"Bannerlord is a good game"...

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Tasak

Knight at Arms
... says 85% of Steam reviews and an overwhelming majority of Metacritic reviewers. How so? Does that mean that:
  • Bannerlord is a good game and a small minority writing on here criticizing it makes an impression it is bad?
  • Bannerlord is a bad game, but most people who bought it (such as teens) had lower standards as compared to Warband players, therefore they left good reviews?
Please explain it to me since I am confused. If TaleWorlds sell Bannerlord for the same high amount of money they charged in 2020, it must mean it succeeded, right?
 
The game isn't bad, but it isn't good either and it certainly isn't what people on these forums wanted. It lacks any depth or replay ability because the end game is endless wars with little to no downtime. There is so little player agency and it often feels like the game is just playing itself and the player is just watching from the sidelines. It also suffers from having so many game mechanics that are thrown in but really aren't integrated into the game and feels shallow or out of place. Unfortunately most of the problems aren't noticeable until you get 20+ hours into the game and on 1 play through probably are that big of an issue for many. But for many M&B veterans the more you play it the more the luster wears off.

Fyi an 85% isn't great I typically won't touch a game unless it's 90% or better unless it's something I'm really into. If you look at the reviews themselves there are plenty of those positive reviews that are ea reviews saying the game has potential or it's buggy but they think it will get better etc. I don't hate the game but it's more frustrating for me than enjoyable and that's why I put it down and won't play it anymore. In the future if this game is ever actually done and there are good mods I might go try to play it. But if I want to be frustrated at a game I'll go back to Dark Souls at least when **** goes sideways it's because I did something wrong instead of the game mechanics frustrating me to no end. Just my 2 cents.
 
Steam's review system is intentionally horrible because it's designed to overinflate ratings. The more games have "Very positive" scores, the more keys Steam sells.
In my experience, 85% rating is basically a coin toss. Game's actual quality can range from unplayable hot garbage to legitimately amazing experience.

Another point to consider is that there's no way to separate people who leave reviews for vanilla Bannerlord from people who mod the game into oblivion basically making it a completely different product.

Personality, for me Bannerlord is around 5/10. This score would be much higher is TaleWorlds marketed it as a modding platform, because that's basically what it is. As a standalone game Bannerlord is just not good - shallow, repetitive, extremely poorly designed in some areas, lacking the most basic QoL features, etc.
 
Lads. Your are forgetting some importent things here. First is called hope. Second imagination.

Then we have the total war fans. Who spent years watching those smal dudes on the wall and wished nothing more then to control one of them. Guess what! Now we can!
So go grab a big axe. Man a wall and smash someone in the head!

And when you combine those you get awhole bunch of player who love the idea of standing on wall with a big twohanded axe and we see what this game can become. And our hope is much stronger then your disappointment.

Me i am old enough to remember the very first videos of mount and blade 1 in early beta. Seeing the change from then to now is amazing to be apart of.
 
Lads. Your are forgetting some importent things here. First is called hope. Second imagination.

Then we have the total war fans. Who spent years watching those smal dudes on the wall and wished nothing more then to control one of them. Guess what! Now we can!
So go grab a big axe. Man a wall and smash someone in the head!

And when you combine those you get awhole bunch of player who love the idea of standing on wall with a big twohanded axe and we see what this game can become. And our hope is much stronger then your disappointment.

Me i am old enough to remember the very first videos of mount and blade 1 in early beta. Seeing the change from then to now is amazing to be apart of.
Oh yea man us old geezers love this friggen game I’m on xbox serious x too (pun intended) and just being able to recruit bandits is awsome I love this game and hope they don’t relie on modders for excellent quality content and hope they support for yrs
 
Hello TW warrior.Im not gonna make a review myself here but those reviews rely on what does it offer in general and i mean mods and on the fact that there is no other game like this.And Bannerlord exists only because of mods.They made the least possible to make it stand as a "game" and they rely on us to make a game out of it while they get the money.No its not good.There is a general idea besides personal preferences which makes a game good or not.And bannerlord isnt even a game.
 
It's a good game that is very replayable with some very noticeable flaws (e.g. the AI characters lacking personality, lack of meaningful diplomacy, bad campaign "story"). However, it's not a great or a profound game, and while greatness is achievable (and will happen if the game receives further development), the latter is not. It's similar to other sandbox experiences where you create your own value. Bannerlord is a McDonald's meal rather than a meal at a Michelin star restaurant, it's a marvel movie, not Schindler's list. If you approach the game this way, it will become better in your mind. The mods are what truly makes the game "great" and many great ones like the Old Realms are already available or will soon be. But no matter how heavily you mod it, the game you're playing always uses most of the systems of the base game.

In my mind, Bannerlord with 1.2 has faaar surpassed Warband, and has surpassed Viking Conquest, my formerly favourite entry to the franchise until I replayed it last week, now Bannerlord is by far my favourite. "Success" is a very intangible concept, but in my mind, the core gameplay of Bannerlord is very successful in providing fun to me despite its flaws, even if the novelty of M&B has passed. You need to remember that people who focus on the negatives are always the most vocal in a community.
 
Hello TW warrior.Im not gonna make a review myself here but those reviews rely on what does it offer in general and i mean mods and on the fact that there is no other game like this.And Bannerlord exists only because of mods.They made the least possible to make it stand as a "game" and they rely on us to make a game out of it while they get the money.No its not good.There is a general idea besides personal preferences which makes a game good or not.And bannerlord isnt even a game.
Thats how most countries in the world are designed. If all the volunteer work ended it would be as chaotic as if a global war started. There is most like more work being done in the world without pay then with pay. And entire societies rely on them. I myself do free work without pay that in the end gives money in the pocket to those that run fishing tackle store, fishing guides, those that sell the fishing cards, people who rent out cottages, the food store. In plain word turism. Me i only have expenses.
Just in the last 5 years i have done atleast 600 hours of such free work that gives other people money. And i feel very sure other countries work in simular ways.
So why should the gaming world be different?
 
1. You have to have pre-existing expectations to get disappointed by XYZ feature not being in the game. 2. You have to have a lot of knowledge about the game's mechanics to find flaws with them. 3. You need to have knowledge of many different versions and changes of the game during EA to be annoyed by this aspect such as "X was better before they did Y". 4. Yeah people do have low standards. 5. People do not finish games or play as much as most "warband fanatics" do, so they find fewer flaws.

So if you buy the game and play it to mid game and put it down when you get born, most people will say it was pretty good. If you play to map completion or play multiple times, players start to question "why can't I XYZ?", "does ABC actually do what ABC says?" "Are they ever going to add pickles, I like pickles, I think pickles would make the game much better".
 
It's a good game if you're just curious about it and gonna play for a few days then move on. It's a huge dissapointment if this franchaise is more like a hobby to you. You come home afer work, spend time with your family or do some other things necessary you gotta do. Finally you have some personal time and you want to play Bannerlord. Then this game turns into a really bad project made by incompetent devs.
 
Bannerlord is a good game with Bannerkings and several other mods that add depth and make it interesting.
 
It's a good game that is very replayable with some very noticeable flaws (e.g. the AI characters lacking personality, lack of meaningful diplomacy, bad campaign "story"). However, it's not a great or a profound game, and while greatness is achievable (and will happen if the game receives further development), the latter is not. It's similar to other sandbox experiences where you create your own value. Bannerlord is a McDonald's meal rather than a meal at a Michelin star restaurant, it's a marvel movie, not Schindler's list. If you approach the game this way, it will become better in your mind. The mods are what truly makes the game "great" and many great ones like the Old Realms are already available or will soon be. But no matter how heavily you mod it, the game you're playing always uses most of the systems of the base game.

In my mind, Bannerlord with 1.2 has faaar surpassed Warband, and has surpassed Viking Conquest, my formerly favourite entry to the franchise until I replayed it last week, now Bannerlord is by far my favourite. "Success" is a very intangible concept, but in my mind, the core gameplay of Bannerlord is very successful in providing fun to me despite its flaws, even if the novelty of M&B has passed. You need to remember that people who focus on the negatives are always the most vocal in a community.
The big hangup I have with vanilla Bannerlord is that there is very little character progression when it comes to personal combat skill. Even when your weapon skill is less than 30 tournaments are quite easy, the difference between an early-game and endgame character is what gear he wears, and how many troops and clan members he can call upon. It seems much more like a strategy game than the RPG progression system of Warband. RBM fixes this for the most part.. but it also crashes to desktop every 20 minutes (using Proton GE).
 
Thanks for all the replies, the read has been pretty eye-opening. I think I will pick the game up when it is on sale this December.
 
The big hangup I have with vanilla Bannerlord is that there is very little character progression when it comes to personal combat skill. Even when your weapon skill is less than 30 tournaments are quite easy, the difference between an early-game and endgame character is what gear he wears, and how many troops and clan members he can call upon. It seems much more like a strategy game than the RPG progression system of Warband. RBM fixes this for the most part.. but it also crashes to desktop every 20 minutes (using Proton GE).
When talking about weapon skills without perks, agreed. Otherwise I disagree. One thing I really haven't missed about Warband was that so much of its tournaments' difficulty relied on bull**** such as giving the enemy a 2H sword and you a dagger. Also, while weapon skill levels (no perks) don't affect that much in Bannerlord, it in my experience didn't affect me much in Viking Conquest either (I had a warrior build with 22 STR with 10 ironflesh, power strike & power throw, 8 weapon master & about 350 proficiency in 1h, 2h & throwing at the end of the story mode). The rhythm of a fight was always attack -> block -> attack ad nauseam. What made me feel strong in VC was the fully upgraded Orm's Scale (please bring equipment upgrading mechanic in towns to Bannerlord TW, I'm begging you). What scales really nicely in Bannerlord is athletics & riding.

Of course, since the scale is about 6,5x larger than Warband at max troop count, you need to kill 6,5x more troops just to be as viable, which is not really that feasible. I agree overall that CNG, SOC & INT builds are much stronger than warrior builds, so you as a fighter feel inconsequential most of the time.
 
The game isn't bad when you consider mods, and the vanilla experience is okay too when you are new to the formula. I understand casuals recommending it, it's the only recent game that does that. The main problem I have with the people liking the game is that they are praising TW for doing the bare minimum and TW gets away with it. So many features are copy-pasted from warband with 0 improvements and modernization, some are somehow worse, such as weddings, and some didn't even get ported to BL, you have 3 times the same faction in the game with just different colors, and textures of armors are pathetic when compared to armor mod packs, the updates are slow and unimpressive, and worst of all, you still have no endgame in the so-called full release, it's just pure grind of pointless battles.

And then you have multiplayer which is even worse, an absolute middle finger to the warband community.
 
the 77% is about right. The things that the game is trying to do are very cool, but there are so many AI and design issues that the game doesn't quite work. You can hop into fights and have fun, but you might spend 10 hours of grinding play to find 2 hours of decent fights
 
Bannerlord is a good game with Bannerkings and several other mods that add depth and make it interesting.

Not really as its not properly calibrated. Im running around with a 150 sized party while all the lords are running around with 20-40... and there are zero Wars happening leaving a largely lifeless world. I have to find mods to correct the mods. This is the crux of the problems of "relying on mods to give you a calibrated game". -they have no such obligation as they do it as a hobby as they see fit.
 
Not really as its not properly calibrated. Im running around with a 150 sized party while all the lords are running around with 20-40... and there are zero Wars happening leaving a largely lifeless world. I have to find mods to correct the mods. This is the crux of the problems of "relying on mods to give you a calibrated game". -they have no such obligation as they do it as a hobby as they see fit.
I'm having similar problems but Bannerkings additions are pretty cool enough for me to work around them. You should deactivate the diplomacy option on the Bannerkings tab, that should help a bit
 
When talking about weapon skills without perks, agreed. Otherwise I disagree. One thing I really haven't missed about Warband was that so much of its tournaments' difficulty relied on bull**** such as giving the enemy a 2H sword and you a dagger. Also, while weapon skill levels (no perks) don't affect that much in Bannerlord, it in my experience didn't affect me much in Viking Conquest either (I had a warrior build with 22 STR with 10 ironflesh, power strike & power throw, 8 weapon master & about 350 proficiency in 1h, 2h & throwing at the end of the story mode). The rhythm of a fight was always attack -> block -> attack ad nauseam. What made me feel strong in VC was the fully upgraded Orm's Scale (please bring equipment upgrading mechanic in towns to Bannerlord TW, I'm begging you). What scales really nicely in Bannerlord is athletics & riding.

Of course, since the scale is about 6,5x larger than Warband at max troop count, you need to kill 6,5x more troops just to be as viable, which is not really that feasible. I agree overall that CNG, SOC & INT builds are much stronger than warrior builds, so you as a fighter feel inconsequential most of the time.
On their own, weapon proficiencies in Warband are about as impactful as Bannerlord, but in Warband they stack multiplicatively with the power skills so that together a warrior companion or high-tier troop is quite valuable. In Bannerlord this secondary multiplier doesn't exist, so your companions are mainly for captain skills, and you level troops for their gear.

As for party-buffing skills, Warband skills are more impactful as well, which makes sense because they had to be competitive with the smaller party sizes. 10 Surgery and Wound Treatment in Warband triples your healing rate and reduces your troop death rate to about 1/3rd of the base value, and 10 path-finding and spotting lets you catch parties half your size, and see them at twice the distance.
 
On their own, weapon proficiencies in Warband are about as impactful as Bannerlord, but in Warband they stack multiplicatively with the power skills so that together a warrior companion or high-tier troop is quite valuable. In Bannerlord this secondary multiplier doesn't exist, so your companions are mainly for captain skills, and you level troops for their gear.
That is true, I always forget that power strike & similar skills are compounding. Though some things Bannerlord has better are perks giving additional effects such as shield penetration for javelins and smithing weapons for optimal AI use. Grinding companions is a very lengthy process in BL not gonna lie, but they can become so OP thay you can take over towns with 10 of them.
As for party-buffing skills, Warband skills are more impactful as well, which makes sense because they had to be competitive with the smaller party sizes. 10 Surgery and Wound Treatment in Warband triples your healing rate and reduces your troop death rate to about 1/3rd of the base value, and 10 path-finding and spotting lets you catch parties half your size, and see them at twice the didistance.
I fully agree that party skills were stronger in WB (except for some combos like free recruitment of bandits & upgrading them to noble troops), but I mostly prefer how they are in BL, because they were too OP. You could have something like a 94% survival rate with 14 surgery and you could insta upgrade units with high training skill. As silly as it may sound, I prefer being able to upgrade units by discarding items, since there is a trade-off for doing so where the costs can quickly add-up over time.
 
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