Nerd Nook: Mount & Blade Warband: Napoleonic Wars

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I would attribute this addicting game as the bane of my entire high school education.

Mount & Blade Warband: Napoleonic Wars is a multiplayer focused downloadable content (DLC) that requires the base game Mount & Blade Warband to function. The Mount & Blade series have traditionally focused in on a medieval setting- focusing in on archery and blades, and not at all focusing on guns as the primary weapon to use.

The Napoleonic expansion changed this and took an unusual setting for shooter games- in the era of muskets. A well trained soldier in this era can take up to 30 seconds to reload his musket and that musket has little chance of hitting its target. Although the game halves the reload time- it still leads to slow gameplay when it comes to shooting your weapon.

Every single shot you take feels like spinning the wheel in a casino- putting value on good aiming and quick reactions to the movement of opponents. It takes time to master and perfect your aiming compared to other shooters that are more fast paced. Though the real high point of the gameplay is when you get in close enough to stab your enemy. The melee combat- which composes of a simple mechanic where you may attack from 4 (sometimes 2) directions and defend from the same 4 directions. It is an easy to learn mechanic that promotes players to master the flow of combat- of blocking and attacking an opponent.

With it’s excellent core gameplay, Napoleonic adds to this by borrowing its horse riding mechanics from Warband, adding boats to transport players safely across water obstacles, and artillery that can fire from afar and destroy enemy fortifications. What this leads to- is a complete simulator of Napoleonic Era Warfare with servers that can handle upwards of two-hundred players seamlessly. Meaning you could be charging into battle, bayonet in hand with ninety nine teammates against another team of hundred players. The scale of the battle is best highlighted in the Siege game mode where as the name implies- a team of attackers attempt to take a fort from a defender team. You can be trying to scale the walls with ladders, destroy them with artillery fire, or try to infiltrate via boats depending on the map that is playing. Maps can vary between the pre-set maps that come with the game or the player created maps which can vary in size and quality.   

Although the gameplay holds up to this day- there are however some things that haven’t held up- primarily the graphics and the community behind the game. The graphics can be ugly to look at and doesn’t have enough polygons to give definition and detail behind your surroundings in the game.

The Community has generally declined in playership over the years for casual players and the servers can be filled with disruptive players that ruin the experience of the game by destroying important structures and spamming chats with a variety of disreputable content. Although it has a strong “regiment” community which is the equivalent of Clans in other FPS games.

But all these complaints are minor compared to the main dish in this feast of content. With fantastic gameplay which is satisfying in it’s mechanics. It’s variety of maps supported by a community which is pumping out new maps every now and then to keep the game fresh. I highly recommend you get Mount and Blade Warband which already has it’s own merits so you can get your hands on Napoleonic Wars before the sequel to the base game comes out. I have not regretted not one of the 1,200 hours or so I have played this game.