Plans suck. Sure, they’re useful, but plans often don’t work out. That’s why we have proverbs like “People plan, God laughs” and “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”. At this intersection of planning and punching, we set our stories and live our lessons. What to do when a plan fails? Do you have what it takes to adapt?
This is just one of many core questions Mount and Blade: Bannerlord 2 by TaleWorlds Entertainment. It’s a genre in itself, a massive medieval wargame that takes care of everything from the number of archers in your entourage to the price of the olives in the market. Profound, meticulous and oddly compelling, banner lord 2 is everything you want (and maybe too much) in an Arthurian fantasy.
banner lord 2 is exactly the kind of game you want on Game Pass. It’s very much a “try before you buy” situation because it’s a complex game that can also be very simple and at times frustratingly vague. Veterans of the franchise know what they’re getting into and have eagerly signed up for this long-awaited sequel, which expands on the castle siege mechanics at the core of the experience.
New players will probably be confused by the game world. A very simple tutorial will take you through some rudimentary combat and a few simple missions before launching yourself onto Calradia to establish your legacy. It doesn’t cover the myriad of problems you’ll encounter, like paying and feeding troops, managing your reputation, diplomacy with factions, and baby-making directly. The key to enjoy banner lord 2 As a new player, it’s important to save early and often so you can get through the early years of your hero being a broke nobody, and later undo any big decisions you made that don’t explain thoroughly became.
The benefit of this wide-open sandbox is that progress is rapid. You start with a character creator that lets you focus on a range of skills, a mix of combat, crafting, persuasion, and tactics. The first few combat encounters don’t make you feel like a hero, instead you travel from city to city for a while and take part in pit fighting tournaments, and soon you have the money and brawn to hold your own against looters and raiders. There is a lot of passive skill building banner lord 2 this also happens while you’re doing all these trips. Not just for you, but for the dozens (and possibly hundreds) of soldiers in your party.
Do enough good and your reputation will put you on the radar of the various empires that control the world. You can swear allegiance and work your way through the ranks of a particular house, or you can be a mercenary leading a private army willing to work for the highest bidder.
Use your wealth and influence to set up businesses or trade caravans, or maybe you just want to wrestle down peasants for tax revenue. Eventually, all your efforts culminate in you commanding a powerful army and attempting to storm rival castles to build an empire. Not only are you in charge of the army, you dictate formations and troop movements in real time. You too are in the battle, one of many hundreds of soldiers swarming along the castle walls.
There is no room here for great heroic deeds either. You quickly learn that bold and bold often means a quick demise. Instead, sit back, let your troops do their thing, and try to figure out where you can really make a difference. Maybe there’s a pack of archers in a tower that the AI can’t get to, or a wall of soldiers on the ramparts that will fall apart if you can sneak around their flank.
It can be devastating to see an army you’ve spent hours building collapse due to a siege blunder. Or losing a newly won castle to a larger army just days behind yours. The upside is that you can always rebuild, and that’s half the fun anyway.