Who says Chivalry is dead?

Sometimes, when you’re having a rough day, you don’t want a deep, emotional experience from your videogames. You don’t want character development or shades of gray in the storytelling. Heck, sometimes you don’t want storytelling at all. All you want—all you need—is to run someone through with a broadsword. And Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior may be just the raw experience to satisfy that need.

This expansion pack marries Chivalry: Medieval Warfare’s gameplay with six classes (Knight, Ninja, Viking, Samurai, Spartan, and Pirate) based off Spike’s historical “What If?” TV show, allowing players to strike each other down and make a direct case for their warrior being the deadliest. In an extra nod to the show, Deadliest Warrior also keeps statistics on each class, both on individual player and worldwide scales.

Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior includes one-on-one duels and a capture-the-flag-type mode where players simply have to keep killing the flag carrier. This expansion also offers massive 64-player deathmatch and team deathmatch; to help keep the carnage fresh, the game includes multi-team modes that allow up to six groups (limited to 10 players each) of mixed characters, or matches where each squad represents one of the game’s classes.

Like most online multiplayeronly experiences, Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior becomes more fun and rewarding the more time you put into it. From a technical standpoint, the game isn’t mind-blowing. It has its fare share of clipping and lag issues depending on the server, and the arenas look a bit bland with many barren, wide-open areas and some muddy textures. But there’s no denying how much enjoyment you can have from dismembering opponents with well-timed slashes or impaling them on your spear.

The controls are also a bit difficult to get used to, since you’ll have a lot more to do than you may be accustomed to with a mouse and keyboard. You can swing your weapon different ways by pressing different buttons, giving each character multiple attacks per killing tool. A tutorial mode helps you adjust to all these extra attacks, and it’s pretty damn boring, but you’ll be happy you took the time to commit them all to memory when surrounded by Spartan shields or Samurai bowmen (in the heat of battle, you’ll need to remember how to block and not swing your sword in an uppercut motion).

Once you leave the tutorial and get a few matches under your belt, you’ll really start to see that most of the focus—and rightly so—falls squarely on the combat. Each class has multiple loadouts with different weapons that make sense to their character, and they’ve all been featured on the Deadliest Warrior TV show. For example, Pirates have cutlasses and flintlock pistols, while Vikings have a variety of dual-wieldable swords or two-handed axes depending on your style of play.

As you level up each class, you see the nuance of each character really start to emerge as more refined weapons become available. The fine-tuned balance of the classes is also a pleasant surprise and becomes more evident after some time. If you know how to use each class properly, playing to their strengths and trying to avoid their weaknesses, you can come out on top in almost any situation.

Because of its armor, a Knight will lay waste to a Ninja who foolishly attempts a full-frontal assault. But if the Ninja takes advantage of its speed and stealth to approach from behind, it can overcome the armor disadvantage. At the same time, the Knight can carry a crossbow to make up for its speed handicap should the full-frontal ninja decide to retreat and recover. Mind you, projectile weapons usually have major drawbacks like reload time, so it’s not wise to rely on them, either.

Beyond all the class-balancing and loadout-building, though, it simply feels great when you parry a slash at just the right time and counter with a move that sends your opponent’s head flying. Then you can taunt them with some hysterically cheesy one-liners worthy of a game made by guys who work for Comedy Central (“I’d cut you in half…but then there’d be two of you!” or my personal favorite, “Yaaaaargh!”). There’s just something visceral about playing a 10-minute match and having bodies strewn throughout the battlefield, every remaining character drenched in their enemies’ blood. And I like it.

The game may lack the objective-based modes featured in Medieval Warfare, but Deadliest Warrior’s six wholly unique classes are something Medieval Warfare can’t claim. There’s also the fact that you have to buy Medieval Warfare if you want Deadliest Warrior, turning a fitting $15 price tag into $40 if you don’t already have Chivalry.

If you do, though, Deadliest Warrior is a fine expansion, and it’s a fun, well-balanced change of pace from the main game. Plus, even two months after launching, the game still has a thriving community; I almost always found myself in a full room while playing over holiday break. If you already got Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and prefer some senseless slaughter over strategic shenanigans, then Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior is definitely worth a look.

Developer: 345 Games • Publisher: Torn Banner Studios • ESRB: N/A • Release Date: 11.14.13
Plenty of diverse classes and tight combat makes up for a lack of game modes. If you already have Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, Deadliest Warrior is a fun expansion pack that offers a welcome change of pace from the main game if deathmatch-oriented matches are in your wheelhouse.
The Good Variety of classesand solid balance between them all.
The Bad Lack of game modes compared to Medieval Warfare.
The Ugly Soiling yourself after hearing a chorus of guttural taunts and chants marching your way.
Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior is a PC exclusive.