PREVIEW: Mordhau

Ever thought that Chivalry was fun, but its gameplay was clunky? Mordhau is coming.

Steam: Alpha
Type: Multi-player
Genre: FPS, Action, Medieval
Developer: Triternion
Publisher: Triternion
Release date: TBA

As a competitive fencer, I’ve always felt very frustrated with Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. While I adored the gore, the atmosphere, the variety in weapons and so on, the gameplay itself always left me cold. Attacks from different angles were predetermined with a button each, always putting a barrier between my thoughts and my actions as I tried to reach for the right button – which one again? Very clunky and messy. Mordhau proposes to do away with all these button presses and use the mouse to direct an attack!

Gameplay Video

Still in the oven

Mordhau, a game successfully kickstarted during the first trimester of 2017, is a multi-player medieval fighting game. So far it is only in alpha, there are only four Deathmatch maps and melee weapons. Ultimately, it should feature archers and other game modes, such as Siege. To take a shortcut, the features are supposed to be everything that Chivalry already has, as Mordhau takes its inspiration from Chivalry. Then, why make a new game? As I mentioned in the introduction, Mordhau aims to be a lot more enjoyable to play.

Game mechanics

Attacks can be launched from 240° of choice (everything except straight overhead and straight from the crotch), simply by dragging the mouse from an angle towards the center. Your opponent has a shield on the left, you want to attack from the right? Make a quick slashing move from right to center with the mouse as you click. Perfect, no need to learn a ton of shortcuts (which can still be done). Although, it still does not feel as smooth as real sword handling with the ability to change trajectories mid-slash. The system does not end there, as it is possible to feint, use momentum to morph an attack into another, counter-attack in the same angle to deflect and hit, parry, or to kick an enemy who got too close. Most weapons can be held in two different ways to change their range (or to attack with the handle of a sword) and can also be thrown. A thrown sword can impale itself on someone and can then be picked up by either the attacker or a defender, which is super fun.

Chivalry is not dead

Fun is still a word rarely used in comparison to Chivalry. The reason why is that the fighters are not screaming at the top of their lungs or shouting hilarious one-liners. There is already a taunt system, but so far, it’s serious business. Interestingly, players salute with their swords to acknowledge whether or not they agree to engage in a duel. Injured players who win a duel will kneel to indicate that they are waiting for their health to regenerate before they can fight another duel. I use the word duel a lot, although it happens in Deathmatch. While Team Deathmatch is as violent as it should be, in Deathmatch people are very polite and considerate, and will only fight who they pair themselves with. The community is very healthy and I have seen minimal amount of griefing. This perfect chivalry is something I had only seen in the Jedi Knight games as well as in Blade Symphony.

Pacing and skill

Fights are very technical, either finished in two seconds on a wrong move or lasting for almost a minute. Then you have to wait a few seconds before respawning and finding a new opponent, which is good pacing. Intense fight, relax, intense fight, relax, you can spend hours doing this. Reflexes, skill and mind games are all put to work in each combat, and the different kinds of weapons provide a lot to learn and to adapt to.

Pointy dolls

Character customisation is extremely advanced. From every morphological detail of the character to the color of each garment, with many to choose from. It does not seem very likely that the game will require DLC or unlocks, thankfully. Armor plating and weapons each cost points, so there are choices to be made between defense and attack when creating a fighter. Do not do the same mistake as I did and forget to pick a good helmet, otherwise one shot is enough to behead that poor knight.


So far, Mordhau does not have enough content to be a thorough medieval experience, but its combat system is the best that exists to date. This game is very likely going to be better successor to Chivalry than Mirage: Arcane Warfare was. And something rare nowadays, the feeling of progress comes from learning the game rather than from a useless layer of crap. I had a hell of a time getting my skull bashed while I learned to separate my opponents from their heads, Mordhau is now the defining medieval sword-fighting game.

Screenshots accompanying this article were pulled from the forum of the game.

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February 2018

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