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Medieval 2: Total War demo

October 10th, 2006 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

The demo of one of the most highly anticipated strategy titles of the season is now available at the usual places. Fileplanet, Worthplaying, and probably a few other places before the day is out.

My verdict? It’s very pretty, but the battle engine has always been pretty. And that’s what the demo is – a tutorial and two battles (Pavia and Agincourt), both of which are pretty hard to lose. There will be the usual whinging that because the battles play faster than they did in the original Medieval that they are somehow “less tactical”, which both overrates the sophistication of the old and underrates the strength of the new. Considering how many ancient and medieval battles ended in one side heading for the hills as soon as things started to go badly, people should be happy that the battles last as long as they do.

A lot of variety is on display, and some of the animations are very nice. But the pull for me has always been the strategic game, not the wargame. This is probably the one reason I think Rome was a huge, huge improvement on Medieval. There is an “overview movie” that describes some of the campaign features in a far too excited voiceover (“THIS IS AN AGE OF DARKNESS!!!” Uh huh.) The addition of religion worked OK in the Barbarian Invasion expansion, but was open to exploitation. My big concern is whether, once again, the genocidal approach to warfare (massacring entire cities) is the best way to ensure stability.

So, the demo is good for what it is, but once you play the battles there is no need to keep playing it. Am I expecting too much from a demo because I want some replayability? Some variety in maps? A chance to play both sides of whatever battles are included? This is better than the Rome demo, but not so compelling that I feel any need to keep it around. I’ll experiment with some of the graphics settings and then move on.


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