E3 was a busy one this year, and one of my many stops at the show was with Talesworld, to demo their sequel to the war tactics game, Mount and Blade. The sequel, Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord, reminded me quite a bit of the gameplay found in Total War, and was a significant step up from games like Dynasty Warriors. I got a Warriors-esque vibe from it, but the level of intricacy was something else.
I was demoing the game with Sten Oom, who was explaining the rules of engagement to me. The first demo I tried out was a closed environment arena. My character was equipped with various items. I chose to go with the traditional sword and shield. The attacking system is very intricate. Moving the mouse in certain directions will cause you to perform your actions that way. There’s a rhythm to this game. First you apply a direction, then you put in your command. Scrolling with the mouse wheel lets you swap weapons, and you can use the weapons of the enemies you’ve killed. While the environment was bringing out more enemies for me to play with, I was getting acquainted with the various weapons and much preferred a sword and shield for its agility, rather than the two-handed axe.
The arena let me get a feel of what I was going to be looking at once the real action came around. The real action came around with the battle demo, which placed me as the main soldier in command of an army of troops. The battlefield was expansive and felt a little too empty at times. I was able to command my troops to perform various actions, from all-out attacking to following me to more than likely their death. The battle changes significantly with the horseback riding, as the horse needs to obtain its forward momentum before anything significant happens. The attacking system that I mentioned about the arena is back, and it changes with the addition of using a bow as a primary weapon. Arrow usage is not infinite, and once you run out, you have to find a new weapon to use. I won that demo, which resulted in the enemy army fleeing the battlefield.
Here’s something that I wanted to make a note of though. The battle system has this intricacy to it that I really enjoyed. It was complicated but near the end I started to really get it and get into the swing of the game. I would like to see Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord make the jump into virtual reality. I think that the combat is excellent enough and detailed enough to be able to do so, but the team sadly told me that day that it was not in their plan book to go down that road. The game is personally not my cup of tea, but it is one that I will watch with a vested interest, because I really enjoy the idea of creating my own history. Sten pointed out that one of the big feats of Mount and Blade II was being able to retell your own version of history through the various conquests that you undertake in the game’s campaign. We sadly got nowhere beyond that talking point, but I think that the game has enough merits and definitely see value in such a game.
Excited for Mount and Blade II? Let us know what you think in the comments!