History: Great Battles Medieval, by Matrix Games, 2011, $39.99 (PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360)
Developed in conjunction with the History Channel, Great Battles Medieval covers the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453) from both the English and French perspectives. You’ll get a healthy dose of history here, with such real-life figures as Henry V and Joan of Arc, as well as History-branded video clips that relate the significance of each battle.
As a strategy game, however, it falters in the ranks, with few strategic decisions required. Players simply fight battle after battle, gathering loot and experience points with which to upgrade units and boost fighting skills. Yet the battles themselves are a bit simplistic: Flanking maneuvers invariably rout one’s enemy, while armored cavalry will decimate any opposing force, no matter how many archers the opposition fields; the longbow was far more formidable in reality.
Its simplicity does make Great Battles Medieval very accessible to beginners—obviously the target audience here.