PC Gamer US Edition|March 2022
The fine line between heroics and horror.
Lincoln Carpenter
In the 400-something hours I’ve clocked in the Mount and Blade games, I’ve rarely bumped the difficulty above easy. It only provides a handful of bonuses: Reduced damage, decreased troop upkeep, a speed boost on the overworld map. But as those bonuses interact with all of Mount and Blade’s systems, they cascade until your character has a gravity that pulls the game off its axis, and into chaos. It’s a rare image of protagonism, with you playing the monster.

It would be terrifying to share a world with a player character. You’d be coexisting with someone who literally operates under a different set of rules, casually warping reality as easily as they breathe. They act in ways that you can’t, and the world reacts in ways it won’t for you. For no discernible reason, the universe has chosen them as its sole fascination.

In plenty of cases, there’s in-universe justification to paint over the existential horror: The main character’s the chosen one of some divine entity, went to the best secret agent school, or has a dragon’s soul in there somewhere. But games, where your character’s theoretically just as mundane as anyone else, can turn into a kind of morbid spectacle.

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