Mount & Blade is a PC classic, released back in 2007 by TaleWorlds, the series found a cult following thanks to it’s melee focused combat and vast campaign that had a changing story everytime you played it. The game later saw a sequel under the title Mount & Blade Warband in 2010, which added an impressive multiplayer to the mix.
Six years later, Mount & Blade Warband makes the jump to consoles, but does it deliver what the PC version had? Really, there is no short answer to this.
Of my time playing Mount & Blade Warband I focused on the campaign as the servers were unavailable during my early preview. At the start I could already tell that the game was going to be unique thanks to an origin system that would allow me to choose how I would grow my character, what kind of person was he, what was his goals. A story that was driven around a single character without an overwhelming dread happening upon the world was a great change of pace for fantasy RPGs.
The thing was, the NPCs actually reacted to my choices. Attacking villagers made them hostile towards me, hiding bounties and refusing to sell items (or in one case increase the prices), while being kind an helping put people in better moods.
There was a big problem though. I had no idea what the heck I was doing.
Here is an example of an early mission I was on in order to explain further. After defending myself from a bandit, I was given the task to start an army of 5 soldiers, a band of mercenaries would have joined me for a large sum, however I was left with 150 coin. Upon asking the duke of the area for missions, he sent me do a far village for a bounty. Talking with the villagers to find the bandits was like pulling teeth, or reading a dull travel booklet. I could never find the bandits and had to abandon the quest in hopes of finding other means of money.
Mount & Blade’s combat is simple to learn. Players can use all manner of medieval weaponry including swords and shields, pole-arms, bows and crossbows to fight off attackers. While bow and arrows act like a basic shooter with less accuracy (unless you level up your character), meanwhile melee attacks with pole-arms and swords allows you to use more strategy; moving your camera in certain directions will allow you to swing your sword, the same can be said for the block commands.
The game also includes horseback riding, however while this was praised on the PC version, riding on the PS4 is tedious, it’s difficult to keep control of horse back riding while fighting as the horse seems to have a mind of it’s own. There were many times when trying to get the horse to manoeuvre towards a battle that I’d run into a building or tree mid-trot due to the horse being generally unresponsive to me.
While battles against people in online Multiplayer is hectic to say the least. Offering a 32-player multiplayer melee battle, it requires team-work and a lot of luck to survive. Players who learned a lot from the campaign and the various sieges will be able to navigate the battlefield with ease.
If I have a big complaint about Mount & Blade Warband, it’s that it feels dated. While the combat is fun, it’s difficult to tell your distance with weapons from a third person perspective, and first person makes the game look awkward. On top of this the game looks like it did back in 2010 with no real update to its appearance.
Mount & Blade Warband coming to PS4 and Xbox One is great and generates some hype for the upcoming sequel, however the game doesn’t feel like it has upgraded significantly within the 6 year wait to jump to console. This is definitely for die-hard fans of the medieval warfare genre who have patience.