Review by z129000

"Excellent Strategy Game, but how far does it pass Shogun?"

For nearly 10 years I have been an avid strategy gameplayer. Over the years I've seen many forms of the genre, spawning the RTS (real-time strategy) and the TurnBasedStrategy sub-genres. It's very rare to find a game that successfully melds the two anymore, that is until Shogun:TotalWar was released. A high-profile merger of the politics and warfare of our history. But Shogun was a small game, with only Japan to conquer. Medieval:TotalWar, the second in the TotalWar series, remedies this problem. All of Europe to conquer, hundreds of units, even statistics for generals, RPG style. But it leaves one wondering, is Medieval really a sequel, or just a very comprehensive expansion?

Graphics: 7

Not a big leap over Shogun one bit. Originally bragged about, these graphics are average at best. Bland, flat, and blurry units cover the screen at a close view. But from far it is an awe-inspiring sight to behold. Massive armies clash on lush scenery. The map has increased in it's detail, along with general portraits.

Sound: 7

From the map, medieval tunes loop in the background, nothing outstanding. But the battlefield is where the music shines. Once units get within range, powerful music pounds, really increasing the tension of the battle. Units scream battle cries, and engage in combat. Then the sound goes bad. Annoying clanging of metal begins to overpower the music, and the same three screams are heard over and over again. Sound is average at best.

Gameplay: 10

It was almost hard to give this game a perfect ten for it's gameplay. While it is a fun-filled mix of both aspects of the strategy genre, it is filled with flaws. Diplomacy is still virtually useless. Pity, as such a feature has unlimited potential in this type of game. Additions over Shogun include the major factor of religion. Jihad's and Crusades can be declared upon a target, many more troops take to the field, ships have been included, sieges are now more worth while, but still not necessary. And don't be fooled by the advertising of sieges, it is very likely you will go through the game without ever engaging in one. You still have no control over your castle directly, a common misconception in this game.

Longetivity: 8

A very hard factor to grade in this game. There are three ages to begin your game in, each with a number of different factions to control. Random or historical battles, which can be fought any time you please, along with decent multiplayer, really boost this score. Expect a few sleepless nights over this game, but don't expect that to occur for long.

Even with many new additions, this game fails to impress in many areas. Graphics badly need updating, slow-down occurs far too often, along with horrendous load times. Still, it's a must-buy for Shogun fans, and it's definitely worth a try if you like strategy games.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 09/16/02, Updated 09/16/02

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