Preview: Mount And Blade

By William Usher 2008-09-17 10:15:26 discussion comments
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Title: Mount & Blade
Players: 1
Platform: PC
Developer: TaleWorlds
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Price: $39.99
Release Date: September, 2008

Riding a horse into battle with loyal townsfolk at your side will redefine calvary battles in this non-fantasy, medieval game. Adventuring across vast lands, joining factions for security, or sieging lands for control, all makes up the general gist of Mount & Blade. I would probably say itís a game that might best be described as a realistic version of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Indie games rarely receive the kind of acknowledgment they deserve in the world of video game journalism. But every once in a while an indie game will break through the crowds and actually do something so true to form, so original and so polished that people actually start taking notice. Mount & Blade is little bit like that. While the game is officially available as shareware, it hasnít been completely released quite yet.

The story is a bare-bones good guy (or gal) cleansing the land of evil. It takes place in a historical representation of Calradia, with five military factions vying for control of the land: The Swadians, The Rhodoks, The Vaegirs, The Khergits, and The Nords. Players can associate themselves with either of the factions, or choose to fly solo if they like. Regardless, itís an open- ended tale that leaves the outcome of the land entirely in the hands of the player.

Like Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Godfather or other recent games with a create-a- character, gamers can mold and shape the look of their (male or female) hero at the start of the game. Players can choose a class but it only determines the starting attributes. But as the game progresses players can add or acquire additional attributes in typical RPG, free-roaming fashion: by completing quests.

The main focus of the game, however, is on the combat and battle engagements that can Ė with a community supplied modifier Ė allow up to 1000 units on the screen. While the game is a single- player affair, players can acquire other NPCs to accompany them on their journey. During battle, players can give simple commands to their NPC allies, but primarily itís up to players to deal with combative threats. The game contains a number of weapons and armor types, as well as horses, hence the name Mount & Blade. One of the neat features of the combat is the prisoner feature, which allows players to capture incapacitated enemies and sell them as slaves or recruit them as fellow soldiers. This is a feature that you will never see in a game like Ghost Recon; can you imagine trying to get the Taliban or Korean militants to work as your allies? Ha!

One of the other cool features of Mount & Blade is being able to siege territories, which includes castles, villages and outposts. If the player is attached to a faction that takes control of a territory, the leader of the faction can offer the territory to the player as a reward. Alternatively, players can choose to depart from a faction by claiming control of a captured territory, and start up their own independent force.

In addition to everything else, the game has a very open-ended engine that supports a lot of community modifications. So replay value shouldnít be much of a problem. You can currently play a shareware version of Mount & Blade by visiting the official TaleWorlds Website, or look for the game when it officially releases for $39.99. For more news and info on the latest games, be sure to stay tuned in with Blend Games, or visit the Blend Games Forum to discuss the latest topics on your favorite games.

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