Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord footage shows what happens when armies clash

There are strands of PC gaming that feel specific to our desktop boxes – that no other gaming device could do as well, or with such vigour. Driving a truck across a barren patch of Nevada, for instance, or relentlessly clicking on goblins until you're covered in loot. Or, more relevantly in this instance, ordering angry, bearded men across a huge battlefield. If the latter is your jam, you'll be wanting to see this new footage of Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord, exclusively unveiled at the PC Gaming Show.

Taleworlds' sandbox RPG is an exciting prospect, and these new trailers show off a major feature: soldiers smacking each other with swords and axes, sometimes on horseback.

First up, a cavalry sergeant!

Next, a horse archer sergeant!

Mount & Blade: Warband fans will know broadly what to expect, but Bannerlord offers some major improvements – not least to the graphics. Here, via Taleworlds' press release, is a roundup of Bannerlord's major new combat features:

  • Advanced Formations – Merge and split forces at your behest, with intuitive but powerful control over the movement, form and behavior of every unit! Order heavy infantry to hold together, shoulder-to-shoulder in a slowly advancing but near impenetrable shield wall; or launch your cavalry in lightning charges using the skein formation.
  • Battlefield AI – AI commanders can execute complex tactics, utilizing the advanced formation options to present a formidable challenge. Their behavior is drawn from actual historical tacticians, for example Alexander the great, who used his superior cavalry forces to rout their counterparts in the opposing army, before delivering a crushing blow to the enemy’s main force. This not only creates the feeling of an authentic medieval battle but also proves effective in-game, as in reality.
  • Sergeant System – Commanders now designate units to other lords in battle, including the player! Execute the orders issued by your commander throughout the fight, and use your own instincts to do your part and help secure victory on the field of battle. Lead the horse archers as they skirmish and harass the enemy to disrupt their lines before your allies finish them off, or take control of the cavalry and charge into the fray to devastate entire units at once!

Combat has also been improved, giving your beardy boys directional shield blocking, attack chaining that lets you catch your opponent off guard, and animation and engine improvements. For more about why Bannerlord is one of the most exciting RPGs on the horizon, take a look at out our massive preview feature.

Check out this post for more from The PC Gaming Show at E3 2017. You can watch the show live on Twitch, and catch up on all the news from this year's show right here

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.