Upon starting a multiplayer game of Chivalry, there’s a warning reminding you to be supportive and remember how difficult the game is to pick up for new players. I imagine most people ignore this warning, but to me, it made my initial performance seem less embarrassing. Sure, I kept getting decapitated several seconds after respawning, but I imagine that’s probably how war felt back in the day – high risk high aggression with a penchant for frequent limb removal.
It’s that commitment that makes Chivalry feel authentic, even if historical warfare was just about never quite how we envision it. For the sake of entertainment value, I appreciate the creative license that enables every player to fall apart at the slightest gust of wind and that there’s a button exclusively for the purpose of yelling. I also have to sort of block out the fact that the guy that just killed me is named “WeedBoner69”, but that sort of has its own endearing charm. For me, Chivalry feels like a return to earlier days of PC multiplayer gaming, when things were a little more rough around the edges and servers were full of diehards that never seemed to leave. Though it’s only a few years old, the DNA from its origins as a Half-Life mod are readily visible. This makes it a fun place to visit, but not necessarily somewhere I’d want to live, especially since a lot of the folk populating Deathmatch servers seem to exist in some sort of time bubble where “gay” is still somehow a horrible insult.
I then have to stop and think about the world I still live in, and that depresses me. I guess I’ll have to go chop off some more heads to make myself feel better, just like they did in the old days.