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Engines on Mute
06-16-2005, 01:34 AM
Anyone ever hear of this game? It's an amazingly well made addicting low budget shareware RPG. The game isn't finished yet but they have a playable version in which you can get to 6 trains (anymore and you have to buy it for 11 bucks) give it a try.

Website - http://www.taleworlds.com/

review/info -
Here are the basics. At its core, Mount & Blade is a medieval RPG, and itís old-school all the way. There are no cut scenes, no spoken dialogue, and no high-budget gloss. The core mechanics are relatively simple: your character rides across a world map, visiting towns and facing random encounters with other groupsófriendly or hostile, depending on your alliances.

Here's an example of one of the many elegant design touches: while youíre on the world map, if youíd like to zoom in, just move your mouse to the top border of the screen. To zoom out, move it to the bottom. Moving the mouse to the left/right borders rotates the view. Itís a simple thing, but it feels so intuitively correct that itís very satisfying. And thatís a good description of the entire gameóit feels intuitively correct.

Mount&Blade offers a few fundamental departures from traditional role-playing games. For one, thereís no magic. No magic missiles, no healing potions. Thereís no way to miraculously heal your wounds in combat, and that alone is a terrific design feature. Two, the skill tree is unusual. Skills like surgery, scouting, and tracking are available. Itís a multi-tiered skill tree, with three different categories of skills, and some of the higher-level skills ďfeedĒ the lower ones; i.e., some lower-tier skills canít be increased beyond a certain percentage of a related skillís level. Itís thoughtful and well-laid out.

What is it specifically, though, that has kept me playing for such a long time? In a word: combat. Regular readers of this column know that Iím not a combat guy. In Mount&Blade, though, combat is so brilliantly handled that I canít call it anything else but sensational. To begin with, the geography of the combat regions is so well-designed that it is both visually and tactically beautiful. Mountain passes, deep streams, and generally hilly terrain provide a wealth of tactical opportunities, and theyíre beautiful graphically as well.

Second, and I canít stress this enough: horses. Horses have never been as thoughtfully and beautifully represented as in this game. Combat on horseback is absolutely unforgettable, and since the primary camera is slightly behind and above your character, you get to see it all. The animations for the horses are stellar and entirely convincing, and in rare moments you will see some spectacular thingsóa fallen enemy being dragged by his horse looks amazing, and a horse collapsing and throwing its rider is one of the best animations Iíve ever seen in a game, period.

Iíve focused on archery as my combat skill, because itís tremendously interesting in this game, and when I shoot an enemy, the arrow remains. Passing a fallen enemy on the battleground and seeing several arrows sticking out of his chest is a remarkable moment.

The combination of horses and archery make for thrilling combat, particularly when the enemy has horses as well. And there are frequently 25+ units on a battlefield, so it provides a tense, gripping illustration of the chaos of combat. Itís so immersive that itís almost impossible to stop playing.

Iíve been playing mostly as a solo character, which is possible for a skilled archer on horseback, but itís possible to build your own army, both through acquiring prisoners from defeated groups and recruiting in the local taverns. There are groups traveling on the map with over 45 armed members, so the scale of battle can be very, very large.

So all Iíve done is wander around the map, engaging in random encounters, gathering loot, and building up my character. Even though the game is not finished, itís entirely playable, which is an interesting development approach similar to what Sid Meier does, I believe. In the case of Mount&Blade, it absolutely works.

Incredibly, this is a shareware game. If you buy it now, it costs eleven freaking dollars. If I order something from EBGames, overnight shipping and tax alone cost more than that. Plus youíll get all future updates, and it sounds like there will be plenty of them. Oh, and even though ďsharewareĒ sometimes implies mediocre graphics, that is not the case with Mount&Blade. Itís a very striking game, visually, and the combat animations are tremendous, far better than many high-budget titles Iíve played. This game is full of independence, for lack of a better word. There are unique touches all over the place, and the world is dynamic and interesting

Warriorbird
06-19-2005, 02:57 PM
Looks pretty sweet, from what I saw.

Artha
06-19-2005, 03:02 PM
I was interested until I saw the screenshots.

Bobmuhthol
06-19-2005, 03:07 PM
Do you know why this game costs $11 and other games cost $50?


Those games are better.

Sean of the Thread
06-19-2005, 05:28 PM
It is actually pretty fun... the combat is cool. If you like finding loot and addicting shit like that then give it a try. It looks alot like morrowind to me and I feel like I'm playing one of the dudes I've watched fight for hours on end in Medieval:Total War.


Hehe mounted combat is pretty fun too.. you can kill the horses to throw the riders.. funny.

[Edited on 6-19-2005 by Xyelin]

Warriorbird
06-19-2005, 10:23 PM
You don't have to sell your Emachine to play it, Bob.

Sean of the Thread
06-29-2005, 09:56 AM
I don't suppose anyone purchased a serial that they might let me .. borrow for a couple days?

StrayRogue
06-29-2005, 10:11 AM
http://www.spiderwebsoftware.com/

Exile 1,2 & 3 may be a budget shareware game from the early 90's, but it still pwns most other games for playability and depth.

Sean of the Thread
06-29-2005, 10:17 AM
I just d/l'd them and burnt to cd. I'm without internet for awhile so looking for somin to do.. gasp.. without the internet.