It’s finally here.
The game I’ve looked forward to most in years. I’ve previously written about Bannerlord being the main game I was looking forward to this year, and it absolutely did not disappoint. Mount & Blade is a unique staple of the Action RPG genre where you truly can take on any role. The intuitive, directional-based combat system is another unique twist on the usual hack & slash of this genre and is an untapped mechanic more games could possibly benefit from implementing. The game truly does let you carve your own path, the level of freedom is astounding!
Mount & Blade has always given you different options to customize your character’s backstory at different stages of their life, from early childhood up to the reason you find yourself on the adventure the game throws at you. However, Bannerlord takes this an extra step further by allowing you to choose which faction you originate from, and even gives you a family and genealogy. You can even start your own family! Once you have accumulated a decent amount of renown/fame, you can start to court one of the countless noble women of Calradia, eventually marrying her and having children of your own.
Another of the main additions Bannerlord brings to Mount & Blade (and probably my favourite) is the new siege tactics. Sieges in this game now add siege weapons to the assault of a castle, you get to ride to battle in the back of a siege tower, or you can man the ladders and lead your men to victory like some sort of medieval dream. Alternatively, if you don’t want to risk getting your army killed in combat, you can stock up on supplies before you siege somewhere, then you can cut off the enemies supply lines and starve them out, thinning their numbers and using siege weapons on their defences until you feel comfortable to launch an assault.
Bringing home the bacon:
The economy has had a big overhaul with this game too. For example, if a small village/city has recently been raided and looted, you can sell essentials to them such as grain and cattle, and you will make more money from it as it will be like the villagers are desperate for those things, and will be more willing to pay for them. Supply and demand is a big part of the economy, there are certain lands where things such as grain and different fruits are hard to come by, so you will get more money for those things there, but those cities might produce an abundance of oil or wine, so you can buy some there, and sell it for profit somewhere it isn’t so easily accessible.
The graphics have had such an upgrade from the previous game. Everything from the terrain and the buildings, to the people themselves, the game looks gorgeous! The sound design is great, hearing the roar of hundreds of soldiers and the ringing of steel, as epic armies clash in combat, definitely excites my inner Game of Thrones geek. The world is bigger than that of the previous installments in the series by quite a noticeable amount too, with different areas being home to different environments, cultures, and types of people to either ally with or kill.
I gave this masterpiece a few weeks after release before writing about it as the game was dotted with bugs on release day. Over the past few weeks, the developers have had to iron out a host of these issues such as optimization problems, bugs, crashes, weapon imbalances, but they have done so impressively efficiently. To me, it is very much like a refined and much-improved Mount & Blade: Warband, which is great; that’s exactly what I was hoping for! It's got all the epic- scale battles, interesting combat, and sense of progression that kept me hooked with Warband. I’m completely in love with the game, I can’t wait to put hundreds of hours into it as I did with it’s predecessor.