This weekend Taleworlds have finally released v1.003 of Mount & Blade, an excellent game based primarily around mounted combat.
The game has been developed in shareware form for many years, it has a large following of fans and numerous graphical and gameplay mods, and earlier this year it was picked up by publishers Paradox Interactive, through whom it is now available to buy online and in shops.
Anyone who paid for a shareware version is entitiled to this full release at no extra cost, and as one of those I decided to write this short review.
Set in the mediaeval world of Calradia, Mount & Blade is an open-ended role-playing game which gives you a lot of freedom - there is no set storyline, and you can choose to do pretty much as you please.
There are many differences from traditional RPGs:
- Mounted combat - you can ride horses, armed with a lance, sword, bow, axe, and more. Riding with a herd of charging horses is great fun, as is standing alone with just a sword as a score of enemy knights rampages towards you.
- There are no fantasy elements - no wizards, dragons, potions, etc - just humans, horses, and standard weaponry.
- You are in control of your character, whilst there are skills and statistical modifiers, it is primarily your agility and fighting prowess that determine if you will defeat an enemy.
- You can fight alone, or with companions, or build up an army of hundreds of warriors - mounted knights, horse archers, longbowmen, polearms, footsoldiers, and so on - which you can then command on the battlefield.
Whilst there are screenshots and videos available, neither of these give a true feeling of how the game plays - the best thing to do is try it for yourself.
In demo mode, you can play upto a level 6 character, at which point you either buy a serial number, or can start another character. Once you pay for the game you can continue playing with any characters you started in demo mode, or start a new character.
The official annoucement, which includes the download links, is on the M&B forums.
Mount & Blade really is a fun game, and even if you don't normally play RPGs, I strongly recommend giving it a try.