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Ogre Plays Older Games: Mount & Blade – Warband

Mount-and-blade-warband_PC_US_ESRBMount & Blade: Warband recently went up for sale on Steam and they had a free weekend to try it out. I already owned this game but never really got into it, so I thought I’d give it another chance.

Mount & Blade games have a gratifying skill-based hack-and-slash combat mechanism. To attack with a sword in the game the direction you swing is determined by which direction you move your mouse before you press the left mouse button. The learning curve is huge but once it clicks the game becomes immensely satisfying. Imagine how amazing it would feel to beat Battletoads, get an Ultrakill Streak in DOTA 2, or run a full lap in QWOP! Mount & Blade combat can be that rewarding; however, you’ll need to pay your dues on the training grounds, in tournaments, and in arenas. It will all be worth it when you are charging through the world map on horseback hunting down bandits and decimating the enemy lines.

In the single player experience you start as one adventurer on a horse and can pick from eight different starting lands. From there you recruit peasant volunteers, hire mercenaries, or attract unique heroes to create your “warband”. Your group can do missions for town elders or guild masters like deliver-this and escort-that. There are also roaming bands of looters, bandits, and army deserters for you to chase down and slaughter. Eventually you may garner enough honour to fight alongside the king in a war, and even be granted land of your own. However you may choose a path of infamy and become a bandit yourself by pillaging towns, murdering caravans, and laying siege to a castle and taking it by force. Whichever path you choose, you won’t be able to do this until you have enough people in your own “warband” to be considered an army onto itself. You will need protect your gains from opposing faction if you ever wish to curry enough favour of lords to become king, or perhaps help a usurper take the kingship.

If you don’t care about all this story garbage then multiplayer may be for you. Huge medieval battles with your choice of weaponry allow you to mercilessly hunt down and destroy your opponents. Usually it’s one death and you’re out. You can’t just rush in and bunny-hop your way to glory. You will have to work together and strategize as a group. Or just run in, that’s fun too.

The Steam workshop is active for this game and it needs it. The graphics were outdated even when it came out. Community mods ad variety and smoother functionality to the game. Among the more popular choices there are are armour and weapon packs, and better interface options. I personally will not play the game without the “Vexed Native” mod.

polishchevaulegers1One of my biggest loves for the game comes from the Napoleonic War DLC. It allows you to fight multiplayer Napoleonic War battles with musketmen, cannons, trench digging, and even morale boosting drummers. Muskets have one shot, take several seconds to reload, and are frightfully inaccurate, which is on purpose as that’s how they were in real life. Out of ammo? Then switch to bayonet mode or pull out your sabre and hack down your opponents. You can have literally hundreds of players on fighting on the same server, so it makes for a very epic battle. Lag is minimal, so there is an upside to having your fighters look like they’re from Half-Life. I cannot recommend this mod highly enough; it is unlike any experience you will find in a game.

 

So here’s the skinny…
[box] What I liked: Combat is fun. The warband stuff is good. The mod support is amazing. The realism is exciting.
What is fugly: God it looks terrible, so horrible. It’s like Unreal had a baby with the elephant man then dropped it in a sink. Plus it takes a long while to get powerful, so patience is needed.
Rage Rating: 8 out of 10 annoying Lords calling you a dirty peasant.
Happy Fun Time rating: 7 out of 10 fights ending with you stained red from the amount of enemies you killed.
Final Verdict : Worth a buy just for the Napoleonic DLC alone.
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