Mount & Blade: Warband may be ugly, but it hides a surprisingly transformative depth.
If you missed out on the fuss about Mount & Blade: Warband, let us quickly fill you in. It is a popular medieval simulator ported from PC, in which you create your character and their backstory and set off into the world. What you do from there is up to you, whether you choose to go and be a swine or a sweetheart. You’re not going to step off into the world looking like Brad Pitt or Kim K, but you’ll bear a passing resemblance to human that looks as though it emerged from Dragon’s Dogma’s character creator.
The safest place to start is the tutorial, and for a good reason. The combat on Xbox One is just terrible, and combat on horseback is nothing short of torture, but I’ll touch on horseback combat mechanics in a moment. Long ranged combat — using bow and arrows, javelins and crossbows is tolerable, yet still somewhat inaccurate judging on having to aim high and to the left to make contact with the skulls you have to hit. The sword mechanics are painful. Using the right trigger button to attack, you also have to aim the right stick to perform the strike at that direction. An overhead slash is performed by pushing up, but the camera is also mapped to the right stick! While I’m fighting against stunted and gormless looking AI opponents who wouldn’t be out of place in an HG Wells movie, I don’t want to feel like I’m flailing wildly with a sword. You don’t have to use directional attacks, but they do help, especially since your opponent will certainly use them against you.