Pages: 1 2
While combat might sound incredibly complicated, there is a solid balance between the battle elements being regulated by the engine behind the scenes and those you control directly on the battlefield. Your character’s attributes and skills unobtrusively dictate how effective you are with certain weapons and while riding, but there is more to Mount and Blade than riding around on a horse and defeating your enemies. Unless something goes seriously wrong, you should never be fighting alone on the battlefield. Skills such as leadership, tactics, prisoner management and training help your character lead his rag-tag band of troops to victory and profit.
With all this talk of combat and characters, it’s important to mention that the role-playing elements are not just window dressing. There are a variety of people with whom to interact, including some of your own companions. For example, after pillaging and burning down a village owned by the opposition in a war in which I was fighting, one of my companions stopped our party in the middle of marching to a new objective and complained that he didn’t join up with me to slaughter commoners and loot like a bandit. His satisfaction with being a part of my group dropped, and I had to assure him we wouldn’t be doing it very often, but at the end of a later battle in which we withdrew in the face of a vastly superior force, another companion indicated that, while others may view our retreat as cowardice, he thought living to fight another day was a good idea. Your decisions not only affect you and the world around you, but also your companions, who are under no obligation to be loyal if they don’t like how things are going, no matter how much you pay them.
Despite Mount and Blade’s rather modest system requirements, the graphics are fairly good. You can customize the appearance of your avatar, and there seem to be few generic characters. With the wide variety of weapons, armor, horses and military uniforms available, the only two characters that should look alike are two men who have the same troop type and are on the same side. With the high casualty counts both my force and our enemies sustained, armies rarely remain homogenous very long. As for NPCs, your companions can be equipped just like you, allowing you to spend your hard-earned money on more than just toys for you or replacements for casualties. Your comrades can end up looking just as intimidating as you do, if they are equipped well enough.
Mount and Blade is nearing the end of its production cycle, with beta testing wrapping up soon. That’s a good thing, because I can’t wait to get the finished product installed and start playing. My preview version was limited to 31 game-days of play, nowhere near enough to satisfy my interest. Stay tuned for my review.
Pages: 1 2