Medieval II: Total War
Spanning from 1066 to 1530—the Battle of Hastings through the discovery of the Americas—Medieval II: Total War challenges players to conquer the known world through a mix of diplomacy, trade, espionage, religion and all-out war. Players can choose from among 21 factions, including England, Spain, France, Venice and the Holy Roman Empire. The waxing or waning strength of one’s faction determines its ability to conquer other nations. While this naturally leads to deviation from actual events, historical detail is otherwise the driving force behind the game.
Gameplay features two modes. The first is played on a turn-based global map, which displays one’s territory, natural resources, settlements, etc. Battle is the second mode. The conflicts are truly “epic,” massive in scale, involving more than 10,000 troops with unique facial characteristics and uniforms. Zoom in to witness individual duals. Battles are fought in real time without pauses.
Medieval II does have chinks in its shining armor, including the armor and clothing itself—a hodgepodge of 13th-, 14th- and 15th-century garb. And unit management can be a little clumsy and difficult. However, the game’s astounding detail and historical touches more than make up for these shortcomings.
Originally published in the April 2007 issue of Military History. To subscribe, click here.