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264 of 278 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary indie game, more value than any other in recent memory
To be fair I have been playing M&B since it was in beta 0.610 or thereabouts. It was rough and unpolished then, but it was the first game of its kind, an incredibly immersive and fun steel-and-horses age combat simulator. I bought it immediately, and have never looked back.

This first thing that confuses people including off-the-cuff (Gamespot) reviewers is...
Published on October 27, 2008 by H. Collins

versus
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Though lacking slightly in finesse, very fun and open-ended. Some bug issues remain.
I downloaded the trial version, upgraded to the latest (1.11 now, I think?) and purchased a serial key.

This game is a ton of fun. You WILL find yourself leaning to the right as you try to reach enough so that your hatchet connects with the Swadian Footman whose group ambused your trading party. You'll also find unexpected joy in a well-placed headshot (with a...
Published on November 24, 2008 by J. Loscheider


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264 of 278 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary indie game, more value than any other in recent memory, October 27, 2008
By 
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mount & Blade - PC (CD-ROM)
To be fair I have been playing M&B since it was in beta 0.610 or thereabouts. It was rough and unpolished then, but it was the first game of its kind, an incredibly immersive and fun steel-and-horses age combat simulator. I bought it immediately, and have never looked back.

This first thing that confuses people including off-the-cuff (Gamespot) reviewers is that this game is not Oblivion. Taleworlds went in a completely different direction, instead of rehashing the same formulaic crap that infests the game publishing world today, and they should be thanked for it. Instead, they get rated down for NOT being boring. This is not strictly speaking an RPG in the way that the industry thinks of RPGs. It is not strictly a strategy game. It is not a shooter. So what is it?

Mount & Blade is a great sandbox game, along the lines of Pirates!, but more interesting (to me, anyway). You get thrown into the game and from there can literally do whatever you want. The game does skew towards combat professions and goals, since its greatest strength is its combat engine, but you can be a merchant, a rebel, a vassal, a mercenary, even a tournament specialist. You can even do several of these things in sequence, defining the career of your character through your gameplay choices.

The combat engine is utterly magnificent. This is one of the rare games where you can come up with a solution to a problem by doing what you would do in the real world, and it works! On foot, you turn your body in the same direction as your weapon swing as you make contact, and you get an increase in damage. Duck in and out of striking range based on the actual length of the weapons you and your opponent are using. Stand on the high ground with your bow for a range advantage that you can see happening as your arrows take a natural dropping flight path. Get back up on the hill to slow the momentum of that gyu riding down on you, step to his blind side, and chop his horse out from under him so you can brain him while he tries to get back up. This is a lot more immersive and gratifying than spending points on various melee skills and hitting control buttons for special moves over and over again while standing in one place.

The political and economic systems in vanilla (un-modded) Mount & Blade are simple, but they work! Build up friendships with local lords by doing stupid errands for them if you like, or else catch them in combat with a superior force and run in to save their bacon, which they'll be grateful for. Build favor with the ladies of the court so they can funnel bribes for you to lords who mislike you. Gain enough renown and favor with your liege to be put forward as a candidate for Marshall, but make sure you can curry enough votes to win the election. Burn local villages to prevent enemy lords from recruiting there, and kill their caravans to stagnate their city's economy.

I have seen lack of a concrete storyline mentioned as a weakness in some "professional" reviews. The game lacks a storyline because it's not supposed to have one! There is a background, there is an ongoing political dynamic, but you create your own story. Honestly, I don't understand the point of "story" based games where you walk through in a linear fashion, click some buttons, and listen to some voiceovers. To me the last great story-based computer game was Fallout, which also incorporated a sandbox play style as part of its dynamic, in addition to some really great lore. Nowadays, if you really want to follow a storyline, you can probably find better and longer-lasting ones in different media. Books, for instance. (If you lack the imagination required to have a rewarding experience reading a book and prefer the multimedia experience brought to you by some hack writing computer games, there is always television.)

The most important thing to me about Mount & Blade, though, is that it captured my attention back then, and still does. I spend many nights not going to sleep because there's one more siege I want to pull off, or one of my rebellion faction lords who needs help, or some juicy enemy caravans waiting to be plundered. I would rate its replayability along the same lines as the original Civilization when it came out (and I basically wasted six months of my life on that). Not many games nowadays can even capture my interest, let alone hold it for longer than a couple of days. It's just that much fun.

There are a lot of videos of M&B gameplay on YouTube, and some of them are mine:

[...]
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129 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun, But Definitely a Niche Game. Please Read, October 14, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mount & Blade - PC (CD-ROM)
This is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences in recent memory. However, having siad that, this game is probably only for a certain audience. My favorite game genres are RPG and Strategy that occur in either a medieval or fantasy setting. This game combines good elements of both. If you enjoyed the character development and FPS elements of Elder Scrolls Oblivion, then you will like this game. If you like the strategic elements of Medieval II Total War, then you will like this game. Granted, M&B doesnt go nearly as in depth into strategy as MTWII or similar strat sims, and M&B isnt as visually pleasing as Oblivion or similar RPGs, but it is a happy combination of both. Wouldnt it be great to raise an army in Oblivion and assault the imperial city, or fight along side your troops in MTWII. This game allows you to do those things. It is the complete fantasy. You can be the great general and the great warrior all in one.
So, if this review didnt make you foam at the mouth in anticipation of playing this game, then it is probably not for you. But for the those of you that can appreciate the elements this game brings together, this will be an all time favourite.
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80 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You owe it to yourself to try this one, September 21, 2008
By 
HLT (Wales, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mount & Blade - PC (CD-ROM)
Medieval Elite? Definitely. Also a chivalric 3D shooter/basher with party-based RPG elements and character development in a persistent world of competing factions. I got into it by downloading the trial version (various beta versions have been available for quite some time, allowing you to advance a character up to level 6, which is plenty of time to decide if you like the game) and was hooked from half-way through the tutorial -- from the moment I first mounted a horse, to be precise. I'm sure I had a huge grin on my face as I rode around the practice field!

The game is completely open-ended, with no central narrative. You find yourself in a land of competing kingdoms, starting start out as an independent adventurer, but as time goes on you'll want to build up your company of companions and hirelings, and eventually to join one of the warring factions (which has repercussions with the others of course, as well as opening up new paths and opportunities to you).

With other open-ended games (like the Sims or Port Royale) I've found myself getting bored after a few days, because there wasn't enough variety. Mount and Blade is holding up better so far, firstly because the combat is so much fun (similarly I keep returning to the Unreal Tournament series, also lacking in any story) and secondly because the quests and the chance for political advancement in the persistent world give you goals to strive for.

Another aspect that should help extend the life of the game is the difficulty sliders, which let you improve the combat AI among other things. I'm still playing it on the easiest level, but it's going to be interesting to see how much more challenging the game gets as I progress to higher settings.

Overall, it's really refreshing, particularly in these days of big-studio consolidation and all the baggage (particularly draconian DRM baggage) that goes with that, to see an indie game that succeeds so well in delivering a fun and addictive playing experience.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Though lacking slightly in finesse, very fun and open-ended. Some bug issues remain., November 24, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mount & Blade - PC (CD-ROM)
I downloaded the trial version, upgraded to the latest (1.11 now, I think?) and purchased a serial key.

This game is a ton of fun. You WILL find yourself leaning to the right as you try to reach enough so that your hatchet connects with the Swadian Footman whose group ambused your trading party. You'll also find unexpected joy in a well-placed headshot (with a recurve bow, no less) that reduces your foes by one.

System-wise, it's also not very demanding, which is a relief given how rapidly the tit-for-tat of hardware and software developers keep pushing each other to their limits.

However, there are limits to the fun that is to be had. Dialogue is very basic, as are the quests. Interaction is similar to Freelancer (though text-only) in its repetition. Your quests come down to: deliver a message, collect a debt, train villagers, bring us some cattle, and kill this criminal. There are also only five kingdoms - I was hoping for a few more, just to make it interesting - and the entire landscape can be crossed in about 2 days of game time, provided you aren't ambused by looters or bandits in the process.

Finally, there are still bugs to be worked out. This along shouldn't deter you from purchasing this fun game - remember Sacred, with its 100 MB+ patches? That RPG was still a blast. The bugs are mainly graphics-related at this point. NPCs lose faces or some of the screen backgrounds go quirky. There are program crashes (though I've yet to see a full system crash from M&B), and for this I can only suggest saving often and reporting the crash to the developers.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Money I Ever Spent on a Game - Incredibly fun., September 21, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mount & Blade - PC (CD-ROM)
I bought this game several years ago on the developer's website, and have played it on and off for years. Over time it has only gotten better, and I can honestly say I haven't had so much fun for so long from any other game. Oh, and don't let Frodogorn on the box art drive you away - that was the publisher's doing, and the picture really doesn't relate to the game at all in my opinion. Frodogorn is what the forum community dubbed the character, due to its obvious resemblance to both Frodo and Aragorn from the Lord of the Rings movies. REAL M&B characters wouldn't be caught dead (or rather, they WOULD be dead) without a helmet in battle.

The combat is the best I have seen of its type, allowing your character to buy a variety of realistic medieval weaponry and use them on the field. Be it fighting defensively with a one handed weapon and shield, swinging away with a massive two handed weapon (maul, axe, sword, etc), or stabbing your foes at a distance with one of the many types of lances or spears, the combat is just downright FUN. You can use the mouse to swing left, right, down, or thrust - limited somewhat depending on the weapon. Parrying has the same directional movements. Blocking with a shield is easy, you just right click. But the shields break after absorbing so many hits (based on the type of shield, of course!), and parrying without one can require skill, depending on your game settings. You can either have it automatically detect the direction to parry, or require a mouse movement in the same way attacking does.

If melee combat isn't your cup of tea, get yourself some of the various ranged weaponry available. You have 3 main types to choose from - bows, crossbows, or one of the various throwing weapons - all of which fly with a realistic arc and require a bit of practice to use effectively. No auto aiming here. Pick charging infantry off as they rush to attack you, or put a throwing axe through the skull of a charging knight mere seconds before he skewers you with his lance. Just don't miss.

And of course there's the horses - no game named Mount&Blade could get by without riding - and it certainly lives up to the name. Everything you can do on foot you can also do on horses, minus a few obvious things - such as no giant board shields and no firing the heavier crossbows from the horse. Light crossbows are OK, and most of the other weapons work just fine - some with added ability, like couching your lance to skewer all in your path. Heavier weapons, like the polearms meant to be used on foot and two handed weapons, are better used on foot - but can function to an extent on horseback. Master horse archery and you'll really be a force to be reckoned with, but beware the Khergits - they're pretty good with horse archery too. Horses have been regarded by some in the past as 'easy mode' because mobility really is key, but the AI improvements in the final version have helped this somewhat - with the enemy happy to surround you and cut you down if you aren't smart. Not that horses are the way to play, high athletics can afford good mobility on foot as well - depending on how heavy the armor you choose to wear is. Horses are usable everywhere except during castle and city sieges - you can't very well ride up the castle walls, now can you? There you'll need a good army and some archers wouldn't hurt.

The game isn't ALL about fighting, though - that's just the part that I enjoy the most. You also have a whole political system of Kings and their landed vassals, kingdoms at war, and the opportunity for serious political upheaval. Become a mercenary and fight for money, or swear your allegiance to a Kingdom and get a village or castle of your own. Loot the enemy's villages and caravans, participate in sieges and campaigns. Get popular enough to be voted Marshall and you can lead the campaigns. Don't like that? Just become a bandit, looting every kingdom's villages and caravans and taking land in your own name. Or make yourself known by traveling the land participating in tournaments, each kingdom with its own flavor in terms of weaponry used. Tired of the current leadership? Find a claimant to the throne of one of the kingdoms and lead a rebellion. Convince the other lords to join your cause and lead them on massive campaigns. If you win, put yourself in charge of a large swath of land and put your claimant on the throne. Whichever course you take, you can play however you like - protect the poor villages, or burn them. Slaughter the enemy caravans for their goods, or just ask them for a toll. You've defeated an enemy lord and his army, do you let him go - or capture him and haul him off to your dungeon for later ransom?

And the best part is all this is only in the Native module, the one the game comes with. Want a new world? Make your own, or play someone else's. The developers are very supportive of the mod community, releasing the module system that allows aspiring modders to change most anything. The game has an active modding community that has built up over the years during beta, with hundreds of wonderful mods - some of which completely change the gameplay. The only downside is, since the game just released, all the mods are for older versions. Soon though, once the newest module system is released, modules will be converted and new ones will be made. I am anxiously awaiting many of them.

If you like sandbox games with endless replay value, great modability, and a story you can make your own - try this game. You won't regret it.
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57 of 65 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WARNING: This game is for video game purists only!, July 25, 2010
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mount & Blade - PC (CD-ROM)
I am writing this review not to criticize this game, but to help people understand exactly what this game is. This is game is not your typical video game. This game has NO plot and NO story. I do not mean that the plot and story are bad or that they unfold poorly, I am being literal. There is a reason this game is so cheap, and there is a reason that you can also download this game (not an option most other video games sold on Amazon offer). UPDATE: Buying video games online is increasingly available. Even large, high-quality games can be downloaded; however, at the time I wrote this only smaller and cheaper games could be downloaded from Amazon and therefore I stick by my previous statement.

When you first start the game you create your own character with his or her strengths and weaknesses (just like a typical RPG). The game then teaches you how to fight (also somewhat typical). Once you are done learning, off you go to explore the world. The world essentially consists of a large country with a lot of towns and cities occupied by characters that are just there to send you on errands to other towns and cities. Nothing you do advances anything because there is nothing to advance. The towns and cities are divided up into countries or territories with lords and ladies that are either rivals with each other or allied with each other. By taking tasks from different characters you can gain favor with them while losing favor with others.

The point in all of this is to enter combat. That is the sole purpose of the game, the combat. And don't get me wrong the combat is unique and really quite fun (I won't go into a lot of detail about the combat because other reviewers here have already done so, quite well I might add). But remember, that is the ONLY point to this game. You fight battles for the sake of fighting battles. Sure you character gets stronger and you can build a party, but all of this is just so you can fight more battles. If this is your cup of tea then I recommend this game for you. Unfortunately, it is not mine which is why my rating is so low. I am not telling you not to buy this game, just know what you are buying.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it. Though, perhaps not for everyone, September 27, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mount & Blade - PC (CD-ROM)
The game is rather complex. Think of it as Elite or Freelancer in a medieval style. Trading, being a mercenary and all kinds of other things can be done. It settles you into these opportunities quite well and you won't even realize how much you can do until you're well into the game.

If you're one of those crazy cats who would rather see eye candy, look elsewhere (Oblivion is a good one.) but if you want a challenging, enjoyable, moderately realistic medieval RPG, this is for you.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, Addictive Medieval Fighting Simulator, September 21, 2008
By 
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mount & Blade - PC (CD-ROM)
I bought this game during its beta stage quite a few months ago. It is a very fun game and has a free trial that just limits your level cap, but is otherwise open.

There are many different ways to play M&B, you can start out as a merchant and flee from bandits, a warrior who destroys them, or anywhere in between.

Siege battles are a complete blast, its great to storm castles / towns with your band of hardened warriors. Medieval warfare has not been done well in the past, so it was amazing to see this indy team do such a great job of it.

You can fight with a wide range of weapons, from short knives to huge polearms. Swords, axes, maces, bows, crossbows, etc. You name it, they've probably added it in.

Archery has been done very well and is quite effective while ranged (unless your opponent has a shield), so its powerful but has its limitations as well.

Horseback riding is very well done as well. The controls are the best I've seen out of fighting games that include Horses / mounts. You can do any kind of fighting from horseback that you could while standing, but there are advantages and disadvantages of each. While your polearm is much more effective (you can couch it, like in jousting), reloading large crossbows is impossible, and your accuracy with bows will be diminished unless you train in horseback archery.

The development team is also very modder friendly, and there are dozens of great mods that have been developed to change the style, timeline, and look of the game.

Anyway, I'll try to keep this review short, there are hundreds of videos from the beta versions out on youtube and other video sites, just search for "Mount and Blade", and include topics like siege or whatever you are interested in. Note that the game has been polished a lot and you will most likely see beta footage as the full game was just released on 9/19.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't stop playing this!, October 30, 2008
By 
EJ (U.S. Mountains) - See all my reviews
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mount & Blade - PC (CD-ROM)
I got this game 3 months ago and I'm still playing it with every free hour I get. Mind you I have a career and a family so that's not exactly saying a lot, but it's been a long time since I had this much fun and kept with a game this long.

I agree with many of the other reviews on this site - like any other game this isn't for everyone. However there is a free demo and absolutely no reason to pay if you don't want to. As soon as I hit the level limit I paid for the full game without hesitating one second. The "DRM" simply limits you to 2 activations per month.

What can you expect?

I'd call this a "medieval action RPG". It is an open sandbox type of game like Pirates! You're free to roam the world doing whatever you like and there is no central story arc. There are also no classes, but you are best served by choosing to augment your own chosen skills with NPCs you add to your party and whose skills/equipment you control. It's strictly medieval in the setting with no magic or any other fantasy element. The heart of game is medieval combat and as the title implies mounted combat is a key aspect.

There is a limited strategy aspect in the extent that you can offer a few battlefield commands to up to 3 categories of participants (infantry, archers, cavalry). Commands are fairly simple (stay here, move up, move back, follow me, charge, dismount, mount, use blunt weapons). There are mods that allow more complicated formations and commands, in addition to many other types of tweaks or even alternate worlds. Each of the different kingdoms has different troop specialties that may require differing tactics or use of terrain. They are fictional but you can easily see that they are based roughly on these cultures (English/French, Russian, Mongol, Viking, and Southern Europe).

The graphics are slightly dated, but still very well done with every village, castle, and town being completely unique. There is a spartan 3D map for moving around the game world. You then drop into a real world first person perspective for battles and exploring towns, villages, and castles. There are a variety of equipment options for playing dress up with your dolls... er character and NPCs.

Combat will take a little time to master your weapons and timing - but it's an absolute blast!

I'm on my 3rd character now and found a great deal of replay value in trying to build a different type of warrior and seek a different role in the world.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How did we miss this game?, October 6, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mount & Blade - PC (CD-ROM)
I found this game by accident, but the reviews sparked my interest and since it is available as shareware, I had nothing to loose by checking it out.

The tutorial was nothing to write home about, though I liked the fighting system, which allows the player to block attacks with a shield or weapon. In a pleasant contrast to other RPGs where one selects an enemy and then just presses buttons and has no immediate influence on the attack, here the fight is truly at your fingertips, as you dodge, block and charge. True, damage and armor are equipment based, but with good timing and skill of the controls your quarterstaff is going to teach a battleaxe wielding foe a lessen or two.

It's all in the name: Mount and Blade.

Once I mounted that horse in the tutorial and went galloping by those training dummies delivering blows magnified by the speed of my charge, I was really enjoying myself.

You can hire recruits in friendly villages, which will gain experience with each combat or from your training skill and allow upgrades along a faction dependent tree. Make a pretty penny in trade, joust in tournaments, and win favor with Lords and Ladies.

This game offers enough depth to keep you occupied for a while. After you have mastered the controls and your own battle worthiness, you'll have time to explore how to use your army better, experiment with the commands to your troops and use the different terrains to your advantage.

If you want to experience the exhilarating thrill of charging in full gallop through a formation of enemy footmen, knocking them over like tenpins while using your horse as a battering ram, or the horror of getting stuck in the middle of those same footman - this is your game.
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Mount & Blade [Download]
Mount & Blade [Download] by Paradox Interactive
$14.99 $9.99
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