Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mount & Blade on Sale for $5

I logged onto my computer last night and saw that Mount & Blade is on sale this weekend on Steam for $5. I first heard about this game from Darren at The Common Sense Gamer last year and was interested but just didn't want to spend $20 on it. But $5? Sign me up! I downloaded it last night and started going through the tutorials.

I've never played Darkfall, but just from what I've seen on YouTube I think the combat is somewhat similar. The combat is pretty much player-skill based, so just targeting a mob and clicking on a hotbar box won't cut it. You actually have to have some skills. I really had a hard time fighting sword & board style, but I was finally able to defeat the archer. I was a lot better with a quarterstaff. I still have to learn to fight from horseback before going out into the wide wide world of Calradia. Here's a little description of the game:
Calradia is a land at war, offering great riches and even greater dangers to adventurers and mercenaries that flock to shed their blood on its soil. With courage and a strong sword, an unknown stranger can make a name as a warrior.
  • Free-form sand-box gameplay. You are free to go anywhere in a world with more than a hundred unique locations including villages, castles and towns.
  • Groundbreaking horseback combat.
  • Highly advanced and intuitive sword-fighting systems.
  • Fight on horseback and foot using a vast variety of medieval weapons, each with unique characteristics.
  • You can be anything from a lonesome adventurer to a commander of armies or an owner of villages, castles or towns.
  • Sophisticated AI will challenge you in combat and in your strategic plans.
  • Freedom to interact with hundreds of characters.
    And here is a user review from someone who rated the game a 6 on Metacritic.
    The phrase "niche title" was created to define games like this. Mount and Blade has already achieved a cult following, and, like many other cult classics, features some amazing features along with some crippling issues. Of all the positive things that could be said about Mount and Blade, the titular mounted combat stands out above the rest. Nowhere else will you find mounted combat handled this well and as entertainingly. On the negative side, the game contains a relatively bland and harshly unforgiving environment (proponents will cite this as "realism") as well as some mind-blowingly unintuitive mechanics. Mount and Blade is extremely newbie-unfriendly, as there is little to no indication as to how dangerous many of your enemies are. An inexperienced solo-adventurer without troops is guaranteed to have a short life. Some mechanics are curiously inconvenient, like the inability to sleep in a town if one is not a nobleman. Others are downright maddening, like the frequent inability of one's character to withdraw completely from combat even if the character is mounted and his or her opponents are not. The openness is a double-edged sword. On one hand, the freedom can be invigorating, with several potential avenues for success including trading, looting, participation in the arena, and vassalage. The openness can be completely overwhelming to a newcomer, however; a new character enters the world with literally no objectives whatsoever. I have been following the game since .6-.7 and while it has improved greatly in many areas (most notably the graphics which are fantastic for such a low-budget indie production), other areas have remained completely stagnant. As it has now finally reached gold, it is unlikely to change drastically and will remain a quirky, enjoyable title to get out whenever one feels a craving for what it does best.
    Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Yes, I'm going back to a medieval world, but it is a single-player game with no elves or magic. And this is a game that will not replace Eve Online. But for $5, just having it around when I want something different to do is nice.

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