Behold the glory of technology. In an effort to appeal to an illiterate readership (and also craft excuses for an obnoxious oxymoron) Gamer Limit has taken a leap into the bold new frontier of video. Enjoy the above clip, in which we review the cult PC favorite, Mount and Blade.
For those of you more fond of our traditional written reviews – worry not. Hit the jump for the a textual breakdown of the above video.
Mount and Blade is a medieval simulation RPG developed for the PC by TaleWorlds Entertainment, which sets players loose to seek fame and fortune in the fictional realm of Calradia. Much as the title implies, Mount and Blade specializes in mounted combat – but beneath the clashes of steel and beating of hooves lies a surprisingly deep RPG structure and an overwhelming sandbox game world.
First and foremost – it must be said that the horse-mounted combat in this title is simply phenomenal. Never before has the experience of galloping headlong into an enemy line been this engaging, accurate, or satisfying. The horse controls are realistic yet simple to master and each of the weapon types – particularly the archery – requires a mixture of both character and player experience to be effective. There are few things more rewarding than watching your foe violently dismount from his horse after you lodged a well aimed arrow between the steed’s eyes.
Unfortunately, the power of this effect is diminished by the noticeably dated visuals. Character and weapon models resemble something that would be found on the original Xbox, and their animations are often choppy and unrealistic. Detailed shadows and lighting effects help take the edge off, but players looking for a visual powerhouse may have trouble getting past this title’s many graphical weaknesses. If they do manage to overlook these issues however, players will be met with an enthralling Choose Your Own Adventure experience that is very much worth the hours they’ll invest.
After a detailed character creation segment, the player is released into the over world map as a lone horseman with nary a quest nor direction to begin. There is no princess to rescue, no evil king to be vanquished. The story is the player’s to tell – and this works to the title’s benefit. Most players will begin by engaging one of the rampant hordes of looters or raiders that roam the map – these basic enemies help teach new heroes the fundamentals of combat and reward their characters with experience and loot. As the player progresses, they can recruit additional forces to assist them in reaching their goals – whatever they may be.
This freedom is perhaps the most notable feature of Mount and Blade – besides of course the aforementioned mounted combat. There are limitless adventures to be had in the realm of Calradia. For example, players can test their skills at regular tournaments in one of the major cities – winning both wealth and reputation for their success. Alternatively, players could choose to siege an enemy keep – subsequently gaining control of the location, and earning the responsibility of defending it going forward. Those so inclined could even seek to join and eventually vie for leadership of one of the five warring factions – such a path would task the player in participating in quests and conflicts as directed by the faction’s rulers.
These examples hardly scratch the surface of the options available to the player. Such independence, in conjunction with some of the most realistic and entertaining medieval combat ever seen, make Mount and Blade well worth the price of admission. Though, it is not without its flaws. As mentioned previously, the visuals do detract from the enjoyment – in addition, some gameplay mechanics, such as sieges, and randomly generated faction quests, can often be bland and repetitive – however, those willing to dig deeper will find a truly memorable and often addictive experience.
Notably dated visuals detract from the experiance.
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Mounted combat is phenominal - other gamplay elements are buggy and unrefined, however.
For an indie title, Mount and Blade packs a bevy of high quality music tracks, and the sounds of galloping horses and clanging steel are dead on.
Choose Your Own Adventure style gameplay will keep players going, but a lack of multiplayer support is a shame.
Considering its lackluster visuals, Mount and Blade is suprisingly addictive. The combination of exhilarating mounted combat and an open sandbox world will keep players coming back for more.