Several years ago, I was very intrigued by a game called Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. It was one of a handful of successful mods that arose from the Half-Life series. One of my biggest complaints is that combat was very clunky and the learning curve was extremely high (think trying to master rocket science in a high school physics class). Regardless, it was one of the first first-person multiplayer medieval combat games out there. Its awkwardness and steep learning curve didn’t keep my attention for too long.
Enter Mordhau. I have never heard of Slovenian developer Triternion before, so my expectations were non-existent. Could you imagine if Electronic Arts or Activision made this game? Triternion utilizes the Unreal Engine 4 to its fullest. Melee combat games have always lagged behind their shooter counterparts, so the latest crack at a first-person multiplayer medieval combat game on an engine such as Unreal Engine 4 was overdue. You primarily can play online on dedicated, but if you prefer playing against bots to practice, you can play offline as well. Want to learn to play better? You can even spectate matches and record gameplay.
The combat in the game is realistic. Everything hits everything, just like in real life. The physics in combat have been compared to epic battles in Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. Each fight has some sort of meaning to it. They still kept the friendly fire aspect from Chivalry on board so you are fully aware of where you swing that sword or shoot that arrow. You can even use the environment to your advantage: you can bring down the castle gate on enemies or toss boulders at them as you besiege an opponent’s base. You can also fight on horseback, which can radically change the way you fight.
You can fight 1-on-1 duels or participate in army battles. The best part about army battles is you can work in cohesion with your team and develop strategies to stop the enemy team. There are numerous weapons, shields, and armor you can use, as well as healing items. You can play in battle royale mode and vote on skirmish, deathmatch, or team deathmatch. You can also play on Frontline mode, which can be won by tickets. Each time you die, you lose tickets, and you can make the other team lose tickets by killing them or capturing stations. I consider Frontline one of the more difficult modes, so newcomers should be careful when playing this mode. You can also play Horde mode, where you spawn with nothing but 20 gold with five other heroes. You can acquire equipment and weapons through paying gold, but when you die, only your co-heroes can resurrect you.
There are also multiple maps in the different modes. You can fight in the mountains, in open fields, in the snow, or in the forest. In deathmatch and skirmish modes, you can even fight in the ruins of a castle, a pit-like level with walkways and bridges for 1-on-1 combat, or even in a gladiator-style arena.
Overall, Mordhau is an evolution of a genre that is difficult to create games for. The growth of the genre will be sustained by games such as Mordhau, but one must spend hours learning to master the complex combat system to make the game meaningful and enjoyable.
Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE May 2019 Issue