Mount & Blade: Warband (Xbox One) Review

By Drew Hurley 14.10.2016

Review for Mount & Blade: Warband on Xbox One

The original Mount & Blade was originally released on PC in 2007—a solid sandbox action RPG that epitomised life in a medieval world. Three years later, Mount & Blade: Warband took what the original did and improved it. Now, with a real sequel in development—Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord—this version is making the jump to consoles. PC games don't always work as well on console; however, the nature of some titles are made for keyboard and mouse, for long hours in front of a monitor instead of on the big screen on the sofa. Can Warband make the jump where so many others fell?

When it comes to medieval open-world action RPGs, there have been some monumental titles that will be long remembered. With titles like The Witcher 3 and Skyrim, there are some damn high standards to live up to. The world of Mount & Blade: Warband is set in a medieval land where six factions are constantly clashing in wars and border disputes. A fantasy world it may be, but it's lacking any fantastical elements. There are plenty of swords, but no sorcery here; plenty of dungeons, but no dragons.

A character creation is available upon entering the world Calradia, with numerous sliders and options for making a resoundingly ugly character. It's interesting to see that the character creation allows male or female characters. Being a medieval fantasy, women are treated as less than men, and the designers even worked this into the game, having the choice mean something. There is plenty of dialogue for female characters, and playing as one makes for a more challenging experience than playing as a male. There are also plenty of trophies dedicated to progressing far in the game as a female.

After the character creation is complete, Mount & Blade: Warband gives a terrible first impression. There are walls and walls of text, combined with terrible graphics, and a huge learning curve. At the beginning; the game amounts to taking on repetitive simple quests; like delivering messages and killing bandits. By doing this, money is accumulated to gather up better equipment and, more importantly, to hire people to build a warband. This is no quick process; it takes a considerable amount of time to get anywhere with the game.

Screenshot for Mount & Blade: Warband on Xbox One

Once the fundamentals are established, things become a lot more enjoyable, and the sandbox environment lends itself to roleplaying a story from rags and riches. After becoming a vassal to a local lord, a village to run is granted. From here, a lordship is possible, and even the owning of entire areas of land, including castles and villages known as fiefdoms. Gaining influence and reputation by taking over more land unlocks more quests and access to events with the royalty of the land. These are the moments where the game transforms from the action RPG to something else entirely, commanding huge forces as they battle across plains, and even sieging enemy fortresses.

This is all well and good for a while, but there's no epic story here to take part in, and after some fun has been had gaining influence and power, the game quickly grows repetitive and loses its appeal. Considering the pages and pages and pages of text in the game - NPCs will offer up their life story just to ask you to go kill some bandits - it's unbelievable that there's no real story here! Yes, there are some developments based on player choice, but there is no overarching narrative, no big bad guy to stop, no final goal to attain. It's a shame because around the midway point a decent story develops, but then vanishes.

There is more than the single-player here, though, as there's a multiplayer mode, which allows up to 32 players to take part in a huge battle in a number of familiar modes, such as Capture the Flag and Deathmatch. New modes are also added, like Siege, where one team has a castle to defend, while the attackers have to overrun their defences within a set time limit, and Conquest, where a number of points on a map need to be captured.

The graphics are atrocious, looking more like something to be found in a PlayStation 2 title, with reused assets, rough textures and horrendous pop-in. The graphics were criticised in the original PC release in 2010, and although some upscaling has taken place here, it's hard to see where.

Screenshot for Mount & Blade: Warband on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Mount & Blade: Warband is a very niche title that requires a great deal of time invested to actually get to the enjoyable parts. It's also filled with flaws that are hard to overlook, the graphics look horrendously dated, the combat controls are clunky, and there's so much repetition here that it will put off the majority of players. A certain subset of players will adore what Mount & Blade: Warband offers, but those that do will likely enjoy this more on PC.

Developer

Taleworlds

Publisher

Paradox Interactive

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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