For a product like Mount & Blade, which bases its very essence on absolute freedom, it is not so easy to have to face the leap from an alternative world - however plausible - to a more historical setting, moreover inspired by a trilogy of novels , thus having to undergo two obstacles. The first given by reality, certainly more limiting than fantasy, and the second due to having to follow the events and the setting narrated in the reference writings. To tell the truth, both obstacles were overcome without major problems: Eastern Europe of Mount & Blade: With Fire&Sword it looks pretty good both in the reconstruction of weapons and costumes (some beautiful) and in the architectural styles of the various cities, even if a little more life and details would not have hurt, while the novels have remained the characters and little more, leaving the aforementioned freedom of action as open as possible. What the game stumbles on instead is due, ironically, to the most successful reason of the series, that is the modding that has done so much to give fame and honors to the series and which today beats the developers themselves, confirming the parable of the series. pupil who sooner or later surpasses the teacher.
Kill my king, and I will kill yours
Mount & Blade: With Fire&Sword it presents itself from the beginning as the series has accustomed us: the creation of the avatar goes hand in hand with what was seen in the predecessors, even if there is no possibility of having noble birth and in general of choosing the origin of the character. Having decided on the name and physical features, the first points must be distributed among the usual characteristics (obviously skills devoted to the use of firearms are added) and finally the first mission which also serves as a tutorial is tackled. Once this is done, With Fire & Sword leaves the player the absolute freedom to move between Sweden, Crimea, Poland and neighboring territories, leaving the possibility to choose which missions to carry out, under which flag to line up or whether to put himself in command of a band of outlaws or mercenaries without homeland nor honor. Although the factions are varied and diversified, however, a Spanish player will perhaps find it difficult to become attached to one of them, given the great cultural and historical distance between us and the contents of the game, when instead the nations of the old Mount & Blade, despite representing a non-existent Middle Ages, they were perhaps more stereotyped and therefore closer to our experience.
In any case, this is not the real problem of the title, but its total lack of innovation compared to the rest of the series: it is not enough to insert some rifles and new costumes to renew the concept, as firearms and different historical periods are the basis. of most of the changes, some of them so accurate that they overshadow not only Warband, but even himself Mount & Blade: With Fire&Sword - we refer to masterpieces such as Old Frontier or Mount & Musket. Renewing a Mount & Blade is not even preventing the recruitment of regular soldiers if you are not enrolled in a faction, limiting the search for warriors to the mercenary camps (all secondary features of this latest expansion), but rather improving their AI in combat and strategic group controls, increase the importance of interpersonal relationships and so on. In With Fire & Sword the same commands as Warband remain, both as regards the control of the character and the army, and the lines of dialogue between the protagonist and other characters remain the same, sparse that they have always been ("what do you do?", " how's the war? "," can I help you? ", etc.), both towards the nobles and the companions in adventure.
Obviously, no one expected complex Dragon Age plots, but a minimum of relationship that did not update the skills and equipment of their men would not have hurt, just as we would have liked a greater depth in joining the favors and enmities of the various rulers, the whose moods towards us are once again shown by a numerical scale and a few lines of text.
The same advancement of the era has not changed much the cards on the table compared to previous experiences, if not by slightly increasing the difficulty (a rifle shot kills, regardless of whether it is fired by a sharpshooter or a second level looter) and giving an excuse to redesign uniforms and armaments from scratch, which now gain in detail and finesse, arriving in some cases to real joys for the eyes. Always as long as you like the era. Less cared for are the cities and interiors, rather bare and empty as always, as well as a little disappointing are the animations of the firearms, some of which reproduce those used for crossbows, obviously no longer present.
Basically, playing single player a Mount & Blade: With Fire&Sword does not change much in mechanics and possibilities compared to what is seen in Warband, except armaments and outfits already tried in amateur modifications - by the way, the mods for Warband are incompatible - and they are certainly not small additions such as the possibility of fighting in the street and a greater number of quests by the burgomasters to change the cards on the table. It must be said that, with a view to increasing longevity, it is necessary to carry out more missions to have good relations with the lords and therefore be accepted as fighters by one nation rather than the other, as well as the increase in prices of weapons and equipment encourages more burgomaster tasks and more trade.
All for one
Regardless of the more or less evident evolution of the single-player experience, it is in the multiplayer that many hoped to find a finally different and new experience compared to what was seen in Warband, undermined by several bugs and imbalances. In Mount & Blade: With FIre&Sword we have larger maps, different modes (even one in which each character commands a department of bots!) and support for a very high number of players (up to 250!): starting from single duels and small team deathmatches with 20 fighters up to immense battles and gigantic sieges, with some moments of rare epic and immersion.
The game system remains the same, and given its effectiveness this is certainly not a bad thing: each player has a quantity of money to spend on equipment - horse, weapons, armor, ammunition, etc. as you kill enemies, thus giving you the opportunity to equip yourself with increasingly powerful / resistant objects and armor, in order to have a clear advantage over other players. However, the balance still remains a utopia and firearms have not affected the game system so deeply, so much so that many prefer to continue to use bows and arrows, certainly less powerful but also with much higher rates of fire. It is known that asking 30 seconds to reload a musket is a bit too much when fighting against real opponents and this is also why the mania of carrying three rifles with you has taken hold.
Two-handed weapons remain the power they once were, while shields have decreased. Unfortunately, the bug / error that has contributed most to ruining the Warband experience has remained, namely the lack of weight of objects: seeing a man in full armor armed with a two-handed sword dodging bullets and then jumping taking a knight is an embarrassing thing to say the least, especially in those servers where respawn times are very slow. Considering the high mortality involved even for ridiculous causes, such as unlikely headshots at tens of meters or sword strokes thrown at random by those who turn around continuously pressing the attack button, it is easy to understand how the boundary between fun and frustration is dangerously tight. Staying on the subject, lag and problems on the server front are unfortunately still at the orders of the game, although in less massive quantities than in the past, while the crashes have fortunately been reduced.
For absurdity, Mount & Blade: With Fire&Sword it will appeal especially to those who have never tried the predecessors, since they will find all those positive sides that have justified the high marks in the past. The veterans, on the other hand, accomplices the many mods in circulation, will not find in the newcomer anything that they have not already seen elsewhere. Indeed, in some cases they will find even less (no diplomacy, for one thing). On the multiplayer side we have epic and interesting mass clashes, but still subject to more or less annoying imbalances and bugs. The reduced price of 15 euros certainly helps to raise the fate of the title, even if a trial of the demo before spending it remains a duty on the part of everyone, since the purchase with eyes closed is something that, this time, we do not feel to recommend. .
- Graphically improved
- Official introduction of firearms in the series
- Always interesting multiplayer ...
- ... but not free from the usual problems
- Gaming experience now known
- Some mods offer more features
PC System Requirements
- OS: Windows 7
- Processore: Intel Core Quad Q660 2.4ghz
- Memory: 4GB
- Video Card: Nvidia Geforce 9800 GT
- OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
- Processor: Intel Dual Core 2.1 GHz or higher
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics Card: 128 MB of memory or higher
- Hard disk: 1.2 GB