Mount and Blade 2 alluded to: The king is dead, long live the banner lord

Warriors stand shoulder to shoulder, the round shields raised. The hooves thunder on the horizon. The enemy is approaching. "Archers, fire free!", our character roars. Under the hail of arrows we lead our heavy tank riders past the right flank – a gallop assault. How do you think our newly bought shiny scale armor is doing? The heart pumps, a grin on the face. A throwing ax hits our figure from 50 meters away and we are on the ground with one blow. Please what?

Many situations in Taleworld's new title Mount and Blade 2: Banner Lord leave us with question marks. That NPC soldiers hit a face with throwing spears and axes is just one point. The Middle Ages simulation is not fun with the level of difficulty, because even stone-throwing looters in rags are a threat to our alter ego – and that is precisely what makes the Middle Ages simulation so attractive.

Taleworlds has been developing Mount and Blade 2 for twelve years. The title is still not finished, but can already be played in early access on the Steam gaming platform. We have invested more time in it than we would like, but have not regretted a minute of it. However, the game is not for everyone – especially not for people who didn't like the predecessor. Because Bannerlord is basically an improved and prettier version, which does a lot of things the same way and implements some things in a refined form.

Mount and Blade 2: Banner Lord (Image: Taleworlds / Screenshot:

The similarities start with the now more informative character creation: We slip once again into the role of a self-made hero who wants to make a name for himself among the many factions on the continent of Calradia – for the first time also with a kind of story about us and our lost clan. We do not have to guess which attributes are linked to which background story of our avatar. These are shown to us directly. If we were a squire as a young adult, we were trained with the horse and the lance. If we decide on the son of a merchant, we start with a better ability to act.

Job market

  1. Hays AG, Parchim
  2. Hectronic GmbH, Bonndorf in the Black Forest

Then we are thrown into the game world. Explanations are not really built into the early version of banner lords apart from a combat tutorial. Incidentally, this is taken over directly from the predecessor. We hit in four directions overhead, sideways or with a stab attack. We block attacks by parrying in the same direction. This now also applies to blocks with the shield, which no longer covers as much of the body and is therefore less strong. Animations look a bit smoother in Bannerlord, but are still more reminiscent of robots than humans. After twelve years, we would have expected something more.

Where to start

We first roam the country in search of meaning. Do we want to form a caravan and transport valuable materials and beer, do we want to build a powerful army and hunt bandits or do we want to be bandits and loot villages ourselves? Here the game remains true to the sandpit formula. What we do is up to us and it is extremely fun and motivated to play again. What we also like: residents give us more quests and tasks. This is a good entry point to get your first gold coins and combat experience.

Our companions and our clan play a much more important role this time. We can make him level up, make other characters members, and even assign armies to them, which we can then lead together into the field. The level of our clan indicates how many companions we carry and how large our combat force can be.

Mount and Blade 2: Banner Lord (Image: Taleworlds / Screenshot:

The administrative element in Bannerlord is more mature at an early stage than it has ever been with Warband. If we are vassals of a kingdom or even the king, we can manage our fiefs in new menus, allocate resources and commission construction projects. We can also manipulate other lords and factions with points of influence – cunningly. At first, all of this is still very simple and rudimentary, but it shows where the journey is going and what awaits us in the future: a real kingdom simulation. The proceeds go directly to the war chest, with which we buy new weapons, armor and troops.

So far there is a good selection of swords, cleavers, axes, war hammers, lances, bows and throwing weapons. Alternatively, we can build our own blades. The new forging system makes it possible. We choose from different blades, knobs, quillons and handles, which we can forge into a fairly large number of combinations. However, this does not yet allow you to create armor, bows and crossbows.

Overall, the range cannot keep up with the almost unlimited selection of equipment in warband. This is also because the community has always equipped the predecessor with mods that complement the main game or even change it completely.

This is not yet the case here. Bannerlord also has many other problems that need to be solved.

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