by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
The battle call
Audio is one of Mount & Blade’s strong points. The in-game music is done really well, setting the scene perfectly and is reminiscent of something from the medieval era (not dissimilar to the type of music used in the Lord of the Rings movies). The use of horns is complemented with drums and you could be forgiven for thinking you were sitting around with Robin Hood and his merry men. The sound effects are also quite good. I especially like the sound of arrows whizzing past your ears as you head towards the enemy archers.
The combat sounds are as you would expect with grunting soldiers and the sounds of blades running through enemy troops. The grunting could use some variations though, as the same sounds do get monotonous after awhile. The only real issue I have with the audio was the sound of your character when he is walking inside a stone castle, as it sounds more like he is walking around a wooden deck of a ship. A small gripe I’m sure that could be easily fixed in a future patch.
Interface let downs
The interface can be a bit confusing, especially at the start of the game. Attempting to find your way around the menu system is not very intuitive, and takes some time getting used to. There is also a lack of character detail on the map screen. It would have been handy to have the main character’s details on the map screen when travelling, rather than having to tab-out of the map. A break-down of your party would also have been a nice addition. There is plenty of room on the map screen for such details.
Also, I found the looting and inventory screen laborious. There doesn’t seem to be a way of looting all items seized in battle and each item must be dragged from the seized items into your inventory. A simple double-click on the loot should be sufficient to transfer it to an available slot rather than the dragging technique.
Where’s the magic?
This game is not for everyone. There are no elves or dwarfish characters to party with or destroy and there is no use of magic or magical weapons. And this is as intended. The developers wanted a more realistic game based in the medieval era, and as such combat is only between humans. This, along with the use of horses in combat, certainly helps to separate Mount & Blade from other games of this genre.
There are a few issues with the current version of the game which need to be looked at. But, despite all the game’s shortcomings, it is a whole heap of fun to play. The combat and the tournaments are the meat of the game, and this part of the game is where the game wins me over. With the game receiving continual development (version 1.011 was released recently), the shortcomings of the game will no doubt be improved upon. Now, if you will excuse me, it is time to get back on my high horse and lop off some more heads.
No Pros and Cons at this time