Build your own armies and take on others in this highly realistic action RPG game for PC
- Vast open world 3D environments
- Outstanding graphics, textures and visual effects
- Six factions to choose from, or start your own
- Highly realistic combat mechanics
- Multiplayer options
- No help or tutorial option available for players
Mount & Blade: Warband is a third-person action RPG game for PC, developed by TaleWorlds Entertainment. It is the first sequel to the action RPG game Mount & Blade. Embark with your warriors and charge into any battle that appears to help recover the throne of Calradia. The game is available here to download as a demo version only. The full version is available externally.
Action RPGs tend to have fairly similar formulas when it comes to common features such as the core narrative, gearing up, upgrading and combat. The Mount & Blade series tries to subvert popular gameplay tropes by creating a more immersive gameplay experience for players in all aspects of its gameplay.
This starts from character creation. The game first lets you create a history and appearance for your character based on a series of multiple choice options about your upbringing, working life, political and moral affiliations and so on. This will determine what your highest and lowest skills and/ or abilities will be, based on the number of Attribute, Skill and Weapon points you will have to distribute. Your character has just four attributes: Strength, Agility, Intelligence and Charisma, but each is equally important for combat. Skill points are more plentiful, with a couple dozen to choose from including weapon master, athletics, horse archery, path-finding, wound treatment, persuasion and many more. Lastly, there are Weapon points or proficiencies, divided between one-handed and two-handed weaponry, polearms, archery, crossbows and throwing. Your character also has a level and a base attribute. Because of the depth of this system, the only standard quantifiers included in battles are your Health and your Experience.
Customizing your physical appearance is even more interesting, with literally thousands of different combinations to choose from. Everything from the face, temples, eyebrows, cheek bones, nose shape, skin, hair and so many other attributes can be meticulously chosen using sliders.
Core Gameplay and Combat
The world of Mount & Blade, set in medieval times, strives for absolute realism in all aspects of its gameplay. This extends to its highly intricate and graphically stunning environments, outstanding narrative and dialogue and, of course, to its highly polished and precise combat system. In many games of the modern era, combat mechanics have become far more automated and emphasize the spectacle over mastery of the mechanics. Mount & Blade takes an old school approach. As the player, you can explore on foot or on horseback or a 'mount'. On foot, you have the opportunity to travel around towns on the map screen, talking to locals, picking up quests and recruiting new people to your army. This is a highly rewarding aspect of the game since there is virtually no limit to the number of potential recruits. Recruits also have their own classes and will level up if kept alive. Similar to older text-based adventure games, Mount & Blade uses text windows for its main dialogue and character interfaces.
On foot, you have the opportunity to travel around towns on the map screen, talking to locals, picking up quests and recruiting new people to your army. This is a highly rewarding aspect of the game since there is virtually no limit to the number of potential recruits. Recruits also have their own classes and will level up if kept alive
On horseback, while in the wild, you are more likely to encounter larger groups. When you do, you are given the choice to charge the enemy, order your troops to attack without you or leave. This allows the player to make a decision that will have real consequences for his troops. Engaging in combat is one of the most rewarding experiences in this game. There is no turn-based system; everything occurs in real time. Players must be patient, careful and clever when fighting and learn the patterns their opponent or else they will take unnecessary hits.
After you have levelled up your character and your army sufficiently, you can start taking over the towns and strongholds you come across, gain a reputation and eventually become the ruler of an entire region by creating your own empire. Given the amount of work involved here, the game offers potentially hundreds of hours of compelling gameplay.
Storm Castles in Multiplayer
Recently, Mount & Blade has also developed an absolutely amazing multiplayer mode with several standard modes like Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag as well as other ones like storming castles. Matches take place on 200-player servers and apply those same great combat mechanics seen in single player, with little or no lag. Despite some initial issues, the game has released a series of patches designed to streamline the multiplayer experience. An overview of the latest patch can be found here, at the bottom of the review.
Mount & Blade Warband is a magnificent action RPG game with highly detailed graphics, character creation and combat. Experience battles in real time and lead your band to victory. Conquer neighbouring lands and become the ruler of your own empire. While the controls and interface are easy to pick up, the lack of a tutorial function was quite telling and certainly would have been helpful. Play through the single player mode and enjoy the classic RPG elements it offers or hop into online multiplayer and join epic battles on 200-player servers. For a highly realistic combat experience and a truly outstanding RPG, I would most definitely recommend this game.