Mount & Blade: The Last Furlong

Horsey Horsey

News reaches us via Blues that it’s the last chance to get involved with the Beta period of long-favoured Indie-sensation Mount & Blade. You have to go to Gamespot and register to get it too. Now, not sure to make of it – because V0.96 is actually the last version which was released to the public, so it’s hardly new. It may just be American publisher Paradox trying to drum up attention prior to its September release. Or it may be a timely reminder that once Mount & Blade reaches V1.0 the Betas will somehow – er – magically disappear from the net, despite being all over the place. Maybe Paradox do have magic, so best play the bloody thing ASAP. It remains splendid.

52 Comments

  1. mysticsika says:

    I love it to bits,

    Thoses ‘bits’ beside the actual combat dont really all add up well to me tho, I end up suffering apathy pretty quickly after a few years running around following kings and the like.

  2. Alex says:

    Alrighty, I’ll give it a go.

  3. LST4R says:

    I recall I shelled out for a license a while back, so I’m covered. Roll on, September!

  4. UncleLou says:

    Hm. Good point. I bought it a few years ago, too, though I somehow didn’t expect the license to be of any value with Paradox’s release.

    Anyone got any more info on this?

  5. heliocentric says:

    this game i suspect will be in development long after release. Eh, bring on the game it shall be judged for its worthiness without the protection of beta-ness.

  6. Alex says:

    That was weird. I went to this castle and talked to exact copies of my character.

    I’d have my character, Aren the Quicksilvery, say to Aren the Quicksilvery that I have heard of Aren the Quicksilvery during my travels. Well, Aren didn’t like that. He told Aren that he never wants to hear that name again.

  7. Therlun says:

    I agree with mysticsika.

    Great combat simulation, but thats the only well done part. Everything else in the game is in pretty bad shape.

  8. Cigol says:

    ‘bad shape’ is harsh I feel. Unfinished, functional – and in spite of its flaws; enjoyable. I don’t think there’s any illusions as to where the meat of the game truly lies* however.

    *that looks wrong. It’s wrong isn’t it?

  9. Dinger says:

    So, with respect to .95, does it work?

    I mean, I tried .95, and I tried to like it, in spite of its silly medieval theme. I mean, did anything ever happen in the Middle Ages? No, that’s why they’re called the Middle Ages. So, outside of that nonsense, I gave it a shot.

    Some of you seem willing to give it a pass on its bugs. I’ve played buggy games. But a training level with 100% repeatable script errors and random crash bugs? That, a nauseating horseback-fighting mechanic and the “escape combat” option that merely drops you back into combat until you decide it’s better to die than submit to this endless “you’ve been attacked” crap was enough to make me end it.

    well not quite. Three strikes is my normal policy, but I had to try a few other things. I think I killed several jailors that wouldn’t fight back.

    .96 or whatever, if they’re going to be this sloppy in the beta, the game isn’t going to majickally get better over the weekend when they go to their SCA fest. Prohdolor hic ludus non est emendum.

  10. El Stevo says:

    I bought a licence shortly after your last coverage.

  11. Ben Abraham says:

    I tried the demo but couldn’t seem to “get” it. Maybe time for a 2nd go?

  12. Weylund says:

    There are some truly fantastic player modifications out there, which is the true strength of the engine… playing vanilla Mount and Blade is roughly akin to playing Doom 3. Play Onin No Ran (if there’s a .96 version, there should be a recent one at least) and THEN judge the thing.

    I’ve been playing the game for the last few years. I played the original game for about an hour, got bored, and then found the LoTR mod, The Last Days… and I haven’t looked back.

    For mods, check mbrepository.com or the taleworlds mod forums.

  13. Real Horrorshow says:

    M&B would have been awesome in 1999.

    I’ll pass.

  14. ohnoabear says:

    Wait, Mount and Blade is getting published by an actual publisher (okay, Paradox, but still…)? The same Mount and Blade with graphics that would be merely okay eight years ago? The same Mount and Blade that becomes a Keystone Kops-like chase around the bland medieval countryside against the bandits that comprise 60% of the game’s population with no way out but to fight against hopelessly stacked odds or enjoy being dragged around the same bland medieval countryside for a week of game time within five minutes of booting up a game? The same Mount and Blade with nothing to do but slowly train up villagers to get quickly mown down by bandits or beg nobles for pointless fetch quests that require more bandit evasion?

    If ever there’s a game to describe how bleak and hopeless medieval life was, it would be Mount and Blade. It works as a way to point out how ridiculous RPG conventions are in a realistic setting (kill bandits for XP? They’re more likely to knock you out and drag you around the countryside), but since doing these dangerous and fruitless tasks comprises the entirety of the game and the developers are intending to sell it for money, that’s obviously not what they had in mind.

  15. Alex says:

    There are some truly fantastic player modifications out there, which is the true strength of the engine… playing vanilla Mount and Blade is roughly akin to playing Doom 3. Play Onin No Ran (if there’s a .96 version, there should be a recent one at least) and THEN judge the thing.

    I won’t comment on the game itself, I’ve only played about an hour (including aforementioned cloning incident).. but saying a game isn’t complete without player modifications is basically shouting DO NOT BUY THIS GAME.

  16. MA6200 says:

    I love this game, but you’re right – I guess I love it as a beta version. The idea that it’s being declared fit for release is kind of disheartening. Vanilla M&B gets old fast. I really hoped back when I first bought it there would be more to the actual game by the time they declared it “finished.” As far as I can remember, in two years or so there haven’t been many changes except for graphics, sieges, and a few small tweaks to gameplay.

    Some of the mods are excellent, though. And nobody has ever done mounted combat as well. I only paid $14 for it, and I’ve played it on and off for years – not too bad for a game.

  17. Weylund says:

    @Alex: I bought Oblivion because of OOO and UT2K4 because of Alien Swarm… I don’t think that the games themselves are lessened because of this. I think the shout is basically more along the lines of IF YOU THINK EXPANDIBILITY IS NOT SOMETHING WORTH PAYING FOR, DO NOT BUY THIS GAME.

    @MA6200: My rosy outlook on it certainly has something to do with the fact that I have had much the same oh-hey-I’m-playing-this-again experience as you… except I got it for $11. :)

  18. Andrew says:

    Ohnoabear clearly hasn’t played the game since its early beta stages and Dinger is just wrong in every way.

  19. Nny says:

    I tried it couple of months ago, I didn’t like it. I should burn in hell for that.

  20. houseinrlyeh says:

    Well, I didn’t like it when I tried it, either, though I really wanted to like it. Life as a medieval mercenary! What’s not to like?
    Then I found that everything except the quite good combat is as bland as an Excel sheet for me.

  21. Mika H says:

    @MA6200: You forgot to mention the added early medieval dynamics that a player can take part in, so adding a whole different strategic dimension to the game.

    The four distinct factions are ruled by kings, who grant castles, towns and villages to their vassal lords. If the player swears fealty and serves his king well, he may be knighted (if he didn’t start as one) and receive a fief from which he can collect taxes and raise soldiers. Of course, that’s only the beginning.

    Enemy villages can be looted, castles and towns conqurered, rival lords captured and ransomed. Every war party is led by a lord, and together they can form massive hosts if a king decides to call one. You might even be appointed to command the whole army, and to make the strategic decisions.

    Or you can start a rebellion, throwing your support behind one of the claimants to the throne, basically starting your own faction.

    Sure, medieval dynamics might not be a major selling point for the mainstream audience, but combined with the combat system, it’s a pretty unique game. Very few fantasy RPG conventions remain.

  22. UncleLou says:

    Completely agree with you, Mika. I am really not sure where all these negative comments come from. Have you guys last played it in 2005?

    It’s a bit like Pirates!, only with more complexity, and a much better central gameplay element, the combat. What’s not to like?

  23. Flackon says:

    Yeah. These negative comments shock me as well.

    Perhaps people forget that when this game began development, only two people were working on it. At least concede it this merit!

  24. Five says:

    I’m certainly going to try this later. I’m amused by people disliking games because of the graphics.

    Let’s see if the gameplay holds up.

  25. reiver says:

    While the graphics ceratinly aren’t Crysis standard they are very functional. They allow the game to run well on a wide range of systems but, more importantly, they allow giant battles. If you’ve got a decent enough computer the battles’ size can be increased to allow 800 men epic clashes whilst keeping a very respectable framerate. OK there’s no fancy bump mapping etc. but the spectacle of giant armies full of independent soldiers meeting in a pell mell charge is as visually impressive as it gets.

  26. Dinger says:

    I am wrong. Should be non est emendus. Time-wise, it’s high medieval and not early. Medieval trolling aside, whatever good ideas it has are ruined by the fundamentally broken implementation. I’ve seen enough betas to know ‘it’s only a beta’ is no defense against very buggy gameplay. If it’s like that now, it’ll be like that later.

    And it’s a pity, because it’s just the kinda game I want to play and I want to succeed.
    But it needs clergy. I want to set fire to a house of fat Benedictines that have been using a bogus claim of fishing rights at my expense. Then I want the bishop to place my lands under interdict until I make ‘penance’ by donating to him three mills. Fat Benedictines can whine to the Pope, for all I care.

  27. Nuyan says:

    You know what the special thing is about Mount&Blade and why it deserves all the attention it gets?

    It’s because of the friggin’ combat. Two Turkish programmers managed to make a game with a combat system that beats the hell out any of the combat systems made by the big commercial game companies. It’s so much superior towards multiple million dollar games like Oblivion and Assasins Creed. I think that’s why in my opinion everyone that doesn’t have this game yet should get it ASAP. There’s no game that gives me that much a feeling of real impact when I smack a big two-hand axe in someone’s chest or headshot with an arrow.

    Besides the combat itself they added quite a lot to ‘behind’ it. There aren’t many dynamic sandboxes games like this and you got quite a lot of options. The graphics are more than fine as well. But I agree with the criticism there as well. I found just running around in a party getting boring after a couple of days, it’s hard to find meaningful fights where you get a good balanced ‘close’ fight. I also dislike the RPG cliches, I don’t really see the point of ‘levels’ in this game and most of the quests are just silly. Perhaps I should try out some of those mods myself though, it’s been some time since I played Mount&Blade for the last time.

  28. UncleLou says:

    Should also be mentioned that the graphics have improved massively in the last few years. Landscapes are bordering on “pretty” these days, buildings look ok (with the odd amazing texture), horses look fine (though they always did). It’s mainly the character and its animations that needs some work.

  29. Cigol says:

    I despair at some of the comments being made.

  30. cyrenic says:

    As clunky and imprecise as it could be at times, the mounted combat in this game is far better than any other attempt I’ve seen in a game. The parry system for melee combat was also well done.

    I had a lot of fun with the demo. I doubt I’ll buy the full version though, the meta game wasn’t all that deep. Maybe I should have tried some of the mods for it.

  31. EyeMessiah says:

    I have never played this game, but I find it inconceivable that some people might not have enjoyed the experience.

    Inconceivable!

  32. Quirk says:

    The combat is barrel-of-monkeys fun, and persuaded me to actually invest in the game. Given its low price as a beta, I feel it eminently justifies a purchase.

    The non-combat elements are going in generally positive directions, but are far from finished. There are a bunch of more serious bugs, and a host of flaws in the polish. More than that, you could argue that the underlying ideas of the game are somewhat incomplete.

    Levelling up primarily from killing in combat necessitates combat after combat to the point that even with M&B’s great combat engine, the player gets combat fatigue. This is balanced a small degree by the variety of quests that give you XP, but they don’t give enough to be a main source of growth.

    The sandbox lack of direction, while initially fun, makes the endgame into something of a drag. Quite early on, within the first hour or two, it’s possible to get your hands on relatively top-notch gear and acquire a bunch of modestly tough soldiers – provided you know what you’re doing. The game has little mercy on first-time players. A couple of hours more, and you’ll have some companions outfitted in similarly fine style and a group that most sane opponents will run away from. You’ve probably not exhausted the variety of quests available by that stage. You then will likely end up working for a king, acquiring a castle and fief, which introduces you to sieges. Sieges bring a bit of variety to the combat environment, though they can be frustratingly difficult. Once you’ve fought a few sieges, though, and you’ve got a castle, most of your remaining goals require vast amounts of work. You can attempt to entirely subdue a kingdom your kingdom is at war with, but it’s slow, difficult going and degenerates into a slog of endless combats.

    I guess the main problem I see is that much of the combat ends up either being rather meaningless, or in the case of a castle you own being besieged, being combat merely to maintain the status quo. A mod which went some way to fixing this could potentially make the game great. Unfortunately the couple of mods I’ve played that are compatible with 0.960 largely seemed to be conversions of the original M&B into another setting, and sometimes left original items in despite them making no real sense in that context.

  33. Pseudonym says:

    @EyeMessiah
    You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  34. EyeMessiah says:

    @Pseu

    When I was your age, television was called books.

  35. Quinnbeast says:

    To criticise the game based on the wealth of quality mods that enhance the combat and add variety to the existing release is to miss the point. I played rocket arena long after I gave up on the original Quake3. The FCOM mods for Oblivion keep me dipping back into a game that I wouldn’t otherwise touch. I’ve played Day of Defeat Source since beta, but I can’t remember the last time I played Half-life 2. The importance of the original games that spawned these cracking mods can’t be overstated.

    Games like M&B are few and far between, and to some extent rely on user input as an alternative to having a substantial in-house development team. They stick two fingers up at the modern corporate business model, and encourage people to join in and add their own ideas. Yes, it can appear rough around the edges, but then this is not a game with a multi million pound budget. Regardless, it forges it’s own path, encourages user-made modification by its very nature, and creates a unique mounted combat/tactical system that nobody else has come close to.

    I’m a big fan of the Expanded Gameplay II mod – it makes the combat altogether meatier and more satisfying: a well-placed couched lance to the chest of an opposing Lord from the back of Solomon the Warhorse is a thing of beauty!

    Charge!

    Q.

  36. Janto says:

    Hmm. Wasn’t Mount and Blade one of these hallowed things people whispered about in awe? What’s with this rage come release?

    Having said that, I honestly don’t get the praise the combat system gets, having never ‘got’ the combat in M&B, especially the supposedly ‘amazing’ horseback combat, in which I would generally flail around above everyone’s heads while they chiseled away at my legs. Clearly there’s a knack, but the learning curve wasn’t presented very well, I felt, and there didn’t seem to be anything to justify the effort.

  37. Sum0 says:

    I’m not a huge Mount and Blade fan (played it a few years ago and liked it, played it today and found it pretty much similar, at least superficially), but criticising Mount and Blade for being amateurish and unpolished seems a little bit like criticising a Picasso for being too cubey. It’s an indie game. It’s not going to rival Oblivion for presentation, but it’s got some neat ideas that you won’t find in traditional releases, and it’s £12. Take it as it comes.

  38. Boomshakalaka says:

    I only just demo’d then bought M&B, definitely worth a look. I would class it a ‘small’ game in that it doesnt have a massive dev staff with teams working on each aspect. It does what it does and thats cool with me.

    From the amount of mods out there I suspect that it will stay installed on my pc for ages.

    it is the first game that hitting or missing an enemy has felt important, because it is all about timing and control.

  39. Garreett says:

    @Boomshakalaka, I believe it’s made by one guy and his wife.

  40. Paul Moloney says:

    I downloaded the latest version, expecting only to have a cursory play of it, but ending up engrossed in a melee tournament for a hour. Tremendous fun. Warts and all, it’s on my “may buy” list.

    However, does anyone know how to , umm, get your horse back? I dismounted within the city walls, went to another area (the castle), then returned to find the horse gone. There’s a stable with 2 horses nearby, neither of which I can mount.

    P.

  41. Andrew says:

    Essentially, the 3D areas are generated anew every time you enter them. If you have a horse and enter a city’s streets direct from the overworld, you’ll start outside the city and be on horseback. If you then go in and out of a building, however, you’ll be on foot without your horse.

    Your horse hasn’t disappeared, it’s just not in the instanced 3D town bit right now. It’s still in your inventory/party and will be there again if you re-enter the town.

  42. Alex says:

    Right, played it a bit more. I’m one of the “I don’t get the combat”-people, which isn’t that surprising, as I’m not a naturally videogame-combat-talented person in the first place, but I do feel like I’m hardly ever hitting anything.

    The constant attacks from bandits started to get really grating. I was having quite a bit of fun, then I just got hit by endless waves of bandit attacks, got completely reintroduced to every nook and cranny of the world map via the splendid art of dragging and that made me quit the game. I guess if I wasn’t as shit at the combat, I wouldn’t mind so much, but I am so I do.

    I haven’t given up though, I’ll try again later.

    Most handy hint I encountered during loading screens: how the TAB button makes you instantly travel between locations. TAB is your friend, in this game.

  43. sinister agent says:

    Hmm. Wasn’t Mount and Blade one of these hallowed things people whispered about in awe? What’s with this rage come release?

    A few releases back, it stopped being a great combat game with a simple map and travel and ‘quest’ system that merely needed perfected combat and a bit of polish to be a thing of greatness, and started being a horrendously broken, tedious and annoying RTS with good but seriously under-developed combat and about fifty extraneous ‘sandbox’ feaures that don’t quite work but take up all the developers’ time so that the combat still doesn’t get fixed.

    It remains great, but I fear it will fall far, far short of its potential. As a fighting game though, it’s still miles ahead of any competition, and at least 6,000 times better than any other RPG combat system. Switch the cheats on and just teleport around getting into scraps as you see fit – trying to play a proper ‘career’ in the latest betas would just be hopelessly frustrating. Especially if you’re new to the game – I’ve been playing it for a couple of years, and it can still be ragingly unfair, especially at the start.

    Plus the arena fights are a bit crap where once they were an ideal training ground. They’re not as good as they were, but if you’re new, the first thing you should do is get to a city and practice fight in the arena. It’s risk-free, you’ll get to practice with random weapons, get a bit of experience and possibly make a little prize money.

    I do love Mount and Blade, and I’ve had more than my money’s worth from it already. But I don’t feel too optimistic about the release.

  44. Da'Jobat says:

    I have owned mount and blade since 0.540 or some number around there, and it has simply gone from strength to strength so fast. It never seems out-dated and it is incredibly good fun to play, and i would recommend it to anyone, if not only to support the indie devs.

  45. Alex says:

    I’ve tried and tried again, the whole bandits-kicking-my-arse thing is just too annoying. It also feels kind of unfair, in a way, maybe not to a seasoned player, but it does feel like it to me and that just sucks the fun right out of it.

  46. Sucram says:

    If you are getting beaten up by bandits it’s because you aren’t using a lance. Pole arms are the medieval WMD’s and using then is akin to strapping yourself to a redeemer missile.

  47. sinister agent says:

    Alex – first thing you need to do is get to a city and fight in the arena until you ‘get’ the controls and a few fighting tricks. Then go to taverns and villages and try to hire as many people as you can.

    It is very unfair at the start, and sometimes in the mid-game too. It’s one of the things they’ve screwed up in the more recent releases. Generally speaking, at the start, avoid everyone except raiders and mountain bandits. The centre of the map should feature both. Always avoid the southeast – horse bandits are a joke. The north coast has viking bandits who are too dangerous without an army. The forest in the West has archers who are just not worth the casualties.

  48. Aegis says:

    A genuinely excellent game. I expect a 90% review in PC Gamer soonwise, and a 6 page preview… um… soonerwise. Yeah. That makes intawebs sense.
    The community is good, but since around .93, it seems like they think they have to smarten up for the rest of the internets. Fools.
    Also – to anyone complaining that “it’s not ready for release” go and take a look on the forums (forums.taleworlds.net), have a butchers at the TODO lists of features promised for 1.00 accumulating around the place, and it should become clear that this is going to get a lot better.
    Also – anyone who compares the combat to Oblivion will be shot on sight.

    /em goes and digs out his email with the serial key in it

  49. ..... says:

    can any give me the sereal kay for free pls

  50. Tei says:

    This game is a classic. Like Mule, Baldurs Gate and Sim City.

    You are able to dislike it. Anyway…