Mount and Blade


I'll admit I don't share the penchant for independent games that spunior does, I usually find I don't have the paitience to deal with what can be some pretty buggy, primative games at times. That said, Bill Harris was talking up a storm about Mount & Blade at Dubious Quality and I'll be damned if it isn't pretty cool!

A little something from his article.

I've wanted to write about Mount & Blade for several days now, but it's a difficult game to write about. For one, it's not finished, so the main story arc isn't even in the game yet. Then there some cities in the game that are on the map but the associated buildings aren't there"”again, because the game isn't finished.

So why am I playing a shareware game that isn't even finished? Because it is unbelievably fun. I've spent over twenty hours playing and it's an absolute blast.

As far as I can determine, Mount & Blade is being created by two Turkish developers (husband and wife, I believe). I think calling it "low budget" would be a misnomer, because I'm not sure it has any budget at all. In spite of this, however, they have created a deeply immersive, interesting world.

Here are the basics. At its core, Mount & Blade is a medieval RPG, and it's old-school all the way. There are no cut scenes, no spoken dialogue, and no high-budget gloss. The core mechanics are relatively simple: your character rides across a world map, visiting towns and facing random encounters with other groups"”friendly or hostile, depending on your alliances.

What is it specifically, though, that has kept me playing for such a long time? In a word: combat. Regular readers of this column know that I'm not a combat guy. In Mount & Blade, though, combat is so brilliantly handled that I can't call it anything else but sensational. To begin with, the geography of the combat regions is so well-designed that it is both visually and tactically beautiful. Mountain passes, deep streams, and generally hilly terrain provide a wealth of tactical opportunities, and they're beautiful graphically as well.

Second, and I can't stress this enough: horses. Horses have never been as thoughtfully and beautifully represented as in this game. Combat on horseback is absolutely unforgettable, and since the primary camera is slightly behind and above your character, you get to see it all. The animations for the horses are stellar and entirely convincing, and in rare moments you will see some spectacular things"”a fallen enemy being dragged by his horse looks amazing, and a horse collapsing and throwing its rider is one of the best animations I've ever seen in a game, period.

I've focused on archery as my combat skill, because it's tremendously interesting in this game, and when I shoot an enemy, the arrow remains. Passing a fallen enemy on the battleground and seeing several arrows sticking out of his chest is a remarkable moment.

The combination of horses and archery make for thrilling combat, particularly when the enemy has horses as well. And there are frequently 25+ units on a battlefield, so it provides a tense, gripping illustration of the chaos of combat. It's so immersive that it's almost impossible to stop playing.

During my fairly brief sample of the game so far I can confirm that the horse combat is very cool and the archery is a lot of fun. Don't let the game's somewhat dated graphics and initially rudementry feeling combat system disuade you, it's well worth sinking a little time into. Vey charming.

RPG Dot Preview

Official site with game download link.

Thanks for posting this Certis, I was tempted to check it out last night, but am still holding off.

Looking forward to other''s impressions.

Yeah, thanks Certis. If Bill Harris thinks something is good, it usually is. Im gonna check this out when I get a moment. Will it run on a PIII laptop?

Interesting. I can''t think of any other game coming out of Turkey. Moreso being produced by Mom-and-Pop couple of developers!

Will it run on a PIII laptop?

So long as you have a serviceable 3D card I think it will. I''m going to play a bunch more tomorrow, I want to see what it''s like when you''re fighting alongside a dozen or so hired men

I''ve been playing with this one for a few weeks now. The combat is indeed great and the overland portion has kinda a Pirates! thing going on. Instead of sailing the seas trading between towns and pillaging along the way your army is pillaging the countryside and trading between towns. It''s definatly still a work in progress but for $10 I''ve more than got my moneys worth.

Upgrade your horse soon as you can if you''re into the mobile combat thing... makes a huge difference just in turn radius alone.

Fun game... nothing earth-shattering, but way worth $11.

Pretty cool...a fine argument for gameplay over graphics - the melee combat is pretty fun, and the concept is great. I spent a few hours with it tonight. I''m not sure I''ll buy it, but I''m very impressed.

Played a few hours last night. The Horse combat, and the combat overall is quite abit of fun.

To echo others. definately worth the $11.

Bill''s latest article on this game has reallly got me wanting to try it out. I''ll be putting down my $11 for it and downloading like the wind either today or tomorrow. It sounds great!

Keep in mind you can play it up to level 6 without paying if you just want to try it out at first!

Very cool. I will be checking this out some time over the weekend.

It is cool that others read Dubious Quality. It has always been enjoyable to read Bill''s posts even most of the sports ones and I hate sports games.

That looks really interesting and much prettier than I expected. I might have to give this a try. The only problem is that I have so many games to play and not enough time to play them.

I will definitely give this a try sometime this week.

It''s not Guild Wars -> no time to play it.

I am enjoying it, but have not been able to commit enough time to it to truly get a thorough impression. Gwartok''s comment about the enjoyment aspect being akin to that felt from a pirates! game seems to be pretty solid.

I''m playing this one tonight. They''ve been wetting themselves on this game over at corpnews, and they are a pretty tough crowd to please.

Best quote is something along the lines of ""unpolished, unfinished, still buggy BUT FUN!"" The consensus is that some major studios could learn alot from some guy and his wife in Turkey.

For $11, after the demo how can you go wrong?

I forget if it''s a no-no to link to other boards, so I won''t, but there are about 4 pages of strategy tips at, if you''re interested. Oh, they swear alot there.

Its interesting but not my cup of tea.

The horse combat is a really unique angle.

I was slowly getting burned out before I reached level 6 yesterday evening......until I bought a new horse. That opened up some more excitement, and the next thing I knew it was 4 am and I had purchased the game hours ago. Very addictive, I like it.

I am just now attempting to raise a solid fighting force. Before, it''s just been a ragtag affair of people rescued along the way. I''m really looking forward to raising some peasant women up to sword sisters. Looking back though, playing just solo has been a blast. Charging down the hill at full speed, running people over with my Charger, swinging my spiked mace left and right.

I''m with you Druid; I really didn''t see what all the fuss was about until I got mounted and started riding people down. You''ve got to try this folks, its free.

Pounding people beneath my hooves brought a sick, silly grin to my face. Which means I probably need help. Professional help.

Really, this guy is brilliant. It looks like he ran out of funds before he finished the game. So he fixed it up, made it playable, released a free demo and now has people happily playing and paying him to keep going.

As I said earlier, alot of the big players could learn something from this fellow.

Really, this guy is brilliant. It looks like he ran out of funds before he finished the game. So he fixed it up, made it playable, released a free demo and now has people happily playing and paying him to keep going.

Isn''t that pretty much the concept 9 out of 10 MMORPGs are based on?

Damn, that''s spot on Spunior.

Nope Spunior-

It''s FREE to try. $11 to keep playing.

MMORG model $50 to beta, $15/month to keep in beta.

Huge diiference.

I forget if it''s a no-no to link to other boards, so I won''t, but there are about 4 pages of strategy tips at, if you''re interested. Oh, they swear alot there

That''s entirely cool, especially if they have some good tips!

There''s a mildly interesting interview at, if you''re so inclined.

Love this game, just wish your minions weren''t so prone to die to any random low level mobs when you mashed the ""go kill ''em without me"" button.

Had the game sitting on my HD for a few days, had no time to check it out before the weekend though. It's a great little game that's not really comparable to any other titles with the exception of Pirates. Ground combat is okay, comparable to Gothic I&II, not on par with Die by the Sword yet though. But horseback combat really makes the difference. It's simply incredibly satifying to charge at full speed and rip through the enemies. I'm looking forward to future iterations of M&B that fix some of the current issues, e.g. merchants running out of items, lack of quests, beta cities and interface flaws. I hope the developers of Oblivion and Gothic III are taking a close look at this since both titles are said to feature horse rides.

That said, these guys will get my $11. Too bad that it'll take a few days for the code to arrive thanks to the transfer via Paypal taking longer.

larsson wrote:

I really didn''t see what all the fuss was about until I got mounted

I CANNOT believe nobody suggested sigging this.

There's a new version out... v0.632. Available here.

Best feature of v0.630 and 0.632 is that you can knock down enemy soldiers now if you have enough pace. It adds fun and also comes in really handy, e.g. to support your own troops as that'll give them an advantage in infights.

Changelog taken from the forum:

Attack direction can be controlled by looking direction.
Improved collision detection for weapons.
Combat animations have recieved an overhaul. (Thanks to everyone who pointed us to Wink)
Pixel shader support.
Lame horses heal much more slowly now (like thirty game days if you have a wound treatment of 1)
Footmen can be knocked down when hit.
You can no longer parry attacks with a great lance.
Fixed error which caused assertion failure:add_stack >= 0
More robust game saving.
Rear key is remapped to Ctrl+R
Spent missiles are now deduced from your encumberance
Encumberance in arena is calculated correctly now.
Fixes to combat AI.
New slots are added to party at every leadership point now.
New loot calculation system: Player gets 10 shares from loot, hero companions get 7 shares each and regulars get 1 share each.
Various balancing changes and bug fixes

Forgot to add the following change... Embarassed
Uniform damage model: Damage is computed taking into account your victims relative speed, his relative movement direction and the direction you are swinging your weapon. Similarly calculation of couched lance damage is pretty much physically accurate.

(You'll be able to continue existing savegames if they were created after v0.620.)

Latest version is now 0.632 which has several critical bugs fixed.


Thanks for posting this guys. I'll get back into it as soon as I get back home.

Both Pyro and myself bought this yesterday. This game f*cking rocks hard! I am almost level 10 now. Why can't other games be this fun? And cheap!