Release Date: After being in development for quite some time, Mordhau came out in Spring 2019.
Genre: First-Person Team-Based Combat Simulation.
Best for: Players with an added interest in medieval melee combat.
Excels at: High to Later Middle Ages.
Feature List: Free-from melee combat, dozens of weapons both ranged and close-quarters (swords, staffs, polearms), multiplayer only.
Mordhau is the best game to come out in 2019, so far. Period. It marks the defining moment when melee combat in videogames stopped being a janky, clunky mess and it actually makes an effort to replicate how IRL weapons work. This spiritual successor to Chivalry is here to stay and, given the right support and content updates it will thrive for the next couple of years. It already packs a ton of content and an extremely dedicated community is growing around its deep combat mechanics and unique gameplay.
Learning the ropes in Mordhau is far from being a painless task. Prepare to die, die again and perish some more in your first couple of matches. The player will go through an essential (and hilarious) tutorial where the elements that make up the combat are taught, yet you are left clueless to the underlying mechanics of it.
Attacks are performed by moving your mouse in that direction. You have side swings with different angles, thrusts, and under and overhead swings. Parry by facing your opponent’s attacks. Then your footman is introduced to combos, to parrying into the attack, feints and morphs (changing a thrust into a side swing or vice-versa) will follow suit, up next is chambering (meeting your opponent’s strike with your own). The secret to mastering the combat of Mordhau is knowing how all of these flow together during the short-lived, high-intensity fights. All those maneuvers deplete your stamina bar, over-stretch yourself one more move and you bankrupt that pool, dropping your weapon in the process. A world of hurt follows, with the player unarmed to fend for themselves.
Weapons are actually physical objects in the game world so strikes don’t have premade hit animations. You can start swinging the from a direction and immediately move your mouse towards that it to have it make contact with your enemy sooner, you will ruin their timing for a parry by catching them off guard. You can look away from your opponent for a short while and move your mouse to him to delay your attacks to trick an early parry. Mixing up these moves is key to getting an upper hand. Accels and Drags, oh man. Here we go. Chivalry already had them. These are seen as dividing features within the community, some label it an exploits, others as a mechanic that adds more complexity. I personally love the idea of Accel and Drags and I think it brings a lot to the game, otherwise, battles would come down to parrying/stamina contests.
Mordhau’s progression system is great. After a battle, a generous heap of gold is awarded and weapons are cheap. As long as the gold is available you can unlock what you wish. The tutorial completion also showers the player is a copious amount of bling. After nearly 70 hours of playtime, I’m still unlocking new weapons, and armor pieces and nowhere near finished. Trow your worries away if you also fear the existence of shitty, over-the-top cosmetics or loot boxes, gold is only awarded for playing. I would gladly pay for full-fledged expansion packs.