I Love Telling My Enemies They're Doing Great In 'Chivalry 2'

Amid the blood and chaos of Chivalry 2, "commending" other players with a button press is a blast of pure positivity. Except for archers.
June 24, 2021, 1:00pm
I Love Telling My Enemies They're Doing Great In 'Chivalry 2'

There are two main ways to interact directly with another player in Chivalry 2: Killing them brutally in sword-based medieval combat, or "commending" them for killing you brutally with a button press. It's a great system which shows that if you give players an easy way to say "Hey, nice shot," they'll use it, and not just hurl insults and slurs into their headset mics with abandon.

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I suspect a lot of gaming crews lately have at least one person like me, someone who picked up Chivalry 2 and won't shut up about it while everyone else wonders what's going on with this niche game. Well, here's the deal: Imagine the objective-based chaos of Battlefield condensed down to the scale of an Overwatch map, except instead of guns everyone has medieval weapons like swords, axes, and halberds. Combat is frantic and intense, and climbing up the leaderboard requires mastery of the game's intricate sword fighting system, from ripostes, to feints, to jabs, to the whole set of possible swing types, as well as tide-turning mechanics such as perfect counters blocking all incoming damage for a brief moment.

With that level of intensity, tempers are bound to flare. Perhaps anticipating this, Chivalry 2 offers a bunch of different canned battle cries, quips (including medieval insults), and emotes; and, of course, the "commend" button. On PC this means having a brief window to press F to pay respects to your opponent after they've killed you. Amazingly, players actually use this feature, even if some of it can probably be chalked up to FPS players frantically hitting F to respawn in vain. In Chivalry 2, there is nothing like outwitting an opponent and going full medieval John Wick on them, but having it happen to you is a close second. Sometimes, you really just gotta hand it to 'em, and when you get commended for a particularly deft kill on the battlefield, it's also a great feeling. 

As I played, I found myself comparing Chivalry 2 to another game I spend a lot of time with: Call of Duty: Warzone, which broadcasts enemy players' voice channels for a brief moment after you kill them. While I and my teammates refrain from going off on the mic when someone kills us, it's very common to hear someone on the other end of your fatal bullet get really, really angry. This can be very satisfying, but it gets undeniably ugly when people hurl insults or slurs. Chivalry 2's commend feature, on the other hand, is pure positivity that also doubles down on the idea that this game, which can often be gloriously frantic and messy, is one that demands and rewards skill. Even refraining from commending someone is a way to send its own satisfying message. For example, dishonorable archers killing from a distance will never earn a commendation from me.

Some Chivalry 2 players seem to want more voice chat features, perhaps wishing for a way to verbally communicate with the wider team or directly trash talk other players. While I appreciate a desire for more team coordination (although I doubt that in a real medieval scenario much would be audible over all the clanging and screaming), I'm perfectly happy to commend or be commended, or hear a voice actor say something rude about "yer mum." In fact, I hope other games take notice of this small, yet important, feature to inject a frequent opportunity for positivity into tense multiplayer matches.