Aug 29, 2007
Medieval II: Total War's first expansion is immense and has taken up pretty much every waking moment of our past week. It's an RTS add-on pack unlike any we've ever seen before, one that shames many standalone games with its sheer depth and wealth of options.
Nestling inside this package is not one, not two, not three, but four full campaigns bursting with content. That's around 50 hours of gameplay if you want to get numerical about it. And that's if you decide to only play through each campaign once.
One of the criticisms leveled at the original game was that the Aztec sections were a positive letdown. If you were one of the people disappointed by this somewhat threadbare tail-end bonus, then you'll be champing at the proverbial bit in order to free your teeth so that you can sink them into Kingdoms' beefy Americas campaign.
The obvious choice is to opt for the Spanish, but while this may give you a sizeable technological advantage over the lightly armoured locals, you'll quickly find that expanding on your meager starting foothold is more than a moderate challenge. The campaign's early stages bear more than a passing resemblance to Rome's Alexander expansion, forcing you to rely heavily on local mercenaries while you wait for Spanish armies to be ferried across the sea.
Onto the Crusades campaign then, in which you command one of the five dominant factions scattered throughout the Holy Land in a bid to unify it. Of course, you'll also have to contend with those pesky European Crusades that crash against your walls like waves of steel on an irritatingly regular basis.