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Medieval II: Total War - Kingdoms review

We get medieval on this expansion

This cauldron of hate and death proves a far more considered and strategic affair than its claustrophobic Americas counterpart, forcing you to guide your armies over searing expanses of desert and unwelcoming mountainous terrain to reach your next destination, while ensuring that you keep your major cities fortified in readiness for the Crusade invasions.

If you've ever played the Viking Invasion expansion for the original Medieval, then you'll find the Britannia campaign instantly familiar. While it's not exactly the same, there are certainly a fair few similarities. Taking control of the land-rich English, one of the English-hating nations (Scotland, Wales or Ireland) or the invading Norse hordes, you must conquer the whole of the British Isles. The obvious choice here is to opt for the English, who start off controlling well over half the map but are soon beset on all sides by enemies. It's actually far more entertaining to play as the Scots, Welsh, Irish or even the Norse, who must overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to achieve victory.

Kingdoms' final bloody chapter is the Teutonic campaign, boasting what is perhaps the expansion pack's most diverse selections of factions. Eager to send the Pagan Lithuanians to hell, the Teutonic Knights launch an invasion of the Baltic, taking out anyone - Pagan or otherwise - who stands in their way. These boys pack some serious punch with a devastating array of heavy foot and mounted warriors, as well as Mangonels that fire exploding barrels that shower the enemy with a torrent of fire.

So there you have it: four whopping campaigns just waiting to suck you dry of your spare time and turn you into a social recluse. But that doesn't mean that it's above criticism.

For starters, cavalry is still a problem. In fact, seeing as it's such an imperative element of both the Teutonic and Crusades campaigns, it's even more of a problem than in the original game. Pathfinding is highly skewed, with horsemen often veering off in the opposite direction you've ordered them in, resulting in horses wading into lines of spears and turning themselves into ready-made nag kebabs. Exacerbating the cavalry conundrum is the fact that mounted units still have a tendency to pull up before the all-important impact, robbing you of those infantry-pulverising moments that made cavalry charges such a triumph in Rome.

More Info

DescriptionThis expansion to the smashing historical RTS gets medieval on your ass with new units, multiplayer maps, and four additional campaigns.
US censor ratingTeen
UK censor rating12+
Release date28 August 2007 (US), 31 August 2007 (UK)