Mount and Blade

Written by Andy Fair

September 18, 2008 | 07:44

Tags: #andy-fair #castle #freelancer #horse #knight #medieval #mount-and-blade #sim

Companies: #indie #king #paradox-interactive


Mount & Blade has quite a low graphics requirement – the minimum spec only requires a 64MB graphics card, and the game itself can run under either DirectX 9 or DirectX 7.

This means that any PC from the last seven years or so should be able to run Mount & Blade, and there are a myriad of options available to get the best performance out of it – although many of the options won't have any effect if you're forced to run the game in DX7 mode, not that we expect the discerning readers of bit-tech to be using such outdated hardware...

The graphics models are all fairly simple, and even running at full desktop resolution with all the options set to max, the framerate very rarely drops below 60fps, even in the heat of battle.

Still, in the interests of science, we'd better have a couple of screenshots to talk about. Check them out below - we've got screenshots of all the various presets.

Mount and Blade Mount and Blade - Graphics Mount and Blade Mount and Blade - Graphics
Graphics in Mount and Blade on Low (left) and Medium (right) settings, click to enlarge

There are a number of options to be changed via the in-game menu, including terrain detail, character detail, shadow quality and texture detail. In the ‘Low’ screenshot, all of the options are set to minimum or off; in the ‘Medium’ screenshot, all options are set mid-way or to the medium-quality setting; and in the ‘High’ screenshot, all options are set as high as they will go.

As you can see from the Low Quality screenshot, there's very little going on. There's next to no foliage, no shadows and the level of detail on the shield and crossbow is almost non-existent. If you can't run Mount & Blade at this level of detail, then perhaps you should consider donating your PC to the local museum.

At Medium Detail, the picture looks marginally better: we have slightly more grass, with some shadows, albeit blurry ones, and the pattern on the shield is more discernible.

Mount and Blade Mount and Blade - Graphics
Graphics settings in Mount and Blade on High Details, click to enlarge

Even at High Detail though, there's still plenty of room for improvement and the game itself will never look great. The textures are better, and shadows are more defined, but the polygon count of the models still falls way short of current graphics card killers like Crysis.

At the end of the day, though, Mount & Blade isn't about the graphics, and it's better to have low-detail character models and the possibility of large-scale battles on screen than have high-detail models and battles with only two or three characters.

There's a compromise to be made between quality and immersion, with Mount & Blade going for immersion rather than bling. We can’t say we blame them either, there’s something very pure and rustic about how the game feels and we quite like it and the satisfying feel of levelling up, conquering a castle or just thwacking someone with a polearm from atop your horse more than compensates for the graphical failings of the game.
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