MORDHAU by developer and publisher Triternion Xbox series X review written by Jim with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes.

I will start by saying I am not a huge fan of online multiplayer games but I am a fan of the medieval period. MORDHAU is just that, but because I like the setting and that I hear you can play with bots I decided to give the game a go. When first starting the game I thought it would at least tell me a little about what the menus in the game were but there was no info at all. Luckily I figured out how to jump into a combat tutorial. This is where I encountered some things I didn't like.

First off when the game loaded, the level the graphics were not fully loaded making everything look muddy and hard to see. But once it loads fully things look decent enough. I also think they fixed this in a patch that has just been released as of this writing. One other glitch I ran into was when I spawned into a level I just fell through the level and kept falling until the end of the level. Next, I was told how to use the sword that I had in my hands, and here again, I have a slight problem. I can swing the sword in different ways but to do this I had to use the right stick and the right trigger on my controller. Okay, the trigger button is normal for first-person games of this type, but using the right stick, the same stick that you use to look around to swing my sword right, left, or up to down is just not fun to do. I would do it and turn the view just to miss my target! Lastly, I also learned that I could turn the sword around and use the hilt to knock heavily armored enemies out more easily. This is called MORDHAU a real sword technique that was used. I hardly used MORDHAU in any matches because I tried a few times the sword would never turn around.

Next, I learn about blocking and parrying attacks. This is all-time-based blocking is less forgiving, but to parry I had to time it just right. Then I could attack back this just doesn't work well when I am in a live game with 30-60 something people playing. There were also a few things I didn't really understand that much like clashes when the other player or bot and I both hit swords at the same time or being flinched where my weapon goes flying out of my hand leaving me defenseless. One of the easier moves in the game is a stab which I can pull this off easily by pressing the right bumper. I could also kick easily with the left bumper.

Now I was brought over and taught how to use a bow. Thank goodness a ranged weapon! I am way better at range than at close range I thought. I happened to be right this time as using the longbow I had picked up was a lot easier to handle. Later when I played an actual game though I would learn that the bow does not do a ton of damage, but I do get to stay away from the action. It's also really hard to hit moving targets and there is friendly fire so more often than not I hit a friendly. Friendly fire also makes it hard when I get close to an enemy and swing my sword to hit them and accidentally hit an ally. So using a bow to me was a little fun. I just wish it was stronger.

Still in the tutorial, the next thing I learned was that I can ride a horse and use a lance at the same time. Let me tell you it takes practice to ride, aim, and hit a dummy all at the same time. At first, I just couldn't figure it out. I messed around with it for a good half hour before I finally got the hang of it. Next, I was instructed to get off the horse and was brought to a door that I could break down with an axe and then rebuild with a hammer. I think you can use any weapon to break things but the axe may damage them more. Lastly, I was taught how to use a catapult and I had a hard time aiming this. MORDHAU does not hold your hand at all with no crosshairs for the catapult or show where my aim is going. I just have to shoot and guess and then try again.

That ended the tutorial and so I was ready to jump into a single-player bot game. There were a handful of modes to pick from. I knew what some of these are: deathmatch, team deathmatch, and horde. Then there are ones I had no idea what they were and MORDHAU doesn't even tell me how to play them. They were frontline, sword game, and skirmish. I picked horde mode to start because I usually like horde modes in other games. In this game, however, things were different. You are tasked with protecting a bot while earning gold you can use to buy new weapons and armor. The weapons and armor were scattered all over the level and there wasn't enough time between waves to find what I was looking for. Needless to say, I died a lot just because I couldn't find what I wanted or I didn't have enough gold to buy better armor.

So horde mode didn't go so well for me and I switched modes. I can pick how many bot players I want to play and I jumped into a single-player team deathmatch. I thought playing with bots would be easy but I died a lot either because I am really bad at this game or the “skill-based combat” didn't translate well to controllers as it did with keyboard and mouse. One thing I truly hated in the game was was playing a local bot game. I get no in-game currency or experience points.

That brings me to the next thing I tried. Online battles! The first thing I noticed was the game kept pairing me with players who were level 12-20 and there is no way I could compete when I am at level one. That's where having the single player give you points would come in handy. I tried both small-scale brawls and bigger fights with 32-64 players. In the brawl, it was me and one other person vs one other person. I thought it would be easy but my ally just kept taunting while looking at me and since I was a ranger with very little armor and a bow the enemy player kept going after me while my ally just watched until I died and then he would attack. This reminded me why I hate multiplayer games. Real people could be jerks in games.

I had to try out the large-scale battles next. Frontline is what it was for this round. In this mode, my team and I must try to complete objectives or defend objectives to win the game. This mode was a little fun when I got good allies, but there were a few times where someone would just spawn in swinging their sword and hitting allies dealing damage. Whether it was on purpose or not I can't tell but it got annoying quickly. One other annoying thing where it was accidental or on purpose was people kept hitting the taunt button so all you hear is the player's character yelling. This could be because it is triggered by pressing down on the right stick. Why the devs made everything the right stick is beyond me. After either winning or losing I got experience points and money. Now the game does not give me a lot of experience, but it does give you a small amount of money that is enough to buy a new weapon or item for a character I can create if I wanted.

When playing as the ranger, my favorite class, I die very easily as they are not armored well and all it takes is about one hit and I am losing my head. With no story or anything I had very little to motivate me to keep playing. Even changing classes didn't help as it seemed everyone could swing their weapons faster than me. I just kept spawning lasting less than a minute, dying, re-spawning again, and rinse and repeat.

Because the default bow user in the game was weak to me I decided to try making my own character. But again the game does nothing to tell me what I am doing. I just had to guess. So I found the armor and put on some better armor, for in-game money of course, and then I bought the long bow because I wasn't at a high enough level for the crossbow. 

Next, I went to pick a melee weapon to take with me in case I drop the bow, which happens a lot when you're hit. But I found out there is a limit to how much you can bring shown as points, and the bow took up most of the points! You can carry more than one weapon but you only get so many points to use when picking equipment. The armor covers three places: the head, body and legs. Each armor slot lets you pick from no armor, light, medium, or heavy armor where each costs more points. Weapons and other things like healing items also take points.

Overall some people may enjoy their time with MORDHAU. Even I did at times for very short bursts until I just got annoyed with the other players and quit. If an online hardcore melee game sounds like fun to you then you may enjoy your time with it as it does have a strange appeal to it. I just don't have the time or patience to level up a ton of times to catch up to players who have more time than me. Also, the game lacks any explanation of what each game mode is and how to make a decent character. MORDHAU could have been much better if it just explained things better. I don't hate the game but I also don't love it.

Score: 5 / 10



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