Even though it’s a bit old now, and is starting to go out of style, the Total War series, a product of Creative Assembly, is still going quite strong today, despite the fading interest, with releases coming out every two years or so. These games take you on a journey into a historic time period where you can play as the leader of one of the largest nations in the area. The TW series is especially known for its unique blend of real-time battles, as well as, turn based strategy, but unlike Empire at War (see my review), which features similar mechanics, Total War requires much more precise planning, well thought tactics, and infrastructure design, if you’re going to succeed. Anyways, Medieval II, one of the most acclaimed games in the series, is often credited as being the pioneer of the modern strategy genre by combining some of the best features of previous games into one title. So what are we waiting for, let’s get right into it!
When you start up the game, and go into the grand campaign (the best game mode, if you ask me), you can initially choose from 5 nations (each with unique units), England, France, Spain, Venice, and The Holy Roman Empire (which is united under one banner, unlike in real life). Once you get the hang of the interface, the game is quite simple: conquer, expand, and develop relations with the 5 starting nations and many others that can be unlocked by defeating them, or by beating the games campaign mode (getting a certain number of provinces). There are two other modes besides campaign: multiplayer, and quick battles. I’ve never used multiplayer (#nofriends), but do consider the battle mode to be quite fun, as well as, helpful for your main campaign.
In terms of the two modes (map and battle), map is by far the most useful, and fun, if you ask me. It’s great to see all your troops move around on the map, and your castles grow in size and scope as your technology evolves, and watch your characters move from city to city, doing your bidding. Did I mention the characters? One of the games often forgotten features is the ability to produce, train, and use a wide variety of strategic persons, including generals, assassins, spies, merchants, and others. One of the most fulfilling things you can do in the game is take a low level character, show him the ropes, and turn him into one of the most critical parts of your strategy. You’ll find that, so long as you have good characters by your side, you’ll have a good chance of winning the game. High level assassins can kill rival kings and generals, merchants can start companies and pull in thousands of gold pieces for revenue. Spies can take down castle walls and defenses, and generals can lead even the crappiest armies to victory on the battlefield.
In terms of battles, M2TW brings more interesting features to the gameplay. You have the opportunity to command your army any time there’s a conflict between you and a rival power on the map. Most of the time, it’s better to just skip them, if you ask me, buy you may find It beneficial to your strategy by personally overseeing fights that may be too close to call. From there, you’re taken to the battlefield after it loads up, and will be able to personally command your entire army, divided into stacks of 50 to 100 units, or so. You can set strategies for them to use, move them around to strategic points, and even give them the option to fight using the computers AI, all factors that could mean a victory or defeat for your army (hence why it’s a good idea to practice in the “quick battle” mode).
Aside from the base game, it also hosts a wide variety of secondary features, keeping it deep, developed, as well as strategically accurate and sound. Some of them include: discovering the new world (don’t get too excited, it’s only the coastline), religion (each faction has one of three religions, adding some tension between countries on the Southern and Eastern boarders of Europe), and of course, the stupid Pope (there is no greater pain, then being one battle away from winning a war, then the Pope forbidding you from fighting).
So, what’s the score? I give three. Here they are:
If you’re a bit of a “nube”, than this game’s for you, with a 75/100. It’s going to take some getting used to if your new to gaming, or the strategy genre, but it’s turned based design gives even the novice plenty of time to think and plan their next move, and it’s simple mouse and arrow key controls make it easy for practically anyone to pick this one up and start playing. It’s a bit over simplified when compared next to some other titles from this series, and genre as a whole, but for the average user, that’s alright. An Average game, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
If you’re a seasoned strategy player, or make your living working as a five star general in the Pentagon’s ready room, than you might be disappointed, as this games about a 61/100 for you. It’s fun, and it’s innovative for the time, but it’s strengths for the casual gamer are the weaknesses for the elite. It’s a bit too simple, and dumbed down, depending on whom you ask, and it can leave a lot to be desired for a lot of people. If you see a good sale, and you want to get in to the series, by all means, go out and buy it, but you may want to hold up for something better. It’s Above Basic, but not by much.
As for me, the game is still a solid 74/100. I am by no means an elite gamer: I play for fun. Because of that, I can still get a lot out of this game, and it took me 60+ hours to even start to get bored with it. Anyways, there’s not much else I can say here that I wouldn’t be repeating, as I pretty much agree 100% with the casual rating up above. It’s solid, it’s lasting, and it’s Average.
Thanks for reading everyone! I hope you enjoyed this review, and please feel free to leave a like, comment, or check the list down below for a few more reviews and articles I have posted.
As for my regular readers, I’m planning on getting more consistent with my content again, and am currently working on two brand new articles for this coming week, so don’t go anywhere, because I haven’t.
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