previewed on PC
Global Strategy... check! Real-Time Tactical Action... check! Historical Accuracy... check!
Are there more than a handful of gamers out there who don't get a kick out of pummeling their friends for a few hours over the classic board game Risk? Well, if you were to create a game set in the Middle Ages, throw in the global strategy component of Risk and combine it with real-time tactical excitement you'd have XIII Century!
Created by developer Unicorn Games Studio and published by IC Company, the Russian-based companies want to take you on a journey of strategic proportions where you can carve your name into the history of time.
Oh what a knight...
XIII Century sets you up playing as one of many of the famous military leaders of the time. You can lead the English, French, Mongols, Germans or Kievan Rus' (better known as the Russians) into battle recreating most of the well-known conflicts of the period. The game is composed of 5 campaigns involving more than thirty unique battles. Do you have an urge to participate in part of the Spanish Reconquista and recreate the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (July 16th, 1212)? How about seeing how you fair as a Catholic crusader at Lake Peipus in the "Battle of the Ice" (April 5th, 1242)? Those battles and more are all here waiting for your command. In fact, XIII Century boasts several battles which have never been featured in PC games before. You can take the second Battle of Taillebourg (July 21, 1242) to the virtual world for the first time and see how Louis IX of France and Henry III of England make out with your guidance.
A plethora of units are available for use including cavalry, foot soldiers, archers, arbalesters and darters. Each unit is defined with 80 unique attributes that allow for a convincingly authentic showdown on the battlefield. With this amount of statistical granularity and large-scale conflicts involving thousands of units on the battlefield at one time, the gamer will be forced to select their units and strategy wisely (or lose). They must quickly adapt to the constantly changing tug-of-war surrounding them.
It's all in the details...
All battles are painstakingly historically reproduced including the environment of the landscape, weather/seasonal conditions and even time of day. In fact, the authenticity of each conflict doesn't end with the geography. All weapons, armour and equipment employed by the knights are all constructed using historical records and specifications. And for the tough-to-please hardcore historian game-playing crowd, you'll also love the fact that the nationality of the troops even plays a role in their battle statistics. Where the Italians are the best shooters in Europe, the French rule the mounted battlefield, the Welsh archers dominate in the forest regions and the Mongolian cavalry prevail in maneuverability.
The heraldry of the European aristocracy is also faithfully represented. Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, Simon de Montfort, Philip II Augustus and more than 60 other famous historic personalities make an appearance in XIII Century adding even more atmosphere to an already deeply detailed game.
Graphically, IC Company boasts that XIII Century will feature state-of-the-art graphics with an "astonishing level of refinement and veracity". In the material that I saw the graphics looked fine but nothing that would "astonish" today's gamer. That being said, graphics aren't the main reason you play a historically accurate game like this and the visual presentation that XIII Century offers appears to suit the game very well.
All told, information on XIII Century is quite sparse. 1C Company is holding information close to their breastplate although the material that I did see shows much promise for the title. With a wide-range of unit types and environments to march to the battlefield with, XIII Century looks to offer something unique to the RTS crowd. Their treatment of the historical angle only looks to add further depth to the genre. If they can nail the balance, control and interaction between the various factions then XIII Century will be a great addition to the XXI Century!