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Mount & Blade: Warband

Platform(s): PC
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: Tale Worlds
Release Date: March 19, 2010

About Brad Hilderbrand

I've been covering the various facets of gaming for the past five years and have been permanently indentured to WorthPlaying since I borrowed $20K from Rainier to pay off the Russian mob. When I'm not furiously writing reviews, I enjoy RPGs, rhythm games and casual titles that no one else on staff is willing to play. I'm also a staunch supporter of the PS3.

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PC Preview - 'Mount & Blade: Warband'

by Brad Hilderbrand on March 30, 2009 @ 9:00 a.m. PDT

Mount & Blade: Warband is geared to raise the level of intensity of the original Mount & Blade, incorporating a brand new multiplayer feature that enables up to 64 players to fight for glory on a single map in team deathmatch style battles.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live the life of a medieval knight, but were afraid of time travel due to the risk of plague? Taleworlds did a fairly impressive job of showing you in their PC title, Mount & Blade, and now the team is back with an expansion pack that should go a long way toward getting you back on your horse and gussied up in your best Sunday armor.

The original Mount & Blade featured tons of combat, mainly divided into field battles and castle sieges. The expansion, Warband, will bring all of that back and then some, as it looks to make the battles bigger and better than ever. Even more interesting for fans, the upgrade will allow for some massive multiplayer action, with up to 32 warriors duking it out to see who's the best of the best. If your weapons of choice are of the sword and mace variety, then you'll likely be in heaven as you ride merrily through the fields, slaughtering all who dare stand against you.

The original game allowed players quite a bit of upward mobility, rising from a lowly soldier to a duke with a fiefdom and army, but strangely enough, it capped ambitions there and never allowed players to vie for the role of king. In a way, it made sense, since your character was meant to be loyal to his king, but players still groaned because no matter how good they were, there was still a glass ceiling. Now that ceiling has been shattered, as Taleworlds is letting gamers strike out on their own, pledging allegiance to no one and potentially ruling a kingdom.

Normally, striking out on your own would be suicidal, considering how many other lords are out there looking to put down rabble like you who make trouble, but thanks to a revamped diplomacy system, you might just have a fighting chance. Other nobles will ally or feud with you based on your actions and interactions with them, and you can even bribe some factions to go to war with one another, and then sweep in and finish them off while they're weak, if you're the sinister type (which you surely are).

A major complaint lodged against Mount & Blade was that it looked downright terrible, making it all the harder to appreciate the fact that the game was actually pretty good if you could get past the graphics. The developers have been cleaning things up a bit, and while the expansion may not drop any jaws or win any technical awards, it does look considerably better than the source material. It's still not perfect, but things are definitely trending in the right direction.

We don't yet have a release date for Mount & Blade: Warband, but fans should keep a vigil for the latest info. In the meantime, groom your horse, sharpen your sword and practice your silver-tongued speech craft. There's plenty more yet to come from the Mount & Blade franchise.

 


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