Mount & Blade: Warband offers a deep single player open world along with competitive multi player.
Both popular in their own right, single and multiplayer games share an innovative control scheme, as well as first- or third-person medieval combat. The concepts of Mount & Blade: Warband are immediately familiar, yet they provide a unique mixture: a medieval role playing game with no magic, horse adventures without Barbie and fighting without guns or mercy. The graphics of this PC game are widely scalable, and as it is backwards compatible with DirectX 7, it is playable with older or lower-powered graphics cards.
Warband added several new features and graphical upgrades from the original Mount & Blade including:
Hand-to-hand combat is very hard to simulate, because anything that happens close in 3D immediately looks fake and strange on a 2D screen. Firstly, many games zoom out of the action into the 3rd person perspective to make it work. Secondly, unlike aiming and pulling the trigger, the complicated swing and strike of the weapon can be broken up into more realistic subsequent steps. In Mount & Blade: Warband the player swings back his weapon with the mouse to either left, right, top or bottom then he has to aim the camera at the target and finally he releases the swing to strike or thrust. This is made more challenging by the fact that both hero and foe may be carried by galloping horses. The fact that the player can hold the release of his swing makes it possible to precisely time and aim strikes.
Unfortunately, the camera is also bound to mouse controls, so that every swing of your weapon also waggles the camera around a fair bit and in reality nobody really looks down the baseball bat, golf club or katana replica amid a backswing action. With practice, this can be reduced to a minor wiggle in Mount & Blade, though it is something that may be improved in games to come.
Horses travel with a certain inertia and cannot strafe sideways; they steer similarly to vehicles in any other game with WASD keys, while the player controls the camera with the mouse. The speed of horses makes melee combat immediately much more dynamic and enjoyable; the player can use their horse's speed to chase down enemies, but also to quickly retreat.
Similar to franchises like Total War and Sid Meier's Pirates!, the gameplay is split between a large overworld sandbox and combat instances.
In Mount & Blade these instances are either fixed locations (towns) or randomly generated third-person fights, in which you can lead hundreds of units into battle. Along with ordinary troops, which can be trained and upgraded, the hero also enlists the help of up to ten unique companions, who have the same RPG progression and equipment options.
The single-player portion of the game lets players create their own male or female medieval hero and drops them in the land of Calradia. Character creation is done in two steps: a series of text-based questions to choose the origin story and your motivations for becoming an adventurer (similar to Morrowind's creation system), and then a character editor that allows you to tweak many aspects of your hero's appearance, stats and skills. You then select how you came to travel to Calradia, which decides on what kingdom you start in (but not which one you are allied to). You begin the game as a mercenary and must build your numbers by recruiting villagers, hiring other mercenaries, or capturing enemy soldiers.
While every character has his own story to tell in text form, the overall saga is witnessed by you as you watch the open world. Kingdoms expand or crumble, large armies clash, villages burn and kings are overthrown by their father's forgotten lovechild (or by those who claim to be). Short tutorial missions aside, Warband is a completely open sandbox and players can ignore the quests and achieve whatever it is that they want by means of combat, intrigue, diplomacy, romance and economics. All those things can be used to accomplish your goals and unite Calradia under your own rule.
Every faction has its own legacy and style and five tiers of different types of units, which can all be trained and upgraded from recruits.
The map is populated by travelling armies of lords and bandits, but also caravans, farmers and the like. The overworld is traversed in real time, presenting opportunities to pick fights or help those in peril. Generally, insuring your army's safety requires either superior numbers or careful strategy. The terrain and time of day determines your travelling speed and how the battlefield will look in case of a skirmish. Towns, villages and bandit hide-outs present further opportunities for trade and quests. In the late game, large campaigns of dozens of AI-lord armies can be joined or even commanded by the player.
Mount & Blade aspires to be a medieval fight simulation, and combat (if not AI) is very realistic, based on collision, speed and general physics. The battles are fought in the first- or third- person perspective and happen either on randomly generated maps (using the overworld terrain) or in many uniquely-built towns and villages. The player assigns commands to groups of units such as archers, cavalry and infantry while also participating in battle. Proficiencies increase as weapons are used.
Since the consequences for losing an army are severe, a separate training mode at the start is available. In game there are also training ranges, a fighting arena and tournaments, which can be entered to practice the unique and precise game controls at no risk.
The deep open ended RPG progression consists of skills, attributes and proficiencies and applies to player and companions alike. It helps to assign roles like scout, doctor and engineer among companions as well as specialize in one or two out of six weapon types.
Because the supernatural is not part of Calradia, the equipment system is straightforward medieval ordnance; arms are balanced between range, speed, damage, weight and price. There are cutting, piercing and blunt weapons. Horses are handled like equipment, though they can at times be injured and killed.
Skills aside the progression also involves the relations of the player to other lords and kings, as well as his own role and place in the world. Additionally there is a large economy, the player can buy enterprises in towns as well as be granted his own fiefs.
Companions have their own backgrounds, prejudices and vices and don't always get along. The scoundrels among them rejoice at the sight of pillaged loot and slain peasants, while noblemen expect the hero not to harm common folk and to see quests to completion.
If the player chooses to help a claimant to the throne of one of the factions, at that point this claimant also becomes a very powerful companion. Unlike normal units all specially named characters cannot be killed, though they can be knocked unconscious in battle and often times cannot partake in fights due to their injuries.
The game includes online multi-player allowing up to 64 players in a game, although servers have been created that allow up to 256 players to battle. The multiplayer is strictly the combat portion of the game.
Warband uses a server browser system and allows the player to create a unique character (Your singleplayer character can not be imported). Teams are based on factions from the single-player, and each faction has unique weapons and armor that are balanced against each other. For example, the Nords have strong infantry and weak cavalry while the Khergits have very good horseman but no foot soldiers. The two teams are either randomly selected per map or voted upon by the players on that server.
Mount & Blade: Warband uses a class-based equipment purchase system similar to Counter Strike, where good performance awards a player grant money, allowing you to buy more items. Combat is identical to the single player version of the game; lances may be couched to allow for one hit kills on horseback, at the expense of turning, swords do more damage when moving into the enemy, etc. Manual (directional) or automatic blocking is used depending on the server settings, and the players may parry and deflect opponents blows. Every player has their own style of combat, much like in a fighting game, and a single duel between two good players can last minutes.
Multiplayer games fall into one of several modes:
Paradox Interactive announced that one DLC for Mount&Blade: Warband will come in April 19 2012.
An multplayer add-on based on the Napoleon Wars made by developers (Flying Squirrel Entertainment) of a multplayer mod called Mount&Musket. Like the mod it was based on the Napoleonic Wars. With the help of the Taleworld developers, Flying Squirrel Entertainment were able to optimize and add on scripting to the Warband engine to implement features that weren't possible with the given mod tools for Warband. No single player mode is in the released product, although it was planned to during the year and a half developing cycle, but it was quickly scrapped in favour of focusing on the main aspects of the game. The main developer noted that there will be continual updates after the DLC is released.
Pricing : € 9.95 or $ 9.95 or £ 7.95