Deathstar
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Review Showcase
106 Hours played
MORDHAU is the latest game to try and make a "strong emphasis on skill-based combat" with a Medieval setting work. In 2017, the independent developer studio Triternion launched a crowdfunding campaign which ended up amounting to more than three times the initial target. The hype was building as players from titles such as Mount & Blade and Chivalry continued to suffer from a drought of good successors to their favourite medieval melee combat games. Now that MORDHAU has released, could it be a worthy claimant to this title?

MORDHAU is a 1st/3rd Person slasher game, allowing you to choose from a large variety of all the intricate tools of death used throughout early and late Medieval times. You have access to swords of many different lengths and shapes, long polearms for poking, blunt instruments for skullcaving and of course bows or crossbows for those afraid to get their hands dirty. Using these weapons feels about as real and impactful as it gets with current-day technology - They draw tracers as they are swung which line up with the model and will hurt any player who comes in contact with them, meaning that if it looks as though your weapon should have hit the guy, it generally does so. Fights can be quite varied, with 1on1 duels requiring an entirely different approach than bigger teamfights. MORDHAU has different game modes to accommodate for these different scenarios, with free-for-all deathmatches, team deathmatches, an objective-driven frontline mode and even the obligatory Battle Royal.
Armour is of course also usable and customisable, which is a large portion of the game's progression system. You spend gold you earn for every round played on new sets of armour, cosmetic items or weapon skins. The beauty of this system is that really, all items you buy are cosmetic with the exception of entirely new weapons. The armour system is intentionally not very complex - Each player has only three hitboxes: Head, Torso (+arms) and Legs and each section can be armoured with light, medium or heavy armour (or none, for real hard people). You get one piece of armour of all the armour classes for free right off the bat and thus any money you spend buying new armour is money spent on looking fancier. This means that the game will always feel fair and a brand new player has no disadvantage facing a veteran save for their individual skill (and specific weapon matchup). The perks you can choose to slightly alter your playstyle also do not change the way weapons function, nor can they increase your swing or movement speed. The way the game is balanced makes it feel almost like a fighting game - A theory supported by the many innovative ways people develop techniques from the pretty straight-forward way attacking and defending works.
Speaking of which, you can of course defend yourself by parrying blows at the right time or kicking to get some space. Even swatting away an attack with the windup of your own strike (Mount & Blade's 'chamber blocking') has been implemented and feels very natural. Fights have a nice flow to them, with many ways to break up the standard attack-block-attack routine. As someone who spent countless hours on Mount & Blade trying to improve their own technique, I would assume the skill ceiling in MORDHAU is quite lofty and it will even take veteran Chivalry players some time to get up there.

The game's most obvious flaw at the moment is the missing variety in maps. Its premiere, 64-player gamemode Frontline currently only has four maps, which themselves still seem to have a few balancing issues. Some of the weapons could also use some buffs and nerfs, but this should not take very long considering the large amount of player feedback currently flooding the developers' mailboxes. New maps are also being worked on and I am certain that more cosmetics are on the way. All this should help the game's longevity, which at this moment is still somewhat ambiguous.

I can recommend MORDHAU to both players who really want to get into theory fighting and reading frame data, as the game is very transparent on this. A handy ingame menu will show you exactly how long the windup of a specific weapon's swing takes, as well as exactly how much damage it will do to each bodypart and each armour class.
More casual players will also enjoy the game's more team-based game modes, especially Frontline. Even the best player can be felled by a well-timed strike with some help from your team. In summary, MORDHAU is good fun for all types of players who enjoy some gorey, impactful hack-and-slash combat.

Trivia: Mordhau refers to the technique of gripping your sword by the blade with both hands, turning it around and using the pommel and crossguard to deliver strikes, increasing your effect on armoured opponents. This is also ingame! You can access the mordhau grip on longswords by pressing R.
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Deathstar May 29, 2018 @ 12:47am 
Go to bread Griff
Griff May 28, 2018 @ 5:40pm 
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Miwiw May 16, 2018 @ 10:11am 
I've subscribed this comment section. I get notificated for every sin you commit.
Danko May 16, 2018 @ 10:11am 
Miwiw never misses a swastika
Miwiw May 16, 2018 @ 10:09am 
That's art. Beautiful!
Danko May 16, 2018 @ 10:09am 
That's illegal for you to look at