Mount & blade – Warband. A review by a Ninja
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. You are free to go anywhere in a world with more than a hundred unique locations including villages, castles and towns. Features highly advanced and intuitive sword-fighting systems, including horseback and on foot using a vast variety of medieval weapons, each with unique characteristics. You can become anything from a lonesome adventurer to a ruler of a faction.
We’ve reached out to a PBSF member for a review of this eagerly awaited hack, slash and plunder title from TaleWorlds Entertainment, PBSF Ninja. Blink and you’ll miss him!
Getting started with the tutorial:
•Practice Practice Practice
Running through the tutorial at the beginning is the best place to start, don’t run through it though, take your time to get used to the rhythm of combat in Warband and get a good understanding of the mechanics at play and be sure to try out everything .
Use as much time as you can in the practice tutorial or Training Fields before embarking on the campaign.
Experiment with different speed setting and damage settings to make the game the perfect challenge for you. Finding it too easy? Turn your combat speed up for a true challenge and increase the damage receive ratio from NPCs.
As you start your first campaign you are required to name, customize and skill attribute your character. Something to be noted here is that you choose your characters life and background story, from child to adult and as a man or woman. You make four of these choices to create your backstory and each choice has an impact on your starting character. For instance choosing a noble back ground will give you your own banner colors when starting, whilst choosing to be a squire would add physical combat points to your base character. A hunter/poacher will allow for some bow skills points to be added to your character. Choose wisely.
One thing you’ll notice quite early on about this game is the size of its map, it’s huge. Once you have completed your character creation you’ll be dropped into a pub in a city in the area you requested to be dropped in and you will immediately be given a small quest to complete, or not if you fancy strolling around.
My hint would be to avoid the first quest for the time being and respond with “I’m sorry I don’t have time for this now” and remember that you can come back to the first quest at any time.
Warband is a very open game when it comes to how you want to play, you recruit soldiers and peasants from small villages to follow you and fight for you, if they stay alive long enough they will gain control like yourself and rank up. It costs gold to rank up your troops and a wage increase “weekly” so managing your money is essential. Hunting small groups of bandits is a great way to earn cash at the start, but remember you’ll need numbers, never walk around alone in the world of Mount and Blade, Bandits will attack you, rob you and drag you around the map until you escape at random, only to be captured again on your journey home! You also have to keep your army fed. Bread, cheese, smoked fish and dried meat won’t go off over time but fresh meat like pork and chicken will so keep an eye on the sell by dates of your food. An army with no food will more likely desert you than an army that’s well fed.
•You’re a nobody… probably.
A good subject to understand and monitor in Warband is reputation. Battles won and lost, retreats – surrenders all affect your honor and renown. You start off with none of this, so don’t go asking for favors or requesting ladies hands in marriage, it’ll more than likely damage your early relationships even more.
Get out there, get hunting bandits and gaining a small but well equipped army. (20 soldiers is enough)
Your path from here is as you choose. Following an already standing monarch or building an army and taking a city for yourself is achievable. Be a caravan trader, a hunter or poacher living off of the land. Just remember you’ll need your soldiers to protect you even if it’s only as you carry your goods to trade around the map.
Online is an extremely fun way to enjoy the game on a single battle basis. Sieges and massed ranks in open fields are all available in 16v16 battles and are played over a series of rounds. Starting off with a set number of 1000 gold you equip your army accordingly before spawning in. When you die you can load out again with any gold you received from the previous rounds.
Ok so the graphics compared to AAA games is low, but for a game that’s only 1.3gb in size I think the textures are great and effects such as the arrows stuck in bodies and blood soaking through clothes into the floor is a nice touch and fits in the game well, as you can imagine though this game is fairly graphic so you have been warned. Lighting is very good too for such a small game.
There is no story as such and you make your own story through the campaign so the story is as good as you make it. The groundwork is there for an epic tale from peasant to King, it just takes you to push this narrative forward.
Battle sounds can be a little repetitive after a while, the same groans and grunts from soldiers is quite funny, menu and map music is quite cool though and that helps to earn this the 4/10 score.
With the ability to make more than one save you can create multiple characters, male or female, from completely different backgrounds and progress in a huge number of gameplay styles. A good amount of variation and subsequent story make for plenty to do and hours and hours of play. Online also adds to the replayability factor for as you invite others to battle.
There is something truly satisfying about the combat system and the campaign. Sacking castles and creating armies capable of wiping out enemies in triple numbers is hugely rewarding. Watching echelons of different troops meeting across the battlefield is amazing to watch. Being able to take up position on the front line or even sit back and command is sure to suit everyones taste however you choose to get involved. Whether you enjoy the hacking and slashing away at ranks of enemy soldiers from your horse, enjoying strategy games like total war or even if you’re a fan of patient play games like the Skyrim series or ESO then this is a game for you.
For the price and game size it’s a really well produced game for the Xbox and has ported from PC very well. Expect plenty of updates and even DLC for this little gem. Good things really do come in small packages.