( My current steam play time of this game is not correct towards my overall play time of it, which is conciderably longer due to owning it off of steam. )
If you like RPGs with a mix of RTS, this game is for you.
I innitially did not have high expectations before I bought it [not on steam], long ago. But this game grew on me quite quickly.
- RPG elements like you being the main character that can shape the game, depending on how you go about it. What kingdom you join, what do you do within it, ect. Stats and leveling up, equipment, politics, companions.
- Decent character facial customisation for characters (atleast as far as the proportions of the head/face are concerned) decent amount of hair and facial hair (males) choices. (This is BASE game customisation. Why do I mention that? Well... )
- High modability - There is lots of player made content that can be downloaded and applied to the game, either changing your main game in small ways, or providing you with an entirely new campaign by playing overhails (aka new natives/scenarios) which generally are packed full of content. The content may range from simply newly aranged maps, new kingdoms, ect. To including brand new character models, even races for very few of the mods out there. Lots of new weapons/armors/units.
- Decent amount of battle terrains (The area in which you fight with your army in real time when you engage a foe. The way it looks. ) These can be pretty cool in some mods out there.
- Even if you own beast PC, in large battles, the game is prone to crash some times. And if you don't save regularly.. that can set you back pretty far.
- Castle sieges are pretty basic, they are down to battles of attrition. The person with the most and most experienced bodies will be the one to win.
- Factions with mostly mounted units are unfairly strong in comparison to factions with primarily unmounted units. In the base game, that means the Khergits. You will learn to hate them, pretty fast. (Luckily this can be counter-acted with the use of mods, and some overhauls [aka non base game maps] have scripts and options in place to allow foot soldiers with spears to combat mounted soldiers.
- Spear bracing. On the topic of mounted units... those that have spears, will eventually go into a state known as spear bracing, which will do massive damage to any enemy unit the spear comes in contact with. Whilst this can be very good for hit and run attacks for the player as a mounted combatant, it can be pretty bad for the player's units, or the player themselves if they are faced with alot of mounted opponents, who will very likely get a guaranteed one hit KO using that, even on heavily armored units some times.
- Multiplayer is mostly very bad, or if I have to be kind.. bland, repetative and pointless. ( Though there are some mods out there that are ONLY playable in multiplayer. I have not tested any of them yet, due to the fact that this game is my jam where single-player is concerned. But I have read good things about some of them. Unfortunatley most of them don't last long, too. Teams often abandon them and stop hosting.)
OTHER STUFF: (That is neither a pro nor a con)
- Combat is directional. With good enough timing and mouse movement, aswell as footwork, you will likely be able to dispatch any opponent, even if they are more well armed or stronger than you. Parrying is also directional, meaning that with good enough choice of direction in which to parry, you can defend yourself with your two handed/one handed weapon and signifficantly reduce the damage you endure. Shields are something you should always have on you. They will take the brunt of ranged attacks against your back when they ARE on your back, will block ranged attacks and melee attacks very efficiently when used in offhand, but will eventually break. Luckily...
- You can pick up weapons and shields dropped on the ground by dead units. Its a bit tricky and not recommended to try if there are enemies around you, but if you are out of arrows, and there's a dead archer nearby who's arrow quiver is somewhere around him, you can take it. If your shield is broken, you can pick up some dead footman's shield instead. These are NOT kept after the battle is over, your original equipment is the one that will be equipped on you once it is. So don't be afraid of loosing weaponry.
- You can carry weapons in your inventory that you can switch to at the stash in the starting location of your army in a battle, incase you are facing a foe that your current loadout is not effective to deal with.
- Armies march on their stomach. Inventory Management will become a skill that will be valuable if you plan to have a large army, so that you can carry a bunch of food with you.
- You will hate loosing experienced soldiers. And sometimes during battle, weak pawns will take down your fully upgraded troops. This will mostly kill them, which is why investing in the skill "Surgeon" will become a must, as each point adds a 4% chance that a party member, when struck down, will be knocked unconscious instead of dying. This chance is added to a base chance of 25%. At level 10 of the skill, thats 40% + 25% = 65%. Meaning that you will not have to sacrifice experienced troops needlessly.
There is .. much more I could say about this game, but I will have to simply say...
Even at retail price its worth it. As always, buying when its discounted is the wisest choice, and luckily M&B gets discounted every now and then.
But I should note, I wrote this review, before writing one of the next game in the series, which is M&B: Warband. It improves upon what is already there, and I recommend you get it instead if you only want one game. I got this one so that I could play mods that are restricted to it, and not playable on warband. You'll likely find modded scenarios to be the most enjoyable aspect very soon, and that will make getting this worth it.
My final score? Solid 9/10, not counting the bugs that *can* occur and the minor nuissances about some ingame aspects. With those in mind, it would be more like a 8/10.