Thursday 20 October 2016

Mount and Blade: Warband

Mount and Blade: Warband may be a game you’ve heard at some point but it has finally made the jump from PC to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The most surprising thing about this is that the game came out in 2010 on PC and it seems like no visual upgrades have occurred for the console versions meaning it incredibly underwhelming in the visual department. Apart from the, the whole game’s design feels far too random to be enjoyable and with so many other alternatives out there, it’s hard to think who this could possibly be for.

Developed by TaleWorlds Entertainment and out now for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Mount and Blade: Warband has no place in the library for any game player out there. There isn’t anything inherently band about the game though. It feels open, one that is consistently alive and you are simply another person in the world trying to build up your troops. However while its openness feels like it is there for emergent gameplay, it’s randomness just leads to frustration. 

There were many times when I was tasked to go to a location to give a certain character a message. When I finally made it there I was told they were currently on the road and will be back soon. So you spend some of your very limited resources to stay there a few nights to pay for the ever-growing troupe that you grow. Then you’re told that character is actually on the way to somewhere else. You get up and leave and go to the next location. Then when you get there and ask about them, they are back at the first location. Then you get back once again and they are not there anymore so you simply get your controller and lob it across the room. What originally is set up as a game built on freedom can eventually devolve into a game of chasing characters around. 

You can be any kind of character you want whether you want to be a good guy or a hostile bastard that pillages every ton you visit. When trying to be the good guy, you are left chasing characters and losing resources but being the bad guy can quickly lead to death. It’s frustrating game but honestly, slowly growing your army is satisfying as it can really be a grind.

Visually though, Mount and Blade: Warband is disappointing. It looks like a game from six years ago and even if it launched on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 it would be considered out of date even then. Everything is muddy and lacks any sort of detail. What is most shocking though is that it doesn’t perform really well. It runs at 30 fps and even though it isn’t always smooth.

Even though I’ve mentioned of its design shortcomings and outdated visuals, there is a certain raw enjoyment to be found here. However, with so many other similar games out there that perform, look, and plays better, I find it really hard to recommend over any of its contemporaries. Combat is rough but enjoyable but I found it very hard to play more than a few hours of it simply because there is no real motivation and reward for getting there. Mount and Bleh: Warbland. 2/5


Jason Redmond

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