Medieval II: Total War Preview

There must be something in the air when it comes to Creative Assembly banging out their historical RTS franchise Total War every two years. Debuting in 2000 with Shogun: Total War, the franchise has taken a whole lot of strides over the years (along with nabbing numerous awards). Medieval II: Total War is the newest upcoming game in the series, so don your knight helmets now before the heads start rolling.

A demo has been out for a few weeks, but in order to run it your processor needed to support SSE2. Last Friday, a new demo was released for us non-SSE2 users, which includes the tutorial and two maps from the previous demo along with adding another map to the mix. I’ve been aware of the Total War franchise for awhile now but never got around to playing them, except for the Rome: Total War demo some years ago. But Medieval II looks like it’ll take off straight from where Rome: Total War left off in terms of visuals and general gameplay feeling.

The game will feature a timeframe from 1080 through 1530, along with touching on the discovery of the New World. One of the included maps in the demo, Battle of Otumba, introduces the New World with historical figure Cortez battling the Aztec. Controlling the Spanish in their traditional yellow and red colors, you fight the Aztec Empire in their light blue and yellow clothing. During this battle, you also get the help of some nearby allies who were oppressed by the Aztecs. The Spanish troops are characterized by their use of ranged firearms, which are emerging during this point of time. The Aztec garb is their traditional light leather armor, and they use crude weapons — but they can easily over-run any unprotected ranged units. That’s why it’s key to get your ranged Spanish troops out of the way.

As each Total War game gets released, the visuals and army representation continues to make me go nuts. Even just firing up the first battle mentioned above, it blew me away to see thousands of troops on screen battling each other. Creative Assembly is working hard to diversify the units, so each individual unit will undergo an automatic picking through a series of different body parts, therefore each individual unit should look different than the person next to them. They’re also working on tweaking the game’s battle animations and physics; for example, if a unit gets stabbed in the leg, they’ll fall over realistically rather than just plop down from where they were standing. Another thing I noticed when checking out the battles close up is that units use more animations. In other words, I see soldiers dodging and parrying enemy attacks on the fly, so it looked more entertaining to watch than past battles I had seen.

Medieval II: Total War will include 21 total factions, and 17 will be playable during the campaign. Of those, only five will be available at the beginning: England, the Holy Roman Empire, France, the Republic of Venice and Spain. Religion will play a major role in the game; the major religions are Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Islam and Paganism. Religion will influence not only your units but also the enemy’s units. If a monarch doesn’t monitor the religion in their country, unrest will arise. Or if a religion is getting too crazy, units will be sent to stamp it out, i.e. an Inquisitor will clean up a messy Catholic region. Lastly, diplomacy has been improved since Rome: Total War. Now, Medieval II: Total War will feature an in-depth diplomacy scale. At any given time, you can see how the other factions feel about you. In terms of offers, you’ll be able to see on-screen how they’re taken. You’ll know if a deal is taken generously or bitterly, and once a deal is finalized you’ll see how your opponent felt about it.

The nitty gritty of country warfare is going to get grittier on November 14, so make sure you lace up your armored boots in time for its release.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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