The below is based on roughly 12 hours of Bannerlord Early Access, much of it prior to the patch yesterday. In short, Bannerlord is a sequel to Warband; better graphics, newer engine, larger scope, but ultimately the same core game. If you liked Warband, I suspect you will like Bannerlord. If you hated Warband, first wtf is wrong with you? But second you likely still won’t love Bannerlord.
I mentioned the patch yesterday, because prior to that the game was crashing for me a good bit, which was getting very annoying. In a similar vein, Bannerlord is very much an Early Access title. The core stuff like combat, the overworld, and the overall ‘point’ of kingdoms fighting is there, but a lot of smaller stuff is either incomplete or not balanced.
I do love the graphics. The overworld is beautiful, and the character models are good-enough, which is important because this is a game where you can have 500+ characters, so if each one had a million polygons, performance would be terrible. And right now performance is solid; I’m getting 70 FPS or so with the graphics on high, and I’m guessing this will only improve as EA continues.
One early highlight so far: I joined an existing army (collection of lords) and as part of that army we went around sacking enemy villages. As you aren’t the commander, you follow around the leader, so it was fun sitting back and watching them pick targets and sharing in the spoils, all while beating down the helpless villagers. The whole things was rather profitable, and culminated in my first large (200v200) battle, which looked and played great.
If you are dying for more Mount and Blade, get Bannerlord now, what is there is more than worth the cost of entry. If you can wait and don’t want to deal with a true Early Access title, maybe do that. Bannerlord is planned for a whole year of EA, just to give an idea of where the dev team things they are and where they want to end up.