Mount & Blade Review
Mount & Blade box art
System: PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: TaleWorlds Ent. 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Paradox Int. 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sep. 16, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

If there is any reason at all to ignore the bulk of Mount & Blade's crappier moments, it's the game's highly advanced combat system. A shining beacon of excellence awash in a sea of gray, medieval haze, the battle system is simply awesome. More often than not, you'll find yourself recruiting local peasants into your militia and steering the whole lot head-on into encounter after encounter just to split some skulls. It's that fun. Combat occurs both on foot and from the back of your trusty mount. In either case, there are some particularly interesting elements at play. Most encounters are against large numbers of foes, and you'll ride into battle with you own A.I.-controlled troops to clash on the fields in a bloody mess.

Mount & Blade screenshot

In on-the-ground melee, you'll go at your opponents with an array of grisly weapons, including bows and crossbows, axes, swords, maces, staffs, spears, knives, throwing daggers, and much more - depending on what you have equipped. The trajectory of each attack is determined by where you mouse is located in relation to your character when you click it. With well-timed right-clicks of the mouse, you can also block incoming attacks with your weapon or hold up a shield if equipped. The latter is great for deflecting incoming arrows and other projectiles, which will lodge themselves into your shield or your body with a hefty thunk and remain there for the duration of the encounter.

Foes aren't typically very hard to dispatch, but they do put up a good fight and block your attacks frequently. They'll also try to take advantage of moments when your guard is down, or they'll fire off missile weapons in your direction if you move far enough out of melee range. Mounted combat is even more interesting, as your attacks increase in effectiveness depending on the speed of your mount. Fighting from horseback is a lot of fun, and it's particularly satisfying to violently cut down a troublesome opponent while passing by at a full gallop. Though it brings some level of guilt, cutting enemies' horses out from beneath them is a surprisingly efficient tactic as well. Battles can range from relatively small skirmishes to large-scale sieges involving dozens of troops. No matter how much other areas of Mount & Blade disappoint, I kept finding myself returning to the battlefield for more guts and glory.

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Mount & Blade's strong RPG elements, in-depth army management aspects, and amazingly addictive combat system balance out its mediocre quests and half-baked sandbox gameplay. The lack of a story is unforgiveable, but it's hard to not concede the game is still worth playing after all - even if only to repeatedly brightly stain your swords with the blood of your fallen enemies.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.0
Graphics
Dated visuals have a few high points and plenty of lows.
4.0
Control
Awesome combat system is easy to use and fun as hell to dig into.
4.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Excellent music. The battle sounds, from sword clanks to the screams of folks getting mauled by your blade, are particularly good.
3.4
Play Value
Lack of story and boring quests makes the sandbox gameplay seem lackluster. On the other hand, battle is surprisingly addictive.
3.5
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Free-form sandbox gameplay: You are free to go anywhere and do anything you choose in a world that has more than a hundred unique locations, including villages, castles, and towns.
  • Unique horseback combat: You are able to attack your enemies on your horse, whether you're swinging a sword, holding a lance, or unleashing arrows.
  • Highly advanced, sophisticated, and intuitive sword-fighting system.
  • Fight on horseback and on foot using an expansive variety of medieval weapons, each with their own unique characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Be anything from a lonesome adventurer to a commander of armies or an owner of villages, castles, or towns.
  • Freedom to interact with hundreds of characters, including kings, lords, ladies, commoners, as well as heroes you can take on as companions, each with their own personality.


  • Screenshots / Images
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