Bannerlord through Nvidia Shield, with an Nvidia Shield Controller... a review.

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So don't laugh, but I am a Mac user (I worked in music production) and have been playing Bannerlord since release on GeForce Now; I have a 500mbps internet connection so it always runs beautifully. Recently, the Nvidia Shield caught my eye (streaming games like Cyberpunk in upscaled 4k, on my 65" OLED TV? How could that be a bad thing?), and I ended up purchasing the Pro version with the Shield brand gamepad/controller.
As of now, I have spent about 11 hours attempting to get Bannerlord at least half-playable through streaming with a controller (it's been a very frustrating day!) and when I posted this on a FB group, a lot of people were very interested as to whether it could work while they wait for a console version to be released, so I thought I would copy this review onto the forum, in case anyone else might be interested!

So the first problem (that I ran into within minutes of booting the games) is that the 'partial controller support' TW claims to have put in the game is a complete waste of time. As in, you can't even get past the Vanilla/Mod selection screen that opens when you launch, because their controller support does not recognise the controller joysticks as a mouse. I managed to override this with a virtual keyboard app.

So finally I got into the game, at which point it DID start recognising the sticks as a mouse (really odd), started a new campaign, and got into a fight with looters immediately. At this point I discovered that while the triggers do work as attack/defense inputs, there was no mapped controls for changing weapons, jumping (not a big deal) or crouching (again, not a big deal). HOWEVER... the controller did have haptic feedback, which actually felt great and I was surprised was enabled considering the other options that the game did not seem to have for gamepads. I also found that though ranged combat with a controller was tricky (probably because I'm a noob who is used to aim assist whenever I've used controllers), melee combat was incredibly satisfying and actually felt really good. I actually preferred it to using a keyboard, but not for ranged.

The controls on the main map were an absolute pain in the ass however; no shortcuts mapped for any tabs (or if there was, they didn't work), no fast forward or pause button, and the zoom functions on the triggers instantly send the camera out as far as it will go, which was a shame. I ended up using a virtual keyboard to navigate, but it took minutes to do actions that would have taken seconds with a mouse.
So I took to Steam (getting onto Steam dashboard itself on an Nvidia Shield is an absolute nightmare, as there is no standalone app) and went into the controller configurator, where I found several control schemes made by community members with radial menus, decent mapping etc.
Long story short... these remaps do not work with streamed games on GeForce Now (or at least didn't on mine) because the Shield won't open the Steam overlay without a keyboard. Plus every time I wanted to check if the remap HAD worked, I had to close Bannerlord, close GFN, reopen the entire game, minimise it (the only way to get into Steam dashboard), make my changes and then load the whole game in to see if it worked, then repeat when it didn't, so it took forever!
Without remapping in its current state, there is no way (that I could find) that you can give orders to your troops at all; it doesn't help that TW haven't actually given the control scheme to their controller mapping, so I don't really know why they even bothered giving it any controller support. You can't even make them charge; they just stand there until they have to defend themselves.

On the bright side, Bannerlord looks absolutely incredible on a huge TV upscaled to 4K; the textures are stunning, the scale is incredible, and GFN does a great job of running it perfectly smooth, at the highest possible settings, with the highest current possible number of units on the field, without a single drop in frame rate. Plus the haptic feedback felt great when crunching into an enemy shield wall!
 
So the first problem (that I ran into within minutes of booting the games) is that the 'partial controller support' TW claims to have put in the game is a complete waste of time. As in, you can't even get past the Vanilla/Mod selection screen that opens when you launch, because their controller support does not recognise the controller joysticks as a mouse. I managed to override this with a virtual keyboard app.

So finally I got into the game, at which point it DID start recognising the sticks as a mouse (really odd),
Classical Taleworlds :grin:
 
+1 for your time giving constructive feedback.
Thanks! I wouldn’t normally have stuck with it that long to get it working, but honestly once you’ve experienced it on that size screen, alongside the haptic feedback, it just felt worth the time. I would really struggle to go back to playing it on a 16” monitor now; it really shows the intricacies that TW has put into the lighting and textures
 

Nalgasucia507

Sergeant at Arms
Thanks! I wouldn’t normally have stuck with it that long to get it working, but honestly once you’ve experienced it on that size screen, alongside the haptic feedback, it just felt worth the time. I would really struggle to go back to playing it on a 16” monitor now; it really shows the intricacies that TW has put into the lighting and textures

I myself have a huge 48'' tv screen for my gaming rig. Ill get my xbox controller later for me to play with controller. I know what you mean kinda. BL is beautiful.
 

MBeagleguy

Regular
Nice, thorough review. I was actually contemplating buying an Nvidia Shield and I still might as it has multiple functions beyond gaming. But your information is helpful in terms of the gaming experience. Thanks for sharing with us.
 
Nice, thorough review. I was actually contemplating buying an Nvidia Shield and I still might as it has multiple functions beyond gaming. But your information is helpful in terms of the gaming experience. Thanks for sharing with us.
Yeah it’s great for the usual Netflix sorta stuff too; I have Apple TV already though. I use mine as an emulator and for streaming GOG and Steam and it’s excellent for that unless you have to go into settings to map controllers!
 
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