Flash of Steel header image 2

Medieval 2 Kingdoms and Expansion Packs

July 18th, 2007 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Creative Assembly, Medieval, Preview

No, I haven’t got an early look. And I’m too busy in Beyond the Sword boot camp to go back to knights and archers and beehive tossers in beautiful 3D.

But Kieron Gillen’s preview is up at Eurogamer. It’s full of great bits, and is, as he notes, perilously close to a review. He makes at least one statement that I’m not quite sure I agree with.

This is both an add-on pack that plays to the Total War traditions and something that stands separate from them. It’s similar in that the campaign it offers – like Rome’s Alexander and Medieval 1’s Viking Invasion – is a smaller thing than the grand campaign in the mother game. While most expansion packs are only for the hardcore, Total War ones have often been more accessible due to the reduced scale and increased focus.

Leaving aside the fact that this is not true about two of the four released expansions (Mongol Invasion and Barbarian Invasion) the reduced scope of Alexander and Viking Invasion did not necessarily make them more accessible, in my opinion. This conclusion rests on the fallacy that smaller means easier to get into, and though it may, as Gillen writes, be easier to conquer England than Europe, uniting the Mediterranean world under the banner of Macedon was no mean trick.

In fact, Alexander was the ultimate hardcore expansion. Success in the campaign required a thorough understanding of all your units, the ability to quickly march from point to point, amazing timing with your general unit and a hell of a lot of luck.

On the general point, I’m not sure that expansions are for the hardcore because they are deeper and more sophisticated. It’s more likely that the hardcore audience is the big market since they are the ones who you can count on to buy it. As I think about recent expansion packs, I’m hard pressed to conceive of one that you could consider for hardcore only.


No Comments so far ↓

Like gas stations in rural Texas after 10 pm, comments are closed.