Mount & Blade (PC)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Graphics: 5.00
Sound: 9.00
Gameplay: 4.00
Replays: 4.00
Gamelength: 9.00

TaleWorlds Entertainment’s “Mount & Blade” brings PC gamers the most realistic cavalry combat ever to be seen, but there’s not much else to see here.

If there were ever a sandbox game in a Medieval setting, “Mount & Blade” is just that. There’s no story and the game is completely open-ended. That was the entire appeal of the game before actually playing it, but at this point I would rather play just about any other game instead. It could just be me, but in truth I don’t see how anyone can find a reason to enjoy this came other than the combat. Prepare yourself for a long and boring journey in the world of “Mount & Blade”.

One would think that such an anticipated title would at least have an amazing visual presentation, but in the case of “Mount & Blade”, I can only assume that graphics weren’t a focal point at all. Character models are ugly, environments are bland and what little foliage exists is of a very low quality, no matter the settings. I’m quite shocked by this and at first, I thought there may have been a hardware issue. After browsing around for video clips, screenshots and player opinions, I discovered that the game really is just downright ugly. But I regress. I guess the graphics wouldn’t matter if the game were actually fun to play.

The only thing this game does right aside from combat is the well-chosen soundtrack. This game sounds absolutely amazing. Each track is played at the absolute best time and it helps to make things like combat far more interesting. Sounds of combat, battle cries and even the footsteps of the horses are wonderful. Simply put, the one thing this game will please is your ears.

This game is one of the biggest disappointments of all-time as far as I’m concerned. At the start of the game, you spend a long time creating your own character, but after that it goes completely downhill. You’re dropped in the middle of nowhere with no real sort of guidance at all. From there, there’s absolutely no story to be found and everything is completely based on how much you explore the fairly large world. If you never explore, you wont find many things to do, but at the same time, there’s not a whole lot of different tasks to do anyway because they consist of the same generic crap. The quest types range from finding some ingredients to delivering a letter, killing people and other overused quest variants. There are wars constantly going on as well, but they’re not as deep as they could be by far and much of the stuff that happens appears to be scripted to a certain extent. Then there’s the ability to recruit people, which seems absolutely pointless if not for the fact that they’re a necessity for big fights. Your army is virtually non-existent and during battles in which they come out to fight, it’s as if you’re watching a movie and hitting a few buttons to decide how the fight plays out. You have very little control over the actions of your army and as such, it feels as though it’s not even your own army at all. I’m very disappointed with everything about the gameplay, aside from the combat, which still gets boring and fells overused after a while. Battle mechanics are simple, yet complex. You use the right and left mouse buttons for defensive and offensive moves, but the default control scheme also has you moving the mouse around to target your hits, blocks and counters more efficiently. In short, this game is extremely boring and only the most die-hard Midevil fans will get any enjoyment out of this. Also, this game is realistic, which means there are no goblins, ogres, giants or dragons, so if you’re looking for a fantasy game, move on to the next title on your list.

Overall, TaleWorlds Entertainment had a brilliant idea, but in application it failed miserably. If there’s ever a sequel, I hope they learn a few things and really do the idea justice.

Pros:
-Amazing soundtrack.
-Sound effects are top notch.
-Combat is intuitive and easy to learn.
-User interface is simple.
-Character customization is quite in-depth.
-Completely open world.

Cons:
-No story at all.
-Terrible visual presentation.
-Boring and pointless army system.
-No real end to the game.
-Quests are all extremely boring.
-Landscapes are far too bland.
-Price is far too high.

Bottom Line:
Hardcore realistic Medieval fans aside, this game should be avoided like a crazy ex-girlfriend.

Overall Rating: 5.00

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