Conclusion: This is a very welcome addition to the HPS Campaign series, and offers far more than its' distant predecessor, the Talonsoft Battleground games. The HPS engine provides the best representation of Civil War battles that I have played, and is both challenging and atmospheric.
Pros: Solid multiplayer options; varied maps; wide variety of battles.
Cons: Dated graphics; so-so AI opponent; no map editor.
Excerpt: Gamers can now select Venice, Genoa, Pisa, Gotland and the Hansa and then spend their time trying to build personal empires based on money, mercenaries and generous bribes rather than on more traditional feudal means.
Pros: + Focus on trade expansion, + Republican leadership system
Cons: - Big reliance on plots, - Limited opportunities for war
Conclusion: Hardcore grognards are a very select group when it comes to their wargames. Fans of Paradox Entertainment games are, I feel, an even more niche group and most are finding Crusader Kings worthy to spend their money on.
Excerpt: Like a young prince suddenly ascended to the throne, when I first started playing Crusader Kings, I was completely lost. This is without a doubt one of the most complex strategy titles that I have seen, and I have played them all. Paradox is known for in-depth strategy games.
Summary: I’m that rare gamer who actually sits down and reads through an entire instruction manual before playing the game, often before installation. I just like to have a good handle on things before I jump in.
Conclusion: Unfortunately, many of the major actions such as placing a legitimate claim on a piece of land or on a title can take a long time to execute. In the meantime there is an apparent wealth of actions to perform.
Excerpt: With Crusader Kings, Paradox Games continues its chronicle of European history that began with
Europa Universalis and expanded with
Hearts of Iron and
Victoria. This latest offering contains some nice twist in play and is rich in details from the late Medieval to early Renaissance period.