Friday, October 19, 2018

Mount & Blade: Warband Review

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OVERVIEW

Mount & Blade: Warband, developed and published by TaleWorlds Entertainment is an action RPG game with heavy strategy involved and medieval combat simulator mechanics.

It is the stand-alone expansion to Mount & Blade, and it adds a new faction, multiplayer mode and diverse new elements to improve the game experience. Grab your sword, bow or crossbow and get ready for battle!

In a land torn asunder by incessant warfare, it is time to assemble your own band of hardened warriors and enter the fray. Lead your men into battle, expand your realm, and claim the ultimate prize: the throne of Calradia! Mount & Blade: Warband is the iconic entry in the series that brought medieval battlefields to life with its realistic mounted combat and detailed fighting system.

 

 

 

Genre: Action RPG / Strategy

Release Date: 16 September 2016

Size: 1,3 GB

Age rating: T (Teen)

Online Multiplayer: 2 to 32 players

Buy now

Reviewed on Xbox One

Mount & Blade: Warband’s single player acts as a sandbox feudal warfare simulator, where you control a single character, of your own creation and make your mark on the fictional (yet non-fantasy) continent of Calradia, via the actions of an individual.

The game combines elements of Action RPG, Strategy, Simulation and Sandbox. This means that the world around you will continue to change and develop, even without player interaction, as factions declare war on, make peace with, conquer territory from and concede territory to one another. This is unscripted and you may find in different play-throughs that one faction rises to prominence, while in another they crumble under the weight of wars fought on multiple fronts.

As an individual, your power to have an impact here may seem limited but as you gain reputation, power, position and mastery of the mechanics, you will find that your character’s potential to change the face of Calradia is great.

GAMEPLAY

Singleplayer

On single player mode there are two ways of playing Mount & Blade: Warband. One of them is travelling through the world map’s top view, where you get to see every village, castle, allies, enemies and other areas of the game. This is a great way to find objectives in order to complete quests, or simply plan your next siege! Simply imagine a boardgame kind of gameplay without turns. There’s a day-night cycle; you can also pause time and make it go faster, and so days, months and years will pass.

mount-and-blade-world-map.jpg
Calradia’s top view

This is the most “tactical approach”; there are menus at the bottom screen giving you access to inventory management, character stats and notes among others options shown in the picture above.

There are deep RPG elements in this game; from levelling up character and companions and upgrading troops to a wide variety of other options that will please – without a doubt- any RPG fan out there.

You will spend the other half of the game simultaneously playing the “other way”; inside villages, castles or -luckily- in the battlefields, where this game makes magic happen.

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The economy system in this game is pretty simple but satisfying at the same time; denars are the main resource, used to hire and pay for your troops monthly, to buy food in order to keep a high morale among your army or simply to buy new weapons and armor for your character.

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tkofactions_swadia_s

The Swadians are positioned in central plains of Calradia and have borders to all other kingdoms. They are signified by the color orange and their leader is King Harlaus.

The Swadians are able to adapt their army to suit of all needs their army would need. Their high-end troops use heaviest possible armor with the heaviest possible weapons. They are famous for their heavy armored fearsome knights and they rely on their archers and footman for their castle defenses.

tkofactions_rhodok_r

The Rhodoks occupy the mountainous regions in the southwest of Calradia. They are led by King Graveth. Rhodok have the best spearmen out of all factions and they are the best against cavalry.

Rhodoks have higher ‘Ironflesh’ skill compared to equivalent troops of other factions that means they have more health and are harder to take down. Their armies rely on tough rapier-armed infantry with large board shields to beat back enemy attacks and enemies armored troops.

tkofactions_vaegir_v

The Vaegirs are positioned in the northwest of the map, with the color green. Their leader is King Yaroglek and their claimant is Prince Valdym.

Vaegir armies are quite balanced between tough footmen, reasonable knights, and very powerful archers which make them very hard to besiege. Vaegir troops can use axes and they are hard to defeat. Beware of Vaegir archers if you are going to assault one of their castles. They take down troops like flies as they fire a lot more frequently and accurately then other factions.

the.pngfactions_khergit_k

The Khergits occupy the steppe-lands on the south eastern borders of Calradia. They are signified by the color purple and they are led by Sanjar Khan.

The Khergit army is based entirely around cavalry, particularly Horse Archers, making them very powerful in open battle. Khergit troops can easily outrun and take out infantry. Powerful Khergit horse archers can take out other cavalry mercilessly without getting hurt.

tkofactions_nord_n

The Nords are in the west and southwest of the map with colour yellow. Their leader is King Ragnar and their claimant is Lethwin Far-Seeker.

They are masters of hand to hand combat on foot, incredibly tough in melee fighting, that makes them one of the best castle fighters. If you are assaulting one of their castles, they are much more of a problem.

the.pngfactions_sarranid

The Sarranids are the rulers of Calradia’s harsh desert region. They ruled by Sultan Hakim of Shariz.

Sarranids have a very well balanced army composure and their deadly Mamluke cavalry is second to none.

Sarranids are versatile and their troops possess a number weapons such as sabers, scimitars, and brutal maces. The Sarranid army is particularly good at harassment as they can whittle down enemies with their javelin-throwing skirmishers and bamboo pole spear wielding infantry, not to mention the ever so skilled royal guard.

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You always start the game on your own, until you get to a certain point where you are able to pledge your sword and join any of the available factions in the game, that’s completely up to you. It’s worth mentioning that you don’t neccesarily have to stick to the same faction for the whole game; you can leave and join another one at any point, as long as your previous actions have not deteriorated your relationship which that nee faction in particular, in which case, you’ll have to earn their trust again. In addition, you can also start your own “faction” with the objective of becoming Calradia’s new and only ruler, but that should take some time to achieve.
Weapons

Swords

swords_galore

In Calradia there is nothing more trustworthy than a sharpened sword. Lacerate your foes with dozens of finely crafted blades from all regions of the land, from crescent blade scimitars to brutal military cleavers. Swords come in 1 handed and 2 handed varieties. 1 handed swords are quicker and can be used with shields for added protection, while 2 handed swords provide longer reach and parrying ability.

Blunt Weapons

blunt_galore

Slow and steady Maces, cudgels, clubs, and other hefty bludgeoning weapons offer several advantages in controlling the battlefield. Additionally you can sell incapacitated enemies to Ransom Brokers. Bludgeoning weapons come in a variety of shapes and sizes ranging from small one-handed side arms to tale-worthy two-handers.

Ranged Weapons

ranged_galore

Weather sniping from afar, throwing a record breaking javelin, or leading the charge with mounted missiles, ranged weapons will always lead your offense and help you out in a defensive pinch.

Crossbows: Accurate and deadly, crossbows are the best weapon to fend offwould-be besiegers.

Bows: Fast and strong, the bow and arrow is the defacto ranged weapon in Warband. Bows can be used to fatal effect from an archer-line’s volley fire to a mounted expert’s calculated kill shot.

Throwing Weapons: Exceptionally useful, throwing weapons are capable of dealing immense amounts of damage if thrown from a bolting steed and equally so into incoming cavalry. Throwing axes and spears also double as melee weapons to help you out in a bind.

Axes

axes_galore

The favored weapon of the Nordic faction. Axes are great for busting down doors and shields alike. They offer high damage output per swing. 1 handed axes provide great personal defense, while longer 2 handed axes offer range and calvary toppling capabilities.

Polearms

polearm_galore

The best friend to any mounted man, pole-arms are equally deadly as a defensive or offensive implement. Polearms do damage through bashing, piercing, or slashing. These weapons will aid any character with their variety and versatility.

 

Multiplayer Modes

Deathmatch

The original ‘every man for himself’ multiplayer mode now with full medieval flavor.  Earn gold with every kill to spend on heavier and heftier equipment.  In deathmatch you have only yourself to rely on, so keep your wits about you.

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Team Deathmatch

Show the power of your glorious faction by competing in Team Deathmatch mode, coordinate strategies to keep your faction wealthy and powerful.  If you are in a clan, then consider this the mode for you.

Team Battle

A brutal contest in death where the last man standing wins.  In ‘Battle’ the pressure will be on like in no other mode, winning in this mode solidifies your fighting skill in all of Calradia.

Siege

Easily the most difficult and competitive mode in Warband, Siege mode challenges one side to capture the inside of a keep/castle while the other faction fights besiegers off until the count-down expires.

 

Fight and Destroy

Another excellent objective based mode for teams to prove their coordination, ‘Fight & Destroy’ will have one faction defend valuable targets against the raiding side.  Teams will need to stay focused to have any chance of success.

Conquest

The ultimate test of team tactics, ‘Conquest’ mode requires your side to capture and hold key areas on the map over a period of time.   Communication and coordination are the key to winning in ‘Conquest’.

Capture the Flag

Another classic multiplayer mode finds its way to Calradia, experience the thrill of riding away with your rival’s flag on your stead fast steed!

GRAPHICS, SOUND AND PERFORMANCE

No bugs, frame rate drops or performance issues were experienced during my playthrough.

While graphics are a bit outdated -as you may appreciate in some textures – I must say game design is perfect. Sure there are way better looking games on the market right now, but in my opinion Mount & Blade: Warband (not-so-polished) textures perfectly reflect and match medieval times; the ambience achieved in this game is real and I have to give credit to it.

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VERDICT

Reviewing Mount & Blade: Warband was not my first time playing it. I’ve been a huge fan of the Mount & Blade series since release; though it was my first time playin it on Xbox One -obviously- and I’m pleased with the final result. It’s exactly how I remembered and loved it, exactly like the last time I played it on my PC, a long time ago. And I will base my score on the feeling I got when I launched it on my Xbox One after all those years. You should have watched my face when the menu amazing battle music kicked in… tears of joy.

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Overall, Mount & Blade delivers the ultimate medieval simulation experience, despite old graphics and odd controls. Once you get used to the 2010 controls, you get to enjoy one of the most entertaining games I’ve ever played. Don’t let those 20$ burn in your pocket, buy Mount & Blade right now and enjoy every minute of it.


FINAL SCORE 70/100

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