My honest review of a 2010 Wishlist game.

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steelhoh

Recruit
I have Bannerlord on my Wishlist since 2010. After waiting 10+ years to get it released it was finally out and it had a TON of BUGS and bad reviews so I was like, hell I'll wait another year to get it polished and purchased it. Did that and bought it last week, now 80 hours in the game, here is my honest review:

Pros:
- The game is a better graphics mod than Warband, yet most female character faces can give you nightmares. They are really that ugly and creepy looking.
- Large scale battles but even with my 4000$ PC, I coundn't play with unlimited corpses as the game was starting to stutter for 5-30 seconds every couple of seconds and it took 20 minutes of fast forward combat resolution after I died to get a 1000vs800 siege to finish and I won with 10 people standing, which was epic BUT the stutter and the constant freezes made me so furious.
- Combat is pretty realistic and if you play with realistic damage, you feel fragile and powerless as you should in a big scale battle, not like the usual RAMBO-like RPGS, where you go in an slaughter thousands of men.
- It is Mount and Blade.

That's that.

Cons.
- I feel nobody from the devs played the game more than 20 hours in a single sandbox playthrough as if they did they would find out that the game has no purpose after 5 hours in.
- Smithing is OP, just craft 2h-swords = GOLD CHEAT = Easy game, just because I wanted to RP a smith merchant and roam around selling my wares, I was able to afford literally everything in the game and made that playthrough dull and had to start over.
- There is no diplomacy (you need a mod, that should have been in the game all along), If you "GO" for the end game, you find yourself getting attacked by literally everybody without time to recover your troops or protect your kingdom. While most AI kingdoms only fight 1 to 2 opponents at a time and are happy with an occasional peace treaty.
- Addition to the previous point is that if you SOMEHOW manage to get 1 kingdom to get a peace treaty signed, they break it in 5 minutes by declaring war again.
- You will get your villages constantly raided regardless if you are in an AI kingdom or your own kingdom once you are at war, so you will literally have to stand around and look after your people.
- The only viable option if you want to chase down people with a larger army is BATTARIAN, every other nation is a wheelchair and you will have to either go ALL IN CAV or trap other parties in particular terrain traps on the map.
- Once your clan hits level 4, the game is repetitive, if you are not participating in a war, you have nothing to do other than killing looters and raiders.
- Clearing raider hideouts is really a waste of time I don't get the feeling of seeing less looters or raiders in the region. Looters and raiders should be more of a threat rather than annoyance. You should be rewarded for making the region safer, seeing less looters in it, get more prosperity, happier villagers, etc.
- The renown grind is a pain in the ... Should be a default multiplier on how GRINDY you want your game to be as GRINDY is not fun, STRUGLING at the start, having almost no money next to your name, gear, companions, skills, etc, that is FUN, grinding 0.6 renown is not, having in mind I want to participate in my battles even if they are one sided, I'm not here to skip SIM battles and get my 150 T6 troops get casualties vs 20 looters, but I have to to get morale up, influence, renown, so I have to fight the looters in the meantime and literally everything (units) in red to progress.
- There should be more political stuff in the game, like pacts of non aggression, alliance pacts, trade agreements so caravans can visit certain areas, ask for aid, ask for breaking of agreements, ask a particular ai kingdom to attack another ai kingdom, bot of which you are not a member off.
- Prisoners are meaningless - execute (some rep penalty), or 2-5k... B-O-R-I-N-G. I have the KING/QUEEN of the opposite faction which my OWN personal kingdom is at war with, I want to talk with them and offer them FREEDOM for Peace or SOMETHING, ANTHING, but "I was told not to speak with you" DAFAQ? Get the Axe...You are in my custody I DECIDE who you talk with.
- Imprisoning troops in garrisons, what is the purpose of this? Shouldn't these guys be allowed to convert or get recruited while in my custody there!? Pointless feature, might as well trade them in to the broker
- Siege combat on the world map... This is hilarious I don't get the point really... The only things that matter are the towers that have the AI STUCK on the ladders and the door ram which is often destroyed by a good hit with a catapult. The attacker trebuchet and catapults almost feel as if they don't do anything.
- The game has no endgame, the mid game starts to feel repetitive, you will have more fun starting over and over again than making a longer playthrough.

Bottom line is, excuses, excuses, you can make excuses all you want for the studio being small, on a tight budget, the game is in Alpha... MAN THEY CHARGE FULL PRICE FOR A DEMO MOD OF WARBAND REMASTERED!?!?!?
The modding community has some real updates on their hands that actually do a better job than the actual devs... Most of which are a one man project, meaning either nobody in TaleWorlds is coding or that 1 guy is better, HIRE HIS FACE and lets get some work done... Currently the almost meaningless updates that you release are interfering with the MODS that actually make a difference, THUS ACTUAL GAME UPDATES ARE BAD FOR THE GAME?!?!? I know right...

When you make a difference and finish the game, I will update the review, until then, either play modded or don't bother.

I just hope the above is not treated as a whine or crying or flaming or hating thread. This is more of a disappointed fan review than anything else. Take it for what it is, I'm up for debate on any of the above. I do hope TaleWorlds take this as constructive criticism and act on improving the end game which is non existent...
 

RitoDurito

Sergeant at Arms
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
A lot of fair points in this post but I want to point out your performance is just yours, im running this on a laptop and im getting solid 60fps on high settings/unlimited corpses in very large battles/sieges if there's one thing they've done right it's performance on large battles.
 

steelhoh

Recruit
A lot of fair points in this post but I want to point out your performance is just yours, im running this on a laptop and im getting solid 60fps on high settings/unlimited corpses in very large battles/sieges if there's one thing they've done right it's performance on large battles.
I have the battle scale set to 1000 vs 1000, it is still 60 FPS capped, if I don't cap it, it displays 150+fps..., but stutters :grin: I can alt tab, I hear the ingame sounds, I can press escape and eventually I will get the menu pop up. Other people have the same issue and that's how I managed to fix it removing unlimited corpses and capping ragdolls.
 

RitoDurito

Sergeant at Arms
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
I have the battle scale set to 1000 vs 1000, it is still 60 FPS capped, if I don't cap it, it displays 150+fps..., but stutters :grin: I can alt tab, I hear the ingame sounds, I can press escape and eventually I will get the menu pop up. Other people have the same issue and that's how I managed to fix it removing unlimited corpses and capping ragdolls.
I wouldnt call it an issue, just reduce the battles scale down slowly until it becomes smooth enough to be enjoyable on your systems limits, this is why taleworlds puts limits in the game that you cant see, such as unlimted corpses isnt actually unlimited but if it were you'd be complaining about poor performance/crashing.

"the stutter and the constant freezes made me so furious."
Just my opinion but I think it's unfair to criticize the performance when you're doing it to yourself, play at a setting your rig can handle.
 
i hope one day this game will live up to its full potential.

sadly when i see that after 10+ years of development the patch notes still contain so many crash-fixing bugs instead of polishing intricate diplomatic systems as the OP suggest i realise that this is as good as it gets.
 

Scav

Recruit
I wouldn't normally waste my time with low-effort rants, but I think you need to be made aware of a few things.

1. This is not a review - this is a personal rant of your own gripes with the game. At no point do you offer simple review sequences - offer example, explain issue and ramifications, suggest improvements.

2. The modders are creating barebones code on a framework that TaleWorlds built - the brunt of this game is the engine, which is what the developers are mostly working on. If you were to dig into how games are made, you would have a better overview of this.

3. As others said, your performance is most likely due to your rig, set-up, software, or other personal limitations. I have a reasonable build - do compare it using the website I linked - and I have no stuttering, FPS or lag issues as of 1.7.0. If you need help in figuring out what causes, I'll be happy to help.

4. The game isn't full price - it's 39 quid, whereas a full price is 49 quid.

5. Regardless of whether you consider it an excuse or not, or whether you like it or not, the game is still in Early Access. You have not purchased a complete product, and plenty of content will still be added. If you would like to contribute, put more effort into your feedback, research current feedback and development roadmap, support the ideas you want to see implemented and suggest those you haven't already found.

Good luck.
 

froggyluv

Grandmaster Knight
NW
Nice but absolutely everything you've expressed, said, raged about and complimented has been said on these boards 10,000 over. Hope you feel better anyways
 

TengriBless

Veteran
MAN THEY CHARGE FULL PRICE FOR A DEMO MOD OF WARBAND REMASTERED!?!?!?
this-guy-gets-it-nick-offerman.gif

and plenty of content will still be added
Take bets gentlemen, troll or future doomer? I vote troll.
 
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Hans 77

Knight
WBWF&SVC
- Combat is pretty realistic and if you play with realistic damage, you feel fragile and powerless as you should in a big scale battle, not like the usual RAMBO-like RPGS, where you go in an slaughter thousands of men.

I would argue that having high-end/elite armor be the functional equivalent of tissue paper is rather unrealistic. I think Warband struck a pretty good balance with this, with high quality armor giving you some staying power in a battle, while at the same time if you got surrounded or hit by strong enemies you were still very mortal.

Bannerlord just encourages players to play battles and sieges as passively as possible, staying back instead of actively participating in the fighting (which is, you know, the fun part). This is a huge mistake as it removes one of the more enjoyable and rewarding facets of the Mount & Blade franchise.

Thus, it's a major con.
 

Bluko88

Regular
- The game has no endgame, the mid game starts to feel repetitive, you will have more fun starting over and over again than making a longer playthrough.

Bottom line is, excuses, excuses, you can make excuses all you want for the studio being small, on a tight budget, the game is in Alpha... MAN THEY CHARGE FULL PRICE FOR A DEMO MOD OF WARBAND REMASTERED!?!?!?
The modding community has some real updates on their hands that actually do a better job than the actual devs... Most of which are a one man project, meaning either nobody in TaleWorlds is coding or that 1 guy is better, HIRE HIS FACE and lets get some work done... Currently the almost meaningless updates that you release are interfering with the MODS that actually make a difference, THUS ACTUAL GAME UPDATES ARE BAD FOR THE GAME?!?!? I know right...

When you make a difference and finish the game, I will update the review, until then, either play modded or don't bother.
Yep.

I respect the game is something of a War Sandbox, but it is horribly grindy, especially with skills. And the characters are all just mindless robots in the worst way. I don't expect tons of unique voiced dialogue, but at least flesh out the Trait systems into... something. Have characters that actually adhere to their traits an respond in appropriate manner. Perhaps as importantly have ways to meaningful gain/lose traits too. There's no roleplaying in this game other than whatever you headcanon your character as.

But like you said worst part is there's no real endgame. I mean becoming Faction Leader maybe? Everything is so repetitive and inconsequential though it's hard to stomach getting to that point. You can't order parties or even set simple objectives to make it worthwhile. As King you'd think you could at least give armies orders to take a castle/town. Like you said OP, game is only fun in the beginning where looters/brigands are something of a threat and every bit of gold/loot matters. Soon as you join a faction it's just endless back and forth war.

Honestly TW needs to wrap up the Battle Terrain Map system, so modders can have a solid release to just work around to their hearts content. Then the game can be some measure of fun. I don't know how anyone defends TW at this point. Smithing for instance could be a decent mini-game, but the random unlocking is absolutely terrible, and how hard would it be to code in a point based unlock? Or more novel, you learn said parts by dismantling equipment it's part of?

Probably the game's biggest problem is there's no penalty for defeat. Nobles once they are back on the map; are usually back at full party strength in a few days. No renown or influence loss at all, which just boggles my mind. Like who would follow a King who constantly gets himself captured? That's the real problem. Cleared a Brigand Den? Doesn't matter will respawn in few days. Captured the enemy King? Doesn't matter he'll escape quickly or his faction will operate business as usual til he's free. Captured a town? Enemy will come right back and take it.

Truthfully yes every player wants different things to some degree, and ideally that's what mods would cater to. But when you have folks almost universally clamoring for certain features like PARTY SORTING and it basically not happening, hard to be supportive, much less optimistic.
 

kekkuli5

Regular
I would argue that having high-end/elite armor be the functional equivalent of tissue paper is rather unrealistic. I think Warband struck a pretty good balance with this, with high quality armor giving you some staying power in a battle, while at the same time if you got surrounded or hit by strong enemies you were still very mortal.

Bannerlord just encourages players to play battles and sieges as passively as possible, staying back instead of actively participating in the fighting (which is, you know, the fun part). This is a huge mistake as it removes one of the more enjoyable and rewarding facets of the Mount & Blade franchise.

Thus, it's a major con.

Totally agree. Armor as it's currently implemented is just bad, and If they wanted to make RTS game they should've. I personally enjoy the fighting part, not micromanaging my troops like crazy all the time.
 

five bucks

Knight
MAN THEY CHARGE FULL PRICE FOR A DEMO MOD OF WARBAND REMASTERED!?!?!?
Not quite. It would be more accurate to say it does lots of things better than Warband and does lots of things worse than Warband.

They're charging full, AAA price (with a discount) for a sidegrade sequel to a game that released 10 years ago.
Which is of course not great.

With that said every patch gets the game closer to being a good sequel and all-around improvement over Warband. 1.7.0 was a good patch.
Looters and raiders should be more of a threat rather than annoyance
They should make bandits and raiders more common and reduce the number of looters, but looters are fine the way they are- they're meant to be the Goomba of Bannerlord, an easily beaten enemy who is only a real threat to the player at the very start of the game.

By the mid and late game looters should be easily slaughtered so the player can feel that they have progressed forward. Whereas Forest Bandits, Steppe Bandits, Sea Raiders etc. should remain a challenge into the mid game.

If anything armor should be fixed so that once you have late game equipment, looters can barely damage you at all.
Combat is pretty realistic and if you play with realistic damage, you feel fragile and powerless as you should in a big scale battle
There have been many discussions with piles of historial evidence and modern test videos that have all come to the conclusion that Bannerlord's treatment of armour is very unrealistic, especially when it comes to ranged weapons.

This article is always a good start: http://myarmoury.com/feature_mail.html

And this test on lamellar, in the second half of the video, shows how hard it is to penetrate even in optimal conditions for the shooter:

Warriors who had good quality armour were far from "fragile and powerless" in large scale battles. King Richard 1 of England spent much of his life, from the age of 16, right in the thick of battles fighting personally. He was able to do this due to his good armour.

But realism aside, highly armoured troops being barely better at surviving than lightly armoured ones also isn't good for gameplay. It makes buying high quality armor for literally billions of denars a waste of time when it barely increases your protection compared to just wearing cheap cloth. It is unsatisfying for the player's sense of progression. It also means the player is strongly discouraged from having fun taking part in large battles, because they could die at any time from a handful of stray arrows, a common occurrence in sieges. It makes battles end too quickly, the average battle only lasting 3 minutes because everyone dies so easily. It makes high tier units far less effective than they feel like they should be. And it makes archers and horse archers seriously overpowered.

@Hans 77 is correct, Warband got armour right the first time and people liked it.
Imprisoning troops in garrisons, what is the purpose of this?
Gives you Influence and I think the owner of the garrison sells them off later. You can also store them so they don't slow down your party then come back for them later to convert or sell.
The attacker trebuchet and catapults almost feel as if they don't do anything.
Catapults can often pick up a good amount of kills and do great anti-siege weapon damage. They aren't as reliable as a ballista at killing, but in the hands of the player who has set up a cata in a good spot and knows how to aim it they are absolutely devastating.

Trebuchets aren't meant to be useful during an actual siege battle, though occasionally they get a lucky hit. Their primary purpose is for the overworld phase of the siege, being the best in the overworld at knocking down walls and destroying siege engines. So, this is balanced by them not being good in the battle. It's also realistic. In real life in the 1000s, trebuchets could take weeks to destroy a good stone wall, see for example the siege of Rochester Castle. And if trebuchets were good in the battle AND the best in the overworld they would be overpowered.

Agree with the rest of your post!
 
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Bluko88

Regular
The 1.7 honeymoon didn't last long...

Well I stopped playing 9 months ago, so yeah I'm definitely jaded.

For me it's like wow this is great they're using the siege ladders, and then I remember all the hours wasted with broken sieges. Then it dawns on me how it probably would've been a lot better had this fix been released, like IDK a year ago in 2020. So we the common rabble could actually appropriately playtest sieges to better troubleshoot other issues with sieges. But here we are probably a few months from release and now we're trying to cram in the Battle Terrain Map system to boot as well. I do not have high hopes the actual release will be in good working order, nevermind it'll be lacking many promised/QoL features.

But hey let's give TW another 10 years. Honestly I'm 95% certain TW only cares about porting this to consoles and maybe trying to sell some DLC. Too many people fell for the hype, bought the game EA, and now TW (particularly from the Publisher/Financial side) have very little incentive to really see things through. I'm sure some of the Devs want Bannerlord to be it's very best, but if there's no drive from leadership - these things may not happen.

There have been many discussions with piles of historial evidence and modern test videos that have all come to the conclusion that Bannerlord's treatment of armour is very unrealistic, especially when it comes to ranged weapons.

This article is always a good start: http://myarmoury.com/feature_mail.html

And this test on lamellar, in the second half of the video, shows how hard it is to penetrate even in optimal conditions for the shooter:

Warriors who had good quality armour were far from "fragile and powerless" in large scale battles. King Richard 1 of England spent much of his life, from the age of 16, right in the thick of battles fighting personally. He was able to do this due to his good armour.


@Hans 77 is correct, Warband got armour right the first time and people liked it.

You think TW is going to do anything to address the terrible armor system? Unless we're on a 2023 release it ain't happening. Maybe it's part of another big secret patch here. One could only hope... Honestly they need to reduce the equipment prices, no reason that can't be done easily. Even the finest chestplate shouldn't be worth 10 Blacksmith shops. Be truly laughable if Imperial Scale is still going for 200,000 at official release. Shouldn't be more then 20,000.

Equipment in general is kind of bad, since it's really just there for the player to make $$$. The economy was a great idea, but it's not really realized other then food. You should need weapons/armor to upgrade troops. I don't think they are a consumable of towns, though I may be mistaken. It's especially annoying as you need horses for upgrades, but horse production still seems very wonky to me.
 
I would argue that having high-end/elite armor be the functional equivalent of tissue paper is rather unrealistic.

Omg my suspicions were right.

I'm totally clueless about medieval armor but to me it just didn't feel right that a single sword slash produced so much damage to high end chain mail armor.

Didn't do any testing but always wondered if there's a difference between leather gear and chain mail or steel armor.

Never saw anyone bring this up before though so I kept my ignorant ass shut.
 

five bucks

Knight
You think TW is going to do anything to address the terrible armor system? Unless we're on a 2023 release it ain't happening. Maybe it's part of another big secret patch here.
In theory they will because it's mentioned in their Future Plans statement, tucked away in the "Other" section.
"Of course, we will also be working on maintaining, balancing and improving all of the existing singleplayer features and content. This is including further AI fixes and improvements, for sieges in particular, as well as, a continued effort to improve performance across the board. This extends to the polishing of any newly introduced content, such as War & Peace reasons, and balancing existing mechanics like Birth & Death rates, skill experience gains, and armour effectiveness."
It's especially annoying as you need horses for upgrades, but horse production still seems very wonky to me.
Yeah needing horses for upgrades but not equipment is a little strange. However I don't think it would be fun to have to source all equipment for troops as well. I would have preferred that troops didn't need horses to level up at all and it was just a part of their upgrade cost. But, these things are ultimately pretty minor.
 
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