Like a modern – well, medieval – Paris of Troy, I stalk the ramparts and scaffolding surrounding the gatehouse. The gatehouse must be defended from the modern – well, medieval – Achilles of Greece, and his allies, who swarm like wasps towards their objective while my allies and I scramble to repel their unwanted advances.
The maelstrom quickly sucks in my many comrades. I watch as they are felled by swords, arrows and the occasional mishap; Sometimes flanking the enemy goes a little too well. Your reward for your hard work is having your best pals’ sword lodged in your eye. I, using my heroic and unparalleled cunning – from my self-declared status as the hero of the story – sidestep this madness… by stepping into one of our own traps; plummeting to my death.
Undeterred, I return swiftly, as do my resurrected allies and enemies alike. Each of us charging back towards the mayhem with war cries while jumping with unbridled glee. Upon the ramparts once again, I spot my fabled foe. The Achilles to my Paris. As I rush onto the scene, having respawned after my mishap, I watch with horror as two of my comrades are felled. I must avenge them quickly to restore their honour. Fortunately I’m perfectly equipped for the job.
Unlike the foolish hero of legend, whose name we all know thousands of years after he likely lived and whose story will likely be recounted for thousands more, I did not bring a paltry bow and arrow. They are weak and pitiful. I am better than that. I brought a modern – well, medieval – upgrade. I brought my long-handled axe.
An Axe In The Back
I hoof it at the enemy champion. The Achilles of the other side who had just felled two of my beloved brethren; whose names I don’t know. The axe glides gracefully through the air as it arcs towards its target. But, it drops quicker than expected. ‘I’ve botched it!’ I think to myself, using less polite language not suitable for print, ‘It’s not going to make it!’
I spam the “C” key to emote the “War Cry” that conveys my disillusionment at my own failure… then, it clips the back of his ankle and drops him just like that. I spam “C” again, this time as a victory cry! I never doubted myself, not for one moment. Truly, I am the hero of this tale. Worthy of my comparison to a fabled legend such as Paris.
However, an enemy – whom my war crying presumably caught the attention of – clearly didn’t get this memo. Imagine having had the temerity to attack me with his halberd-y, spear-y, long and stabby type weapon. Me! The hero! That’s just not smart. He’ll soon regret his actions when he sees what I’m capable of with my trusty a…
It’s at this point that it occurs to me that this is not God of War. Recalling my achilles heel busting axe isn’t an option available to me here. Here, upon the ramparts, just outside the gatehouse, over which we are desperately hacking one another apart. Something, perhaps I might have thought about ahead of time. However, I’m riding that ‘legendary hero killing’ vibe all the villains are always talking about. ‘Axe shmaxe’. I can take this guy with my dagger. My incredibly short dagger that is more suited to chopping up carrots for soup than it is for battle.
I can do this.
I’m the hero of this story, after all.
A few highlights showing my time playing the game.
I block a few of his opening strikes as we do the dance. The battle dance. Rapidly circling one another as we flail about trying to land a solid attack or block, dodge or feint. Boy, am I flailing. It would make you dizzy if you weren’t hyper-focused on the sharp pointy thing in the foreground that the other guy is trying desperately to stab you with. Suddenly, I spotted my opening. I let fly my signature move. My pièce de résistance. I launch my dagger at my enemy.
It whizzes past his ear. I missed. I managed to hit Achilles in his one weak spot from about 30 yards by launching an axe at him but missed a guy less than a third of that away little more than 15 seconds later. There will be no spamming “C” to (war) cry about my failure this time. My opponent wastes no time and skewers me, the now voluntarily unarmed hero, like a shish kebab.
Little does he know that, when we meet again, in approximately 20 seconds – assuming he isn’t immediately mobbed and clubbed to death by my teammates, who are desperate to avenge their beloved fallen comrade whose name they don’t know – I’ll have my axe again. My beloved, and surprisingly more lethal out of my hands than in them, axe.
And I’m just getting started.
An Arrow To In The Eye
I have much to learn and even more to prove if I’m to live up to the billing I’ve given myself. Unfortunately you don’t usually get long to make your mark on the battlefield before being cut down by friend or foe. It’s a surprisingly realistic simulation of what I imagine the utter bedlam of medieval battle must’ve been like. A short sprint toward the enemy whilst dodging arrows and crossbow bolts.
Once close enough each side hacks wildly at the other. A mixture of skill, luck and confusion engulfing everyone before the line breaks and the melee reaches a swift end. Whose line breaks first is more of a dice roll than it is a strategic pursuit. There isn’t time for strategy once the pointy objects are close enough to pierce your chest or lop off your head. Each skirmish snowballs in this way but fortunes can change in an instant. A charge to a certain victory can unravel faster than you can yell “LEAVE NONE ALIVE!” and believe me, it will. It’s just as well then, that in Chivalry 2 you get more than just a second chance.