5 months ago
This article will be a review of the game Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord.
I have 500 hours in Warband's multiplayer, and while I can't speak for the campaign, my first impressions are this is just an all-around inferior game. I obviously couldn't put more than two hours into the game as I intend to refund, but I'll state my thoughts so far.
The combat feels "wonkity" at best, like I'm swinging shortened pool noodles instead of swords. I want to say it's just something that I'd get used to after some more practice, but it doesn't feel like an improvement by any means. The momentum system ends up creating a lot of glancing blows even when the animation shows a solid hit. The lack of loadouts leads to repetitive use of the same weapons, so the odds that you'll find a weapon you do like are relatively slim.
I also cannot explain it, but the combat really just lacks that visceral "oomph" I expect from a sword hitting someone. Lastly, throwing weapons. Throwing weapons have this two second delay that comes in every time you click. It takes forever to throw anything. The game already makes thrown weapons inaccurate as all get out, there's just no reason for this awful delay.
The new class-based unit system is far less enjoyable than the old weapon/armor loadouts. With the standard classes everyone looks the exact same. I am fine with the factions looking relatively similar, but killing the fifth dude in the exact same attire just doesn't feel great. You can barely customize the character classes either as the game opted for a new "perk system" that lets you choose two things such as [Better Armor], [Bastard Sword], [More Arrows], [Horse Barding], none of which you get any more say in besides selecting the perk.
The Pin Cushion Conundrum:
Shields can now be pointed in a direction just like normal blocking, which doesn't seem to make much of a difference in melee- but makes archery feel incredibly borked. No shield? Pin cushion. Shield blocking the wrong way? Pin cushion. Shield working correctly? Feet Pin cushion. If any exposed skin is there (and it's near guaranteed unless you're using a large shield) you are going to have a very not fun time. This issue is compounded by the fact that there is a Khergit Khanate-esque faction filled with those loveable horse archers.
This game is still in early access so it's still a bit on the barebones side, but I just wanted to mention that it really feels barebones. I played around six skirmish matches, and got the same two (similar looking) maps every time. The limited class choices, the lack of maps, and only two small perks makes the multiplayer almost feel
like a tacked-on addition that didn't have much thought put into it.
Overall, I enjoyed some of the new mechanics such as character creation, and.... well... character creation... but the game still feels like it has a loooooong
way to go if it ever wants to meet my standards. (Which I don't think are very high, I mean I just wanted a prettier looking Warband.) Somehow the game feels like they've taken active steps backwards from their previous title, and it just didn't sit well with me. Hopefully they'll polish things up and add some content and the game will be amazing. Still, I'm skeptical it will ever reach that point, so I'm going to attempt to dodge the bullet and get my refund while I still can.