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Mount and Blade With Fire and Sword PC Preview

I've previously reviewed Mount and Blade, as well as its successor, Warband; now I'm onto this stand alone expansion, With Fire and Sword. This will be a preview of things to come, read on to find out what to expect from the full release

If you've dabbled with either previous entry in the series you know how things work here, but for the non-initiated I'll go over it again: you create your character (this time with some truly wonderful Custer-esque facial hair), assign points to stats such as strength, marksmanship, trading etc.. then go on your way to make your fortune. The same stands true here, again with the game being an expansion there's not much more you can expect.

What is different in With Fire and Sword, however, is the addition of firearms. No longer are bows and cross-bows your only option when considering ranged combat, we now have guns! For those of you who may be thinking it's somewhat unfair to take on a peasant with a sword from a distance with a musket, you'd be wrong. Aiming is suitably atrocious for the period piece weaponry, and if you miss, by the time you've reloaded (which can take a good ten seconds) that peasant might have re-arranged your face with his puny sword.

Gameplay remains largely the same as previous. You move around the map in a strategic isometric camera, and when you visit towns and villages you are given a menu of options, ranging from entering the tavern where you can hire more troops to your army; trading, or to meeting with the mayor/King/whatever. These towns serve as your hub for gathering missions, which can include such things as escorting caravans to their destination, killing a group of harassing bandits or seeking a bounty to slay in a far away town. Much like previous games, these serve as little more than filler, as you slowly increase your purse and your army, and prepare to take over towns and castles for your own gain and amusement.

Graphically the game uses the Warband engine, so don't expect anything better looking than that, or you'll be in for a disappointment. While looking good enough to serve its purpose, it'll never look good enough to impress. It can, however, still show an impressive amount of units on the battlefield at once, often leading to confusion when you're right in the thick of it, and it's glorious. There's nothing better than shooting your wonky aiming musket at a band of 100+ soldiers, missing each and every one of them then just charging face first with your battle-axe drawn.

Alas the preview version I was playing on only allowed me to progress to level 7, so I was unable to see all of the features the new game adds, as I was busy in my usual killing and plundering ways, but the game looks to have a lot more depth to it than Warband, despite only being an expansion. It's one I'll definitely be picking up. I think TaleWorlds are turning me into a bit of a Mount and Blade fan boy with their constantly game-play rich series, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Dead Alive | 7th May, 2011

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