Fourteen years after its first installment appeared on the market, the Turkish studio TaleWorlds brings us the long-awaited second part of Mount & Blade, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord. We leave behind years of independent expansions, of games set in other eras such as the Viking or Napoleonic eras, or the two years in which this second installment has remained in early access on Steam.
This is a constant and resounding second part, which expands on what has already been added in Warbandoffers a graphic makeover, and promises many, many hours of fun and conquest. Its impact has been such that its release in early access format collapsed the Steam servers, making it the fastest-selling game of 2020 on that platform. In addition, the launch of version 1.0 on PC is accompanied by versions for PlayStation 4 and 5, and Xbox One and Series.
For those who do not know the saga, it could be said that Mount & Blade is a simulator of life in medieval times. We have a Campaign mode that takes place 200 years before Warband Y where we will take part in the sunset of calradia and its collapse or survival will depend on us. We can also create a Custom Battle to our liking, or access the Multiplayer mode that we will mention later.
But the real star of bannerlord It is the Sandbox mode where we will create a new character with a background chosen from a collection of these, we will appear in the middle of the map, with no possession other than a set of weapons and a horse. Our first mission, which will serve as a tutorial, will consist of recruiting some men and going to raid the hideout of some bandits. From there the game leaves us at ease, and it will be time to make a name for ourselves in the Calradia region.
For this we will have to continue recruiting people, helping -or looting- in the different towns that we find, and starting to win battles against the small bandits that abound on the roads of the region. Little by little we will get to know the nobles of each kingdom, we will equip ourselves, we will recruit more people and we will begin to fight with or against them. We will become vassals of a king, we will start commanding troops and, who knows?, we will find the love of our life who, with any luck, will come from a good family and give us land to rule. Or maybe not, maybe we’ll stay independent and found our own kingdom.
At the same time we will market, create supply caravans, herd cows or open our own business. All this, and much more, can be done in Mount & Blade. Or nothing, it’s up to the player. The first thing we will notice when starting a new game in bannerlord It will be the new character editor, with many more options than its predecessors, with sliders to be able to customize any feature of the character’s face that we create. Once the physique of this has been defined, we will go on to choose its origin and its experiences prior to the start of the game. Until then, it could be said that character creation is common with the different versions that appeared in the first Mount & Bladebut there are two fundamental changes: interface and user experience.
This can be extended to the entire game: the user experience is improved exponentially compared to previous chapters of the saga, thanks above all to a completely revamped user interface that makes the game feel more user-friendly, more pleasing to the eye. It is noted that from TaleWorlds They have taken great care that the game is not only good, but also looks good on a first impression.
But a good gaming experience is not only achieved by a beautiful interface, it also has to be functional. And in Bannerlord it isfacilitating many of the most used actions, such as giving the possibility of speaking with people of interest in a city quickly.
In addition to the interface the game has also undergone a huge graphical leap, adapting it to modern times. We are warning that it is not a portent in this sense, yes, but enough to offer us Spectacular battles and sieges, with up to 1000 combatants in contention. Graphic aspects have probably had to be sacrificed to be able to get such a number of NPCs on screen without the performance suffering too much for it.
We can talk about the great battle system of Chivalryof the great battle system of Mordhauincluding part of the battle system of Kingdom Come: Deliverance. They all have something in common: they inherit, when they don’t copy, the battle system of the Mount & Blade. And it is that, if so many people have been hooked by this saga, it is because it can boast of having a complex, dense battle system, where every decision counts.
Each attack is directional, being able to attack from above, below or from the sides. In the same way, the defense will also be directional, so that if one defends in the same direction from which he is attacked, he will parry, even if his only defense tool is a sword. With a shield it will be much easier, obviously. From there, dances and choreographies of attacks and defenses will be created in which both player skill, character skill, and weapon type will count towards hits dealt and damage dealt. We will have different types of weapons, swords, maces, spears, axes… And also ranged weapons, of course, such as bows or javelins.
Also, if you have a horse, we will have the advantage of mounted attacks, which in open spaces will be lethal to enemies, but in tight spaces it will be lethal to the player. In general, in every duel there will be many variables to control.
But we are commanders, and therefore we have to command. Y Mount & Blade offers us the tools for it: We will be able to give different orders to each of our platoons to carry out strategies that allow us to finish off the enemy. And it will be necessary to do it, especially in the higher difficulty levels.
Here we have another novelty of this Mount & Blade II: Bannerlordwhich we personally liked a lot: a system of hierarchies has been created within each battle, and just as the player can give orders to his subordinates, he will also receive orders from his superior. So if they have entrusted us with the command of the cavalry, they may ask us to attack the enemy’s right flank and we will have to give the pertinent orders to do so.
In addition to the open field battles themselves, we will have the sieges. And this is one of the parts where it really shines the most. banner lord. Seeing 700 people facing each other, while fireballs launched by the catapults go through the air and destroying walls is, really, a joy. You have to live it.
And it is that bannerlord He doesn’t live by battles alone. When we are not battling, we will have the entire Calradia map available to roam around. We will be able to enter the different towns or cities where we will be able to recruit people, trade, forge weapons, or participate in tournaments. Each action will allow us to gain notoriety and influence, and we will see that, where before we only saw contempt when introducing ourselves and saying our name, we will see admiration as our adventures and misadventures are sung throughout the region. This will be a double-edged sword since, obviously, we will not be able to enter -at least with our faces uncovered- cities where they have a special hatred for us, either because we are at war with their kingdom, for example.
So diplomacy will be essential. One of the great virtues of Mount & Blade is that we are nobody special in the world, and At the same time that we wander around the map, the various kingdoms will go to war, sign peace, conquests will be made, kings will fall and laws will change. Another novelty of bannerlord is that we will be able to found our own kingdom, something that in Warband it was only available via mods. And having our kingdom, it will be necessary to negotiate the different alliances that we may need, or give the orders that are deemed convenient for the war.
In addition to the single player campaign, in bannerlord We have different modalities for those who prefer a competitive multiplayer. PWe will be able to play Sieges, control NPC troops against other players in Captain mode, or directly battle against them in Skirmish mode. In the first deliveries the multiplayer of Mount & Blade already stood out in the competitive scene.
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord It is a game that, without technically standing out, shows that it has been worked with care. has been included a performance mode that guarantees 60 frames per second with a dynamic resolution, less detail quality and units in battle, and a fidelity mode, with 4K resolution, high quality and more units in battle, but at 30 frames per second. For the control in the console versions, all the options have been adapted to the command, and although it will require some learning on the part of the user, we will soon be managing armies without messing around.
We are facing one of these games that we like to highlight in 33bits as story generators, where each game will be different from the previous one, and where the experiences of a player will bear little resemblance to those of the player next to him. But it should be noted that Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord It is a dense game, which encompasses many playable fronts and formulas, and this can overwhelm you at first, but whoever gets sucked into the TaleWorlds game won’t regret it.
This analysis has been carried out on PlayStation 5 through a copy provided by PLAION
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Review – Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord – 33bits
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