Thursday 20 June 2019

Mordhau: exciting and fresh release into the competitive online realm

Mordhau: PC, 9/10

Chris Hayes - Game Review

No experience in video gaming is quite as valuable as a new experience and Mordhau has this elusive quality by the bucketload. Though, like anything new or out of leftfield, Mordhau is, initially, a frustrating flurry of haphazard awkwardness. But once this game truly clicks and draws back the veil of mysticism, Mordhau becomes a visceral feast of addictiveness, skill-based swordplay and well-paced moments of reward.

Mordhau is essentially a melee combat simulator with a dazzling variety of team-based game modes to choose from. Tottering astride a solid barrier between wonderful simplicity and alluring complexity, Mordhau will be like nothing you've played before. Most of the abilities in your arsenal come at the behest of a mouse movement. You can stab, you can strike from various angles and you can even morph between variations mid-swing, giving you the opportunity to fool enemies or adapt a defensive counter.

The mutability of the fighting systems allow for moments of glee and discovery, as you sound out new combinations of feints and morphs through repeated trial and error. If the controls sound convoluted, it's because they rely so heavily on the player's intuition, that putting the mechanics to words becomes as difficult as explaining the mechanics of riding a bike.

While Mordhau includes the now-customary Battle Royale mode, the true star of the show is in its Frontline game category. Frontline is a 64-player team-based battle that will be somewhat familiar to players of the Battlefield series. Frontline tasks each team with pushing the frontline forward through enemy outposts until you and your comrades have won the map. It cannot be overstated just how good the map designs are. Often, the maps allow such diversity in approach and combat encounters that no two games on the same map ever feel too indistinct from one another.

Mordhau's modes are often the very definition of order born from chaos, but should you feel the need to step back from the beautiful insanity, the Duels mode offers a much-needed reprieve. Duels is exactly what its namesake implies, a bloody 1v1 fight to the death. While a vastly different game to say, Frontline or Battle Royale, Duels more that offers its fair share of reward and adrenaline.

Mordhau is not an easy game to run, and is having some teething issues in its infancy. Other than these minor gripes, there is very little bad to be said about such an exciting and fresh release into the competitive online realm.