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So, Mount & Blade - It's like Sid Meier's Pirates! but based in Medieval ages, and with horses instead of ships - there's also no Pirates... but I'm sure you get the point.
It's free to play up until your character reaches level 8, at which point you'll either have to start again of buy the game - which you can currently get for cheaper as it's only at beta stage, but the title is only scheduled for a full-price release.
The combat is great, although it takes a while to get used to the way things work, and you'll probably spend your first hour or two being killed by angry mobs of farmers, but after that, once you've got the basics of the game down - you'll be able to pillage and wage war to your hearts content, although the sieging of castles and towns is still something of a dangerous venture and will see lots of your army slaughtered.
It's entirely free and open ended (like Pirates), so you're free to pretty much do as you please, and mould your character (and any fellow 'heroes' that you may recruit along the way) as you see fit - it's not graphically splendid, but you really should be able to put that to one side and enjoy a particular fine game that has sucked up countless hours of my time.
You can also replace the in-game music with a selection of your own choices, allowing you to selectively borrow your favourite orchestral pieces from movies and have them play as you slaughter the enemy.
The game has recently gone through a series of updates, so not all of the mods are working - but that's another aspect that looks very promising, the Lord of the Rings Mod was also particularly well done - there's also the battles mod, which allows you to increase the battle size (amount of combatants on screen at once) from a measly 72 to a huge 1,000 (although obviously, it depends if your computer can handle this)
Great fun, wholly recommend that you give it a go - you can download the trial, and buy the game, from the Taleworlds website.
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