Today is the last day of Chivalry's free steam weekend. If you've yet to try Chivalry, I aim to convince you it's worth the download. This is not a game you want to pass up.
Torn Banner Studios sells you a small sandbox with steel swords instead of plastic shovels. With these I have had the laughter and intensity equivocal to the original Portal. Nothing is more terrifying than being chased by the hounding laughter of a Vanguard about to drive a polearm through your spine. Or quite as satisfying as responding to an enemy's cries for help with a swing of your warhammer, and the fleshy crunch that follows. Killing a knight mid-swing with crossbow bolt to the head. You and your brother-in-arms protecting a trebuchet against five enemies, weaving in and out of counters and blows, laying them all to waste against the odds. The first person view and emphasis on melee weapons creates an intimacy of perspective that, when coupled with the disturbing gore and skill based play, feels smart and creates these amazingly satisfying experiences.
Fraser Brown wrote a fantastic review of the game a few months ago. In it he retells two stories of glorious combat that, when narrated, seem like an exaggeration. However, the experiences he retells are the real treasure hidden behind Chivalry's promise of a gory arcade-y fun murder arena.
Chivalry is a game you would never expect to be atmospheric. Rather, the promise of spamming blood curdling screams with the C-key speaks to a goofiness akin to teabagging. The kind of levity one can expect from multiplayer games. Yet, Chivalry is a game that provides an environment for stories as memorable as any scripted cut-scene or game event. The game is so dependent upon player skill that the actions taken are always the player's own. When you're cornered by two knights with double-bladed axes and you block, kick, and slash them to death, you thrill. You did that. By rights you should have died, but no, you stood your ground and parted head from shoulder, soul from life. Now you're spamming C as you charge headlong into the next battle. It's not for a lark, it's a warcry, because the enemy should fear your coming.
There are few games as satisfying as Chivalry. You have one day to try it for free, get to it.