Review by sdogunlucky
"Medieval: Total war is a must get for a fan of strategy."
Medieval: total war is a kind of Real-time strategy and Turn-based strategy hybrid. While the battles take place in real time, second by second. The main unit building and strategic portion of the game is done on a turn based style of play. On both sides this game has worked amazingly well. This is of no shock since its predecessor, Shogun: total war was almost flawless on the same basic principles.
Almost perfect in that the amount of variety compared to shogun: total war is almost ten fold. The map, covering almost all of Europe, is large enough that I play for hours and hours and still have only a quarter of the map under my Reign. They also fixed the balance of heirs to the throne that plague shogun. After a while in shogun you would get old and run out of heirs and it would be over but now in Medieval heirs seem to be more plentiful which means more fun because you can play the same campaign for a lot longer without worrying about your leaders health. Another good addition is the sheer amount of units you can make which adds a lot more depth to the game. Now a single battle may have several different kinds of horseman (each good for a certain thing), two or three different kinds of infantry (or more if you so desire), and a choice of several different kinds of horse or foot archers. The battles seem more action packed because of this welcomed addition.
While there is no real story to this game other than to take over and secure all of Europe under your single rule, the real stories come from the battles themselves. I can remember telling and retelling (to my friends torture) the battle where I held off 800+ die hard Spanish with my 260 battle torn men who I had positioned on a large hill. The men lasted the heart wrenching time and in fact went on to capture some of the other army’s soldiers. Now that is a story. No RPG story could compare to the time in which you decide to take over Brittany and you slide all your men over there only to find that you’re most trusted ally from the East, the Turks, have gotten greedy and have invaded your land. I only take a point down because the lack of any unifying story like the one in Shogun leaves me wondering why I’m taking these lands.
The beautiful hills and lush green fields of Europe all but make up for the 2D graphics of the trees and the units. The 2D units actually don’t really look half bad in fact they are drawn quite well if you zoom in close enough and if you play from far away they look perfectly like 1000 soldiers marching to the battle fields. The map of Europe also looks as though the game makers put some thought into it, with rivers and hills all drawn into it as though you were looking at a real map from the medieval days. As for the sounds they are great. On the battle field it’s like taking a trip back to this earlier time when you hear the men’s shouts as they desperately try to hold formation as an onslaught of horseman come charging wave after wave. To hear the swords clanking cold steel armor transports you into the game so that when even a single man falls you shake your head and ask yourself “how could that have been avoided?”.
The reason I gave this topic a ten was the simple fact that medieval has some of the best replayability that I’ve ever encountered. I can play as the Byzantines one week than win or lose. And come back a week later and play as them again and get a completely different experience. One time the Turks could be my worst enemy and it seems as though they conquered everything and the next they could be the first eliminated and the English are the superpower. As for playtime expect to play from a range of several days to several weeks on one game, depending on your skill level and on your level of intensity of playing (how often you play and for how long).
Hindered only by a few minor set backs medieval is one of the truly best games I have played to date and I’m sure you would feel the same after only a few hours with it. It excels in both the use of the RTS style and TBS style of game play. I’m sure you won’t get bored of it for months and months and even if you do you’ll come back for more again and again for quite some time.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/09/03, Updated 03/09/03
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