"Mount & Blade": Review of the Greatest Game Series Ever Created
I'm going to keep this short and sweet, because if you thought my 6k+ hours in the Mass Effect series was ridiculous then you are about to be blown away with astonishment. The Mount & Blade series has sucked more than 12k hours out of my life, and every second of those hours was spent having the most fun of my life! Need I say more? Go pick some copies up for yourself today!
For those of you on Xbox, just go digital!
"Mount & Blade"
Initially released September 16, 2008, Mount & Blade was one of the most hyped medieval experiences of its time. It boasts open-field battles of more than one-hundred men, and medieval combat pretty much unmatched by anyone who would dare try to compete. What really drew everyone's interest, however, was the political RPG element to the game.
Unlike in comparable games such as Skyrim where every choice you make is set in stone, with a guaranteed outcome in the story, this game sees you playing a game of war and politics that is ever-evolving throughout your play. Whether it be on an individual scale with your companions and fellow lords of your kingdom, or the members of every other kingdom in play, it is up to you to maintain political and even marital relations! The depth to the game is endless!
Even better than politics, love, and fighting over kingdoms, you could choose to be a rogue element and raid every settlement and city you see! Equally, you can establish workshops and profit from trade as your own pack mule. If neither of those suit your tastes, well, then join up and fight for a kingdom, claiming fiefs, castles, and cities for your king or perhaps your own lordship!
"Mount & Blade: Warband"
This is my bread and butter right here, it is where my hopes and dreams of becoming a, "butterlord," all began. I had been playing Destiny one evening when someone joined my chat and began talking about a game called Warband and how cheap, but good it was. Naturally I was skeptical, but he convinced me to go drop the fifteen dollars on it, and the 1.3 gigabyte file size helped in the decision.
Being completely honest here, when I saw that 1.3 gigabyte file size I was absolutely sure this game was going straight in the refund pile. Solidifying this even further was seeing the stone age graphics for the first time. However, the gameplay had me locked in immediately. I set out on my adventure with my mind set on raiding everyone I saw.
I started in Nord territory, pillaging and plundering their fiefs, but quickly learned that this was a great way to get taken prisoner and die in your enemy's hands. After that I decided to trade, but this is not viable early in the game and once again I was stuck in a loop of imprisonment but this time by raiders. Finally I discovered the dynamic and raided one settlement, then sold all I could and focused on fighting and selling the gear I looted.
Quickly I was addicted to the cycle of battle and looting, upgrading gear and men as I grew my army and strength. I was hooked, and the more I played the more I wanted to play some more! Alas, there was word of other games in the series I needed to try.
"Mount & Blade Warband: Napoleonic Wars"
Now, Napoleonic Wars is a strictly online facet to the M&B series, and as such it comes with all the pitfalls of multiplayer. There is the ever-present toxicity of server admins and moderators, there are your fellow toxic players, and of course having to rely on server stability and connection. Finding a game is surprisingly easy, however, and there is always an active server up and running!
The most popular facet of this game would have to be the mods that revamp and reskin the entire game.
Wanna fight zombies? There's a mod for that.
Star Wars more your thing? There's a mod for that as well.
Warhammer? There's a mod... and on I could go.
The mod community around the series is absolutely active and amazing, and you would be hard-pressed to come up empty-handed when looking for something up your alley.
"Mount & Blade Warband: Viking Conquest"
Viking Conquest is actually a player-made mod that they decided to fund, and incorporate into a DLC for the native game itself. It is the first, non-mod addition to the series that sees you able to sail and battle using boats! For those of us who managed to get bored with all the other things to do in the game, all the land battles and sieges, this offered a new and interesting way to bring iron to your enemies!
I know there is a big viking fad going around in certain circles, everyone and their mother thinking they are of Nordic descent. So if you are one of those, then you couldn't go wrong in picking up this amazing DLC right here.
"Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword"
This installment to the series was actually my least favorite, and I'll be honest it is because I had a whole heck of a lot of trouble with the learning curve. More often than not, I found myself dying, poor as heck, and struggling to find work to get my army up and running. If I had to describe this game concisely I would have to say, "With Fire and Sword is basically a test of your patience and willingness to remain small and safe."
It took me a few weeks to actually muster up the motivation to try hard in succeeding in this one, but I learned it was a steeper learning curve and how to approach that curve with great caution. Much like Napoleonic Wars, I really enjoyed the addition of firearms into single player. The ability to use grenades is also quite the nifty touch to the game mechanics and play as well, a well placed grenade can turn the tides drastically!
"Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord"
Bannerlord is the newest installment to the series, a prequel to the beloved Warband, and it is already showing so much promise that I bought into it. The graphics have been vastly improved, the UI is clunky as heck but visually appealing, and the level of immersion has been increased at least tenfold. You won't go wrong in getting in on the early access for this game.
I will say now that the game is utterly broken if you know where to look. Quickly and easily I found out that trade is overpowered to the point of being egregious, and I only found it out because I hoped they had revamped the terrible, useless trade from the last games. Luckily, I think these problems will be patched out swiftly because they appear to be numerical in nature rather than actual broken code, and I'm excited to see what trade will be in the future.
Unlike the last games where most skills, aside from weapons, had to be leveled strategically as the character leveled up; in this game we see most available skills level up with use and points offered as you reach milestones! The excitement and joy I felt with this new system, the level of immersion it offered, it's inexplicable. They shot for the moon with this game, blew right through it, and are heading straight to Mars!
Another interesting facet as far as skills, once you hit a certain level of trade you can actually exchange goods, money, and equipment to other lords for their fiefs. I thought the politics were in-depth before Bannerlord but now... now things have been taken to a whole new level of innovation!
Why are you still here reading? Go get in on the early access!
It's Simply the Greatest Series Ever Created
If I haven't convinced you that this is the greatest game series ever created by now, well then I'm a terrible writer who didn't do this series the proper justice it deserves!
You need to go now, go and find this game on your chosen medium, and play the heck out of it! It has sucked millions of hours out of its fanbase, and that fanbase is only getting bigger and bigger. As the fanbase grows, so does the potential for the series to become greater!
Don't you wanna be a butterlord? Join us!