Mount and Blade: Warband is the expansion from Mount and Blade; an origonal medieval RPG created by Taleworlds. It is a game oriented on the progression of your character through a world full of Bandits, Kings and huge wars. You can choose any faction you wish, and even start your own rebel kingdom. Mount and Blade is a one of a kind game; which is well worth checking out for almost any gamer.
To most gamers, ther storyline of a game is the most important factor when deciding to invest many game hours into completing it. When a story starts to unfold, that is what makes the game so addictive. However, Mount and Blade doesn’t follow a conventional storyline. The style of this game is more casual, as you have choice in practically everything you can do. There are options to join any of the 6 factions, or to go it alone and declare war on whoever you want. This gives the game a lot of versatility, however may not give some people an ‘aim to the game’.
You’re given serveral choices at the start of the game, from how you want your character to look to their background, which determines some of your attributes in game. For example, you can be the descendant of a noble and carry your own banner, or a blacksmith and have increased stats. This gives the game some variation as well as some replay value; as well as giving your character some sort of past, and not just making him a innanomate object.
The main map layout is very simple and easy to grasp. I like the navigations options; from just clicking to where you want to ride to on the map, to setting up camp and watching time pass at a faster rate. This gives you more time to play the interesting parts of the game, and reduces the amount of time you spend doing mundane tasks such as travelling. If you’re anything like me, you would much rather be fighting barbarians than traipsing over the M&B continent just to talk to a lord who thinks he is better than you. Pretty sweet.
The unique battle system is what makes Mount&Blade stand out for me. There is nothing more satisfying than leading in your own, self-raised army, against a stuck up King who wants nothing more than to take you prisoner and rid you of your hard earned lordly armour. The edge of your seat is often occupied as you realise your archers are within enemy cavalry charging range, or your Hired Blade has ran too far and has got surrounded. What makes this combat system effective is the fact it is so simple.
You can enter a battle a number of ways; from troublesome bandits/looters, to competing in Tournaments with the landlord. On the main map (see pic1), you simply have to come into contact with any other army to be able to assault them. However, some armies will chase you (who are militarily more powerful then you), and other will flee you (because you are that damn awesome), which makes Sieges and villiage looting that little bit harder.
Once you are in battle, you can now control your hero using standard keyboard controls (if you don’t know wasd for movement then there is no hope). Your units also appear with you, and can be given certain basic commands, such as ‘follow’ or ‘hold fire’. Implementing these tactics into massive battles can keep you on yout toes, as well as make the game more realistic, leaning towards a ‘Rome Total War’ RPG, which is nice.
Attacking is simple; using your mouse to determine from which angle you strike from; and also using your mouse to aim the recticle in ranged combat. Your weapon skill points (earned from gaining experience) determine how much damage you do with certain weapons, as well the weapons given damage it inflicts.
There are many ways you can customize your character, from changing around equipment in the 4 weapon slots, to adding or removing a horse to ride into battle. Different weapons apply to different situations, and so mindless riding with a massive polearm doesn’t always work (however it is incredibly fun).
Meeting NPCs gives the game a nice RPG feel. Most NPCs that you meet will have a ‘relationship meter’, which displays how much a certain NPC likes (or hates) you. This can lead to certain factions declaring war against you, or even, if you’re lucky enough, gifting you a castle or villiage, in which you can tax and produce a steady income. You also have the option to add NPC heros into your party. These NPCs level up as you would, and also can be given custom equipment (depending on their stats; which increase with levels), making you feel like a proper army general.
Until they all get horribly slaughtered. Sound the retreat.
The only major issue i have with the game is the objectives. Which i realise is a pretty major issue. When playing the game, fighting through wave after wave of Barbarians is fun, however doesn’t really get you anywhere. After taking a huge city by military force, you just go and try and take another one. There is no real plot, apart from complete domination, making sandbox gamers the only real gamers that will stick to this game for a longer period of time.
However this game is unique, with a very appealing price tag and constant mods and updates being produced. If you enjoy sandbox games or casual playthroughs, it is well worth checking out!