Mount & Blade’s Viking DLC Looks Brill, Rubbo, Brill Again

The Mount & Blade games offer more freedom than your average RPG, allowing players to live all kinds of different lives within their sprawling open worlds. The price for that freedom, and those densely populated siege battles, is that the games are more clumsy and basic in terms of animation, physics and model detail. While watching this impressive trailer for Viking Conquest, a new expansion for M&B: Warband, it occurred to me that the lack of polish has the effect of also making the game seem more believable.


It’s like how superhero films feel more realistic when they’re depicted in “gritty” ways, as if earth tones and rain were innately more realistic than vibrant reds and yellows. I see the floating platforms bump alongside one another in Viking Conquest’s naval battles, and the flimsy swinging of supposedly sharp swords, and I think, yeah, I bet that’s what it was really like. I bet, in the past, everything was really a bit shit.

Of course, that rubbishness is becoming more and more slight over time. I remember when Mount & Blade felt empty and large battles were rare; the video above makes me realise that I desperately need to get back into the game. I might jest about its art budget, but it still looks incredible in many other ways.

This might even be your last chance to enjoy any measure of rubbishness when it comes to the series’ look, as the straight sequel Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord has been announced and it’s looking very fancy. There’s no clue as to when it’ll be released, but it’s the main focus for developers TaleWorlds while the December-bound Viking Conquest is being built by the team previously resonsible for Warband mod Brytenwalda.

Are my feelings towards Warband’s slight shoddiness in presentation a sign that we’re in for a future of deliberately lo-fi reboots? Here’s hoping for a Rocksteady Batman game that pilfers not just from Nolan’s colour scheme but from M. Dickie’s fighting system.


Top comments

  1. Geebs says:

    For the benefit of our international readers, Brill and Rubbo are two very popular and well regarded British brands of saddle polish.
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    Qazinsky says:

    I’ve come to the realization that I don’t really ‘get’ graphics, this looks fine to me, sure, someone might need to give a few of the animations a polish, they seem to just stop for a second for no apparent reason. At the same time, I can’t stand many quirky indie ‘looks’ (art style?) and I enjoy Minecraft despite its blocks.

    Eh, not sure where I’m going with this, I think it looks neat, is what I’m saying.

    • demicanadian says:

      I think the problems is, this are still the same (with a little polish) graphics from 2008 original, when they were “not very great, but ok”.
      It’s no longer the case unfortunately.

      • plugmonkey says:

        I only played the 2008 original for the first time last year. The graphics still seemed ‘not very great, but ok’ then. I managed to look at them for over a hundred hours with no ill effects at all.

        It’s a shame that’s no longer the case now, as it’s a brilliant game. I suppose I have to get the new gen now.

        Am I saying that right? ‘New gen’?

        • rooppa says:

          I refer to the saying of ” you can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter”

          I think that no matter how they try and spruce up and old engine it will not look that great, so happy they are coming out with new game with hopfully alot less glitter required to make it look nice.

  2. Drake Sigar says:

    I know next to nothing about this Viking Conquest addon (in particular I’m interested in the campaign) and details seem hard to find.

  3. razgon says:

    Brytenwalda was awesome! I’ll be getting this for sure. There really is no such thing as too much M&B Warband!

  4. Hirgwath says:

    I’m probably most excited for the multiplayer naval battles. The current options in both Native and Napoleanic are janktacular (I have seen plenty of boats literally merge into docks as incompetent helmsmen tried to leave port).

  5. clumsyandshy says:

    The original M&B is still free over at for another 23 hours…

    • Ashrand says:

      and Warband on sale if you want to get in on the action described above.
      (protip though, skip ‘with fire and sword’)

      • pendergraft says:

        I’m actually enjoying With Fire & Sword. It must have come with the collection I purchased a few years ago, never played it until now. The campaign map, being Eastern Europe, is lacking in detail and variety of landscapes afforded by the original campaign, but the combat, after spending a hundred hours with Warband, is where the game/mod/whatever-it-is really shines. Whereas in Warband you might get away with charging heroically into a giant cluster of enemy troops, the inclusion of firearms in Fire & Sword forces you to adopt a more strategic mindset, lest you quickly find yourself sagging from your saddle with a bullet in your face. Like for the first time I’m compelled to dick around with the backspace map-menu thing and familiarize myself with commands beyond the F1 key.

        It’s unforgiving to start with, though. I had a band of, oh, 15 fellows, a nice militia comprised of farmers and goat herders, when suddenly, on the campaign map, I encountered a tiny band of deserters, no more than four, and decided to engage. They were armored monsters on horseback and they thoroughly decimated my brave agrarian fighting force before taking me as their concubine.

        (Warband is still, overall, a far better, more cohesive experience.)

  6. Zanchito says:

    Was going to give this a pass and wait until M&W2, but the feature list has probably switched me over. My wallet hates you.

  7. Superpat says:

    This makes me want to play mount and blade again.

  8. Geebs says:

    For the benefit of our international readers, Brill and Rubbo are two very popular and well regarded British brands of saddle polish.

  9. Lyrion says:

    Is this going to be available on steam aswell? Because that is where my version of warband is from.

    • alphamale1983 says:

      Yes , it’s already available on steam as prepurchase. 7,50 sterling I believe , I love all things M&B so this looks like a great excuse to get back into it. I strongly suggest getting ALL the DLCs – Fire&Sword and Napoleonic Wars , they are all great , and 256 multiplayer battles with organized armies are some of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had.

  10. cpt_freakout says:

    Brytenwalda was amazing, and I expect this to be just as great. I’m super hyped!

    And about the graphics being crap, well yes, but if you imagine you’re playing a super oldie from 2001 they’re pretty OK. Besides, mods like Floris make everything look substantially better, and the game itself more than justifies a playthrough or two thousand even if the graphics are not that good.

  11. BathroomCitizen says:

    Off-topic: Can anyone explain to me how a top-comment on RPS is appointed?

    I can’t give minuses or pluses to comments, and neither thumb-ups or thumb-downs. I have no thumbs, for Odin’s sake!

  12. Kasper_Finknottle says:

    It would be great if they could add a co-op mode to this game – pvp rarely floats my boat these days :0|

  13. Sinomatic says:

    “as if earth tones and rain were innately more realistic than vibrant reds and yellows”

    Live in Scotland, can confirm.