Whilst many people out there had been waiting for Mount and Blade 2 Bannerlord for something like 8 years or more. I had actually never played one before and only really started to pay attention to it early this year. It’s been almost 30 hours of me playing it now and I have to say that Bannerlord is excellent fun, but it seriously rickety.
During my time playing, I’ve won against all odds and lost fights I shouldn’t have. Lords and looters have captured me. I’ve got married, had two children called Ultimate Warrior and Craig. Castles have been won and lost. And the whole experience is so much fun.
Become a Bannerlord
Mount and Blade 2 Bannerlord has probably the most generic of plot points I’ve ever experienced up to this point. Your siblings go missing and you try to find them. Then you have to try and assemble the Dragon Banner. Which is some sacred Banner that means you’re really cool if you have it and everyone thinks you’re the boss or something? I’ve not actually finished that part so I don’t know how it plays out. That being said, I’m going to assume people just instantly respect you and gaze upon you with awe.
Honestly, the main quests are forgettable and the side quests – offered by folks at castles and settlements are even more generic. However, I couldn’t care less because raising an army and flinging them headfirst into battle as you charge at the head of them is stupidly good fun.
Bannerlord is all about freedom, it’s a true sandbox RPG where you can literally go where ever you like right from the start. You can side with whoever takes your fancy. If you want to become a trader, you can do that. Smithing is another option. Or you can simply raid settlements if that’s your thing.
In Mount and Blade Bannerlord you command your own army of troops. Within your army, you can have various types of soldiers from archers, swordsmen, cavalry and many more. For the most part, they will fall into three categories when managing them on the battlefield – ranged, melee and horseback. There are instances where you can split them further, but I don’t need to go into that. What you need to understand is that whilst you’re fighting, you also have command over your own army and can tell them where to go, what formation to be in, what maneuvers you want them to perform, etc…
This allows for tactical play when fighting, you can create flanks, pincer moves. You can also position on high ground for an advantage. All of that aside, there isn’t much else that’s more fun than just telling them all to charge. Having your troops crash into the enemy and hearing shields and swords clash is pretty epic.
I’m the type that likes to gallop around on my horse with a huge two-handed axe swinging like a madman as I plough through the enemy lines.
Then we have the siege mechanics. This is where you will either attack or defend a castle. You’re able to create siege equipment during a setup phase such as battering rams, or catapults. Then it’s just a matter of battering your way through – if you’re attacking. Or you can man the ramparts and rain arrows on the approaching enemy.
It’s a bumpy road and I love it
I’ll level with you. The performance in Bannerlord is pretty abysmal. Especially when you’re in battles that have over 1000 troops – which can happen fairly frequently. I’ve been involved in siege’s where the framerate was so low I may as well have been watching a slide show. Since then I’ve been tweaking my settings and this are much better. That being said, it’s not uncommon to be playing at around 20 fps during large fights.
It’s not just performance where the game is lacking. There are only a handful of side quests at the moment. Most of which are pretty boring. In a lot of places, you can still find placeholder text. Furthermore, I’ve even had fights where the AI just doesn’t fight back, and just stands there taking a beating.
All of those issues aside, I’m still loving the game. Charging into battle on the back of horse with 50 other cavalry units thundering behind you is awesome. Watching armies clash in these huge battles is fantastic and being part of them is even more fun.
The game is in early access and it absolutely shows, however, I’m so glad I picked it up. The modding community is already starting to come to life with some interesting, yet small additions. I can’t wait to see where it ends up.