accuracy and accessibility and fun.
The developer described For Honor as “a shooter with swords,” noting how the game takes on most of the mechanics of recent single player or multiplayer games, with character perks, upgrades and special abilities, while focusing on melee combat more or less based on that of the middle ages. Totally eschewing historical reality, however, For Honor’s hook is that it allows combat between Knights, Vikings, Samuri and Chinese fighters and each faction has a large number of weapon and tactic specific subclasses. For Honor has a better-than-decent single player campaign that introduces its combat styles and weapons and has been supported by a steady stream of updates and DLC.
It’s impossible to see Mordhau as anything but the spiritual successor to the original Chivalry, so the throwdown between Mordhau and Chivarly 2 will be a lot of fun to watch. As similar as the games appear, however, there are significant differences. Mordhau puts a lot of focus on the historical techniques of hand-to-hand combat, making it less of an arcade game and more of a skill and timing-based experience. Graphically, it sets the current standard and it has a strong but slightly intimidating community of experienced players.
Whether you’re into historical verisimilitude or fantasy role playing, there are lots of great medieval combat games to dive into. And of course, this list doesn’t include all those titles that are only peripherally about the middle ages or include fantasy elements like the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, or strategy games like Age of Empires that pass through the medieval period. We’re excited for the launch of Chivalry 2 and hope to see you on the battlefield, cleaving limbs and taking names.
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