GB Feature: Mount & Blade Review

Now that TaleWorlds’ much anticipated cavalry-combat RPG has officially been released, we’ve given it another look in order to pass judgment on the final product. An excerpt:

The basics of close combat come down to striking and blocking, with you determining the direction of the strike (and of the block if you so desire) while viewing the field from first or third person. Shields block more easily but also wear down during combat until they break and you drop them. Blocking with your weapon is tougher and requires timing, and it is impossible if you’re being beset by multiple opponents or if the opponent is using ranged attacks.

Skill, weapons, and armor determine how much damage you do and can take, but player skill factors into it heavily. Not so heavily that you can take down someone in plate mail with a club, but still so significant that all your fancy weapons won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to use them. What counts in Mount & Blade is timing and momentum. If you fail to block at the right time, you’ll be caught off balance and your opponent will likely land multiple blows before you can recover. Likewise, the speed of your weapon relative to your opponent’s is a factor, so you have to make sure you hit him head-on, as a backwards swipe while running past him won’t do you much good.

Ranged weapons may sound like the odd one out but they’re not. They’re not recommended weaponry, but whether you prefer bows, crossbows, or thrown weapons, they make a handy backup or alternate attack and can even be utilized on horseback if you’re skilled enough. Speed, damage, and accuracy for ranged weapons are determined by separate combat skills that you can raise each level, though they also rise themselves in a learn-by-doing scheme.

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