Mount & Blade: Warband

Moby ID: 46152
Windows Specs
Buy on Windows
$19.99 new on Steam

Description official descriptions

Although Mount&Blade: Warband is called a stand-alone expansion pack to Mount&Blade, it is more of an enhanced remake of the original.

As stated, the core single player experience is unchanged to the original. Mount&Blade: Warband still is open-ended, nonlinear and focuses on realistic medieval warfare, combining character development elements with strategy management, exploration of the game world, and full real-time combat. Again the playing field is two-fold with an overhead map of the country where the player only sees figurative representations of castles, towns, own as well as enemy armies, etc., and the 3D real-time battles with up to a total of 150 units on the battlefield.

Both single and multiplayer modes feature improved graphics with motion-capture animations and more detailed textures. Combat itself has also been slightly altered with improved mechanics for soldier morale and the ability to use most throwing weapons in close combat.

New Faction and Diplomacy Features

To the several different non-player character (NPC) kingdoms of the original, a new faction (the Sarranid) has found its way into the game which includes an expansion of the map with a new desert region for the player to explore and conquer. New gameplay mechanics include the ability to become king and create a new faction including convincing lords of other factions to become the players vassals. The player may also upgrade own companions to vassals and grant them lands (applies only to creating a new faction). In addition to becoming king, the player may now also marry a lady (or a lord, if playing a woman) through poetry or bravery, which will open up a whole new range of diplomatic possibilities, if the player is in ownership of a castle or town.

Since the player still has total freedom to do as they wish, several new types of quests are waiting to be found and solved, many new companions are waiting in the taverns and a horde of new equipment to be collected or bought.

Multiplayer

Multiplayer is a new feature previously unavailable in the vanilla version. The game expands many aspects of the core game, improves the overall graphics and features multiplayer for up to 64 people (or bots) in which they can fight their 3D battles in the game modes Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Conquest, Battle, and Siege. Each mode is class-based and the player has to decide whether the player wants to fight as archer, cavalry or infantry. The class choice influences the gear the player starts with, but as in the single player game, the player can always pick up what lies on the ground. Another way to get better gear is to buy it after each death with the money earned through killing enemies.

Spellings

  • Mount & Blade. Эпоха турниров - Russian spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

214 People (209 developers, 5 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 78% (based on 33 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 34 ratings with 1 reviews)

I lost quite a lot of nights to this game.

The Good
In this game you travel around a map and build your own little army, with that army you can then proceed to hunt down bad guys, go to war or pick on farmers. While a bit difficult at first, building your own army becomes a very interesting feature later on. Units can upgrade in different ways, you see. So after several hours (in-game days) of toiling I finally managed to set up a reasonable cavalry-army. Because each faction has their own upgrade-tree, it allows you to customize your group in any way you like.

In the past I have often stated that I like to be able to role-play within my games. For those unfamiliar with the term, it basically means that I want to be able to feel like I am playing my own character within an environment that responds accordingly. Many games have tried and failed at this (Skyrim been the latest to fall under that category), but Mount&Blade gets it just right. You have a huge assortment of skills at your disposal, some of which relate to combat and some of which have other functions. This means that you don't HAVE to be a soldier, you can get around just as well with becoming an engineer. Depending on your choices, your character slowly forms into what you want him or her to be, this becomes even more apparent when you see how important your choices can be (just try keeping up with enemies when you suck at path-finding), whereas in Skyrim you can pour points in smithing and still win every sword-fight that gets in your way.

What also helps you feel like you're actually role-playing is the conversation-system. When we look at Skyrim again, you'll see that you have conversation options, but all they do is allow you to get the same result in different ways. In Warband you have a reputation-meter with every single major character and depending on what you say and do to him, it will increase or decrease. Say that you are too busy to help him with a minor errand and you can expect to lose a single point, but inform somebody that you intend to support him in an election and he will be rather pleased with you. As your reputation with the character grows you can also expect to slowly see rewards coming your way, such as the ability to convince a character to direct his forces to a certain target.

A problem I see a lot in games is that they have money in it, but there is nothing to spend it on. Take for example Fable, a game where money comes at you from every direction, but it's simply impossible to lose. Zelda games also had this problem until Skyward Sword came around, in that case the problem was solved by a very good upgrade system that provided notable upgrades that became more necessary as the difficulty rose. Here however, the problem is solved by having the player purchase all his armor and forces himself. You don't get financed and most armor you pull off of dead-soldiers won't get you far, but you also need to feed your troops and pay their wages. All of this makes you that more inclined to keep undertaking missions and staging attacks.

The combat is also really enjoyable when you get the hang of it, though that might seem like something you will never do once the game starts. The idea is that you have to hold your mouse-button and steer your mouse into the direction you want to hit at. Timing is essential and unlike a lot of other games, you won't get far by standing still. If you hit an enemy with your sword while charging straight at him, it will do a ton of damage. I actually got instant-killed once because I took a lance to the face when charging at the user of said lance.

Losing some of your units can also become quite a big deal when you combine all the above. Upgrading units costs a lot of money and when you lose one of your knights or marksmen it can mean you have lost up to fourteen in-game days of training. While fighting I often found myself to be much more cooperative than I normally would, I tend to go for a frontal-charge in a lot of games, but here I mostly found myself on the flanks or rushing to the aid of a single unit.

The first time I heard about this game was in Angry Joe's review of one of the expansions and in that review he mentioned how tense the ranged-combat could get. I have to agree with him because you want to get every hit you possible can in this game. When an enemy horde is charging towards you and you miss an arrow, it means you will have to slowly reload your crossbow, focus the aim on somebody and then fire a single arrow before you have to repeat the process again. It creates a sense of realism, I can imagine crossbowmen in that time genuinely felt like this when they were on the field.

Siege battles are also really interesting to be a part of, even though they can be a bit clunky. Most siege-battles will have several hundreds of enemies fighting each other, but both sides also have a huge handicap. The attackers have to enter the castle or city first, meaning that they have to climb a small ladder or walk across a bridge (where they can be easily picked off). Once an attacking force is inside the walls though, the defenders have lost their advantage and their archers become completely useless.

Finally I'd like to say that this game is FILLED with content that you have to work towards. It took me over a hundred in-game days to receive a single village, not even a castle, but a small village with nothing in it. At that point I had been playing the game for about five days and I was nothing short of overjoyed about that relatively small achievement. The game balances the rewards out so brilliantly that it never becomes stale or too easy.

The Bad
One of the biggest annoyances in this game was pursuing enemies. You see, there is this overworld map that you need to navigate and you only dive into the action when you meet an opponent on the field. However, when my army was finally ready to take on some good challenges, most of those challenges turned the instant they saw me. The speed at which you traverse the overworld is decided by your path-finding skill, the logical solution would be to upgrade this skill if you run into this problem, but whenever I did so the enemies seemed to upgrade too.

The story is also not particularly interesting and neither are the characters. The world of Caladria is just a large landmass with a few factions dumped on them, each faction is different in the way they fight and name their titles, but there are no ideological differences or any other reason for why these countries would go to war against each other. Every single character also has the same dialogue options and the only differences are created by the reputation-meter. The only reason to interact with the characters is to get better rewards out of them, which I feel is a waste of potential.

There is also the problem with the simplistic AI when it comes to conversations. The thing is that they just couldn't take hints, one would think that after rejecting a million requests to collect taxes from villages, the people giving those requests would figure out I was not interested in leeching the citizens. This becomes doubly annoying when you keep in mind that rejecting requests is punished by a decrease in reputation.

In siege-battles I also noticed that the AI is not very aware of where you are standing. When walking up the stairs or across the bridge I was often literally pushed off by own people who seemed to think the spot I was standing on was free. Even in regular battles it felt more like the AI was aware of my horse and not me in person. They also have a problem with scenery, quite often several cavalry units would charge straight into a rock or a tree.

There is also a fair share of glitches, though I am rather inclined to let some of them slip because of how the game does things different than others. The most common problem is dodgy AI (as stated above), but I also saw my fair share of dialogue-related issues or quest-objectives not spawning correctly.

The Bottom Line
Mount&Blade: Warband is definitely not for everybody and if you can't handle a very deep RPG-system or find the combat to be simply impossible to comprehend, then this is probably not the title for you. The mix between managing your equipment, party and relationships with the massive (siege-)battles really has to sit well with you, but if it does, then you will find that this game is simply brimming with content and satisfying rewards. If you already own the first game in this series, then you will notice that this is a mere remake with additional content and some flaws ironed out, but for twenty euros (on Steam) i'd say it is worth a purchase (or the gamble, if you aren't sure if you'd like this game).

Windows · by Asinine (957) · 2012

Discussion

Subject By Date
Mount&Blade: With Fire and Sword Indra was here (20768) May 5, 2011
Is game is pure genius. Indra was here (20768) Sep 30, 2010
Buy it! NOW! Sicarius (61520) Jul 20, 2010

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Awards

  • Steam Awards
    • 2017 — The 'No Apologies' Award — Nominated

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sicarius.

Macintosh added by Arejarn. Xbox One added by Kennyannydenny. PlayStation 4, Linux, Xbox Cloud Gaming added by Sciere. Android added by Deleted. Windows Apps added by Koterminus.

Additional contributors: Indra was here, Havoc Crow, Klaster_1.

Game added April 27, 2010. Last modified January 19, 2024.