Friday, March 14, 2008

Total War Redefines Epic Battles

by Haakon Sullivan
Photo/Production Coordinato

The middle ages were filled with suffering and drudgery, but one cannot ignore the massive influence that this age has on our society today. From the hundred years war to the Crusades, certain events molded Europe and in Medieval 2: Total War, you wipe those historical events clean and begin Europe’s nearly ancient age from its beginning. Gathering your forces behind a banner of any nation of the time, it is your goal to wage total war and dominate Europe for the good of the nation.
This game is basically a turn based strategy and a real time strategy game hybrid. The turn based aspect of the game involves managing your troop training and building construction in your regions on a gigantic map of Europe. You will also end up choosing targets for your armies, diplomats and assassins. The real time aspect of the game puts you in direct command of your forces as you besiege a castle or sally forth out of your own to bring the fight to the enemy. These battles are usually epic as the number of troops can reach the one-thousand mark.
Overall, the game is not that difficult to understand, but very difficult to master. Commanding your empire is basic. Make sure your budget is balanced, your people are happy, and your troops are plentiful so you are in the proper position to wage war. This position is good enough on the easy modes, but if you want more of a challenge you must master juggling diplomacy, religion, technology and more in order to get an edge on your opponents. This can create a game that is much more complex than at first sight.
The graphics in the game are stunning, putting the battlefield and the troops to a level of detail that puts the game to a level that engrosses the player in the epic battle. The music also contributes to the epic experience as it plays gothic style music…sort of like the “Duel of the Fates” music in Star Wars.
This is a game that you can play a few hundred times and never have the same game twice. One game you could be playing Scotland and conquer both England and France. In another, you can be playing the Moors and conquer the Spanish and the Egyptians. Hell, you can even be the English and be crushed by the Mongol horde.
In general, this is a game that that has an infinite number of possibilities with no two play-throughs being the same. This game has only a small shred of history embedded into it making the game very open ended letting you do whatever you want with Europe. If you’re not into the campaign mode, you can play specific historical battles if you want to jump right into the real time strategy.

Fun: 1.7/2
Difficulty: 1.5/2
Presentation: 2/2
Story: 1.0/2
Replay Value: 2/2
Total: 8.2/10

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