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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