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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Purely addicting
This game is purely addicting. The game delivers raw intuitive gameplay and provides an interesting mix of strategy, RPG elements, and first/third person combat. If you played the original, you are already aware of this fact.

Warband delivers a much needed update. Not only has Taleworlds completely redrawn the map of Calradia from scratch, but they've added a...
Published on April 19, 2010 by Rob Wie

56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warband is a good expansion, but I would suggest waiting for a price drop if multiplayer doesn't interest you
Skip to the bottom of the review for a summary of things I thought were good and bad about Warband. The update I posted before has been moved to the DRM section.

Mount and Blade: Warband is a standalone expansion to Mount and Blade. It adds several new features, such as a multiplayer mode and some changes to the singleplayer mode. As such, I think it would be a...
Published on April 3, 2010 by B. Farren

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56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warband is a good expansion, but I would suggest waiting for a price drop if multiplayer doesn't interest you, April 3, 2010
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Skip to the bottom of the review for a summary of things I thought were good and bad about Warband. The update I posted before has been moved to the DRM section.

Mount and Blade: Warband is a standalone expansion to Mount and Blade. It adds several new features, such as a multiplayer mode and some changes to the singleplayer mode. As such, I think it would be a good idea for you to wait until the price drops if you bought the first Mount and Blade, and you aren't interested in Warband's multiplayer. If you didn't get the first M&B, I recommend that you buy Warband.

Graphics: Warband's graphics are like M&B's graphics. However, there are added options (such as antialiasing) that improves Warband's appearance. Character animations have been redone. I like the new animations, as they seem smoother. Attacks while on cavalry no longer go right through your horse's head. However, the attack animations don't look as forceful as the animations in the first M&B.
Certain old meshes, like the horrible looking bandit vest, are still present in the game.

General Additions/Changes: The gameplay has been improved with additional features to spice things up. For example, players can now kick enemies, making their foes open to an attack. Throwing weapons can be switched to melee weapons with the press of a button. Enemies are more difficult to hit because the hitboxes were changed to be more accurate. Lancing now has the option of being like it was in the first M&B, or it can be made more difficult to use. The new faction, the Sarrinid Sultanate, have a very unique and interesting feel to them. There is a much larger variety of banners to choose as well.

Singleplayer: The singleplayer mode has been improved quite a bit. Instead of simply starting at a random area, like in the first game, you can choose one of five castles (one for each faction); there is also a starting quest. Factions no longer need the player's help in starting wars or making peace; they will do all of those things on their own.
There is a wider variety of areas. Villages and castles now have a more unique feel for each faction.
The player can now become a king or queen, and may marry a lord or a lord's daughter.
There are more characters and scenarios in the custom battle mode. I do find it strange that you can't just put your character in the custom battle mode, though.

Multiplayer: I find Warband's multiplayer to be enjoyable. Like in the singleplayer mode, you can give your character a unique appearance. There are a few game modes to choose from, like deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, and siege.
Server hosts can set the number bots that will spawn in the game. When you join a game, you choose between two out of the five factions, which are either random or chosen by voting players. Once you choose a side, you pick a class, which is different depending on which faction you chose. Then you choose your equipment (which is based on class) with money that you start out with and continue to earn as you gain points.

While the multiplayer is fun, Taleworlds has some work ahead of them. Weapon ranges are awkward: like in the first game, your spear will occasionally go right though a player and not do any damage. The factions are somewhat imbalanced, and some classes have much more equipment to choose from than others.
I consider the current multiplayer to be similar to that of the Stalker series. The multiplayer for both games lack some of the great parts from the singleplayer experience. In Warband's case, there are no stats and there is a lesser variety of equipment to choose from.

I really wish that Taleworlds worked on a cooperative mode instead of a competitive mode; Mount and Blade seems like it would have been more suited to keeping the depth of the singleplayer.

DRM: The DRM for Warband is just like the DRM in the first game, which means that you have to register you serial key online. However, this DRM is not as imposing as other types of DRM, like certain types of Securom or Steam. Instead of being completely unable to play the game if you don't register, you can get to level 8 and play for 30 game-days in the singleplayer. Once you register, you don't have to stay connected to the internet to play.

UPDATE: I made a mistake on the DRM section of the review. The boxed version installs Steam. However, the game itself doesn't actually need Steam to run, so once you register your copy with Steam/Warband's DRM, you can play without Steam. If your key that you got from the box doesn't work, there is another method of playing without Steam that is below. I apologize for my mistake.

Go to the Taleworlds forums if you want to remove Steam. The information required is at the bottom of the first post in the thread called 'Forced to Run Steam - Not Amused'. Unfortunately, I can't post a direct link.

The Good: Multiplayer mode, improvements to various aspects of the first game (single player, graphics, gameplay).

The Neutral: The new animations might not be for everyone.

The Bad: Game might not be worth the price if you're buying it for the single player. Certain old meshes are still present. The multiplayer mode needs to be balanced. Some problems still persist from the first game, such as weapon ranges. The lack of a cooperative mode is somewhat disappointing.

Overall, I liked Warband. It's not drop dead amazing, but it is a good expansion to a good game. It seems worth the price to me, though.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Purely addicting, April 19, 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This game is purely addicting. The game delivers raw intuitive gameplay and provides an interesting mix of strategy, RPG elements, and first/third person combat. If you played the original, you are already aware of this fact.

Warband delivers a much needed update. Not only has Taleworlds completely redrawn the map of Calradia from scratch, but they've added a ton of features. The game will play a lot like the original M&B, but with a lot of added features. The biggest feature is the idea of marriage. Players can establish political connections by taking a wife or husband. This adds a new element to the game, and actually makes the player's sex an interesting factor in the game. Male characters will start off more liked by the nobles and have an easier time getting established with the lords, but the female characters will have a huge advantage late game by being able to marry a warlord.

Other features include jailbreaks, which, while currently a bit buggy, add a new level of difficulty to the game. When your companions are captured after you lose a battle, your forced to sneak into an enemy castle and bust them out. To add icing on the cake, you need to do wearing nothing more than regular clothes and a walking stick. Once you fight your way into the jail, your companions will help fight their way out. Its a cool feature, but unfortunately there's a bug where your companions don't listen to your commands at the moment.

Multiplayer is a whole new game in itself. Once you think you've gotten good at M&B, you sign online and get your bum handed to you in a hand basket. Player vs player fights are immensely challenging, and very well balanced at the moment. Multiplayer really goes to show that, although the game is intuitive and easy to learn, there is a lot to master. Multiplayer is also very well balanced. Unlike most games on release, where several tactics or factions are strongly overpowered, all factions and classes are viable, without overpowering others. Multiplayer also allows for battles on a massive scale. Naturally, the game can have up to 64 players without any tweaks. However, I've heard of a server in Europe that has increased this to 244 players. Once better quality ISPs are made available, this could become the norm.

Much like the original, the game is also incredibly mod friendly. Players have already reported successful mods like the infamous return of the "Fish Mod" from the original M&B. Mods can now utilize Warband's multiplayer capabilities as well. Expect to see some total overhaul mods in the future. Its like buying one game and getting a dozen others for free.

That was the good.

Now here's the bad
-Some bugs still exist in the game, but Taleworlds is tirelessly trying to patch them up. >Most of the bugs that other reviewers have whined about are already fixed<
-Boxed version of the game will come with steam. If you aren't a fan of steam, you can still use your serial key to download the game off taleworld's website, and play steam free, but its a bit of an inconvenience.

Graphics 5/10
Graphics are nothing to drool over, but will run incredibly well on all systems. Keeping the graphics low key was probably a smart move because the game is designed for massive scale battles (150 units on the field)

Gameplay 9/10
Very fun, easy to learn, and highly addicting. I've spent way too long playing the game already

Balance 9/10
Excellently done. Some small adjustments could be done (like 'sweet spots' in swing arks) but there are no Sagatts or "hammerdins" in this game. Every unit has a strength to be used and weakness to be exploited against.

Sound 3/10
Sound is a bit lacking, and very little voice acting done.

DRM 9/10
Online activation is a very non-intrusive form of stopping piracy. No root-kits or secuROM here! Would have rated 10/10 if steam had not been included in the boxed version. (NOTE: if you don't care for steam, you can use the downloaded version instead and be steam free)

Overall 9/10 (not an average)
Definitely a title to add to your collection and well worth the money. My friends and I have already dedicated 100s of hours playing this game.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For fans of Mount & Blade, April 3, 2010
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This game is for fans of the first game that wanted a little more in the game. It is basically an improvement of the first Mount & Blade. If you haven't played the first one then you should definetly try this out. This game is amazing when compared to what else is out there. There is so much to this game and it is really immersive. Here's a couple of the cool things about this game...

-You actually fight the battles out instead of just letting your armies go at it like in other games
-You can become many things including a lord, a sword for hire, merchant, etc...and none of the options is ever closed off to your character.
-You not only fight roving bandits, deserters, and other armies but you can actually lay seige to castles and ACTUALLY BE A PART OF THE SEIGE. This means that you build the seige weapons and utilize them during the attack on the castle.
-The combat is more responsive than the first game but you may have to change a couple of the options to make it work like you want it to.
-You set the pace of the game. If you like to play slowly and be more strategic then you can do that by slowing down the combat and spending your time in the world building up your army, then send your army into combat without you. Or you can travel around known areas for raiders and be in constant battle and even declare your sword for another lord right off and go toe to toe with other armies and spend the game taking cities and castles.

If you haven't played the first game then I would give this a five star rating. Otherwise, this is mostly the same great game with some improvements (basically an expansion).
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hack and Slash Your Way to Glory, January 20, 2011
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This review is from: Mount & Blade: Warband [Download] (Software Download)
I bought this game after playing the demo and I have to say it is probably the most addictive game I have ever played. Build a character, raise an army and surround yourself with random characters whose skills and equipment you can upgrade, and you have the basic thrust of this impressive "sand box" style ancient medieval combat simulator.

Offering a mixture of RPG and RTS style elements, Mount and Blade Warband allows you to become master of the land of Calradia via a mixture of military prowess and diplomatic savvy, oh and military prowess. As another reviewer noted, this game soaks up time to play, so expect your computer room to turn into the time warp zone. I've found myself playing into the wee small hours just to get in one more battle - it's really rather macabre, but there's something quite satisfying about felling your enemies in a single swat of a sword, axe or other primitive weapon.

On that basis this is where the game really excells. Your champion can be adorned with various weapons and armor from the medieval world. Axes, knives, swords and crossbows, all have their strengths and weaknesses, and you'll find yourself exploring towns looking for better bits of kit to festoon your equipment list and AI partners.

I have yet to try the multiplayer component, but the single-player mode has plenty of things to offer. As mentioned there is a political component. Swear fealty to a lord and you'll be tasked with protecting the realm and join the king in defeating his enemies. Beseiging a castle is particularly entertaining.

Now graphically the game is not as spectacular as say the later Total War franchises, but it makes up for this by being immensely immersive. Your ability to create and control a character and hack down your enemies before you is quite cool. It's also challenging and you use the mouse to direct your specific blows, stabs, parries and strikes, while also using your shield to block, if you have one. It's a brilliant concept which is also a lot of fun, albeit frustrating at times.

Obviously there are other characters to interact with and even maidens or heroes to marry, if you choose. It all makes up for a very cool world which is not limited by a specific storyline, you are free to make your own destiny.

Double thumbs up.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple yet addictive, November 3, 2010
This review is from: Mount & Blade: Warband [Download] (Software Download)
Warband refines the rough-hewn Mount & Blade (Native). While the original offered stellar combat mechanics, in the end you could only do so much. Interactions with other lords were limited, and while starting one's own faction was theoretically possible, in practice it was virtual suicide. Warband fleshes the game out a little. You have more options to make friends and enemies. You can marry into nobility and even achieve a level of legitimacy as a ruler in your own right. You can also promote your followers into lords or send them to gather intelligence in other empires. Add in the new Sarranid (Arabian themed) faction, and the augmented game proves quite entertaining. The lack of a formal plot leaves details to the imagination, but even so, it feels like a story is playing out.

You can just see how King Graveth is ruining his empire by claiming all the new lands for himself. Sure, his kingdom is growing vast, but the lords are growing restless. Soon Graveth himself gets wind of the discontent and begins exiling men left and right for treason. When Matheas finally does betray him and takes Veluca with him, the player character storms the walls and retakes it asking for the castle as his reward. But then what? With so few lords remaining to his King, half the empire is in the player character's hands. Should he try to lure back some of the exiled lords to his liege's service? Or is it time to secede from this dying empire and call on his old allies and in-laws to join the new kingdom? Could such a kingdom survive the threat of civil war, the hungry Swadians to the north, and the Sassanids to the south who have been waiting for the right moment to retake Shariz? It's addictive...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mount & Blade: Warband, September 27, 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mount & Blade: Warband [Download] (Software Download)
This is just an updated version of Mount & Blade with the addition of online content. The graphics are much nicer in this game and everything does also work smoother but the original game can be just as fun if you dont plan on playing online.

The game style itself is FUN! I like how you are able to either lead an army and become a king, or stay as a permanent mercenary killing whoever you wish. I would compare this game to something along the lines of a hack and slash (vaguely Diablo) with more importance put on the actual contact you make on the enemy. Do not expect any shiny, awesome looking WoW loot with intense graphics, this game sticks strictly to RPG roots. The online content allows you to pvp some and even do come co-op with your friends.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good, but troubled, product, July 16, 2010
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
A redesign of the original "Mount&Blade", "Warband" includes graphical and gameplay overhauls to attract a new audience to a good, but troubled, product. Combining intense medieval combat with politics, economics, and courtship, "Warband" provides a full spectrum of possibilities for gamers.

The game takes place on a peninsula divided into six countries: Swadia (European knights), Rhodok (European peasants), Nords (Vikings), Khergit (Mongols), Vaergirs (Russians), and Sarranid (Saracens). The game's world is one of chivalry and lords, and warfare between these five countries is intermittent and legalized. The player starts as a new adventurer in this land, choosing from a variety of backgrounds and motivations. The character can be male or female, and while this choice doesn't affect stats and skills it does have some bearing on political choices and courtship.

Like "Sid Meier's Pirates!", the game's progression is largely up to the player; they can become a mercenary, a bandit, a trader, or a lord. There is essentially a large open-world environment, and the player is just part of it. Lords amass armies and attack enemy castles, caravans travel from city to city, and brigands gather in force to attack settlements and travelers. The game largely feels like it is alive even without the player being there to cause things. The player still has an opportunity to leave their mark on the world, though; they can start as a lowly commoner and work their way up to be a lord, a marshal, or even a king.

The main focus of the game is on combat, though. Soldiers can be recruited from friendly villages, and gain experience by fighting or training. They can then be upgraded for a small fee (to cover their equipment). Their advancement depends on where they're from - Swadian soldiers can become men-at-arms or knights, Nords soldiers can become warriors or archers, and so on. In battle, soldiers are commanded by the AI, but can be issued simple orders. They're basically reliable enough that battles won't be lost due to their stupidity or getting stuck on an object, which is nice.

Melee combat is "directional" - by moving the mouse, players can attack either as a sideways slash (left-to-right / right-to-left), an overhead slash, or a thrust. The weapon needs room to swing, as well; for example, trying to slash with a weapon in tight quarters will result in the character's arm not having room to move and the attack failing. Shields are important, as well, since they're the only thing that's capable of stopping an arrow or crossbow bolt. Mount&Blade's combat, therefore, has a more "common sense" bend to it. Still, it's sometimes difficult to judge depth, which is important due to the reach of weapons and so on. This is especially true of fighting on horseback, when it's often difficult to tell if your weapon will hit or if you're at a bad angle to try and swing at someone.

Politics play a large role in Mount&Blade, as well. By aiding nobles or helping them with their problems, a character can ingratiate themselves into a nation's upper class. This can result in lands, allies, and royal favor. Characters can also marry into noble families through courtship - reciting poems, dedicating tournament victories, and so on. Nobles and ladies have different personalities, as well. Some nobles will think it chivalrous to let an enemy lord go, while others will think that it is weak or soft-hearted. Some ladies will be pleased by sappy love poems, while others will prefer more realistic or serious stories.

There is a multiplayer mode in Warband consisting of short skirmishes. These can be either open-field battles or sieges, with each of the two sides being a given country. Players can choose between being a horseman, an infantryman, or an archer (though the Mongol-esque Khergits replace the horseman and archer with a lancer and mounted archer, respectively). The mode is relatively fun, although somewhat shallow.

The game's graphics are decent enough - a significant improvement over the low-budget original's, at any rate. The art (used for loading screens, event announcements, and so on) is top-rate, and the design overall is down-to-earth and realistic. Weapons and armor are actual historical types of weapons and armor, rather than arbitrarily designed fantasy stuff. The sound is acceptable, but the music and sound effects get repetitive pretty quickly. Still, it's never really bad enough to detract from the gameplay.

Overall, "Warband" is a good game to sink time into. The main issues with it are how long everything takes - from traveling on the world map to completing battles, "Warband" is a major investment of time to get even the simplest things done. However, it's an immersive, free-form game that allows players to do almost anything they can think of doing in its setting, and that might be enough to overcome its smaller problems.

Rating: 8/10.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep, Rewarding, and a lot of Fun, March 8, 2011
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This review is from: Mount & Blade: Warband [Download] (Software Download)
Mount and Blade: Warband is a great game. It's not the kind of game you just beat once and throw away; this game is a keeper, both the single player and multiplayer components. Its almost 2 games in one, as the multiplayer component is made up of the combat (sieges, open field battles, villages, duels, etc)

Single and multiplayer components:

-Deep and rewarding combat system. Thrust, hack, slash, block, kick, or just run down your enemies. Or hang back with a bow and shoot em:)
-Mod friendly! Mods are alterations to parts of the game to change it in some way. Excellent option for the interested.

Single player component:

-Freedom to do exactly as you like from the moment you start the game. Wanna be a nice? Play as a questing knight, ride around completing quests and helping peasants. Or maybe you just want gold, so work the medieval market buying low and selling high. What you want gold right now, nasty? Attack a nearby lord and raze his village, go nuts.

-Deep Character customization. Level up as you make kills/complete quests. Decide where to put your skills, abilities, and weapon specializations. You wanna be the crossbow king, carrying 3 crossbows and a stack of bolts, you can. Or rock a suit of plate mail and tear into the enemies on your charger with a lance, your call.

-Huge armies. Build and face off against huge armies in real time. Turn the tide yourself, or hang back and issue commands. You're in charge.

Multiplayer component: (free online of course)

-Face off against up to 100 enemies players in an epic real time battle for
-Earn gold as you kill! Use it to upgrade your gear.

If you're not sure about buying, try the free demo at [...]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent game, but not for everyone, July 12, 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
As the name implies, Mount & Blade: Warband is an expansion on a previous game called Mount & Blade. Like most expansions (better known as expansion packs), Warband is the same game as vanilla with added features. Unlike most expansions, you do not need the original game to play. If you are looking to purchase a copy of Mount & Blade, therefore, you may be better served purchasing a copy of Warband instead. Most things in the game are the same, and Warband has more well-developed features.

Mount & Blade, for those who don't know, is best described as a medieval combat simulator. Much of your game will be spent viewing an overhead map that can zoom and scroll. Using this map, you click to move your character from place to place, but be careful! There is a limited distance from which your party can spot enemy parties, and encountering too large a force unprepared can be disastrous. Timing, tactics, and character development are all very important aspects of this game.

The splendor that is Mount & Blade mounted combat is well documented. I will simply say the execution of mounted combat is brilliant in both versions of the game. Read more about it in the other eleventy million reviews of either game. Read on to encounter some finer points of both games.

As you travel throughout the world of Calradia, you can hire locals from various villages and more than a few named NPCs (often referred to as heroes) to join your party and your cause. You will lead these men and women through combat, city sieges, caravan routing, and more. This is where timing comes in. As you fight with your newly-recruited soldiers, you will quickly find that they are somewhat less than adequate for the job of a soldier. Bandits will eat you for breakfast, and for this reason, the beginning of the game, even on easy difficulty, can be quite frustrating. This condition, however, is not permanent: as your own avatar gains levels (by fighting groups of common thieves), he will become capable of defeating large groups of enemies on his own. When you have conditioned yourself to be a strong contender in violent confrontations, you will find your fresh recruits can themselves level up faster by watching you fight. You cannot completely remove them from dangerous situations, but since you have full control of your men in combat, you can generally keep them out of and away from the fray.

For appreciators of the original Mount & Blade game, a very important added feature helps in this regard: custom grouping. In the original Mount & Blade, only three groups of soldiers existed: infantry, archers, and cavalry. In Warband, there can be a total of nine groups, all of which can be renamed. You then use the number buttons to choose which group you want to use, then the F-keys (F1, F2, etc.) to issue commands. This will take some getting used to for Mount & Blade grads, but for strategic application, it is indescribably useful.

After you've fought what may well seem to you to be every single bandit in whatever area you happen to be hunting, you'll find your party will be ready for some serious action. You have four options available to you by this point, as opposed to three options in vanilla Mount and Blade. In vanilla, your choices were to keep fighting the common riff-raff. The first is to do more of the same: keep fighting bandits and possibly raid some caravans or villages. You also have the option of joining one of the factions of Calradia, most of which will be at war with one or more of the others. Doing so will make you a vassal of that kingdom, and the king will aware you a town which will generate weekly income for you. You can then fight for your kingdom to defeat enemy vassals and conquer cities and castles. Vassalage is probably the most common choice made in both vanilla and Warband. The third option is similar to vassalage but more difficult: you can join a faction of rebels led by a claimant to one of the game's thrones. Help this claimant defeat his or her usurper to regain the thrown, then become a vassal of that faction under the leadership of the new king. All these options are available in vanilla Mount & Blade.

The final option, new to Warband, is exactly what every Mount & Blade player had always been disappointed was not in the original game: the ability to start your own faction. Doing so is simple. All you have to do is anger one of the game's factions, then conquer one of their castles or cities. When you do so, your faction will be created and granted ownership of the castle, and you can choose to whom you would like it distributed. Since you are the only member of your faction at this point, you'll have to keep it--but don't get too used to the habit. As you develop your kingdom, you will find you simply can't manage it all on your own. You will have to make friends with other kingdoms and their vassals and recruit vassals of your own to help you defend the property you just invaded. As you might imagine, the kingdom that formerly controlled that territory won't be too pleased.

The game, however, is an open sandbox, and if you prefer, you can become the most indignant, tyrannical ruler in all the land. Just understand that the game shoots for some semblance of realism, implying that if you do so, your vassals and subjects will not approve and could very well call it quits. The normal ways of managing reputation in vanilla Mount & Blade still exist in Warband: doing quests, defending the honor of ladies, and winning battles and tournaments. Warband, however, is quite a lot more complicated. Whereas in vanilla you had to manage only party morale, honor, and renown, Warband introduces new characters traits for would-be kings called "Right to Rule" and "Controversy," and unlike in vanilla Mount & Blade, honor in Warband is immensely important. Most of the vassals in the world will not follow a commoner, and honor helps distinguish you to honorable lords. The specifics of all this are outside the scope of this review. Suffice to say, character management is more involved and impacting in Warband than it was in Mount & Blade. Suddenly, your avatar's personality matters, and you really don't want to earn the ire of, well, everyone.

A few other things: you can marry in Warband. This was not an option in vanilla Mount & Blade. Who you marry and how both matter, as well. The concept is not fluff. Also differing from the original Mount & Blade are faction colors (purely aesthetic--faction names are uniquely colored for easy identification, and people coming from vanilla Mount & Blade will have to either get used to new colors or change the colors themselves), improved graphics in Warband, loads of new items, a new faction (Sarranid Sultanate) with new (some argue overpowered) troops, and new enemy types (the arctic region of the Vaegirs is no longer inhabited strictly by Looters and Deserters). There are no new troops in the existing kingdoms, which for the most part remain unchanged. It also costs money to upgrade your troops to a new tier. I don't remember paying these fees in vanilla. While this is very annoying near the start of the game, however, the fees become negligible as you level up and begin earning lots of money. Also, ranged weapons can now be toggled to use as pole arms. Finally, I don't recall this being the case in vanilla Mount & Blade, but in Warband, if you are knocked unconscious in combat, it seems your main character's horse dies. You lose it. (Your men get to keep theirs, though.)

I'll end this review with a note on the new graphics engine. It looks much better, truly. Models look less blocky now, and animations are much improved. To complement the improved animations, NPC hit boxes have been revisited. Now, as opposed to vanilla Mount & Blade, you must actually hit your enemies to damage them. Because of the awkwardness of some of the animations on horseback, this can sometimes make it very annoying to hit your enemies with any kind of swung weapon (mace, sword, etc.). Lances are still easy peasy (if slower than molasses). To help you out a bit, two new features useful for combat are included in Warband: first-person camera view and a kick attack that generally does zero damage but interrupts the enemy's attack.

In general, I highly recommend this game to those who enjoy challenging and rewarding games. Fans of pre-Trammel Ultima Online will like this game quite a lot, as will many who enjoy RPG or strategy games. It is a niche game, however, and I would be remiss to fail to mention that its medieval setting is rather unforgiving. Your character can never die, but if you lose a battle, you're often put back at square one (ok, maybe more like square three because you don't lose your avatar's character or level--just your army), requiring you to spend a fair amount of time rebuilding what as formerly yours. If you're not careful to do some research, too, it's possible to put forty, fifty, or more hours into a character, an army, and a kingdom, only to have it all taken away from you in a matter of just a few in-game days. Especially if you turn the difficulty rating up to 100% (it's between 27% and 31% by default), you're going to have your hands full with your own fists as you clench them in fury after having been defeated for the eightieth time by a pack of Sea Raiders because all you want to do is recruit some baby Nords. :(

Oh, and one last thing: The world has been redesigned and is not entirely the same as the world of Mount & Blade. This can make it difficult for former Mount & Blade players to find cities. Wercheg, for instance, is now on a peninsula, and Calradia in general no longer looks to be separated from the rest of the known universe. You get used to this quick, though, and it makes traveling the world more interesting, until you get acclimated to the newness.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Awesome Medieval Combat, June 17, 2011
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This review is from: Mount & Blade: Warband [Download] (Software Download)
So the game itself may be a low budget game, but the dynamics and great flexibility, along with the unmatched combat scheme allow for hours of endless chivalrous battles across the entire continent of Calradia! I had actually already purchased the first Mount and Blade several years ago, but only recently justified purchasing the newest version after having to wipe my computer and reinstall the OS. It is well worth the price.

The combat is intense, challenging, and gritty. Despite much prior experience, I still struggle, as I should, when attempting to face down multiple opponents. The character upgrade system allows for a gradual progression and development. I am also extremely pleased with the improvements to the economic aspects of gameplay wherein characters are allowed to invest in real-estate and produce their own goods for sale. This has proven to be exceedingly useful.

Also having the option of becoming a ruler yourself and wooing fine ladies is quite exciting as well. Finally, for those who get bored of wandering around hunting down roving bands of brigands and trading goods, quests provide a great way to gain experience, enhance one's renown, and get in some action.

Overall, if you are looking for a great, medieval combat game that allows for complete freedom, this is your best bet!
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Mount & Blade: Warband  [Download]
Mount & Blade: Warband [Download] by Paradox Interactive
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