It’s inevitable at this point. Where there are games, there are antics, and a game as big and complicated, and as work-in-progress as Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord, there will be slapstick. There will be creativity. There will be gifs. The game’s various subreddits have been buzzing constantly for over two weeks. Let’s have a look at some of the highlights.
A major part of Bannerlord is training up your lackeys. Whatever path you take in its open world of commerce and violence, you’re gonna do some fighting, and for most people that means an army. But what if you don’t want an army? What if you want a diverse handful of experts? A party. A fellowship, if you will. Reddier user “Okoii” has an answer.
The hobbits dash out in front and brutalise an attacker, but you just know Gandalf will still spend the next two entire films bleating about how they’re hopeless in a fight and generally being incredibly condescending for someone who watched them kill orcs with a frying pan and then died by falling over.
Bonus points for Sean Boromean going for almost several seconds before getting repeatedly shot. And Legolas expressing an emotion. Wait, these are clearly impostors.
The same player also made another group of diminutive do-gooders, presumably using a mod like Detailed Character Creator to make the Harry Potter team.
There’s young Ura Wizzadarry there, and his best friend, Nerdulina Fotherington-Smythe. And Fitz from Cracker is there, of course, as part of the famous Harry and the Series of Brutal Murders. Of course I am familiar with the books. I even have a copy signed by their author, Jamiroquai. I can’t believe you’d accuse me of this.
Other players have been sharing wacky bugs and chance events. Everyone loves a little physics bug, and Bannerlord’s heaps of clashing bodies makes some wacky slapstick moments inevitable (I myself witnessed a man in the “non-lethal” arena getting roasted on a fire). But I wasn’t expecting the proof of divine retribution that Reddit user “Tiny_Noodle” posted. What did that horse do to offend the heavens? I fear to learn.
Looters are essentially Bannerlord’s equivalent of RPG rats. They sometimes accumulate in large enough numbers to threaten a small, weak party, but they’re mostly fodder. Unless you fight them alone on foot, when they can easily overwhelm you. But one player found a viable strategy for fighting an army of looters solo, up close, while half naked.
I particularly respect that this player, “THEFABLED45”, followed up in the comments calmly pointing out that this is only possible by minmaxing to such a degree that it’s devastating against looters but hopeless against anything else. Silly videos about deliberately breaking corners of the game are fine and good, and they don’t necessarily mean anything critical.
Speaking of which: Sieges are where Bannerlord’s limits are really strained (as any game would be, to be fair, if it had to simulate several hundred independently acting NPCs in full 3D). Attackers will push towers to the wall while a hapless few push the battering ram to the front gate (I have been one of those fools and it is terrifying), and defenders will lob rocks and arrows and man ballistae. Or, as “Summzashi” demonstrated, get beaned by an attacking NPC who thinks they’re playing medieval Silent Scope.
But my favourite siege moment is courtesy of “Embers144”, who captured the most intense one-on-one action I’ve seen since that video of the two silent guys giving each other the middle finger in the street.
One man attacks the walls, determined to rest his ladder against them. Another defends, pushing them back down again. It is a captivating, ludicrous dance made perfect by the hand-cranked style and the moment where the attacker makes it up but leaps off anyway to put the ladder back up. Idiots.
Some oddities like this are probably inevitable, since 99% of the time everyone’s fighting in a group, so the AI doesn’t really have a clue what to do when asked to besiege a castle with one man. But maybe I’m just making excuses because it’s shown me how much the world needs Mount & Buster.