Monday, April 25, 2011

A review: Age of Chivalry

I don't exactly know HOW I acquired this game. One day, it showed up unannounced on my Steam list, along with a bunch of other Source games. I wasn't about to complain, of course, but it was strange nonetheless.

One of these games was called Age of Chivalry, a first person Source game set in the middle ages where you got to mess around with medieval weapons like bows, crossbows and giant swords, usually while either attacking or defending a castle.

Sounded great, right? It got even better when I actually loaded the game and saw, instead of the usual Options, Quit, Join Server buttons, they had replaced them with things like Chicken Out (Quit) and Join a Crusade (Join Server). Sure, it took me a while to realize that Blacksmith's Workshop was the Options screen and Start a Campaign was Create a Server, but I thought "Finally, a bunch of people with a soul."

So, getting into the game, I discovered that Age of Chivalry is big on historical accuracy. Not the map side of things, but in the weapons. For example, it is literally impossible to aim properly with any of the ranged weapons - you can't 'look down the sights' on a Crossbow and god only knows where the Longbow is going to launch your arrow. Funny story: after missing the enemy target again and again, my arrow finally flew true - straight into an allied soldier's kidney. And I think I might have accidentally killed him.

And then there are the swords. Not only is it a total bastard to swing a large sword, but it's very hard to actually hit someone with it. You'd think a greatsword would be able to separate the top halves from the bottom halves of any poor, unlucky bastard or bastards in front of you the moment you swing it, but I suspect the game designers thought that would be a bit too overpowered, and thus the greatsword will only hit if it's right on the mark, and it never is.

Not that they tell you where the hell the mark even is - that's one of the reasons it's so impossibly difficult to hit someone with an arrow or crossbow bolt; no crosshairs. It's almost like they designed it to be as needlessly difficult as possible.

Perhaps some of the blame lies with the Source engine. It's a simple engine that (as I understand it) is fairly easy for developers to get into. Then again, there was nothing to stop those devs from putting in crosshairs. Or, perhaps, showing a shining arc that tells the player where the projectile is going to fly and even land, because that would help archers immensely, but no. No love for snipers in this day and age, I suppose, something that Black Ops beat into me with almost religious fervor.

This is not to say the concept is bad - in fact, I kinda like the idea. But it needs to be implemented better, and definitely with an engine that caters to it's needs, since most of the fighting is melee oriented And there really needs to be something to help the long range guys, like one of those suggestions I gave earlier.

Oh, and the server I was on was full of stupid American teenagers, and the average chat went like this:

Guy A: I need to take a piss.
Guy B: Your mom needs to take a piss.

That conversation really did happened. I wish I could say otherwise.