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a brief review of the second edition of the game

by Jeff Herbert


My two year, or there about, addiction for Rome-Total War, specifically Barbarian Invasion, ended at Christmas when I was given Medieval II as a present.  One quick upgrade of my computer later I was ready to play.  I didn’t get to download the patches as the SE Asia earthquake impacted on Boxing Day.


The game is basically the same as Rome, but with a bit shaved off the eastern edge of the map.  It has a few more bells and whistles, Inquisitors run around causing a minor nuisance of themselves, Princesses run around acting as ambassadors and selling themselves into marriage, merchants set up shop over commodities and the assassins and spies do what assassins and spies do best.  Diplomats are still in and herectics and witches have been added.


The game mechanic, World Domination, sat better in the Roman theme and does not jell as well for the medieval world.  A different mechanic was really required, one more centred on the family dynasty, alliances and trade.  The map movement if played through is slower as there is much more going on.  Winning is not hard and the AI system for both map movement and battles does not appear very aggressive.


Crusades take place and should be jumped on quickly, if you can just take seven weak units because you can recruit crusaders much cheaper.  Once you have taken your target the crusaders will remain with you and you can slowly replace them with normal troops.  One ploy is to ‘give’ up cities in the middle-east, wait until the Pope calls for a crusade and then take them again.


My comments on the bells and whistles are: -

Assassins and spies have variant video clips, which are good fun before you tire of them.  It is harder to build up an experienced assassin but when you have one he causes havoc.  There should possibly be a mission cost for assassins and spies.


Princesses do not work to well, the thought of having a Princess hiking around the world, selling off her wares just doesn’t work.  Instead this should be the function of the diplomats.  With diplomats arranging dynastic marriages. 


Priests are OK and it pays to make them and build up their piety by praying and denouncing witches and heretics


Inquisitors, stay in the open and can be seen on the map and can be avoided.  I think they should just appear and enter towns, thereby becoming a real threat.  After all nobody expects the inquisition.  This would Force your characters to get out of town or your attempt at assassination.


Merchants are not worth their cost and should be cheaper to buy.  Merchants can take out merchants, which is a nice twist.


A lot of work has clearly gone into the game but I prefer Rome Total War. 

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