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Game Vortex Review: Mount & Blade

GV reports:

''Most games that involve horses don't do our four-legged friends justice. Whether they're used as the player's transportation (The Legend of Zelda, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion) or as an effort to appeal to the young female demographic, their history as fierce war machines has been largely (and oddly) ignored by the game development industry. Taleworlds' Mount & Blade seeks to revolutionize the way gamers look at horses, by giving them the chance to experience the glorious symbiosis between a man and his battle steed.

Mount & Blade's presentation is easily the weakest aspect of the game. I'm not kidding; this game's graphical and audio design is a last-gen effort, at best. I can think of only one way to appropriately describe the extent of this game's aesthetic deficiencies: picture The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind... after receiving a couple of blows from the ugly stick. I know this game comes from an independent developer, and I'm inclined to be more lenient because of that, but Jonathan Blow's Braid has proven that being an independent developer is hardly an excuse for your game to look like it belongs on a long-defunct console. No matter how you design your character in the beginning, he or she will likely possess one feature that doesn't look right. The physical elements of the game's character creation system are passable, for the most part, and this can result in the creation of some decent looking faces. However, heads usually don't match bodies in color; for example, my knight (Sir Killsalot) has a sun-swept face... and a pasty body that would make Casper the Friendly Ghost grimace. Blood effects are unintentionally funny, as blade wounds usually manifest themselves as a series of hazy red lines that look like they've been spray-painted on the unfortunate goon. Textures are flat and uninspired, and nearly every facet of the game's natural landscaping is a simple, two-dimensional texture. The presentation of the world map is also severely lacking in quality; save for a few trees, some rivers, and your token icy wasteland, the land of Calradia is a barren and downright unattractive place.''

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