Welcome to the 10th installment of the Game Design Spotlight, a weekly piece where I examine the design elements in multiplayer titles, such as character classes that nail the thematic notes of an ARPG and uncompromising combat systems. Last week, we looked at SOLO's Picture Style feature and how it revitalizes the game's vistas and in-game models with color filter presets. As for today, I'm taking us through the mud-caked battlefields of Chivarly 2, where ensuing chaos unfolds when boots hit the ground running with weapons and vocal cords at the ready.
In Chivarly 2, you'll chop a guy's arm off, leading him to lunge helplessly with his left while comically flailing about to his demise. Often, you might be on the polar end as blood splatters across your screen; your helmeted head lopped off your virtual body. The game pulls no punches at its goriest for winning and losing players. Although, something that rings true for all participants is the resounding howl of men and women running into their next victims or catching an unsuspecting pike to the noggin.
Battlecry, a function that players can voluntarily spam to their heart's delight, enriches this chaotic body-slinging medieval game in all the places where screaming counts. It's not nonsensical gibberish, either. The shouts slice through clashing swords, air-whipping arrows, and echoing horns, seemingly helping amp up the morale of people you don't know across the internet. Battlecry simulates a one-of-a-kind feeling where yelling surges the dramatics of conflict and, oddly enough, tries to speak to our primal nature and enjoyment of it.
Yelling Whenever It Matters
For players to use battlecry, it's as simple as pressing "C" on their keyboard, making whatever character class/voice chosen cry to the heavens in a range of tonals. And yes, you can use this at any time. In the tutorial, Chivarly 2 encourages its use as a mental tactic against other players, but honestly, there's never a right time other than what works best for you.
For myself, it was raising my polearm high with a hearty battlecry next to fellow soldiers as we romped down the cobblestone steps of our citadel to contend with the enemy. Another time came when I slashed off the heads of two soldiers in one fell swoop, roaring through my hype as the enemy troops nearby turned tail. Chivalry 2 was effectively hijacking my brain at every triumphant turn.
We could go deep and talk about how realism and fiction blend to dissect the game's violent appeal, but on a surface level, Chivalry 2 does a fantastic job of letting you and others be hype men on the battlefield where confidence affects performance.
Screaming Is An Artform
Depending on the faction you play during a match, such as the crimson-veiled Masons and stalwart-blue Agathans, you can choose from various level-locked and purchasable voices. These can range from the skittish squire boy thrust into the barbarity of the battleground, to the devoted knight willing to die for their sovereign and nation. Those descriptions alone should puzzle together how they yell in battle, but I've dropped a video below that gives you a widespread listen of how deep, light, and crazy these can be:
It would have been easy for developer Torn Banner Studios to make these unchangeable presets based on gender/faction, but to see there's diversity truly makes the storm of voices all the more compelling. Hearing "For Agatha!!" from ahead of you in-game just after an octave uproar from behind that reps your nation captures the claustrophobic vibe of sound in a sea of bodies. Moreover, the dynamic of these shouts haywire your own excitement, especially just before charging into a swarm of iron.
However, some players do find the yelling to be annoying. Reddit user Michi2801 described how "the constant, long, and very loud screams from player characters distracted and annoyed" them. Another, Skanoirhc, stated the voices would hurt their ears and reduce their "gameplay time severely" due to "headaches." There's an option to lower battlecries in the game if players want, but I'd argue this defeats the thematic purpose and methodical gameplay loop of Chivalry 2.
Players should go through the process of wildly swinging their weapon, blocking, and performing a battle cry sometime before and after combat - even though it's voluntary. This loop, reinforced as players die and recover just to get thrown back into the fray, would be tedious without functions like battlecry.
From prideful to raucously unhinged yelling, they add flavor to the mess of colliding bodies wave after wave. Limiting the abrupt nature of its functionality kills part of the thrill and longevity of its repetitive DNA outside of new content like mounted combat. And, to top it all off, its respect for realism makes it perfect for those into roleplaying. Chivalry 2 inspires its players to simulate realism in a fictional capacity and what better way than through the spectrum of voices accessible to them?
That concludes another week of the Game Design Spotlight! Are you a fan of the voluntary battlecry function? When, where, and how have you used it in a match? Let us know below! Also, feel free to comment on games or features you would like me to cover for future stories if you have any suggestions!
About the Author
Anthony Jones is a gaming journalist and late 90s kid in love with retro games and the evolution of modern gaming. He started at Mega Visions as a news reporter covering the latest announcements, rumors, and fan-made projects. FFXIV has his heart in the MMORPGs scene, but he's always excited to analyze and lose hours to ambitious and ambiguous MMOs that gamers follow.
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