GameTech: Bannerlord flies the flag for escapism

GameTech: Bannerlord flies the flag for escapism
Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord takes to back to the days of medieval warfare, in an era where PPE meant chainmail and helmets.

We don't have a large amount of activities to do right now. So why not get a larger mount? If those opening lines give you a headache, don’t worry — at least you weren’t hit on the head with a mace.

Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord is an excellent escape from our current doldrums. Not only does it place you back in the days of medieval warfare, where PPE meant chainmail and helmets, but you will spend much of your time on a horse, which is far more therapeutic than it should be right now.

The Mount and Blade series was originally created to give RPG fans something more grounded and realistic than they were accustomed to. Instead of high fantasy, magic and endless plotlines, which are typical of the genre, Mount and Blade offered a ‘sandbox’ take on role-playing, where you made your own way in a realistic setting.

The series has been in constant development ever since its debut in 2008 and Bannerlord is the culmination of that work.

A prequel to the original Warlord expansion, Bannerlord continues in the same vein, with players recruiting a party of warriors, which you can then use to take quests and do battle.

The player themselves get involved in the battles directly, putting the ‘mount’ and ‘blade’ aspect of the game to full use.

We spent most of our time with the sequel watching a friend play — and the highlights were clear.

Not only does Mount and Blade let you chose various classes, each with different traits (our friend was a trader type), but the balance between combat and character progression was very satisfying.

Combat not only fuels your skills, like athletics or polearms, but it also provides opportunities to recruit new soldiers. The gold, weapons, experience and soldiers that you accumulate all feel like they were truly earned on the battlefield.

Mount and Blade is a simple game with a lot of replayability and depth. For those of you tired of the couch, we would recommend saddling up.

ELECTRONIC EXPO

Meanwhile, one horse that has left the saloon is E3 2020. Once known as the biggest gaming event of the year, the Electronic Entertainment Expo has been slowing to a canter recently, with shows getting less and less relevant.

There was a plan to reinvigorate the event this year, by leveraging more influencers and celebrities, to try and add some energy to the show and rely less on announcements and revelations.

Through the year, E3 was mainly known as the event where the industry’s biggest news was broken.

However, as to be expected for any large event this summer, E3 2020 has now been cancelled. Originally due to take place from June 9-11, the organisers announced that they had made the ‘right decision based on the information they have today’.

While there remains a possibility of a digital event in place of the traditional expo, no details have yet been released. In a positive sign of things to come, however, the dates for E3 2021 were announced as June 15-17.

BORDERLANDS DOWNLOADS

There aren’t many horses left in the world of Borderlands, but the series did start in a saloon. What started as a cross between Mad Max, westerns and a cartoon show, has now become a universe where virtually anything is possible.

The latest Borderlands 3 downloadable content only proves the point further. Called Guns, Love and Tentacles, it centers on the marriage of Wainwright and Hammerlock in a haunted town tentacle-deep in a Cthulhu summoning.

There are two main areas to explore — the town itself, Cursehaven, and its snowy surroundings. Cursehaven is where most of the fun happens, with about ten hours of gameplay. You won’t see anything too exciting in terms of new enemies or bosses, and the quests aren’t always the most riveting, but the premise and traditional Borderlands charm make Guns, Love and Tentacles better than most other downloadable content.

Plus, when we can’t travel to the nearest town in Ireland, even a haunted hotspot like Cursehaven has to be worth a visit.

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