Excerpt: We have slowly been catching up on PC games over the past few months here at Family Friendly Gaming. One game in particular intrigued me - Crusader Kings II. Actually it is a little deeper than that. It horrified and intrigued me at the same time. I will work on explaining more of that later in the review.
Excerpt: On a winter’s day in 1241, King Olaf the Second of Sweden puts his plans into motion. In the court of the Holy Roman Empire his daughter is married, sealing a diplomatic union that will see the might of the empire’s armies brought to bear against the scheming Danish. Closer to home, the upstart noble Count Erik of Uppland dies choking on his blood, ending his scheming malcontent once and for all.
Excerpt: Paradox Interactive has a pretty decent track record when it comes to accessible games. This is largely due to the fact that their games play out like board games, with the AI opponents filling in for your buddies around a table. This Crusader Kings II review may, unsurprisingly, resemble our Supreme Leader: Cold War review from last year (also a Paradox game). Crusader Kings II does have a more simplistic interface but that does not mean that the game is simple.
Excerpt: Last year, I randomly stumbled on an old, graphically ancient medieval strategy game called Knights of Honor. It’s a fairly simple game to master, as you spend 90-100% of the time staring at a map of Europe, essentially only managing the “strategic map” portion of the Total War games. I played the hell out of that game, and came away enjoying it more than most full priced, modern games.
Summary: It’s hard to recommend Crusader Kings II to people who aren’t already used to Paradox strategy games. But then again, it’s hard to not recommend it to newcomers who want this kind of experience. It took awhile, but the game finally got interesting around hour six when my patricidal Corsican sons could only unite under the cause of invading Muslin Spain, which was ruled by the overwhelmed and inexperienced four-year-old Emir Fath I (thanks to a lucky assassination plot on...
Excerpt: At first, I thought I was doing badly. My army was pathetic, my research similarly so, and only my prestige and piety showed I was on the right track. And then it happened. All of a sudden, I owned medieval Castille. All of it. And for a good few minutes, I had no idea why. Then it hit me. It was all due to a marriage I'd made at the beginning of the game. 5 hours ago. In another 5 hours of play, I'll probably own Leon too. I just have to play my cards right...
Conclusion: Crusader Kings II is one of the most conflicting games I have ever played. On the one hand, it is extremely difficult and people less patient than myself will quit fairly rapidly. On the other hand, the game leaves you with the impression that, if you persist long enough and manage to survive, it's going to reward you handsomely.
Pros: Crusader Kings II provides the players with the chance to influence history and to rewrite it according to their own views. It has virtually no competitors in its small niche and all the provided DLCs offer an extra oomph to an already complex game., + Historical accuracy, + Various scenarios that never play out the same, + Powerful engine
Cons: For such a complex game, there are virtually no problems. The only shortcoming is the most abrupt learning curve in the history of gaming. Maybe I’m overreacting, but I had to restart the game numerous times because of silly mistakes or maybe because I just got lost in new features I didn’t even know they existed., - Steep learning curve, - The gameplay relies too much on assassinations
Excerpt: Rather than simply telling her to drop the plot so that I can forgive the whole sordid affair, I decided to imprison her, something that Ota, my brother and her husband, found hard to swallow. Relations between us quickly went down to -100, which pretty much meant that at some point he was going to betray me and rise up in open revolt.
Pros: + Deep character-driven interactions, + Solid historical simulation, + Great User Interface
Cons: - Limited plot scope, - Some hard-to-learn mechanics