This is an expansion to the extremely successful PC strategy game Medieval II:Total War. It follows the long and storied tradition of the Total War series that started years ago with Shogun Total War.
Fans of the series love the games for their consistently epic and realistic large scale conflicts, along with the high degree of historical accuracy.
Fans of the Total War series will love this expansion, as it adds more historically accurate, enthralling and epic scale conflict. The Expansion presents four miniature campaigns, each one focusing on a more specific part of Medieval or Early modern History. The different campaigns are steeped in flavor and individual character, really setting them apart from the campaign map in the "Vanilla" game.
There are four individual campaigns, which I'll briefly describe here. The most enjoyable was a campaign set in the British Isles, allowing the player to control the English, Welsh, Scottish or Irish in a desperate battle for control. The next campaign is set in the area around Lithuania, and focuses on the last pagan kingdom of Europe's struggles against Christianity. It's an interesting moral choice, of holding onto your own culture or giving in to outside pressure. The battle for the holy land is looked at in extreme detail in the next campaign, focusing on Crusader Kingdoms. These epic battles in the desert are what Medieval II was made for.
The last of the four campaigns was the strangest. It wasn't un-enjoyable, but it was quite strange. The last campaign focused on the conquest of Central America by the Spanish Empire. You can play as the Spanish , Aztecs, Apache or Maya. The native American groups have a major technological disadvantage, and many tactical disadvantages, not having gunpowder and for the most part not having heavy infantry and cavalry. An even moderately skilled player will win as the spaniards, even if by attrition. Playing as the natives though, is quite interesting, a tactical challenge. It also has a certain feeling of heroism, protecting your lands from invaders.
It's the Americas campaign that plays the most differently from Medieval II, in the limited unit types and lack of balance. It seems as though the game mechanics meant to simulate large, open-field battles in Middle Ages don't work as well for an early modern, occasionally guerilla war.
All in all, Kingdoms provides a solid experience chock-full of new tactical options for the discerning player. It also opens up history in far more detail, showing a very interesting world.