Mount and Blade: Warband is a legendary game with lots of followers all across the world. However, not only is the vanilla game one of the most enjoyable RPG experiences out there but it is a house to a lot of well-developed mods. One of them is The Song of Ice and Fire, which funnily enough is one of the best Game of Thrones games out there.
As a small part of trivia, Bethesda was one of the companies which were offered a chance to develop a Game of Thrones video game title. Whether for a better or worse it is still up to debate but the company denied the offer stating that they wanted to continue working on expanding their already existing worlds thereby giving us The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, which is arguable one of the best RPGs the studio has made. Although we, Fallout: New Vegas lovers, think that even though it would’ve taken 10 years to make Obsidian could’ve done a fantastic job as well. Anyhow, we are stuck with other GoT games and a fantastic mod for M&B: Warband.
Dissatisfied fans took up arms to develop something in the world of Westeros and so came to be A World of Ice and Fire, which is an impressive ordeal, to say the least. It is one of the best mods out there and offers a unique and fantastic take on the Game of Thrones as a whole.
First of all, this is not a Mount and Blade: Warband review. Thus, let’s just say that graphics are not the best in the world, however, it weirdly fits well in the narrative. The game was released in 2010 and still rocks a huge fanbase with the addition of Bannerlord that came to be as of now.
Exploration is huge in The Song of Ice and Fire. As per how it is usual in Mount and Blade the world never cares about you as a player and goes on its merry way thus giving a perfect Roleplaying experience one would desire. M&B: Warband is an RPG that merges two different play styles really well. It has a tabletop view much like in other massive worldwide strategy games with the addition of a 3rd (or 1st) person exploration both inside of the cities and villages. The game gives you a perfect ability to do what you wish whether it be being a merchant, a mercenary, or literally a soldier with allegiances.
The character creation gives an ability to start off as anything a player would like from a lowlife city brawler to a dismissed noble. One thing is true for every playthrough though – it always starts with peasants in his small group slowly training them into knights, bowmen, pikemen, etc. One can also have a claim on a village, castle, or even cities or whole provinces. It is also a possibility to join another army or kingdom and advance their interests serving as a strong general in the fields.
Essentially the player is free to do what they desire. This is one of the main elements of the true roleplaying genre. This is exactly this versatility that makes this game a perfect suit for a Game of Thrones mod. Every major location in books and TV series can be found on the map with the inclusion of iconic characters, houses, events, and whatnot. The player can even be invited to some scripted events like Edward Stark’s execution and the Red Wedding. The experience is tailored by the modders who are by far nor professionals of the trade nor paid so the quality of these events may way but it is an extremely exciting touch to have which makes the world feel that much more real.
This mod is brutally difficult. Mount and Blade community is known for hard mods like Prophecy of Pendor for example that challenges the player on whole new levels but the Song of Ice and Fire is taken to an even more extreme. Marching up to a famous house as a lowly peasant with no renown is not going to end well for a player thus creating an ascension process towards success a difficult endeavor.
The battles are also brutal with lots of different stat breaking wounds that require lots of time and effort to heal. The result is a sadistic world giving an exact feeling of how it would be if one were to be living in the Westeros. Recruiting the army and just training them to plow through the opposition like in a traditional game is not an option in this mod due to this difficulty. This means that everyone has to start behaving like a good citizen and try to rise up in ranks and only then they can start going mayhem on the world at hand.
As a result, the player gets a good feeling of being a cog in a bigger machine. Sometimes seeing and not being able to interfere with atrocious events unfolding right in front of you becoming a bystander until much farther in the game. This is a world that never cares about what the player does. It doesn’t even care if the player exists or not. Everyone goes and does their business as usual catching, killing, betraying, and whatnot.
The companions are also created in a very fun manner. A lot of hero characters from the HBO series are present like Brienne of Tarth for example. On my playthrough, I would continue joining up armies to get gear and gold but subsequently died a lot as well. Rinse and repeat until I finally managed to ditch the lord and create my own Warband.
The world of the Song of Ice and Fire is incredibly large with rumors coming out from different parts of the world like Daenerys Targaryan raising her armies far overseas. The Westeros tears itself apart and you are just a person trying to survive in this massive, cold, and painful world.