There are plenty of games that attempt to cover many genres of games in a single Most of these have strategy elements that feel tacked on or completely pointless. I can easily say that Mount & Blade: Warband does a wonderful job of covering elements of multiple game genres while maintaining a constant purpose for each individual element. Some of these elements are character skills, weapon specializations, army/prisoner/item management, combat, and even sorts of exploration. All of these elements create a seemless experience that reflects medieval times in an interesting and engrossing way.
The most engrossing way to play the game has to be the story mode that puts players in the shoes of an adventurer that (ideally) goes from having nothing to claiming the throne of Calradia itself. At the start, players will create their very own character by answering questions about the character they’re creating. One example of this is what your character’s father did professionally. Some options include hunter, warrior, merchant, and thief. All of these questions (including your gender!) change what attributes, skills, items, weapon specializations, and items your character will start with. I enjoy this mechanic because it means that simply answering questions will help to define your character and how you will need to adapt to play as them. Possibly one of the most important aspects that is changed by the starting questions is weapon proficiency.
Every weapon type has a weapon proficiency that covers its usage. I didn’t understand this at all when I started my first playthrough attempt so I kept attmepting to use weapons my character was not good with at all. I’m still not completely sure I understand this mechanic but I know that if players don’t take the starting questions seriously, they may be stuck with a character that does not properly reflect that player’s play style. Weapon proficiency itself is governed by a skill that determines how high a particular proficiency can get before it can’t be raised anymore. On top of this, the skill Weapon Proficiency is governed by the Agility attribute.
In fact, all of the attributes govern several skills that can change how a player will go about playing the main game. Some of these skills include looting (how much loot players will get from victorious battles), trading (getting better prices from merchants), and prisoner management, which I haven’t even had the chance to explore to much detail because there was so much else to explore! After spending tons of time trying to make heads or tails of the character creation, I found myself in a town doing a quest for a friendly merchant. I learned how to recruit other people and how to explore the over world map. Soon after, I found myself trying to decide whether I wanted to help nearby lords or pillage their villages and reap the rewards. This sense of freedom is found thoughout a large portion of the game and was one of my favorite aspects of it.
After thinking about it some more, all the things I enjoyed about Mount & Blade were mechanics and how they worked together. For instance, the game’s combat can be really simple or truly complex depending on what the player wants. This same kind of choice can be applied to what kind of combat a player will use, be it pure melee or a mixture or bows and melee or even attempting to use a horse as much as possible. While all of these mechanics work plenty well and seem to compliment each other nicely, the game suffers from dated graphics, bland sounds/songs and a world that feels far too bland to match the amount of complexity found in the gameplay. Even though the game has these issues, I found myself coming back to try and create my own army to fight for me throughout the story mode.
Besides the story mode, there is a multiplayer mode that pits players against one another in one of several game modes that range from the typical death match to capture the flag all played with medieval weapons and equipment. I played multiplayer for a while, but couldn’t find enough fun to be had without a friend or maybe a more full lobby. With that said, I believe story mode is what will interest most players as it allows players to role play as whatever they want, from a petty thief to a lord with an army at their command. Whatever life you decide to live, be prepared to live it for a long time as Mount & Blade has a large world to explore (or conquer). It’s just a shame that this world is bland and difficult to remember. All in all, I can see myself (and many of my friends) playing the game for many hours to come.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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