5. Mount & Blade: Warband
What to say about Mount & Blade? It was absolutely epic. Mount and Blade: Warband, the expansion pack to the less impressive original, starts the player out as a lowly immigrant in a foreign land. No money, no real possessions, save a sword, and no goal in life. The goal of the game? Become a king. How the hell is that done? Well, it takes time, 200+ hours in some games. MWB is open world in the real sense of the word. You are never presented with any clear goal, nor any means by which to achieve that. Your success in the game is dependent totally on your willingness to take chances and make plays. Also, by your willingness to look it up on the internet. The game consists of four basic modes: combat, strategic map, political and economic. When I first bought this game, combat shined out as the greatest aspect. Players can hone their skills in the fighting pits by learning the basics of the very well designed combat system. In the system you must learn to both attack and block using the mouse to control the direction of your weapon, making combat very skill based. Once you're good enough, you can take yourself into a real battle, which might be you and three cronies vs a bunch of naked guys with rocks, or it might mean hundreds of mounted knights on screen, being beaten back by well trained spear infantry, being beaten back by crossbowmen with a height advantage. Combat gets intense, by the way. In larger battles, you control your main character in combat, while simultaneously issuing orders to your troops. Strategic is usually the second part you figure out. On the strategic map players move from town to town and castle to castle. There you can buy supplies, recruit villagers into your army, chase bandits, get chased by bandits, talk to nobles on the map, participate in military campaigns, hire out as freelance swordsman, join a faction, train your troops (a necessary thing as a your troops level up and become substantially stronger) protect your lands... It goes on and on. The basic idea, though, is that the strategic map allows the player to interact with the world. Then comes the political and economic sections, which are honestly difficult as all hell to master. Players can join factions, get married, get exiled, get anything based on their relationship with other nobles on the map, of which there are over a hundred. The player has to keep as many happy as possible, while participating in their petty power grabs. The ultimate goal being to leave your faction and set out on your own, bringing as many friends with you as possible. MWB truly has the potential to be one of those games you sink an entire month into. But, at the same time, it's just as easy to hop on, play a few minutes of a battle, and turn it back off. Truly a great game that never got the credit it deserved.