Lots of games take place in medieval settings, but despite all the knightly armor and weapons, most of these games don't even come close to recreating the details of authentic medieval combat. Indie developer Team Ethereal hopes to fill that void for blood-thirsty medieval fantasy fans with its multiplayer-only medieval combat sim, Ethereal.
Medieval design tends to automatically look generic at first glance these days, but Ethereal sets itself apart. First, Team Ethereal, through the help of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), painstakingly (or rather, painfully) researched the details of real medieval warfare to get the combat historically correct. Let's get one thing straight: to think that SCA is just a bunch of LARPers would be profoundly ignorant. Nay, even to say that these people aren't messing around would be an understatement. SCA makes all other forms of war reenactment look like baby play time. These people use real, historically accurate weapons and armor (sword blades are made of rattan for safety, but approximate the weight of a steel blade) in skirmishes consisting of hundreds of combatants.
Above: Team Ethereal mounted a camera onto a shield and took it into battle to gather data for Ethereal
Armed with data from real-life battles, the developers applied that knowledge to the gameplay, focusing the combat on real-time physics hits to make the action more realistic. We're not just talking about blugeoning vs piercing damage - your position and angle relative to your enemy makes all the difference when attacking and defending. You can't just go in swinging willy-nilly, but rather you must use a bit of strategy to find your enemy's weak spot and exploit it, while also defending yourself.
Ethereal is multiplayer-only, and allows up to 16 on 16 battles in its Counter-Strike style rounds. If you're ready to melee your way to victory, you can try the beta for yourself here.
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