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Medieval II Total War Review (PC)


About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Medieval II Total War continues the strong tradition set by it's Total War predecessors and delivers an epic historical strategy game that's both fun and exciting with the added benefit of teaching a little medieval history along the way. Spanning 500 years, Medieval II Total War is more than just an update to the original Medieval Total War. In addition to a new game/graphics engine Medieval II expands upon the original in both it's level of detail and overall scope, leaving almost no stone unturned.

Game Play

Medieval II Total War returns the Total War series to the Middle Ages where small nations or factions are in a continual struggle for land, money and control of the continent. As with the other Total War games, game play is broken into two distinct phases; a turn based strategy phase and a real time strategy phase. Management of your kingdom takes place in the turn based phase, while battles are played in the real time strategy phase.

The single player portion of Medieval II contains a campaign mode, as well as historical, custom and quick battle modes. The three battle modes are quite similar and are played in the real time strategy phase of the game. There are 7 different historical battles as well as dozens of quick and custom battle combinations to choose from. The battles themselves can contain thousands of troops displayed in stunning graphical detail with unique character models for each unit type.

The single player battle modes are a great way to learn the ropes of the real time strategy portion of the game. The ingame tutorials provide basic controls and maneuvering of troops. These battles can also be taken online where up to 8 players can play against each other via the Gamespy network.

Campaign Mode

Medieval II Total War
The biggest attraction to the Total War series of games is the blend of turn based and real time strategy game play found in the campaign mode. Medieval II Total War includes a total of 17 playable factions across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. For your first campaign only five factions are available to choose from, the remaining 12 factions only become playable upon the successful completion of your first campaign. The starting factions available for play include England, France, the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, and Venice.

Each faction has two different campaign types a short campaign that consists of a few hours of game play, and a long campaign that can take days or even weeks to complete while spanning most of the game's timeline(approximately 500 years). The short campaign is best played by those looking to quickly unlock other factions. For example, a short campaign played as England has the objectives of controlling 15 regions and eliminating the factions of Scotland and France. In the long campaign you must control 45 regions plus Jerusalem...not always an easy task or one that can be done in a single evening.

The campaign begins in the turn based phase on a large map of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The map is split into regions, each of which includes a settlement that you will battle for control of with other factions. The main objective is no different that any of the other Total War games. March your armies across the map to engage in large real time battles for control of regions and settlements.

New Features

Medieval II Total War
War. Lets face it, the game really isn't a sequel, but rather an update of the original to the latest Total War game engine. Those familiar with Rome Total War will notice the similarities immediately. Movement on the campaign map, overall game play and interface (both turn based and real time battles) is virtually identical to that of Rome Total War.

One new feature in Medieval II Total War is the distinction between city/town settlements and castle settlements. As mentioned previously, each region on the campaign map contains a single settlement that controls the region. In the previous version there was no difference between the settlements, all could eventually gain the same buildings, units and upgrades. With Medieval II Total War, settlements are now one of two types; either a city settlement or a castle settlement.

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