Mount and Blade (PC)

By Sean Lesley

Published on Sunday, December 18, 2005

Mount and Blade is a fun little RPG combining the beauty of Morrowind and the realism of…reality.

Well, now. I have to say that this game pleasantly surprised me. Upon loading it up, I found a relatively simple menu screen. I was somewhat turned off here, but I pressed on. Beginning a new game, I was brought to a comprehensive ability allocation screen, and after a face generator. Now, here I was impressed. The game is comparable to Morrowind in many ways (of course, this may now be standard, so ignore my references to Morrowind if it is). Movement and combat are similar (but I’ll get into combat later), though it has no magic and only humans. M&B gives one excellent customization options, as nearly every aspect of the face can be changed. If you can name it, there’s likely a feature to change it.

My stats and face created, I was plopped onto a world screen with a town available to enter. Here the interface gets rather clunky, as I had to try several different keys to be able to enter the town. Enter I did, though, and found myself in 3rd-person, my ruggedly blonde and fur-clad hunter sort of standing around.

Damn, am I sexy.

Anyway. There are several people standing around, so like a good new player, I talk to them. One offers me weapon training (an excellent little feature, as combat isn’t very intuitive). The second man I talk to, though…through several boxes of text, he basically offers to buy any captured foes I may have. Here, I am giddy. I can sell people into slavery. Now, here is true freedom!

I will enjoy this game.

Moving on from the offer of slave trading, I then proceed to the combat tutorial. Combat is more difficult in M&B than in most games, where it’s basically ‘point, click, hope it dies. Repeat until it does, actually, die.’ That strategy will fail in M&B (unless your weapon is huge, if my logic goes through), because blocking in here is an essential part of combat. You can block with both your shield and your weapon, though parrying is complicated and requires practice to become proficient at it, let alone good. Blocking with your shield too much causes it to be knocked from your hand, leaving you with just your weapon. Bad situation, so combat gains more tactical concerns.

All in all, M&B makes for a fun little game. There are many features I haven’t gotten far enough to explore yet, such as the aforementioned slave trading and diplomacy. However, it’s still rather fun.

While the game is still in beta stage, you can check it out at http://www.taleworlds.com/.

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