Mount & Blade: Warband

Mount & Blade: Warband
Mount & Blade: Warband Cover
Platforms Windows
Genre Medieval Action RPG
Score 8  Clock score of 8
Buy from Amazon

I enjoy medieval RPGs. I mean, the majority of games I play - fantasy or not - are based in that setting. There's just something about slicing my enemies up with swords that's just completely satisfying. So when I got to play a few minutes of Mount and Blade: Warband, I knew I'd desperately want more.

What? You haven't heard of this masterpiece from Taleworlds? That's okay, there wasn't a whole lot of advertising, and the original Mount and Blade was made by a married couple virtually by themselves. It's not exactly common that things like this happen.

I played the original briefly, and it was fun, but the overhauled Warband made vast improvements over its predecessor.

So, what is it? Well, it's massive and somewhat complicated, but I shall attempt to explain. Mount and Blade: Warband is a medieval role-playing game that puts you into the world of Calradia, a land filled with several kingdoms, all wanting to unify the land under their rule.

The overhead system is a great way for you to see how much of a mess Calradia really is. Each kingdom has its own color, and when you zoom out all the way and take a peek at the map, you'll notice that there are six kingdoms fighting over the land.

So you choose what kind of character you are, and you'll talk with a merchant who will teach you a little about the game and let you earn some gold before a disaster strikes and you have to help a town take up arms against corrupt guards. After that, you'll be out on your own.

The story is almost non-existent, which is especially rare for an role-playing game. But this RPG is focused much more on the combat, which is where this game shines brighter than any other RPG I've ever played.

You can quest, which is basically doing favors for other characters. They're not that important unless you want certain people to like you to possibly betray their king, or become a lord in their kingdom.

Scores

Gameplay: 10

The first thing to note about the combat is also to note about the game itself, this isn't a fantasy game. There's no magic; there is just archery, swordsmanship and horsemanship. There's nothing else, but trust me when I say that this game is much more in game than it appears on paper.

The second thing to note about the combat is that it is real time, in either a first person or third person perspective that is done much better than any game I've played to date, this includes games like Oblivion. The combat is far more realistic than any other game I played, and far more difficult when you start playing on the harder difficulties. Shields break, you can die easily if you're not incredibly rich and of a high level. Tactics come into play in a way that's more true-to-life than any other game I've played. What do I mean by that? Well, just try charging a line of pikes with your cavalry and see what happens.

The third thing is, and this is what I think really sets the game on the map, is the realistic mounted combat. In other games with horses, they're simply transportation. However, in Mount and Blade: Warband, they're a necessity to fight a well-planned battle, especially against a larger force. A single cavalry can defeat numerous swordsmen, which seems unfair, until arrows start hitting you from every direction. In addition, soldiers can carry more than one weapon, meaning that the cavalry might just get speared and die.

This game has almost everything a real-time RPGer would want in a game.

Mount and Blade Warband Knight Horse Armor

Controls: 8

The controls in Warband are fantastic. You slightly turn the camera, then click to attack. Right-clicking either blocks with a shield, or auto-blocks a current attack with a weapon. But there's a catch if you're only using a weapon: If your attacker is preparing to do an overhead strike, and you block accordingly, he can feint his attack and change its direction. Unless the person blocking reblocks, he'll be hit. While this seems difficult, when you're playing, it doesn't take long to gain fluidity.

Graphics: 5

This is one huge downside to this game. The graphics are what you'd expect in the later years on the last generation consoles, such as the Gamecube. There's really nothing to write home about, and while it's disappointing that it isn't as beautiful as most modern games today, when you are on the battlefield with 149 other characters, you'll understand why it's just not that much of a priority.

Fun Factor: 10

This game is almost endlessly fun, if you enjoy this genre. This is one of the most entertaining games I've played in awhile. It consumes hours of my time, and my wife curses it. Playing this game has reminded me that it only requires a few well executed mechanics to make a game fantastic.

Overall: 8

Mount and Blade plays extremely well, but the graphics are a bit of an eyesore. Perhaps I'm simply spoiled on new generation graphics, but the lack of beauty physically is easily ignored with the mechanic beauty that you experience.

All this fun can be had for $29.99 on Steam. Get it, and play. I apologize for the shortness of this review, but I've got things to do... medieval things.

Mount and Blade Warband Epic Battle

Comments

Addictive,really...

Except on the start of the game,when you must accept the quest of the merchant of Shariz/Sargoth/Wercheg/Suno/Uxhall,you can do whatever you want.You can pass all the game raiding caravans,or villages,if you are in to it.Of course,every caravan and village,or a castle or city,have a owner and a faction,and every militar action you commit provokes some reaction of the faction you offended.Don't have a main quest,at least the game don't oblige you to acomplish,that is to be the Ruler of all Calradia.To do it you need first to be a mercenary(other cool job you can find on the game) of one of the factions,after gain enough respect of their ruler,giving victories to the faction,you will be a lord,get some fiefs...resuming,you will advance with this faction.Everything you do creates renown,and,after a war,you the faction and you was sucessfull,right to rule.Don't have so many rpg's with this caracteristics,no?And we have so many atributtes to mix on the game,to use on the map,to discipline your party(that grows bigger and bigger,while the game advances),to loot(i hate loot),for example.And you need to use diplomacy with people that you recruit on the cities,that you can say that they are your captains.One don't like of the other,like job colleagues...The detail that don't have any magic on the entire game,and franchise,makes it unique,too.I love this game,love slash an archer while riding at hi-velocity on the battlefield.The only complait that i have is on the sieges,that you cannot use catapults,battering rams,command any unity accordally to a sucessfull siege,as you can do on the Total War Medieval.You know,you crash the wall with big flaming rocks,or send a siege tower front the wall,and the infantry on the tower waves on the retainers,opens the gates,and the cavalry wave the enemies inside.I hope they will change to something like that on the sequel,bannerlord.

RPG or Wargame

I bought the game. And I'd say it's an Action RPG. and like Ian said. An emphasis on action. There's a lot you can do. I play with a mod tho. It's called the Diplomacy mod. It's very fun and I think better then the original one, AKA Native. But you could call the game an RPG or Wargame and both fit the bill.

This is by far, the best game I have ever played. And I can't stop playing it :P

you forgot castle battles

ok... well this AWESOME website wont let me post anything. let me just say the castle battles will ruin the game for you. its an A+ game but with castle battles it brings it down to a D. you'll see why (im not allowed to post anything on this website)

mount and blade warband

So, you pretty much just do anything you want in this game? I bought it onlinea few days ago and it should probably be here on Tuesday.

Somewhat

You do decide what you want to do, but the computer does try to stop you if you make war on a faction. Things can get really dicey really fast if you don't have a properly trained and sized army.

OK, cool—it's arguably an RPG

OK, cool—it's arguably an RPG after all. I'll buy that. Thanks for the followup. (And thanks for visiting a game like this I haven't seen mentioned anywhere else.)

Nice review. I've seen stuff

Nice review. I've seen stuff about this game a few times on Steam and have been remotely interested, but haven't bought either of them yet. Isn't Warband's big draw also that it has online play?

But it definitely sounds fun though. A bit like the war chaos of Dragon Force, with more control in battle. I also agree about the graphics. Having lackluster screenshots and videos can definitely turn people off the game when they may buy it otherwise. If you're going to have a weak graphical system, you should at least try to add some uniqueness or creativity in them, or it'll be a much harder sell. Part of it may be the fact that it needs much fewer polys in the massive battles to run smoothly, and that's understandable. But still...

Multiplayer is present.

I did forget to include that, however, without mods, it's completely head to head against other opponents and that's sorta difficult for me to review. Sorta. I might have to edit this a little later. :-P

Sounds like a good wargame, not an RPG

From what you've described (no story; focus only on fighting), there's no particular role you play in Mount & Blade. That's supposed to be a front-and-center defining element of a Role Playing Game. It sounds like the game has leveling up, but that's not enough*. RPG is a mechanics genre, not a thematic genre. This sounds like a pure tactical wargame simulator that happens to have medieval theming, not like an RPG.

Sounds like a good one, though. Just call it what it is, or describe how it really is an RPG after all.

(* Most racing games these days have leveling up, too. They still aren't RPGs. Saying that a level-up mechanic makes a game an RPG is like saying that having lives makes it a platformer or having a score makes it a sports game. Regardless of genre, every game has to be built around basic progress mechanics or else it would feel static or repetitive. Levels, lives, and score are all just common progress-tracking idioms, not genre definitions.)

RPG?

Well, Ian submitted this piece to me and I, having never heard of the game and not knowing what kind of game it was, wandered over to Wikipedia for help. I was trying to fit this game into a genre I was familiar with, and from reading the review found that difficult, so I took the easy way out. I think I'll have to revisit this, anyone who's played it have a suggestion? Does "war game" fit the bill? What are some other games, if any, that play like Mount & Blade?

Also, thanks for the reply, nice to know people are paying attention.

You do role play, believe it or not.

While there is virtually no base story, the object of the game is to conquer Calradia and unify it under your rule. However, you can get married, you can host feasts, and use politics to sway others to get what you want. I would have put that in the review, but this line just described it. However shallow it may be, I still believe this is an RPG - an action RPG with an emphasis on action.

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