March 5, 2010

Mount and Blade

This is a game you prob­a­bly have nev­er heard of.  As it’s built by a inde­pen­dant devel­op­er out in the Mid­dle East.   I found this game on steam on one of their killer spe­cials that they had for 4 dol­lars.  I fig­ured what could I lose on for four dol­lars and still be ok.     This game is far dif­fer­ent then most sin­gle play­er games in the sense that there is no sto­ry… peri­od… well there is but it’s your own.  This game at first glance looks like crap… the graph­ics are not that good and at times down right ugly.  There is how­ev­er a HDR pack you can down­load third par­ty that will make the game look alot bet­ter.
The game starts out in the king­dom of your choos­ing.  You can cus­tomize your char­ac­ter like most RPG’s add sta­tis­tics, char­ac­ter back­ground, etc.  Unlike most RPG’s of this type there is no fan­ta­sy ele­ments involved.  It’s pure­ly a Medieval based game… no drag­ons, fairies or gob­lins.  You start out at the bot­tom of soci­ety… and have to work your way up the feu­dal lad­der.  You do this by doing quests for all the local lords, guild mas­ters and even peas­ants.    As you com­plete quests stand­ings with the local pop­u­lace and move your­self up the feu­dal lad­ders.  When I first start­ed this game I was think­ing to myself “WTF do I do” and almost unin­stalled it on the spot.  Then I real­ized it’s all about what you want to do and just start­ed doing somthing.   Before I knew it I had a small lit­tle army of five guys which I thought was the PWN until a group of desert­ers rolled up and dom­intat­ed me.
Bat­tles are the thing that real­ly shine in this game, over 75% of your time will be spent fight­ing.  Bat­tles can range from a small skir­mish of 1 — 5 guys on each side to 300 — 400 sol­diers on each side.  To grow your army you recruit local peas­ants, mer­ce­nar­ies and local “indi­vid­u­als” that want to join your group.  Once you get a large enough army you can join the local lords and kings on cru­sades against oth­er king­doms.  The cool thing about this game is every­thing is con­quer­able.  You can take the small­est vil­lage to the largest city.  Bat­tles can be fierce and tense espe­cial­ly if you start to loose and you start get­ting teamed up on.  Hear­ing the scream­ing, yelling, cry­ing, crash­ing of iron and steel as the two army’s clash against each oth­er is actu­al­ly a blast.
Some­thing that real­ly stood out to me in this game is it’s focus on real­ism.   Every­thing with­in the game is real world based.  Things such as keep­ing your troops sup­plied with food, even mak­ing sure the food stays fresh, vari­eties of food, death of troops, real trav­el times, ambush­es by loot­ers, thiefs, and last but not least get­ting cap­tured.  You can get cap­tured and loose all your mon­ey and troops, be dragged around for sev­er­al days and basi­cal­ly have to start from scratch.  This can be real­ly annoy­ing but it real­ly adds to the atmos­phere of the game.  My first time play­ing I played with the abil­i­ty to restart so if i got dom­i­nat­ed I could just reload and start over again.  You also have to keep your troops at peace with each oth­er.  If you retreat from a bat­tle some of your troops may look down upon this.  Some­times the troops will come to you with prob­lems they are hav­ing with each oth­er and expect you to solve them.   You have to bal­ance every­thing as if you don’t your troops will get low morale and desert you.
In sum­ma­ry this game is a blast… it’s fair­ly slow to start up but once you get ahold of the com­bat sys­tem and how the game works you real­ly start to get immersed.  You can find your­self play­ing for hours at a time and not even real­ize that the time has passed.  Any­one look­ing for a good Medieval RPG this is the one for you.  I am extreme­ly excit­ed about this game and with an expan­sion com­ing lat­er this year and a large MOD com­mu­ni­ty behind it this game should be around for a long time.

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