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87 of 92 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2009
I picked up Medieval II Total War / Total War Kingdoms Gold Pack for $30 and I have to say, for that price it's a great deal. There are months of gameplay packed into this game. I was up until 4am, 4 nights in a row!

Concept: 9/10
In Medieval 2GP, you play as 1 of 17 different Factions / Nations in an attempt to use diplomacy, treachery, and military might to take over the world. The game features a Battle Mode where you can fight a Battle against AI, a Short Campaign where you must wipe out 1 or 2 rival nations and occupy a good portion of the world map, or a Grand Campaign, where you must occupy Jerusalem and a very large portion of the world. The "Short" Campaign could take you anywhere from 8 - 40 hours to finish. With the expansions, there are more maps, 13 more Factions, and 110 more military units... There is also a dedicated Modding community that has further enhanced the game.

Graphics: 8/10
The graphics are impressive on the high settings and it's pretty incredible to watch 4000 soldiers clash on the battlefield with arrows raining from the sky and catapults destroying fully destructible cities.
NOTE: I had an awful time getting my NVidia 7900GT to work with this game, but I finally found the solution on a forum. Creative Assembly's and SEGA's websites were less helpful than a Magic 8 Ball. I'll post the solution in the Comments Section below.

Gameplay: 7/10
There are three types of gameplay in the game. There is a World Map where you can move armies and units across a battlefield and into enemy territories. You strategically use diplomats, merchants, religious figures, spies, assassins, princesses, and armies to thwart your opposing nations. This plays out like old school RISK.

There is faction management, where you govern your cities, raise or lower taxes, build structures that provide troops and upgrades for your army, balance your budget, put your leaders in the most optimal places, and assemble your armies. Your Heirs, Commanders, and Governors have stats... some make great generals, some make great governors. It's up to you to put them in the right places. If you have a brother in-law who is a weak commander and not very loyal, you can send him off to fight the Mongols Far Far away from your homeland. Think of it as chlorine in your family gene pool. You don't want his offspring inheriting your kingdom.

There are the battles. The battles are fought between units in an RTS, rock, paper, scissors, type of battle. Archers are great at long range, Horsemen can run over the archers, spearmen can set themselves in a defensive formation and impale a cavalry charge. There are also infantry (swordsmen) who fare well against the spearmen. There are literally hundreds of different types of units. There are open field battles in different types of environments, mountains, snow, forests...
There are castle sieges where you must use catapults, rams, ladders, siege towers, to take over a walled city. And there are castle sieges where you must defend your city from invaders. During a battle, you can also pause the action and issue commands, or speed it up 2x - 6x so you don't have to wait for the troops to get into position.

If you want to play the game RISK style, you can have the AI simulate the battles and get a results screen that says something like: Victory, you lost 200 men, the enemy lost 650 men.
If you want to play the game like an RTS, you can have the AI govern your cities, while you fight the battles. It was a great idea to cater the game to both styles of play.

Strategies: 8/10
The AI is pretty simple in the game, and once you figure out how to play, you will rarely lose a battle. You can use units and the terrain to your advantage. Unlike Starcraft, you don't have to kill every enemy on the battlefield. You can break their morale and get them to run away. If you see a bunch of enemy swordsmen, you can pepper them with arrows and kill half of them as they are charging, then run them down (literally) with heavy calvary. The game displays their morale and you can see when they are about to break. When they flee, you can let them retreat, or run them down to finish them off.

On the World Map, you can hide your armies in the woods to ambush enemies, or position them in choke points to halt enemy advances. If you are at war with another Christian Faction, the Pope may order you to cease fire for a few turns, which usually allows the enemy to regroup and counterattack. But you can actually destroy an enemy city without attacking it. Send spies, and assassins to take out the governor, kill the militia, and the citizens could riot and rebel against their king. If you have a charming princess, you can marry an enemy general into your family, stealing their army... or you can send diplomats to negotiate with your enemy and harm their economy. There are many ways to topple an enemy town. You can even form an alliance with another nation, and use spies and assassins on them if you don't get caught. If they declare war on you, the Pope may excommunicate them for violating the alliance, or even launch a Holy Crusade against them! How you conquer your enemies is completely up to you.

Interface Screens: 5/10
Switching screens to manage your cities is pretty clunky and it seems that you have to click to 3 different screens to gather information before you make a decision. This gets a little irritating after a while because it feels like everything is 3 clicks away, when it should be 1 click. For example, after a battle, if you decide to execute your Prisoners of war, a box appears on the far left of the screen. Left Click on the Box and it says, "Your Commander has +1 Dread" - right click to close the box. Now find your commander on the battle map, left click on him, then double right click to bring up his stats to see how much Dread he actually has and what it means. It would have been great if that first window showed my all of my commander's stats and his location.

Issues: Diplomacy. Diplomatic Negotiations are pretty broken in the game. It feels like a die roll, instead of strategy. You may ask another nation for Map Information and offer 200 gold. They may refuse and GIVE YOU 1000 GOLD. The game would have been much better if the Map Information cost X, and you had to negotiate to get X down.

Overall: 8/10
Learning the World Map and Battle Strategies is great fun and feels rewarding, but the limited AI and clunky interface keep the game from being GREAT!

The game is rated T for Alcohol References, Blood, Mild Language, a bit of innuendo, and Violence in the form of large scale battles.

Buy it cheap if you want months of light strategy and epic battles.

If you're looking for a Starcraft Killer, you should probably keep looking.
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68 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2008
How many games do you know where your political machinations include plotting the assassination of the Pope so as to be able to elect a pontiff more favorable to your own faction? It's not just because the in-battle graphics are the best you've ever seen in any strategy game, it's not that you can influence the life course of your individual family members by the kinds of actions they take in of off the battlefield, it's not that you can become an economic powerhouse by deploying an army of merchants to conquer markets and put competing merchants out of business for good, what makes this game truly grand is the diplomatic warfare in which all of this is shrouded.

Military might is important, but not necessarily primordial. Have a giant, all-engulfing, land-hungry neighbor that threatens your national security? No problem. Assassinate the current Pope, elect one that's favorable to you and not so much to him, find a way to get him to be excommunicated and ask the pope to call a crusade against him! Now you'll have five or more other factions attack him in the name of Holy religion and he'll be weaker as a result. You may even manage to expand your borders in the bargain.

Now, you may just be one of these people for whom this will be insufficient. Maybe the 21 different playable factions don't quite do it for you. Maybe the different roles your agents (priests, assassins, spies, diplomats/princesses, and merchants) can play don't impress you. Maybe you don't care much for the guilds that offer to quarter themselves into your cities. This is where the Kingdom campaigns come in. All of them are beautiful mods of the original game with a variety of interesting twists. But even without the expansion, this game is worth buying. This said, allow me one warning: stay away from this game if you are addiction-prone.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2009
I have recently bought this game off Amazon and have been very, very impressed with it. The only word of caution I have would be to invest in a higher quality graphics card if you are looking into this game, plus the memory requirments are steep.

I have bought all the previous Total War games, and got sick of Rome:Total War after 4 years of playing, much to my wife's disgust and nagging, and decided to buy Medieval Total War 2:Kingdoms, to bug her that much more. :)

My overall expereince is very impressed. Graphics are great, battles are much harder then Rome: Total War, Politics and Religion actually play a large part. Different from Rome and the other previous Total War games, you have to please not only your own nobles, but have to make the Pope happy, usually by not attacking other Catholic Christian factions. If not, you incure the wrath of the Church and can become excommunicated, then all havoc breaks loose on you for different Catholic factions as well.

To me it seems that Medieval Total War 2 is a combination of all the previous Total War games into one. The cool assination video from Shogun Total War, the ransoming of captured prisoners and depth of troop types from Medieval Total War 1, and the stunning graphics and map (not like a Risk board but actually holding mountain passes or hiding in forests to ambush unsuspecting armies)of Rome Total War.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2011
Read any review from a credible source and you'll see great scores.
Medieval II is a fantastic game. I believe that the "Risk" portion of
the game is actually more fun than the giant battles. Enjoy a wonderful game!

PS. This game works on windows 7 64bit.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2012
I've spent more time in this Total War then any others that I own. I bought it along with Shogun 2 thinking I'd be playing that one more and only be playing Medieval 2 when I get bored of Shogun. Turns out to be the other way around (might have to do with the fact that Medieval doesn't use Steam). I've only had the courage of doing a few attempts at the campaign (it seems a little daunting at first, lots of stuff to do and manage). Let me share with all of you my experiences.

I've played as England, Portugal, Spain, and The Holy Roman Empire briefly. It wasn't until I played the Scottish campaign in the Britannia Expansion that I really got into the campaigns. Until then I was only playing custom, quick, and historical battles. Anyways, it was maybe 20 or so turns into the campaign. The Vikings invade my northernmost castle (I originally tried to ally them to deal with England) and I found myself facing a horde of 3000 led by their faction leader against my meager 1000 (mostly low-end peasants and highland rabble). I couldn't reinforce so I had no other choice than to sally forth and hold the Vikings at bay or my best general (at the time) would die trying. Needless to say that battle was the most incredible moment I've had in any RTS I've ever played (possibly even all my gaming experience). Their army was completely demolished and their entire faction was obliterated with that single defense. This was also the first time that I got caught off guard by any AI. Normally in a siege they focus everyone to attack the front of the castle at roughly the same time (unless siege weapons are involved). During this battle though, they sent a very small force of their 3000 straight to the gates. Then they split up the remaining army in two. One snuck left and behind my castle then to the front (while hugging the wall) and the other did the same but opposite direction. I did not notice this as I was busy frantically trying to stop the advancing ladders and rams. After I beat them I ordered everyone out to chase them down. It was at this moment those two larger chunks of their army finally finished circling and cut me off from my own castle. It was then a frantic race to head them off before they could mow us down in the open field and capture the castle center.

That above experience alone should be enough to intrigue you to pick this up and play through one of the many campaigns. Now, I know that doesn't always happen. I'm sure it isn't common. However, it is nice to know the AI can mix things up and try new strategies every now and then. That one in particular almost worked had I not looked to the mini-map and then notice to my horror the vast amount of red that was all over the castle.

So... That was one story of my Kingdom. What story will yours have? Pick this game up and find out.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2011
As a long-time TW:Rome fan, I was a little slow to get around to purchasing this. Medieval II closely resembles Rome, but offers several improvements in game play. The improvement in graphics is subtle, but nonetheless noticeable. My favorite feature is that you can queue up unit and building purchases even if you lack funds in your current turn. This reduces the time spent on micromanaging your cities. The strategy element is also more nuanced - with priests, merchants, princesses, the pope, crusades, and of course spies and diplomats. Dealing with the Pope is especially enjoyable (or sometimes dangerous). I also enjoy using early gunpowder - it adds a new element, particularly to siege warfare, yet without being totally dominant.

The game has been very stable. The only drawback, in my opinion, is that it lacks the variety of cultures and units that Rome had. This homogeneity of cultures is not a problem as such (it is more historically accurate that different Medieval civilizations utilized the same tactics, especially a heavier emphasis on cavalry). Nonetheless, it gets to be kind of the same thing a little quicker, because you're using essentially the same kinds of units and tactics against everyone you conquer, especially in the West. It just doesn't have the vast differences that Rome had between the Gauls, the Greeks, the Romans, the Parthians, Carthaginians, the Thracians, the Egyptians, etc..., who each had very unique armies. This is somewhat ameliorated in the Americas campaign, which features the unique Aztecs and the Mayans, but fighting against them seems like cheating. They suffer from the plague, they have no cavalry, no siege equipment to speak of, no navy or ports to blockade, and generally just have to rely upon numbers against the Spanish. So yet again, its historically accurate, but not necessarily the best game play. The battles of Medieval II also seem to take a bit longer, perhaps because the heavier armor provides more protection than most units in Rome.

These are all minor quibbles though. The game is very enjoyable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Ahh, yes, the Medieval age a time for strong fortified castles to dot the landscape through Europe and the Middle East (and northern parts of Africa)and huge cities to be plaged by The Great Death and more important a time for Total War.
This game takes you too the middle ages of history. You choose from over 10 possible playable kingdoms from England to Egypt. Your goal? Total and utter domination!Rule your land through diplomacy, treachery, and beyond all war. You as the supervising general for all armies. Your hand can play major roles in your quest for domination when you attack and choose to play the battle in question on the battlefield. Or put your armies under AI control and let them do your dirty work, there are more than willing.
Medieval II: Total War was a game that caught my interest from playing Para World on my computer I knew that I liked controling an army and building magnificent cities. However Total War is MUCH better than Para World.
I've played Medieval II Total ALOT! I've been just about all the playable kingdoms there is to be and still find it a fun game.
The graphics in the game a spectacular and keeps the Total War 'flavor' (as I like to call it)It did start a little rough on my computer but with a few compromises I got it working slick. The cities and castles in the game are also magnificent in the game, much, much detail. And I liked that you have different units within castles, which you can have many or few (I'd only go with a few castles on the outskirts of your enemy's kingdom. if you have to many you won't be able to get alot in taxes. and iff you are in need of taxes you can allways convert your castle into a city.)

The over-all of this game is Awesome! A verry good buy and well worth the money there is nothing bad about this game. Other than the two things I noted on, but those are really, really minuscule compaired to how great the game is.

Medieval II: Total War Gold Edition is the actual Medieval II game with the exspansion packs with it (America's,Britannia,Crusades, and Tuetonic)The exspansion packs are good but are more in-depth in the certain area and the Battle map is on a smaller more personal scale on the indivusual packs. They rate just like Medieval II: Total War. Verry, verry good games.

JRF01...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2012
One of the ways I know I like a game is if I keep thinking about it, after I have "beaten" the game. There are games of all genres that have sparked this re-occurring interest in me. I wish I could still play the classic Risk video game that I had on my Macintosh SE, as well as that original version of Tetris.

Medieval II is a continuation of the Total War series, and the best in my opinion, because it does not require a Steam account or other radical DRM to enjoy. I have a home gaming system that is not hooked up to the internet for safety reasons, since it is a windows machine. I prefer to do my home internet viewing on a Linux type machine to reduce my chances of collecting a virus or Trojan.

The second reason Medieval II is so good is because of its immense replay value. The game has so many missions, options, and tweaks you are able to make each campaign "new" and fun. That is just for starters - then you find out there is a huge modding community for this game. There are easily thirty mods for this game to keep it interesting. I have only explored two of them so far, but they have been a blast.

This game runs very stably and faster than Rome Total War, even with the same machine. The AI is better, and the overall game is more involved. Quite fun, I have been playing this game for more than six months.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2008
I have played total war since Shogun TW- I am a fan of turn based strategy all the way back to the best one, Chess. For those of you who do not know about this game, do not be fooled by the RTS label. This is 'not' a real time strategy in the true sense. Consider playing Risk/with infinite more detail to growing your power base. Taxes/Building/Training armies/ politics and Diplomacy, it's all there.
You might even learn a little bit of History as you go.
This gold edition is a deal. I purchased the first version and then the expansion and actually do not play the scenarios in the expansion as I prefer the Grand Campaign. For this I have found a couple of Mods that really expand on this title. You don't have to fight the real time battles if you don't want to-these can be time consuming so if you have overwhelming odds you can just auto resolve the battle.
all in all this title is well worth the asking price.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2009
With the same philosophy of ROME TW, just better. Far better graphics, including the proportions. Have you ever noticed how enormous the buildings are, compared to people, in ROME? This issue have been improved, as well as the lights, textures and motion of both man of foot and the horses.

The addition of the "Princess" agent is very welcome, as well as the "merchants" and "priests".

The playability is awesome, as well as the script, videos and soundtrack.

The only thing missing here was the old ROME feature of just checking out your town once in a while, without having to be in the middle of a battle just to see it.

A great addition, with the Kingdoms expansion, is the ability to give orders to your AI reinforcements in the middle of the battle!

You're going to need a mean machine if you're to actually enjoy the brutal realism of the battles, but it's worth the investment.

Truly terrific. :)
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