Product Type: Sega PC games
Newest Review: ... a grand campaign- where you have to hold at least 45 regions and Jerusalem or Constantinople etc- depending on which faction you choose... more
More evolution than revolution
Medieval II: Total War (PC)
Member Name: scola_p
Medieval II: Total War (PC)
Advantages: Graphically stunning (provided you have a powerful pc) and plenty of replay value
Disadvantages: Too similar to the earlier games and not as challenging
As the latest game in the Total War Series, Medieval II: Total War has a tough act to follow. This time the game is set in Medieval Europe, just after the Norman Invasion of England, and at the time of the crusades.
The Total War franchise is a known quantity, and you generally understand what you are going to receive. The pedigree of the series is very good, with a good blend of strategic management and tactical conflict.
First, the good points. If you have sufficiently powerful pc, the graphics are awesome. The detail and the effects are excellent, when the settings are ramped up to full. However, various bits and pieces can be turned off, so that even a slower pc can deliver a decent frame rate, whilst still providing a good level of detail.
The different voices and samples for each unit type are also good, although the accents can be a little dubious at times. The music, whilst not amazing, does enough to set the scene for the game.
Settlements are now divided into Castles and Towns, with each providing different benefits. A castle is a military powerhouse, and can produce a vast range of units, where as a town provides much more income, and can house specialist guilds, to produce more advanced units, along with other benefits.
The variety of unit types available to each faction creates a sufficiently different tactical mix that they all feel slightly different, and you have to change your playing style accordingly. There are also, once again, a huge number of factions available to play, with different goals and objectives, so there is plenty of replay value.
The new innovations in the game generally work quite well. The Crusades (or Jihads for some factions) are a good idea, adding a little extra depth to the game. Basically, a Crusade is called, and you have to assemble an army for it, otherwise you will loose face with the Pope, which can drastically affect your relations with the other Catholic factions, which brings me nicely onto Religion.
The addition of religion into the game adds an extra layer of depth to the strategic side of the game. The more of the population in a region have the same religion as the faction that owns it, the happier they will be, and vice versa. This opens up all new avenues of attack, as you can send priests to regions who have different religion and cause a revolt. They you need only tackle a rebel stronghold, rather than another faction.
Now to some of the negatives. This edition in the franchise is more evolution, rather than revolution. The new ideas in the game are good, but it sometime feels like Rome:TW with knights, rather than a whole new game. After the high expectations raised by Rome:TW, this games does not deliver enough of an improvement.
In addition, the battles some how seem to be easier this time around. As an example, on my first attempt at a crusade, I managed to take Jerusalem first time, and never lost it again. This is most evident with Sieges, as it seems too easy to capture even the most fortified of strongholds.
At times, the religion system can be a little random, as one vote for the wrong candidate in a papal election can ruin your standing. In one game I played, I was excommunicated a few turns after capturing Jerusalem, simply because the candidate who won was from a faction who did not like me.
All in all, if you have played Rome:TW to death and want a new challenge, it is worth taking a look. However, if you are new to the series, or would like a more difficult challenge, Rome:TW is the game I would recommend.
Summary: A good game if you are new to ther series