Now here’s a fine example of an open world game that has ambitious intentions, and unlike so many others, manages to make good on its promises – to find fame and fortune in a sandbox medieval realm.
This is achieved by any means seen fit, from becoming a notorious ne’er-do-well to man of the people; a hero for village peasants everywhere. With No Man’s Sky allowing us to become an intergalactic tourist and the upcoming Sea of Thieves giving the chance to become a scurvy ridden pirate, our childhood dreams are finally becoming a (virtual) reality.
Indeed, Warband casts us back to simpler times. Quite literally, in this case – it’s a no thrills conversion of a 2007 PC game; one that managed to amass a loyal following. If you go into this belated console conversion expecting flashy visuals and the usual next-gen sheen then you’re in for a disappointment, as even back in 2007 it was hardly cutting edge stuff.
Thankfully, the £15.99 asking price – even in physical form – softens this blow, while allowing for some shortcomings with the presentation. A slight emphasis on the word some, there – the UI isn’t best suited for a joypad. This is most notable when trying to flog all your gains – either ill-gotten or otherwise – when heading into a town after a victorious battle. A slow process that requires each item to be selected individually. A ‘sell all’ button would have eliminated this problem instantly.
A basic nature does work in the game’s favour elsewhere, however. Loading times are resoundingly brief, even when entering new towns, and the game engine can cope with 64 player battles – actual human players, we might add – without breaking a sweat.
Like most role-players, Warband starts with a character creation tool, albeit a basic one. No matter how much time you spend here, the end result will always be the same – a hero with a face like a potato and a haircut resembling that of a Playmobil man. It’s worth mulling over their backstory though as this effects starting stats, and also think carefully when deciding on sex – NPCs treat female protagonists differently, with the Lords in particular often offended by the very presence of a female warrior in their abode. Ingeniously, it’s possible to give them backchat. Most conversations are over in mere seconds as few NPCs have a story to tell.