GameVortex has reviewed Mount & Blade and is impressed by its innovation and combat system but less so by the content and polish, giving it a 73%.
Much of Mount & Blade's gameplay is so addictive and deceptively deep that it is somewhat easy to forgive the game's visual shortcomings, severe as they are. The game is an open-ended RPG that at first seems similar to games from the Elder Scrolls franchise, but its overworld works in the same vein as The Oregon Trail and Sid Meier's Civilization in that time passes according to player movement. The world itself is littered with about 150 cities (each belonging to a certain kingdom) to explore, and with the click of a mouse, you direct your party to whichever city you choose. The world is quite dynamic; conflicts erupt and are settled whether you are there to witness them or not, and a text box at the bottom of the screen keeps you informed of all the political goings-on in Calradia. This adds a layer of strategy to the game that is sure to please hardcore gamers; in the case of the casual player, this political strategy can be ignored - after all, much of this game is all about player choice. Groups of enemies traverse the land, and depending on your comparative numbers and strength, the miscreants will either hunt you down or run away. If you find yourself at a disadvantage, you've still got a few options. Most of the time (especially earlier in the game), you can pay them off, but sometimes all they want is to watch you bleed. In those cases, you have no choice but to feed them a dinner of cold steel.
Without question, the combat system is the star of Mount & Blade. Riding into battle on your trusty steed with sword at the ready is undeniably thrilling, and well-timed swings of your weapon are rewarded with agonized shrieks and meaty crunches. Getting into the groove of combat is very satisfying and accessible to boot. Within minutes, you'll be sniping from the saddle, pulling tight figure-eights through the forest, and cutting your enemies down like stray (albeit well-armed) weeds. In addition, damage bonuses are awarded for high-speed lunges that connect with an unlucky foe.