- Level Design
One month after release, we get medieval up in this b*tch.
For those of you who enjoyed the successful medieval multiplayer hack and slash Chivalry, Mordhau will be a welcome addition to your library. For those of you unfamiliar with Chivalry, or are new to the hack and slash genre, this game will be both addictive, hugely frustrating and somehow very satisfying all at the same time.
So lets get the obvious stuff out of the way. Is it just an updated version of Chivalry? – People have asked me this a few times now and honestly I find it difficult articulating a satisfactory answer. In some regards yes, in other regards no. At it’s core, yes the mechanics are very similar, but to simply imply the team over at Triternion have simply “copy pasted” the mechanics from Chiv would be a massive misnomer.
With that said, it still does feel very much like the Chivalry of old, with some notable exceptions. It’s still all comes down to timing, Mordhau, like Chivalry is all about timing, knowing your weapon, and reading your enemies timing to land a hit, but the stamina system is a little more refined this time round. In addition, the VAST array of weapons and the addition of soft skills makes each encounter far more complex then has been seen previously in Chivalry.
For example, the “Men at arms” class in chivalry was a class that had a smaller damage output, and was far more vunerable then say “Vanguard” who had a lot more armor and could do a significant amount of damage with a single blow, but compensated for this by being nimble and having the ability to dodge, leading to intense individual battles as agility went head to head against brute force.
In Mordhau however, that class based system has been removed, and in its place is a more sandbox type of system by where players have the ability to customize their warriors to fit their play style, so that ability to “dodge” is available to anyone, but comes at the cost of movement and armor. In many ways “movement” is a warriors currency in Mordhau. The more armor the more stuff you have on you, the less agile you will be on the battlefield. The other big change is that weapons are no longer merely selected they must be purchased with in game currency, but fear not, there is absolutely nothing EA about it. No micro transaction BS here.
In addition, probably the other big addition is Cavalry. I was actually a little skeptical about this mechanic at first, concerned if they would be able to implement it effectively in the UE4 environment, I’m happy to report that the horseplay does feel organic, and the devs have done a good job in keeping the combat balanced. For those of you who have ever played “Mount And Blade” the mechanics feel very similar and I’m sure it will put a smile on the face of those who are a fan of that particular franchise.
There are some things I do miss from Chivalry though, and no doubt some of you will notice. For example, certain weapons like the “Brandistock” are currently not in the game. (Yall know how much I loved that thing). With that said it is still early days so if weapon of choice of old isn’t in the game, have patience, I imagine they will probably be added at some point. Another thing I find disappointing, and one thing I really wish they would implement, is the charge leap.
It’s nothing game changing, but Chivalry gave you a sense drama and speed when you would charge into battle by lowering the weapons the faster you ran, and allowing you to “leap” into combat once you got within striking range of your opponent. I’m not sure why the devs decided to leave this feature out as it was such a big part of Chivalry for me, though perhaps with the implementation of the new movement system, this wasn’t feasible. But it is a source of disappointment for me and I do hope they do at some point introduce it to Mordhau.
Graphically, Mordhau isn’t anything ground breaking, but with that said, the game does look very well crafted and the environment does enough to suspend your disbelief, the models however are superb, the armor and weapons are beautifully put together and look absolutely amazing, enough to push the “graphics” score to 4 stars in my humble opinion.
The only real area I feel this game is lacking was the level design, albeit the game has only just been released to the public, there is only a handful of maps on offer and of those maps there are 2 maps that stand out as favorites, both “Grad” and “Camp” seem to be really the only 2 maps servers seem to be consistently wanting to play, but I will say with those 2 exceptions, I feel like it would be nice to have some more open levels, where you really got the sense of a large scale pitched battle, instead of the sometimes very linear, sometimes cluttered battlefields we have at the moment.
With that said though, level design isn’t a deal breaker in a game like this. As stated it is only early days and more maps wont be far away, and ultimately most players care more about solid gameplay, good mechanics and few if any bugs and Mordhau’s success is evident in the sheer numbers that have decided give this game a go, with steam stats looking favorable with Mordhau doing well on steam charts in it’s first month of release.
Finally, Mordhau currently comes with three game modes to choose from. “Frontline” is your standard 64 player 2 team “conquest” style game mode where teams fight to hold control of territory. *It’s worth mentioning here one additional feature that veteran players will notice and that is the ability to build fortifications. A player, geared out with the right equipment can infact build walls and fortifications to help hold territory once it is taken.
These fortifications can of course be destroyed, however it does require a lot more effort to take a point, and does engender a sense of team work as players fight to protect their engineers as they hammer away at caches of materials that are spread around the map for the purpose. In addition, it is possible in some cases to knock over giant siege towers such in the map “Camp” where the giant machine can come crashing down on players if rendered unstable.
Mordhau also comes with a “Horde” mode which as you can probably guess involves surviving wave after wave of enemy for as long as possible. In addition Mordhau also comes with its very own Battle Royale mode, however don’t expect to be dropped from a helicopter. It is definitely a much more modest Battle Royale then your probably used to, although it is fun. Personally though I feel “Frontline” will be the top dog for some time to come.
CONCLUSION: There is so much to this game that honestly I’ve really only barely scratched the surface here, still I hope that this information may help gamers make an informed decision about this unique game. Mordhau is a refreshing indie game that does so many things right, that at $29US it’s really an easy decision. It’s a gamers game, a game that takes the savage beauty of 2012’s “Chivalry – Medieval Warfare” refines it, enhances it, and forces the sharp end (and even sometimes the blunt end!) into the current gaming landscape. – No loot boxes, No BS, No pandering to 12 year olds. It’s just a brutally honest game like the good ole days and I predict Mordhau to only gain in popularity over the next 12 months. I look forward to meeting you all on the Battlefield, arms extended in the “Come at me position” (x + num3)