Sid Meier's Pirates! with horses in medieval times. This is a big compliment in my opinion.
Disclaimer: I only played the demo, which is full featured but level limited.
The basic idea is that your character starts off with just a horse in a fictional realm. Your goal is to pretty much take it over. To do that you have to grow and army and lead them on the field of battle. There are NPC opponents trying to do the same, which you can fight or ally with. Mounted combat is also a big feature of the game. Much better than MMO attempts.
Things I liked:
- Supports Mods (python)
- Archery that has arrows stick where they land
- Effective tutorial
- Horse Riding is original and fun. It actually feels like a horse. (Well, I have never ridden a horse, but this is what I imagine it would feel like without the groin pain.)
- Text based character creation. A throw-back to the old games, you create your characters back story, and it sets up the stats based on it.
- RPG Elements: 24 skills, 4 attributes, 6 weapon proficiencies. All of which you can improve as the game goes on.
- Uses a combo Overhead map for travel and a 3D world for fighting.
- A rudimentary trading system exists, buy low and sell high..
- The peasants you recruit into your army are different based on where they came from. Some may start off with horses, some may start with shields.
- As your army gains experience, you can upgrade them.
- Death is handled like Pirates! You are captured, time passes and you lose some stuff.
- The factions in the world are often at war, and you can see their armies on the Overhead map.
- Active community.
- Great sky and sun graphics.
- Sandbox game where you have control over what you do.
- Fight with, against or for the Kings of the world.
- Take control of villages for yourself.
- After I created my character, I was a little lost. I went to a few towns and could not find much to do. Eventually I found one where I could recruit troops, but a little direction would have been nice.
- The Overhead map graphics looks extremely old, bland and dead. That said, it is functional.
- The 3D world graphics are dated as well, but don't look that bad.
Overall this looks like a nice game. I hope I have more time to devote to it, as I enjoyed my experience. There is no reason not to try it out as there is a free demo. Just keep in mind it is a Sandbox game and not on rails.