Top positive review
125 of 128 people found this helpful
on 14 June 2008
Having owned and thoroughly enjoyed the first 'Medieval Total War' my expectations were quite high for this edition. Some reviews had also made me a little worried about the progression in game play and concept, but this was all dispelled upon my first play. Rather than armies simply being moved from region to region, mountains and lakes have to be negotiated as armies shape their way through the terrain. These paths can also be used as important strategic strongholds, or ambush locations for other unsuspecting passing armies. The first edition lacked terrain on the main campaign map and this is perhaps the biggest change when first playing the game.
The main beauty of Total War II is how detailed both parts of the game are. For those who have not played the game, the game is broadly divided into two sections - firstly a map style campaign, similar to Civilization or the board game Risk and secondly individual battle scenarios. The game can therefore be played as both a strategy game and/or a battle one. Battles can be resolved automatically or commanded personally depending on how long or short you want the game to be.
In terms of playing time, the game does require a large amount of attention if you want to succeed as a ruler. Turns cannot simply be skipped in order to save money or for a building to be finished, as otherwise other `factions' will leave you in their wake. With experience and patience a huge European Empire can be under your grasp, but just when you think you have the game cracked, new and more powerful factions appear from the east, natural disasters strike cities, the plague sweeps through Europe and then America is discovered. Unlike many strategy games that become tedious and repetitive over time, these events help keep the game interesting.
The expansion pack features four mini-versions of the main game. Each is as detailed as the main game, but concentrates on specific areas such as Britain and the Middle East. These are equalling rewarding to play and I found the Crusades Campaign (which I still have yet to complete) perhaps even more compelling and addictive than the main game.
Overall Medieval Total War II is an absolute masterpiece of a game and coupled with the expansion pack it becomes the only game you will want to play for a long time.