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First Impressions: Mount&BladeII: Bannerlord (Early Access)



Published by: TaleWorlds Entertainment
Developed by: TaleWorlds Entertainment
Platform(s): MS Windows, Steam
Genre(s): Strategy Action role-playing
Mode(s): Single-player, multiplayer
Game Type: , ,


Vast sandbox content. Mod support.


Awkward control scheme. Not newb friendly.

Posted May 31, 2020 by

You won’t be faulted for not knowing what Mount & Blade is but fans have waited many years for the release of Bannerlord and it’s finally out on early access.

Mount & Blade II Bannerlord Screenshot 2020.04.11 -

Long time Mount & Blade fans will be glad (or furious) to know that Bannerlord took a more if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it approach but If you’re anything like us, chances are, you’ve never played a game in the series, much less even heard of it, so we’ll be tackling this first impression from a new player perspective.

Mount & Blade is a medieval war game hybrid. It’s got your typical war strategy elements involving economic and political metagames. It’s also got action RPG elements that let you fight in real-time and earn points to unlock skills and proficiency as well as command vast units like you would in a real-time strategy game as well. There’s a lot going on but at its heart, Bannerlord is a medieval sandbox.

Mount & Blade II Bannerlord Screenshot 2020.04.15 -

You might’ve seen Bannerlord and made a direct comparison to games like Skyrim. If that’s the kind of experience you’re expecting, then your sorely mistaken. There’s a lot to do in Bannerlord, but they’re all also quite challenging. You’ll need to build armies, manage your resources and your armies’ wages, take command of a battlefield, and even set up income streams.

The real-time combat is still rather simple but quite difficult to master. You can swing your weapon vertically or horizontally by simply moving your cursor to your desired direction before attacking. This can be challenging to manage when trying to attack whilst moving your camera around for visibility. In larger-scale fights, I often found it easier to just let my troops attack for me and just worry about their formation — which you can totally do if that’s how you want your play style to be.

Mount & Blade II Bannerlord Screenshot 2020.04.14 -


You start off with a small crew, fending off bandits and doing odd works here and there. Eventually, you can amass a sizable force big enough to start raiding villages or even strongholds. You don’t have to raid villages though, if you want, you can focus your influence in the world of commerce.

The sky’s the limit in Bannerlord, if you’re good enough to make it up there, that is. The more you expand your influence, the harder it is to manage resources and control your lands. That being said, forming alliances or going out on a full-scale war with neighboring kingdoms are some of the game’s best moments.

Mount & Blade II Bannerlord Screenshot 2020.04.11 -

Visually, it holds up with current standards and is an obvious step up from Warband, but it’s not anything groundbreaking. It also still feels a bit dated in terms of the awkward stiffness of animations and the nightmare-inducing facial features that the majority of the characters have.

Bannerlord can definitely be fun when you get past some of the steeper learning curves of the game. Once you appreciate all it has to offer, it has soooo much of it on offer. There’s multiplayer and mod support, too but we haven’t even tried those out because the single-player content is vast enough as it is.

As dated and niche Bannerlord may be, there are not too many games out there quite like Mount & Blade. This may very well be the best medieval war strategy action game of its kind, and it being in early access still means there could be lots of room for improvement.

Mount & Blade II Bannerlord Screenshot 2020.04.14 -


Mount & Blade: Bannerlord, in its current early access state, is a sizable medieval sandbox that’s most fun if you’re interested in all the technical intricacies of medieval warfare.
If you’re after a more arcade action or fantasy role-playing experience, look to Skyrim or Mordhau for that.

Dian Raval

Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


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