When it comes to immersive medieval sims, there isn’t exactly a gigantic library to choose from. Games like Kingdom Come: Deliverance and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare are the current most popular in the gaming media. Yet way back in 2008, one specific game made a leap of faith, that it managed to land. But, instead of a graceful jump, it latched on, never truly reaching the top, but barely managing.
What made it such a cult classic, and why did it polarize so many upon its release? By this article’s titles, you know we are talking about Mount and Blade. As of the time of writing, we have an official date on the newest addition to the family. But before we get into it, I would like to talk about what made the series so lovable among its small community, and what made it so off-putting for others.
What Made it Special
Mount and Blade was the primary, authentic, medieval sim that let you live out your wildest dreams. Each player had the option to start their own story and build their characters as they see fit. From origin stories to house allegiances, striking out was the key. You could suck up to a noble and become a vassal after a series of completed tasks. Hell, you could go further and be distinguished from the start if your origin dictated it. Or you can start as a nameless vagabond, and build your own kingdom from scratch.
It’s the level of detail and polish that many found attractive, and the reason why they got invested. Building an empire, either through conquest or marriage, where your actions have consequences, was a big deal at the time. You were given a variety of factions, kingdoms, classes, to choose from, each with its own unique flavor attached. And then there are other minor details, such as horse types, armor types, weapons, resources for your party. Ah yes, we forgot to mention the party. Helping you gain a foot in this world meant that you needed followers. So naturally, you needed to recruit peasants, groom them into soldiers, and cultivate them as time passes.
Learn the art of war, and enthrall yourself into epic conflicts. You may be one small unit on a battlefield. But there is nothing as satisfying as seeing your army march, side by side, next to you, at the enemy’s gates. The world played itself while you were off doing your thing. And much like the many lords and ladies of the land, your behavior will either gain you allies or enemies. There is so much to cover here, but these are the features that matter the most, and its likable qualities.
The Reason Many Skip It
The most off-putting parts about the series were two things. The first one being the game’s graphics and details. Yes, while there were tons of options in terms of creation, the visual design of characters was a bit of nightmare fuel. For a game made in 2008, we saw some pretty amazing visual designs, and Mount and Blade don’t fit that bill. It wasn’t as bad as some of the games of its time, but it still wasn’t anything worth writing home about. Much like its characters, the open-world looks empty, devoid of life. This might be intentional. Companies are known to sacrifice graphics for a constant 60 FPS gameplay experience, so it could be that the same happened here.
The second biggest “issue” many had with the game was its combat style. The swings of each weapon reacted to how the player moved and positioned his sword, mace, or whatever he was using. This made the combat feel clunky, and while it provided a challenge, especially during sieges, it was hard to get into it, that much is true. This especially goes for weapons such as polearms, and bows, where precision is the key. And with such controls, it could be hard to win, particularly during 1v1 duels.
Its Most Charming Aspect
The biggest plus this game gets from me is its community. Though small, Mount and Blade had the honor of housing one of the most dedicated fan bases. Throughout the years, the game received numerous updates, expansions, and mods. This allowed many to playout their most desired scenarios, such as Lord of the Rings, Warhammer, and even Star Wars. The modding community is still active to this day, so you might wanna check out and invest some time into them. My personal favorite is the Shogun Mod, which allows you to go full Asian themed, with new armors, weapons, and units.
So What About Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord?
Finally, we are at the point where a new entry is almost within our reach. Way back in 2012, Bannerlord was announced with new polished graphics, additions to siege battles, character progression, and events. It was going for a couple of years on life support, but finally, it got a release date. The Steam page states that as of March 31st, 2020, the game will enter Early Access. After that, it is expected to finish production sometime during the year.
TaleWorlds also notes that the price of the game upon release will remain $49.99. More info regarding the game will come with the Early Access release. So until then, be sure to follow us for more news and share your opinions on the game and what you look forward to.
The Ultimate Agent of Chaos. Honks at every type of media. The Unhinged Goose