Medieval II: Total War is a turn based strategy and real-time tactical battled game released in 2006. It is also known as the sequel to "Medieval: Total War" which was released in 2002. The game is set on the middle ages, and the goal of the player is to expand his/her empire and destroy any who oppose and get in the way.
The game is turn based featuring political management and war where the player can do so as he or she pleases. And as a sequel to "Medieval: Total War" the developers have used their code base of "Rome: Total War" for the new game. And as always, they have added many new features and content. One of these new additions are: a new updated engine, improved combat system, new gameplay experience, and new loading scenes.
So there are a lot of new features. And one of these new additions include new factions that you can choose from, such as England ranging to Egypt. And in each faction having their own brutal strengths, weaknesses and unique specialties. Also aside from singleplayer or "Grand Campaign" ,as we know it, there are a few other fun modes that you can choose from, such as the "Custom Battle", "Quick Battle", and "Historical Battle" modes. And ofcourse the game also includes a new multiplayer system which is very similar to the "Custom Battle" mode in singleplayer, except with real players this time obviously. Another feature I may want to mention is the random visual textures the game implements to every soldier in every battle. So the next time you deploy your troops, each and everyone of them have different looks.
Anyway that's done, now for the review.
Singleplayer, we all know what that means right? Well if you don't, singleplayer is a mode in which a single player (see what I did there) can play by him or herself with or without requiring internet connection and other real players online. In "Medieval II: Total War's" singleplayer, we have the "Grand Campaign", "Custom Battle", "Quick Battle", and lastly the "Historical Battle".
I would like to discuss the "Grand Campaign", because it's the biggest part of the game and is also the most exciting. Well first of all, the "Grand Campaign" has a very good political system which I admire very much - because it seems quite realistic. For example, you get to manage and raise/lower the taxes of your city. You also get to build or improve new scructures, train new units, recruit assassin guilds, and so on. Be careful in managing though, because all of these affect the happiness and order of the city.
One feature I also liked was that every general or NPC that you have encountered has their own unique personality and traits. So pick your leaders wisely, because some may be good for war and some good for politics. Coincidentally there are two settlement types one can choose from: a village or a castle. These types have both their own weaknesses and strengths. The village type succeeds better in creating wealth but fails a little bit more on defense and the creation of effective troops. While on the other hand, a castle type settlement succeeds perfectly for war but fails a bit in the economic part. And usually during the progression of the game, new discoveries and crazy events happen. Like plagues and volcanic explosions. When these things happen to your enemy, it's a good thing. But if it happens to you, please lower the taxes.
So now I will discuss the battle system. First of all, the battle system was improved from the previous game so you might find it a little bit more realistic this time. Anyway, basically you enter a battle then a menu appears showing your chance of victory and stats - as well as your enemy's. The player could choose an automatic finish and dump excitement, or he could look the other way and pick the real-time battle option. Lets say that I pick the real-time battle option. First I'll have to deploy my troops. Then when they are deployed, you'll either be the attacker or the defender. The attacker has a time limit, so you should act fast and strategic like. On the other end, the defender can just wait like there is no tomorrow and do what they do best, which is defending ofcourse.
So, when I first tried out this "Grand Campaign" it was confusing, for awhile, but as you go along all the confusion starts to disappear. And what comes out is immersion and realism. So in my opinion, the combat system is somewhat cinematic, the environment immersive, and most of all, the experience - very exciting. You'll had to be strategic in battles, reasonable in managing your settlements, and so on.
Multiplayer as I have said is very similar to the "Custom Battle" mode. You choose a faction and then your troops, with a money limit ofcourse. So when I played multiplayer with my friends and brothers a couple of times, I would be in a really competitive mood, you had to have wits and smarts to overcome your opponent. Its a fun mode at that, realistic like the campaign and very immersive. Basically the multiplayer experience is more "get to the point" than the singleplayer experience which was more
"get the points" (if that made any sense). Anyways, one thing the game really missed out on me was some "Multiplayer Campaign" or coop. I have never heard or seen this implemented in games yet. Hopefully it's implemented on the games to come. But I may be wrong because this method could have already been implemented a long time ago, who knows.
The graphics are great actually, for its time ofcourse. The battle environments were nicely designed and placed. But one thing I didn't like was the grass popping up on your face all the time. So anyway, the graphics are nice but I would recommend turning off the grass.
The audio is really immersive and well thought of, without it the campaign and battles would just feel empty and uncinematic.
"Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms" this expansion pack was soon released after "Medieval II: Total War". It's a really good addition to the game, though it isn't a standalone, it requires that you have the original game installed first.
So in conclusion, I say in my opinion. The game has a very good singleplayer experience, fun multiplayer, and decent graphics that go with immersive audio. And for me , well , Singleplayer was a real adventure and I would love to play it again anytime. The only thing I would have loved implemented so far was coop. But even so, it's a great game I would recommend for other people.