Mordhau, the review

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Alejandra Rangel
@alejandrarangel
Author and references

mordhau is a multiplayer hack 'n' slash set in the Middle Ages whose large battlefields can accommodate up to sixty-four players. It is also one of the games with the hand to hand combat more satisfying than ever, probably even higher than that of Ubisoft's most expensive and famous For Honor. Developed by Slovenian Triternion using Unreal Engine 4 and made possible by a successful 2017 Kickstarter campaign (which raised nearly $ 300.000) it became an absolute hit on Steam, easily surpassing the 500.000 copies sold within a few days. But what is the reason for such a result?



Combat system

In the basic mode among the main ones of mordhau, That Frontline, the player takes on the role of a warrior selected from one of nine preset classes. If you want, you can also customize it, but our advice is to do it only after fully understanding the combat system and having developed a style of play that makes this process more effective. The options are however many: ranging from the choice of the skin color of our character (who without any pretense of realism can belong to any ethnicity) to that of the equipment, which includes armor of all kinds, maces, swords, axes, bows and all the medieval trinkets you can think of. Of course, the equipment is important, because it partly determines the style of play. In short, a warrior with full plate armor on a broadsword cannot expect to play with speed.



However, once the choice has been made, you are immediately sent to the battlefield in a 32 against 32 match. The first games are traumatic: for newbies there is no mercy. The tutorial allows you to understand the basics of the game mechanics, but it is only the practice that allows you to improve. To start killing with awareness it takes a lot of games, to become competitive even more. Does it seem excessive to you? We can assure you that Mordhau does not tire, however, because the player's improvements are palpable from game to game, even when he is killed with great speed. Basically the combat system is based on the timing of hits and parries, so much so that it looks like a fighting in certain situations. Most of the fights are won or lost by decisions made in seconds: rushing a blow too much or blocking in front of an experienced player means certain death, as well as running blindly towards the enemy thinking you are unbeatable. It should be noted that you cannot perform burst moves and you cannot keep the parry, because each action has its own recovery time, more or less short depending on the type of action itself.


There are no winning moves in Mordhau, in the sense that every attack has a counter, and every block can be reversed, whatever the weapon is at hand. The inevitable result is that not so much who attacks first wins, as who is able to understand from the opponent's behavior what his next move will be, so as to be able to anticipate it. All this translates into brutal clashes, but at the same time also refined and very technical.


What is not working

Unfortunately mordhau it really only works in hand-to-hand combat, while it leaves something to be desired in other areas, namely in ranged skirmishes and support classes. For example the archery they are penalized by the excessive search for realism, which foresees quite long times between the firing of one arrow and the next, as well as a certain difficulty in aiming due to the inevitable oscillations of the reticle.

It is clear that making the archers too precise would have affected the fighting, but as it is now it is a fairly frustrating class to use. The problem probably lies in the very nature of Mordhau, which he simulates but up to a certain point, for example giving the armored characters a freedom of movement that they really shouldn't have and not trying to reconstruct in any way the real conditions of a field. medieval battle, despite the maps are quite accurate in the elements that compose them and offer incredibly tense situations (despite the online). In short, the archers in the Middle Ages did not fight in the open field jumping together with the soldiers, so it is inevitable that using them like this makes them a little more clumsy than they should. A similar argument also applies to other classes, such as those of engineers, who are involved in building siege engines: in most occasions they are useless, as the soldiers can solve most of the fights without the need for support.


However, let's specify better: all classes can give their satisfactions, especially to those who dedicate the right time to them, but with the growth of the game, the attention of the players is focusing only on some of them to the detriment of the others, because they are those with which you get the best results and with which you have the most fun.


Other modes

mordhau offers two other main game modes besides Frontline (there are also classic ones like 1v1 and deathmatch, not included in matchmaking). Those who don't want to jump right into the fray should try the mode Horde, in which you have to face waves of enemies of increasing strength led by the CPU as a group. As is often the case in similar modes, encounters yield resources that can be spent on buying better equipment to prepare for the next wave. Mind you that this is not an easy mode, but at least it allows you to become familiar with the combat system without having to face other human players, who are really more ruthless than artificial intelligence. It is also unusually satisfying and offers moments of great brutality. The third modality, the one in our opinion weakest, is the classic one battle royale. The ingredients of the genre are all there: equipment to find, play area that gradually shrinks, victory for the last player left, and so on. The problem is that the game system and the general slowness of the gameplay do not make the games particularly exciting. That is, in our opinion it doesn't make much sense to buy Mordhau for the battle royale mode, when there is so much better around.

From a technical point of view, Triternion's game was only half successful. The graphic rendering is good, with detailed characters and particularly successful effects, such as those of the kills (despite the budget available to the developers was not pharaonic) but at the same time there are large drops in framerate on some maps, even in conditions of low crowding. . Problems also from the point of view of connectivity, with servers that still do not seem to be able to withstand the load of players who have found themselves having to manage. In the last few days the situation seems to have improved compared to the launch, but perfection is still far away.

Comment

Digital Delivery Steam Price 24,99 € Resources4Gaming.com

7.8

Readers (16)

7.9

Your vote

Mordhau is an excellent multiplayer title, as long as you accept that it gives its best only with some classes, specifically those dedicated to white weapon clashes. In short, if you are looking for a game with a deep and articulated hand-to-hand combat system you cannot miss it, because it is the best there is on the market, but if you are interested in any other aspect of the battlefields of the Middle Ages, think about it, because the developers are still refining them.

PRO

  • Hand-to-hand combat gives great satisfaction, even when you lose
  • Character customization
  • Two out of three game modes are great
AGAINST
  • For now the servers still have lag problems
  • Hand-to-hand combat is the only style of play that works really well
  • The battle royale mode is small
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