previewed on PC
Let's start with the basics milord
Over the years, the Total War series has seriously redefined the standard of what a strategy game should be. This November, Creative Assembly releases Medieval 2: Total War, which is its 4th addition to this groundbreaking series. High time for us to take a closer look as to what this remarkable developer has in store for us.
If you've never played any of the Total War series or Medieval: Total War, the basic idea is to guide factions such as England or the Holy Roman Empire through the middle ages while attempting to make it the most powerful faction. Often this is accomplished by conquering the entire map. Along the way you will have help from not only a powerful military filled with Medieval style units but also spies, assassins, diplomats, clergy to spread the one true faith, inquisitors to rout out heresy, your sons and brothers to act as generals in your armies, and even your sisters and daughters to give away in arranged marriages.
It's new and improved my liege
On the surface a lot of Medieval 2 looks and feels like its predecessors. A lot of the battle engine will be the same and many of the same strategies should still apply for all of them. Still, it wouldn't be a Total War game without some serious improvements that will keep the fans of the series coming back for more. Most notable among these is the addition of separate bodies and faces for each and every soldier. Gone are the days of the "clone wars" where large units of men that look exactly the same will fight for you. Now each one of your men will have his own individual body and face making each man distinct.
The Pope will be much more of a factor in the game then he was in Medieval: Total War. Instead of the computerized despot who annoyed you by excommunicating you if you fought with other Catholics, the new Pope can be both a burden 'and' a blessing. It will for instance, be possible to influence the Pope's decisions and even influence the election of a new Pope who is more 'considerate' of your way of doing things.
Knights in shining armor
Fighting will become more realistic and fluid; Instead of the old continual attacking motion of Medieval: Total War or the attacking followed up by a quick death of Rome: Total War, Medieval 2 will feature blocks and parries as well as combo moves and even finishing moves between the soldiers. From the video's that I have seen of the game these movements appear very fluid and lifelike. On top of this you will be able to see the fear on the faces of your soldiers as they are fighting.
Besides the new features described above, the graphics of Medieval 2 look absolutely stunning. There aren't many parts of the graphics engine that haven't received a major overhaul. Metal shines (check out the reflection on Knights' armour) and just about everything there is to see, looks a lot more detailed. This combined with the individualized faces and bodies and the massive armies that can be deployed should make even the hardest nosed graphics junkies drool at the sight.
We write history Lord CA
However fortunate or unfortunate, Medieval 2 will be very much pseudo history, just as Rome Total War was. While some of the units will look and feel realistic, others stretch the imagination somewhat. An example of this are the "Elephants with Cannons". While these may have existed at some point in time, they most certainly weren't commonplace. However, we play the Total War games for their fantastic ability to simulate huge battles and Medieval 2 does not look to be relinquishing its monopoly over that.
Draw your swords and fight lads!
The medieval era has always been my favorite time in history and Medieval: Total War, my favorite game of the series. Medieval 2 fits in with a lot of boyhood fantasies of being King Arthur or something of that nature. And though it doesn't have the gameplay or the graphics capabilities of Rome: Total War, it just had a great "feel" to it. While Creative Assembly has been pretty quiet about its campaign engine, preferring instead to try and sell the game using its incredible battle system, we can only hope that the campaign engine is good enough to match.
Hopefully Creative Assembly will make an effort to improve the AI that opposing factions use which for Rome: Total War could have been rated somewhere between horrible and non-existent. Right now, it doesn't sound like any kind of naval combat will be included but it would be a nice surprise if it makes an appearance. However even without these improvements the Total War games are just too good to miss if you are a strategy gamer at heart.