by Marcus Mulkins
previewed on PC
Information Management is accomplished via a variety of info panels for Cities, Regions, National Diplomacy, Trade & Finance, and Encyclopedia. You will likely spend a lot of time in the Encyclopedia, looking up esoteric things like "Autofrettage". Aside from moving units directly on the map, it will be in the info panels where you will be making the large majority of your decisions and issuing orders.
If you are familiar with Making History: The Calm & The Storm, you shouldn't have too much trouble grasping the new game. The basics are still pretty much the same: develop your country, wheel 'n' deal on the world market and build up your military. In the mean time, you have to keep an eye on research through which pretty much everything can be improved. You will also need to make some allies and decide which of your neighbors are wimps and “in need of conquering”. Making History 2 goes a considerable step further with having to deal with internal religious, ethnic and political grumbling. Conquered regions aren't going to necessarily suffer your boot heel before manifesting their displeasure, especially if the conquered region has a large population weighted with a religion or ethnicity largely different from yours.
The aforementioned animation of the workman pounding away is quite important. You can rest assured that you will not have adequate resources to progress projects everywhere. So in regions X, Y, and Z you’ll assign projects to be carried out. Up pops Mr. Workman and you will know that the work has been started. If he does not appear, you will immediately know there’s something wrong. That’s your cue to open up the Region panel and see what is amiss. Later, when Mr. Workman vanishes, it is a visual clue that the project is done and you are ready to reassign those resources to starting the next tier of that development, or reassign those resources to another project in a different region.
The most important thing that will NOT be in the box is a Tutorial. This – surprisingly is a - Good Thing -. According to Chris, “…if we had been working on a tutorial it would now be wrong, so it has to be done very near the end of the process”. Which is not to say that a Tutorial won’t be available: it is being built, piece by piece as sections of the game are being finalized. It is expected to be available not too long after the release date as a downloadable update. Additionally, Muzzy Lane will be creating several short videos of “How To” tutorials that will be posted to YouTube. And nearly as good is the “Making History – General Headquarters” website, where anyone with questions about the game can post those questions and get quick answers from developers and other more experienced players.
Which brings me to something that is incredibly important about the Making History games: Muzzy Lane is the best kind of game company for a gamer. A game company run by avid gamers making games for other avid gamers. That’s at variance to other “mass market” game companies that have the sole objective of making money, selling as many units as possible for the lowest investment possible. Grand Strategy Games generally do not sell well. And since Grand Strategy games don’t sell as well, companies like Activision and Electronic Arts won’t bother with them. Without companies such as Muzzy Lane, these kind of games would never exist.
Not as great as it will be
At this point in time, in my utterly honest opinion, Making History II: The War of The World as it will be released on June 15th, will likely not be a “great” game. But I have total confidence that it will be, and fairly soon thereafter. I am absolutely certain that when you buy this game, you will agree with that assessment provided you like Grand Strategy games, of course. Oh, and you have to be a dyed-in-the-wool micromanager too.