Mount and Blade is an interesting game that blends real time strategy and role-playing into a graphically stunted world. When I initially ventured at the screenshots of the game I cringed at the very look of the game. I did not expect much from the title but as I booted the game up and started venturing into the world of Mount and Blade I realized what I was playing was revolutionary.
This game reminds me of the long running argument between gamers. Some believe the game has to be both fun and graphically pleasing while others believe games can be fun and still look like crap. Well I have to admit I am kind of a sucker for beautiful graphics but I believe Mount and Blade has converted me to the other side.
This game pulls you in and allows you to take control of a small band of mercenaries. As you travel through the world you can recruit more mercenaries to your war band. As you fight in battles spoils of war are yours, and you and your troops level up and become more powerful over time. Eventually you will find yourself being asked to join a war against an opposing nation and will find yourself fighting in battles with 500 or more soldiers on screen. This explains why the graphics were toned down for the sheer volume of AI characters on screen at once.
The controls are very simple and consist of moving the mouse wheel up to switch weapons. Right click to block and left click to attack. The only major complaint I have about this game is that the overall questing doesn’t feel rewarding enough. It is also very overwhelming to see the nation you are fighting with being at war with almost everyone else in the world. Joining a side too early can really leave you in trouble… on the upside you can’t ever really die in this game and instead of being killed you will be captured for a period of time. The downside is when you finally escape you will have to start from scratch on your army again.
Sounds in Mount and Blade are simple and mostly include screams of war/victory/death and clashes of steel. Other then that the sound track is very limited and you may be better off inserting a music CD while playing since this game doesn’t need the CD to run.
It seems like the overall gameplay experience is great but the number of skill points you get per level is very limiting in what you can specialize in. It takes quite a few battles to level up and when you finally do you receive 1 point for your 4 main abilities 1 point for your skills (which there are about 20 to choose from) and 15 or so points (depending on your intelligence) for your weapon skills.
Mount and Blade is truly a treat for anyone who enjoys medieval times or strategy/role-playing games. Just be aware that the graphics will not be up to par with most titles out today.
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