Who is deadliest?
For three seasons, Deadliest Warrior on Spike took some of history’s greatest combatants and threw them into a fictional “What if?” scenario. Torn Banner Studios’ Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is a best-selling PC title best described as a first-person slasher where feudal knights clash in multiplayer combat in order to achieve a variety of objectives.
When the two meet, you get Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior, a Chivalry expansion pack coming this fall via Steam. It might sound simple, but after going hands-on with the game, there’s a lot more going on than you might initially expect.
Sure, the first major aspect is obvious: the six warrior classes. The Knight will be familiar to longtime Chivalry players, but the Ninja, Samurai, Pirate, Viking, and Spartan are new—and each brings their own brand of mayhem to the proceedings. In true Deadliest Warrior fashion, all combatants have a choice of weapons, so a Samurai-versus-Spartan showdown could theoretically play out quite differently each time.
The game also includes projectile weapons—much like the main Chivalry experience—that fit the needs of each character. For example, a Spartan can throw his spear, while a Pirate can fire his flintlock pistol. The Pirate and Ninja weren’t available in the demo, but I did get a chance to try out the Spartan; tossing his spear felt excellent, especially when it hit and impaled an opponent for a killing blow.
Speaking of weapons, fans of Deadliest Warrior know how heavily these bouts rely on statistics. But don’t these matchups wreak havoc on weapon and armor balancing?
“For us, we’re trying to keep the personality of the weapons,” says lead game designer Steve Piggott. “We’re not going to use the exact stats. If Spartans are using bronze weapons and armor, that would never cut through the steel armored plates of a knight. But we’re not going to represent that in the game, because that would be the least fun thing ever. So, we’re trying to maintain the character and personality of those weapons without losing the fun factor of wielding them. And then, from there, it’s just constant iteration to make sure it’s a fun experience.”
Aside from a variety of authentic weapons, each class also has its own unique arena with different traps or features that could change the way you think of combat. I was able to try out the Samurai’s arena, where I was able to run on the rooftops and get the drop on enemies from above. At one point, a Knight tried dropping down on me—but all that heavy armor didn’t make for a sound strategy, and it was an easy kill for my Viking warrior. I also tried the Spartan’s arena, which has a 300-style pit into which you can kick careless foes. Of course, if you’re like me and mash the kick button near that pit, you also leave yourself open for an easy gutting.
The biggest change, however, comes in the form of multiteam matches, where up to six teams of 10 players clash in a single arena. There’s also Mixed Team Deathmatch, which allows for a hodgepodge of classes on a given team; Faction Battle, where 32 from one class go against 32 from another; a traditional Capture the Flag mode; or 1-on-1 duels akin more to a traditional Deadliest Warrior scenario.
Meanwhile, Deadliest Warrior fans will be thrilled that comprehensive stats will be kept on globally ranked leaderboards to help fan the flames of that eternal debate: “Who is deadliest?” Players can also monitor their personal stats, including kills and their most effective weapons. Honestly, there’s a lot of potential here. I only got a chance to see the 1-on-1 duels—which were certainly exciting in their own right—but this is a mode that fans of both the Deadliest Warrior games and TV show will embrace.
But it’s the idea of expanding that into multiple teams and factions versus factions that really got me excited. Who wouldn’t love to see 32 Spartans up against 32 Ninjas? Or see 10 Spartans, 10 Ninjas, 10 Samurai, 10 Vikings, 10 Knights, and 10 Pirates duke it out? The potential for mayhem is awesome, and that’s what will really draw players into this $15 expansion.