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Mount and Blade: Warband – An Immensely Overrated Piece of Crap

Content of the article: "Mount and Blade: Warband – An Immensely Overrated Piece of Crap"

I do not understand the widespread appeal this game has. Right now it has "Overwhelmingly positive" reviews on Steam, yet I absolutely cannot stand it. It has terrible AI, boring and uninspired combat, no depth whatsoever to the politicking and kingdom management, and to round it all out is that it is buggy.

Let's start with the combat, which people praise for its complexity and depth. I've played a lot of melee combat heavy games and this has to be one of the shoddiest, most boring implementations of melee combat of them all. It has a directional weapon system, but it feels very unsatisfying to use. The way you manipulate the mouse to string together attacks doesn't feel good compared to other games with similar systems. On top of that, it just lacks any real impact. You feel like you are swinging nerf bats around. It is also very finnicky due to the speed system which provides a modifier on your damage, but it is a crude implementation that doesn't translate well. It is especially grating when the AI is utilizing a shield and can block omnidirectionally, even from behind.

Ultimately, it just isn't fun or engaging. Everything ultimately bogs down into a writhing mass of you and the AI all hitting each other like idiots without any real tactics. You want good medieval combat? Kingdom Come: Deliverance is far better. You want balls-to-the-wall combat that demands the best from you? Play Sekiro. You aren't going to find anything special here. It is just serviceable, at best. And when you spend 95% of your time in this game in combat, you better do more than just serviceable combat.

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On top of the combat being so humdrum, you have absolutely horrible AI that does the dumbest damn stuff. Take sieges, for instance, which are just hilarious inept and infuriating. You can either construct siege towers or use ladders, although I am unsure of what determines which one you can use. Regardless, you are provided with exactly one ladder or siege tower. You can probably imagine how well that works out, but let me further expand on it.

So let's say you build a siege tower. You then have to wait for it to reach the walls, which is fine; however, the AI is absolutely idiotic. They will line up facing the defenders taking endless projectiles instead of getting behind the siege tower that at least provides some measure of protection. No amount of orders you issue will stop them from doing this. city with a siege tower that offers at least some protection from projectiles, yet my damn clueless army just stands in a line for all the enemies to shoot at endlessly. And then when the tower reaches the fortifications, you better hope the damn ramp falls down or you're screwed and you've just lost for no good reason.

Another lovely thing is that your character has no mass apparently, so the AI, including your own soldiers, can push you around like you're nothing and you cannot squeeze past them to get into the battle. So if you're not at the front of the line, you'll just have to wait and watch the AI fight each other because you have no chance of getting to them. That is if you aren't pushed off the ladder or off the siege tower by your own soldiers scrambling to die. Aside from the issues my soldiers face for being idiots, the enemy AI is so simple that they routinely just line up to die so even when faced with overwhelming odds the player can easily pick them off. They act without rhyme or reason to their actions

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The kingdom management is so damn hollow. It amounts to virtually nothing. You have so few options for doing anything with your towns, villages, and castles. And the few options you do have are so meaningless or insignificant that you do not care. On top of that, it is so tedious to manage your armies and towns. You are really no more than a glorified babysitter.

There are very few options for engaging with the NPCs you interact with in the game, so you don't really have much of a chance to engage in any sort of politicking. The game just pays lip service to both kingdom management and politics. You aren't going to play this game over other games with far better systems for building an empire, like Crusader Kings or Total War.

This game tries to do so much, but it doesn't do anything well. It doesn't even do anything competently. It is just bad. And despite how much I tried to like it, to give it a chance, I absolutely cannot look past how much it annoyed and bored me. Why does this game have overwhelmingly positive reviews? I am completely and utterly stumped by the immense adoration it receives. It doesn't deserve it at all.


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