Mount & Blade: Fire & Sword

Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword

Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword

Chivalry or gunnery? Take your pike.

In the marvellous but Marmite-y Mount & Blade and its semi-sequel Warband, you could end a man's life by cracking his skull with a warhammer, slashing his vitals to shreds with a sword, pin-cushioning his abdomen with arrows, or thrusting a lance through his family jewels. What you couldn't do was pull a firearm from your belt and blow his brains out. Clever Kievites SiCh Studio, realising that guns are amazingly rare in electronic entertainment, have rectified this.

At first glance, the idea of adding boomsticks to an open-world RPG built around intricate swordplay, artful archery and fancy horsemanship might seem odd, not to say dangerous. After a few days of play, I'm still not totally convinced it was a wise move, but I do have to admit that musket mayhem does have a certain smoke-wreathed charm.

The obvious risk with sprinkling gunpowder into Mount & Blade's finely-seasoned combat broth was that all the old melee tools and missile-slingers would be rendered redundant in an instant. The good news is there's still a role - albeit a shrunken one - for blade and bow in With Fire & Sword's violent version of 17th-century Eastern Europe.

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