What is Medieval 2: Total War?

Medieval 2: Total War is the latest in the Total War series of strategy games from Crative Assembly, which builds on the success of its predecessors, Rome: Total War, Medieval: Total War and Shogun: Total War. In order to complete the campaign, a player must lead armies across the battlefields of Europe to the Holy Land, before crossing the Atlantic to do battle with the Aztec Empire and conquer the New World. The Grand Campaign spans a period of some four hundred and fifty years (1080 – 1530), the most turbulent period of european history, spanning the golden age of chivalry, the crusades, the discovery of gunpowder, the discovery of America, the Rennaisance and the formation of professional armies.

The AI is reported to be a huge step forward from Rome: Total War and the graphics are just fantastic.

If you look closely at this screenshot of Knights, then not only do the units skins look fantastic quality, they are not all the identical. Some men have a different breastplates, others have different designs on their shields. This replaces the “clone armies” of previous strategy games such as Rome: Total War, Medieval: Total War or Age of Empires III. This adds a remarkable touch of realism to the battlefield along with improved battlefield animations, resulting in men who don’t always try the same combination of blocking, parrying and striking, whatever their opponent may be.

The campaign uses the same 3D map that debuted in Rome: Total War. The campaign requires the conquest of 45 provinces along with specific provinces, usually either Rome, Jerusalem or both.

The campaign will play in a similar fashion to that of Rome: Total War. A player will have to manage a number of settlements, similar to Sid Meier’s legendary Civilization series. Buildings can be bought in settlements to gain improve the settlement’s income, growth public order, troop quality and to allow more powerful troops to be trained there. Troops and agents can be trained from settlements and the number of men trained is removed from the settlement’s population. Once troops are trained, they must be paid, so every unit drains a small amount of money from the treasury. The economy can be built by building trade routes, farming the land, mining for resources and taxing your population. Beware though, high taxes are unpopular and reduce population growth, reducing the speed with which you gain access to higher city levels and the more advanced technology that this brings. Information is vital, so agents can be sent out to do your bidding where armies may not be feasible. Spies can be sent out to look at enemy armies and settlements to find out what they are doing. It is also possible to open the gates of a settlement with a spy. This allows assaults to take place far quicker, freeing up your armies to go on to the next conquest, gaining you an extra turn’s worth of income, recruitment and building and denying all of this to your enemy. Diplomats can be used for diplomatic negotiations with other factions. Forging alliances is an important factor in the game, as an ally will help you in a battle if they have an army nearby, trade with you and stand by you against a common foe. Diplomats are also responsible for bribery, allowig you to bribe an enemy army rather than fighting them. Merchants are responsible for trade, they negotiate trade rights with other factions and generally make you money. Priests are responsible for religious matters, such as the conversion of a city to your official religion. Finally, Assassins are the people that you call on if it would benefit your faction of a certain character would just …disappear, be it an annoying Diplomat, a Spy that is keeping your spies out of a settlement, a powerful General, an influential Merchant or an irritating Priest. Clean hands and long knives can work wonders for your position in the world.

Playable Factions (With links to the IGN faction previews):

  • EnglandYellow and Red
  • The Holy Roman EmpireYellow and Black
  • FranceLight Blue and White
  • The Republic of VeniceDark Brick Red and Yellow
  • Spain (Castile) – Yellow and Red

Unlockable Factions:

  • Egypt (Including The Ayyubid Dynasty and The Mamluks)Tanish/Yellow and Black
  • The Byzantine EmpirePurple and White
  • The Moors (Including the Almohad Dynasty)Orange and White
  • ScotlandDark Blue and White
  • DenmarkRed and White
  • PortugalLight Blue and White
  • PolandRed and White
  • MilanGreen and White
  • SicilyWhite and Black
  • RussiaDark Blue and Red
  • HungaryOrange and Green
  • The Turks (Including The Ottoman Empire)Green and Yellow

Unplayable Factions:

  • The Aztec EmpireLight Blue and Yellow
  • The TimuridsBlack and Red
  • The Mongol Empire (Or The Golden Horde)Dark Green and Tan/White
  • The Papal StatesYellow and White
  • The Rebel ProvincesGrey