Charge! TaleWorlds routs all opposition with this exciting medieval game. A bit of polish and it will truly shine.
At first Mount & Blade can be a little hard to get into. It has absolutely no story line. You arrive in Calradia (the name of the land) as an adventurer and that's it. From then on you're on your own, left in a hostile world to forge your own destiny. Normally this kind of thing might put gamers off. Villages are boring and stamped from one of four molds and the quests are highly repetitive. All NPC's have the same things to say and it seems like the village elders have 4 - 5 set quests, no matter where in the world you go. Same applies to the Lords and Kings you find throughout the land. So why is this game so good? What makes it addictive enough for gamers put down their Xbox's, PlayStations and hand-held's and turn off Diablo 3?
The combat! Charging across an open plain with an axe in hand, slicing down infantry is supremely satisfying. Mounted combat shines in this game and un-horsing and battling with enemy knights is a sublime experience that almost all medieval games fail to replicate. Coupled with the fact that as you fight your warrior gets more and more covered with enemy blood makes for a very good feeling when you're standing, bloodied and exhausted on the field of battle having just decimated Lord Whatever-his-face's 100 strong army. Combat is controlled with your mouse. Depending on the weapon you have you left click and move the mouse in a direction to ready your attack (left - left swing, right - right swing etc) and then release to attack. It is surprisingly simple and easy to get used to. Mounted combat in games is often dreaded because it's usually so frustratingly bad, but MnB makes it really easy to lose yourself in the fight. You have troops of your own with you and can issue limited orders while on the field which can make for some fun tactical thought, although some more comprehensive orders would be a welcome addition.
Fighting on foot is no less fun though as this game has a fantastic block system to compliment the fighting. Block is handled the same way as combat, except this time you right click. You need to watch though, just right clicking isn't enough. If the enemy tries to strike from your left, you need to right click and swing the mouse left to bring your weapon up in a sideways block. It can make for some brilliant fights with higher level enemies as you both circle, blocking and parrying blows until someone finally wins. If you have a shield clicking will also make you raise it to fend off attacks, instead of using your weapon.
Something that makes this game unique is that it is a Medieval RPG type game where your character, army and special characters that you meet all level up. The skills range from the standard weapon skills (one handed weapons, archery, throwing weapons, pole arms etc) to Prisoner Management, Tracking, Looting, Path-Finding and Engineering... and yes... magic is neglected in there... That's because this game is a true Medieval game... Not a fantastical creature or fireball (except for that village you just looted and burned) in sight. It makes for such a refreshing change.
Yes the graphics aren't the best. Yes the audio could do with an overhaul. Yes the NPC's, conversations and quests are mind numbingly repetitive. But come on. Tell me you've never wanted to ride a horse at the head of an armoured charge, a battle cry on your lips as arrows and spears whip around you, plunging headlong into the foe with your flashing blade spilling enemy blood left and right?
This gamer gives Mount & Blade an 8/10