It’s hard to write reviews for games you love. And yes… we love Mount & Blade: Warband – Napoleonic Wars. It’s not that we’re amateur Napoleonic War historians. Conceptually, we had a preconceived notion that a multiplayer shooter using muskets would be a horrible idea.
Based on the fact that Napoleonic Wars sheds its skin of Warband Vanilla, and only exists as a multiplayer add-on, we wanted to HATE Napoleonic Wars. But after a few nights of playing the game, there is no doubt that this is one addictive little expansion pack. And we were dead dead dead wrong in our preconceived notions. The Mount & Blade series tends to do that to you.
For a meek $10, Napoleonic Wars turns one of the most addictive PC games of all time into a completely different and equally addictive PC experience. NW on the surface appears to be quite simple. Select a class, get on the battlefield and kill your enemy. But it’s not that simple.
Weaponry during the Napoleonic Wars were completely different than what we’re used to playing with today. Some may call these weapons more elegant, while others will call them irrelevant, clunky machines that couldn’t be fired accurately for squat. Both parties are sort of right.
As an infantryman, your firearm will only load and fire one incredibly deadly round at a time. After firing, it will take several seconds to reload during which you cannot move, or else you need to restart the reloading process all over again. If you’re caught in a pickle, you can switch to melee mode in hopes of stabbing your enemies to death with your bayonet.
This drastic shift in gaming dynamic will completely change the way you approach Napoleonic Wars. Players who run willy nilly into the line of fire will die early, and depending on the game mode and server, they may have to wait several minutes before respawning for the next match. That’s right. One bullet will kill you for an entire round which may take up to 15 minutes. This forces players to move in groups for both protection and an increased chance of hitting your enemies with your inaccurate weaponry.
Aside from infantry, you can also play as a member of the cavalry, where you trade off protection and accuracy with speed, maneuverability, and a nasty saber swing that will likely catch a few unsuspecting foot soldiers off guard.
Then there’s the engineers who can build up strategic defenses for your allies to hide behind, or you can craft deadly explosives to flush your enemies out of hiding places. Engineers are also the only ones with the lovely ability to fire the game’s artillery.
Last, but certainly not least, are the support classes, namely the musicians, who provide buffs for their surrounding allies like increased accuracy and reload times.
And to top off this towering cake of icing and awesomeness is the ability to play on dozens of different maps on dedicated servers supporting up to 200 players at a time.
It almost makes 64-player servers seem silly.
On the downside of Napoleonic Wars are the obvious defects. For starters, the graphics might not be up to par for most modern gamers. The environments and characters aren’t mega-detailed. The game has clipping issues out the wazoo (but don’t seem to be exploitable). And the controls, namely jumping and blocking, can get a little wonky. But we can’t stress enough that the gameplay FAR outweighs these negative points. And as an added bonus, the online community swirling around this game is one of the nicest and most welcoming crowds we’ve encountered this generation which gets HUGE plus marks in our books.
Again, we LOVE Napoleonic Wars and we urge you to give it a try. If you’re a PC gamer and you haven’t at least tried Mount & Blade: Warband, shame on you. If you already own Warband, then you should seriously consider picking up Napoleonic Wars. It is an absolute shame that there is no single player campaign attached to this wonderful.
Name: Mount & Blade: Warband – Napoleonic Wars
Available on: PC
Developed by: Flying Squirrel
Published by: Paradox Interactive
Release date: April 19, 2012
Elder-Geek Score: 4 out of 5 / Worth Buying