The Mount and Blade series is a different kind of medieval RPG. Note that I said medieval as opposed to fantasy, because unlike games like Skryim and Dragon Age, there aren’t any dragons, wizards, magic, or demons. It’s just you, your army, and thousands of miles of a land torn in strife. Turkish developer TaleWords has developed a true sandbox style game, as you are free to approach it anyway you wish without the experience being structured by a plot. You can gather an army, purchase land for business development, participate in large-scale combat, and even marry into royalty. Warband is the standalone expansion to the original Mount and Blade, meaning that you don’t have to own the original in order to enjoy everything Warband has to offer. Warband improves on the original game with numerous additions, the most significant of which being multiplayer.

Mount and Blade has no plot to speak of. You simply create a character, choose his background, pick a starting region, and you are thrust smack dab into the world of Caldera. Although Caldera is a fictional world, it closely mirrors Europe during the dark ages. The world is divided into 6 regions, and all of them are constantly at war with each other. You can ally with any of their rulers, or you can simply roam the land as an outlaw or mercenary. You can even form your own faction with enough political clout. You have your choice of several weapons to utilize and you can develop several skills. You’ll gain allies who also have upgradable stats, and you’ll be responsible for keeping their morale high.

Like most Strategy and RPG games published by Paradox, Mount and Blade can be daunting when you first start. However, as you spend more time with it, you’ll get sucked in, and eventually you’ll start feeling like a dark ages powerhouse as you travel the land with dozens of men and women following your command ready to lay it down on any chump that comes across your path. The game also has a pretty vibrant modding community, so if you know where to look, you can find ways to tailor the game to your tastes. Mount and Blade has received a sequel, ‘With Fire and Sword’, that takes place in Eastern Europe. While it hasn’t been received as well as Warband, it’s still worth checking out.

While Mount and Blade may not be as grandiose as Skyrim, give it a shot. If you ever dreamed about being the medieval version of Sacrface, this game is perfect for you.