I don't know if anyone in the thread is still talking about the review or about some other petty thing, but after reading the Gamespot review, I actually think it's one of the better reviews I've read recently. It clearly points out of the negatives and positives, and at times I feel he's trying to give the game a break for being an indie title, but at the same time realises it's in a market dominated by big budget titles and really it does have flaws which the score must reflect.
I've been playing the game since .801 was released and my first experience of the game was purely combat driven. Occasionally you'd go around towns to trade, but for the most part you'd just find a party of bandits or Dark Hunters if you were plucky enough and set about hacking people to death. Rest, and repeat ad-infinitum. As the versions increased in number, this part of the game experience became more and more diluted with quest like elements and politics involving other factions and fiefs, but it was all held together by flimsy basic text and simple tasks that lacked fun and yet took up your time with all the extra travelling and cow herding you'd need to do. Whilst as a beta game we weren't too bothered as we'd seen how the game had been progressing over the years, a certain extra level of critique becomes perhaps necessary as the game reached final release stage. The development towards creating a feature-rich story based game was dropped in favour of just getting M&B realised, but so too was an overall level of completeness. Thus I can see how players unfamiliar with the game may not like it, or at least be apprehensive about Mount and Blade. The game remains very simple and basic, and its selling point is for the most part, the excellent battles. Yet getting to a point where you can fully appreciate large armies fighting and sieges takes a considerable time, and it's during that time the player is plucked into a world where they have no real direction or clue what to do, eventually stumbling upon some of the most mundane quests outside of an Elder Scrolls title. I'm actually struggling to get into the game again without wanting to cheat early on just so I can skip the tedious first 10 hours of trying to make some money and getting some renown so I can actually fight some meaningful battles.
With mods and support from the public, the game has the potential to be truly fantastic in not just the battles, but with a decent and enjoyable storyline. Until then, you can't blame some sites and magazines from awarding M&B scores below 7. Myself personally, I still love the game and the journey it took from beta though to full release. I can imagine it will be one of those games I still enjoy playing occasionally years from now.
One thing that from the review I took note of and AGREE 100% with is this:
The only drawback to the combat system is how hard it is on the wrist. Enemies circle you at numerous times during battles, forcing you to swivel around a lot to avoid getting stabbed in the back. Such continual side-to-side movement is murder on your mouse wrist. Large-scale battles during major engagements can quickly go from intense and entertaining to carpal tunnel throbbing. Take regular breathers.
I can't think of one another game that has given me wrist troubles more than M&B... aside from Daley Thompson's Decathlon or Hypersports on the ZX Spectrum. I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds M&B a bit of a strain at times!