Mount & Blade turned heads when it hit the PC in 2008 for its open-world action role playing. It all felt like an interactive version of Lord of the Rings fused with A Knight's Tale, but it was a very solitary experience. This year, the Mount & Blade: Warband expansion will bring a much-wanted multiplayer mode into the mix.
We're not talking a piffling number of players for this mode however. Up to 64 - count 'em, 64 - users can engage in combat on the same map, in team deathmatch style battles. If you thought some of the enemies in the single-player overworld were challenging enough, try taking on several human opponents on horseback and see how you feel then!
You also get to be something of a rogue commander yourself, as Mount & Blade: Warband adds the ability to form a team of followers who will do your bidding as you see fit. As you gain more loyal people, you end up creating a faction and can assign Lords, too.
Add to this an improvement in the game's graphics – we've come a long way since 2008 after all – some new environment interactivity that the advanced AI will react to, and an all-new marriage mode that lets you tie the knot medieval style, and you have a bit of a bumper expansion here.
ount and Blade: Warband is a standalone expansion to Mount and Blade. It adds several new features, such as a multiplayer mode and some changes to the singleplayer mode. As such, I think it would be a good idea for you to wait until the price drops if you bought the first Mount and Blade, and you aren't interested in Warband's multiplayer. If you didn't get the first M&B, I recommend that you buy Warband.
Graphics: Warband's graphics are like M&B's graphics. However, there are added options (such as antialiasing) that improves Warband's appearance. Character animations have been redone. I like the new animations, as they seem smoother. Attacks while on cavalry no longer go right through your horse's head. However, the attack animations don't look as forceful as the animations in the first M&B.
Certain old meshes, like the horrible looking bandit vest, are still present in the game.
General Additions/Changes: The gameplay has been improved with additional features to spice things up. For example, players can now kick enemies, making their foes open to an attack. Throwing weapons can be switched to melee weapons with the press of a button. Enemies are more difficult to hit because the hitboxes were changed to be more accurate. Lancing now has the option of being like it was in the first M&B, or it can be made more difficult to use. The new faction, the Sarrinid Sultanate, have a very unique and interesting feel to them. There is a much larger variety of banners to choose as well.
Singleplayer: The singleplayer mode has been improved quite a bit. Instead of simply starting at a random area, like in the first game, you can choose one of five castles (one for each faction); there is also a starting quest. Factions no longer need the player's help in starting wars or making peace; they will do all of those things on their own.
There is a wider variety of areas. Villages and castles now have a more unique feel for each faction.
The player can now become a king or queen, and may marry a lord or a lord's daughter.
There are more characters and scenarios in the custom battle mode. I do find it strange that you can't just put your character in the custom battle mode, though.
Multiplayer: I find Warband's multiplayer to be enjoyable. Like in the singleplayer mode, you can give your character a unique appearance. There are a few game modes to choose from, like deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, and siege.
Server hosts can set the number bots that will spawn in the game. When you join a game, you choose between two out of the five factions, which are either random or chosen by voting players. Once you choose a side, you pick a class, which is different depending on which faction you chose. Then you choose your equipment (which is based on class) with money that you start out with and continue to earn as you gain points.