April 24th, 2005

rain

(no subject)

A rather enjoyable indie game; Mount & Blade, being done as a free trial, or $11 unlimited-with-all-future-updates-included thing, very reasonably.

It has the best melee combat I've played in a while, perhaps even more fun than the most recent Prince of Persia's combat. I've never ridden a horse on a battlefield, of course, but it feels very right all the same - the horse rears up if it's unexpectedly blocked, has a wide turning circle if it's galloping, throws extra damage behind your blows if you're going at speed (especially with lance-shaped weapons), and the control method feels extremely natural. You can attack over the horse's head, swipe to the sides, get really messed up if you're surrounded and the horse is spooked, break out and run down stragglers... It's delightful, though the character's equipping curve to begin with is a bit of a drag.

And you're not a superhero - you take a skirmish force with you, and if you end up being one-against-five you are probably knackered. Unless you're one heavily armoured knight on a heavy warhorse against five cloth-clad guys with knives.

The graphics aren't the greatest, but they kick the pants off most non-mainstream games. Character customisation is done well, with fully deformable face-areas, shadows are cast beautifully, water splashes around when horses run through it... Basically, the effects are good, but the textures and shapes are a bit sparse. Since it's a work in progress, this is the sort of thing that's likely to be progressed.

A tip for if you start playing - unlike most medieval-setting games, leadership is actually a useful skill. I strongly recommend getting it to level 4 or close in your opening stats, and not wasting skill points on bows like I did. Not sure about crossbows, but I suspect throwing weapons is a more useful skill. Riding is also good. All the scouting skills aren't so useful because you can get a companion who fills that role. Bizarrely, it's the charisma skills that seem the most vital.