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Thread: A Review of Chivalry Total War from a Long Time Fan

  1. #1

    Icon3 A Review of Chivalry Total War from a Long Time Fan

    Hello everybody! It's been awhile. I recently started a YouTube channel in order to talk about historical Total Wars and highlight the exceptional work of the modding community, and I decided to make a review of the classic Chivalry Total War. You can find the text version below in the spoilers. Hopefully it will also guide people towards playing Chivalry as it really does deserve praise and is a totally different experience compared to Medieval 2.



    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Better than Medieval 2? – A Review of Chivalry Total War (mod for Rome Total War)

    Chivalry Total War was one of the first total conversion mods for Rome Total War, completely transforming the game from its original form to a game about the Middle Ages. There is pretty much nothing in Chivalry that reminds you that this is built on top of a game about the Roman era – every asset has been changed to immerse you in the Medieval era. It was pretty popular back in the day, but of course it faced fierce competition from Medieval 2 Total War once that game released. Does Chivalry Total War still hold up today, and is it worth your time? You’ll find out in this review of Chivalry Total War for the original Rome Total War.

    The Campaign

    Chivalry Total War’s main campaign begins in 1071AD, immediately after the Battle of Manzikert where the Byzantine emperor Romanos IV was defeated by the Seljuks. Its start date is a good one and pretty much every faction has an interesting starting position. You get a lot of variety in Chivalry Total War with this start date – you have powerful, stable, expanding factions like the Seljuks, the French, or the English. You also have small factions that definitely need expert guidance in order to succeed, like the Bohemians, Pisans, and Armenians.
    There is also a very interesting Crusades mechanic in Chivalry Total War. Since the game is based on Rome Total War, there isn’t a crusades mechanic built into the game, but you can basically go on your own Crusades to the Levant. You can build an army, hop on your navy and go conquer the historical crusader state provinces, such as Edessa, Antioch, and Jerusalem, which are victory conditions for many European factions. The way Chivalry has you develop these provinces has depth to it. You can construct buildings that start essentially helping you form the Crusader States and allow you to recruit Hospitaller and Templar knights, as well as other crusader type units to help you hold and expand these provinces. It essentially feels like you are running multiple campaigns at once – one where you are fighting to retain and expand your holdings in Europe, and one where you are doing the same in the Middle East with a completely different roster of units and buildings. It is quite an interesting way of overcoming the limitations of the RTW engine. If you want to play a campaign as a non-Catholic faction where the Crusader States are already established, then there is a provincial campaign entitled “Crusader Epoch” which essentially fulfills this role.
    One of the strongest aspects of Chivalry Total War is its dedication to realism and historicity. Pretty much every aspect of every faction is well fleshed out, from the city models, to unit designs, to unit rosters, to starting positions on the map. Pseudohistorical amalgamations are kept to a minimum, so you won’t find any immersion breaking pseudokingdoms like “Kingdom of Spain” or a Milan that controls Genoa, or a super-Turks faction here. It’s also the only Rome Total War mod that lets you control the Republic of Pisa, which makes me want to start a let’s play AAR entitled, “get bent.”
    Another important thing to note is that Chivalry is basically devoted to the period between the end of the 11th century to the middle of the 13th century. Its scope is a bit more narrow than other mods dedicated to the Medieval era, such as Rome Medieval and Medieval 2 itself. The campaign is definitely more slower paced, as it is tough to conquer and consolidate new regions. There are a plethora of buildings to construct and no matter where you decide to expand, you’ll find something interesting that will grab your attention in this campaign.

    The Battles

    The battles in Chivalry Total War feel great. While they don’t look as nice as Medieval 2, Rome Total War’s engine has a charm to it and a different feel than Medieval 2 that I think differentiates it in a few ways. For one, something that annoys me to no end in Medieval 2 is the fact that cavalrymen are connected to the horse model, so cavalry casualties are always glued to their horses, a problem which did not exist in the previous game, Rome Total War. Another benefit of the Rome Total War engine are the collision mechanics, which I find to be better than Medieval 2’s. The cavalry “stickiness” in Medieval 2 is extremely annoying to me, as it make micromanaging cavalry an annoying and necessary task. This makes the combat in Chivalry feel different and better in some ways than Medieval 2, in my opinion.
    The battles do feel distinctly medieval. Your mounted knights dominate in open field battles with the right support, and sieges feel more interesting than Medieval 2 vanilla. The morale system is definitely more realistic than vanilla Rome or Medieval 2, and your maneuvers are essential in causing a mass rout of the enemy. If there is one complaint, it’s that missile units could use a bit of a boost, but crossbowmen are pretty effective and perhaps the reason I’m pointing this out is because I’ve mostly fought lower-tier archers and skirmishers. Units also look good! They don’t look like they are beyond Rome Total War, like perhaps some units in Roma Surrectum, but they are quite well-designed.

    The Graphics

    The campaign map is fairly similar in scale to the vanilla Rome Total War map, stopping in Mesopotamia, but it is a good size and scope for the period and looks good. The Roma Surrectum environments patch livens it up a little bit. The battle graphics themselves look nice, and again I recommend applying the Roma Surrectum environments, which improve the vegetation drastically. There are unique models for both the campaign map and battle maps that again transport Rome to the Medieval era. Some people aren’t fans of the sprites on the campaign map, which are a bit less noticeable than the vanilla type sprites since the characters themselves are smaller and a bit harder to see, but these don’t bother me.

    Conclusion

    In general, Chivalry Total War is a very strong effort, considering the limitations of the Rome Total War engine. It includes religion mechanics, crusade mechanics, and basically everything a good medieval era campaign needs. Its factions are diverse and play very differently both in terms of campaign map starting situations and unit roster strengths and weaknesses. It is flexible in that it has versions that run on both Barbarian Invasion and Alexander, so you can take your pick.
    Chivalry Total War is definitely a worthy mod to play even now, as its campaign and battles provide a decidedly distinct feel from Medieval 2 Total War. Since I prefer some of the mechanics in Rome Total War, such as its population mechanic as well as its lack of divisions between castle and city settlements, there are some aspects of Chivalry that I enjoy more than even Medieval 2 Total War. And that is why I consider Chivalry to be a great mod for Rome Total War that can be played and enjoyed even now, in 2020.
    Under the patronage of John I Tzimisces

  2. #2

    Default Re: A Review of Chivalry Total War from a Long Time Fan

    Congratulations Drtad on your marvelous reviews. Please continue making them! You are great!





  3. #3

    Default Re: A Review of Chivalry Total War from a Long Time Fan

    Thanks a lot! Yes, I definitely will keep making reviews!
    Under the patronage of John I Tzimisces

  4. #4
    DaVinci's Avatar TW Modder 2005-2016
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    Default Re: A Review of Chivalry Total War from a Long Time Fan

    Old friend! Very nice to see you there again after so many years. Didn't we speak at last in the Sicilian Vespers (Chivalry II) dev forum 10 or so years ago?

    And thanks for the ChivTW review, top quality as known by you. I remember you made the best and most funny ChivTW AAR's at the time as ChivTW was still fresh.

    Have a good time in TWC's modding sections once again! For many years i only randomly stumble in here, from time to time.
    Last edited by DaVinci; September 16, 2020 at 01:26 PM.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: A Review of Chivalry Total War from a Long Time Fan

    Good to see you too DaVinci! It has been awhile... I think the last time was actually in the Shogun 2 Realism thread.

    Thanks for watching the video and enjoying it! It means a lot.

    I was feeling nostalgia for the old days, which is why I've returned after being so busy for several years. It's quite fun to be back. (I still have to try your mod, Attila Realism. Will download and try it tomorrow)
    Under the patronage of John I Tzimisces

  6. #6

    Default Re: A Review of Chivalry Total War from a Long Time Fan

    Chivalry for me is still one of the main mods for RTW. A TWC member on here recommended it to me before I got Med 2 and that got to be about ten years ago. It just a really atmospheric mod more so than vanilla Med 2. Still worth enjoying in 2021

  7. #7
    DaVinci's Avatar TW Modder 2005-2016
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    Default Re: A Review of Chivalry Total War from a Long Time Fan

    Quote Originally Posted by herne_the _hunter View Post
    Chivalry for me is still one of the main mods for RTW. A TWC member on here recommended it to me before I got Med 2 and that got to be about ten years ago. It just a really atmospheric mod more so than vanilla Med 2. Still worth enjoying in 2021
    Nice comment, thanks!
    # Anthropocene # not just Global Warming but Global Disaster, NASA # Deforestation # Plastic Emission # The Blob # Uninhabitable Earth # Savest Place On Earth # ICAN # MIT study "Falsehoods Win"
    # "there can be no doubt about it: the enemy stands on the Right!" 1922, by Joseph Wirth. Mind viruses of the Right: Religious fundamentalism, chauvinism, fascism and populism. Driven by arrogance and ignorance paired with reactionism.
    # "Humanity is in ‘final exam’ as to whether or not it qualifies for continuance in universe." Buckminster Fuller
    # My Modding List # The Witcher 3 - LoreFriendlyTweaks - The lore way to play the game

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