Posts Tagged ‘Medieval II: Total War’

Medieval II: Total War Collection Comes To Mac & Linux

Medieval II: Total War is coming to Mac and Linux, nine years after first arriving on Windows. The port is being handled by Feral Interactive and will be released on Thursday January 14th. The pack includes both the base game and its expansion, Kingdoms.

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The Best And Worst Total War Games

At its best, the Total War series casts a spell over you. Your empire rises from nothing, surrounded by enemies who are poised to trample it into the dust. Each decision on the strategic level is a gamble on the immediate future, where “one more turn” isn’t just a stepping-stone to a new upgrade, but a perilous step onto thin ice. Each time you take to the battlefield is another do-or-die moment, a possible Hastings or Austerlitz that can open the road to conquest or plunge you into a desperate fight for survival.

But the Total War series has also been defined by massive, abrupt swings in quality. While the series has been on a linear trajectory in terms of graphics, the quality of the games underlying those vivid battlefield vistas has varied wildly. Total War at its best is interactive Kurosawa and Kubrick. At its worst, it’s a middle-school history textbook as told by Drunk History and filmed by the cast and crew of The Patriot.

So before the series (temporarily) leaves history behind for the grimdark faux-history of Warhammer fantasy, let’s put into order the times that Total War was at its best… and why sometimes its lows were so very low. We’ll save the worst for last, because if there’s one thing that every Total War fan loves, it’s an argument over which games were the biggest disappointments.

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Diary: Rock And Roll With The Gorons Of Hyrule: Total War

Are you rocks ready to rock?

Here’s the premise of the Hyrule: Total War mod for Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms. Link, the hero of Hyrule, has tooted some somber notes on his Ocarina and vanished into the past, presumably on a mission to assassinate Navi’s grandfather. The rest of Hyrule, comprised of 20 different factions, is competing to fill the Link-shaped void. The result is like something out of fevered fanfic, where the Deku can battle Darknuts, where the Ghoma can invade the Gerudo, and where someone with a long-standing Zelda-based grudge can finally settle the score.
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Zelda Total War Mod Hits 3.0, Unleashes Amazing Trailer

BE SAD

Nothing is sacred in Hyrule: Total War. Nothing. I mean, for one, the genre’s not action/adventure, which is a change of pace for Nintendo’s elven master of blades and obscure wind instruments. But also, the Medieval II: Total War mod seems poised to run amok like a bull in a holy grail shop. The still-unfinished project (newly on version 3.0) has put out a new trailer that depicts all kinds of series blasphemy. Presumably dead Link. Presumably dead Zelda. Ganondorf and the chain chomp dog from Link’s Awakening delightedly playing fetch together in a daisy field. With Link’s severed eyeball. OK, maybe that last one isn’t true, but the new trailer is full of crazy wonderment, and you can find it below.

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All Reik On The Night: Call Of Warhammer

I don't fancy yours much, etc.
You may remember before Christmas, we mentioned a Medieval 2 Warhammer mod was coming out before Christmas. Now, after Christmas, it’s out. And then it’s slightly more out, as they released a V1.01. Instructions for downloading and installing the mod can be found here. Instructions for installing the English patch to un-Russian it are here. And Hot Daemonette on Bloodletter on Plaguebear action is below the cut. Also some elves, because you can’t have everything.
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Mod For The Mod God: Call of Warhammer

I must be getting some kind of geek sense. I woke up on Saturday morning and found myself thinking “I wonder if anyone’s done a Warhammer mod for Medieval 2 yet”. I start googling and discover that there’s one which is just about to come out. Call of Warhammer is promising its first release out for Chrimble (or there about) and actually looks pretty nifty. Playable factions in the first release are High Elves, Dwarves, The Empire, Chaos, Greenskins, The Vampire Counts and – somewhat surprisingly – Kislev. Well, somewhat surprisingly until you realise the mod’s primary language is Russia – the initial release won’t be fully translated, it seems – and as such you can sort of understand why they may want to Kislev it up. Also, bear cavalry. Footage follows…
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Born To Rhun: Third Age Total War 1.3

I really am tempted to do a big diary on this
I’ve been primarily playing mods this week. This is the one has been eating most of my time. I mean that quite literally. I’ve been playing this most of my time. It’s eaten mornings and afternoons and evenings I really can’t afford to spend beating the hell out of Rhun. See! Rhun! Who the hell is Rhun? It’s a Middle Earth Medieval II mod, and I’m happily fighting just some blokes with nary a whiff of Nazgul, Orcs or Hobbits.
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Eurogamer: Total War Kingdoms

Following on from Jim’s review, Eurogamer have published my piece on Total War Kingdoms. Which mainly exists as a glorified referral post to my previous first-impressions piece which almost warped into a full review. To avoid repeating myself, I wander into increasingly esoteric terrain. For example…

This is kind of one of the problems running through Total War games. You don’t really get to change history. Sure, you can make – as I did – the Apache run rampant over the continent, but fundamentally the Apache don’t change by their experiences significantly. What would Apache civilisation be like when they’d got hold of the Gold of the Incas, for example? Pretty much identical. One of the standard problems that the harder-core Total War fans have is with the quasi-fantastical units – the flaming pigs in Rome, for example – but when you severely changed history, you need that imagination to cover the holes and populate that alternate history.

I’m surprised I ended up marking this as low as I did – I thought it was a shoe-in for the top end of the marks, but when returning to review it, elements grated more. That I concentrated on the weakest of the campaigns (The Americas). A couple of extra notes though…

1) Completely forgot to mention the install system for the game, which required a full install procedure for each campaign. Clicking through it all four times was incredibly tiresome and a system where you selected which of the packs you wanted to install at the start before sitting back and letting it get on with it all would be far, far preferable.

2) It strikes me as odd that Creative Assembly (Or publisher Sega) choose to announce Empire: Total War just before the expansion pack hits. Following online conversation, it appears to have completely undermined anyone’s enthusiasm for the Kingdoms. Before, more Medieval II sounded splendid. Now, it’s difficult to be excited about. If they wanted to announce at Leipzig, bringing it forward even a couple of weeks would – I suspect – made a huge difference in terms of consumer buzz. Hmm.

Kingdoms Review On PC Gamer

PC Gamer UK have posted up my review of Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms. I say things like this:

These four campaigns represent a gigantic amount of new material. It’s all presented brilliantly – new animations and cinematics for each of them, and a unique front end and rack of options. This feels like four expansion packs rather than one muscular bundle. The smaller changes mean they all feel different to play, and the tiny tweaks and foibles mean it’s not quite like Medieval II any more.

And we’ve linked this before, but it’s worth reiterating that they got the inside scoop on Empire: Total War. Yes, it’s got ships in.

Getting Medieval

I meant to post this before I jetted off to the US for a while. It’s a report on my initial impressions of Medieval: Total War – Kingdoms, which may be of interest to humans.

I’ll confess that I didn’t actually give the original game as much of my attention as I’d have liked. I wasn’t commissioned to review it, so couldn’t give it any of my professional time and there was so much else around that was genuinely new, returning to an old friend like a Total War games was relatively down my list. Which is a shame – and serves me right. Getting stuck into the add-on pack is a startling experience, and that it doesn’t include any Carthaginians doesn’t stop me loving it.

That aside, it’s interesting to note that Medieval II was the first time in the Total War series which it wasn’t determinedly pushing onwards. No matter what your particularly favourite is – and there’s an argument that the less-units in Shogun leads to an increased purity to the actual game, rather than wrestling with dozens of very similar unit types – there was an actual step forward every time in the road from Shogun to Medieval to Rome. The advances in Medieval II are relatively sleight, a matter of approach and polish rather than a fundamental change.

From what rumours I hear, the next proper Total War game is about to be announced. What it includes and doesn’t include will have to be picked over. It could be a sign whether it’s reached the position of static maturity, with the future of the series being one standardisation – the standard franchise slow rise and fall depending on a team’s interest – or whether it was Medieval II which was the mistep (in terms of vision), a stopgap stumble when they prepared their next real campaign.

I suspect it’s the latter. Which may be optimism, or may be me knowing something I can’t talk about yet.

Man!