Strategy, tactics, control, vision, those are some of the requirements (alongside a powerhouse machine) needed from a player to enjoy this terrific title brought to you by The Creative Assembly.
Medieval: Total War is exactly what the title suggests, Total War, as you enter the game for the first time, you're presented with a cut-scene, showing a large scale and immense war with buildings being torn down, very much into the spirit of the game, the intro does get you into the War mood, and you're ready to go.
The 3D landscape is gorgeous for what it sports, hills, tree's, forests and a whole lot of armies, one truly unique feature about Medieval is, like Shogun, battles sport Thousands (yes, Thousands) of units on the battlefield, you'll see hundreds of horses, backed by infantry backed by archers that are backed by catapults all on one screen, your screen, in 3D (well, it looks that anyways), the trick is to use spirits instead of 3D models, making the engine capable of running on such scale, it is, non the less, one of the best things I ever seen on PC.
One other great aspect, that makes this title so worth your dollars (and euros), is the audio, both music and sound effects are unique to the culture you choose to play with, whether it's the middle eastern, Turkish/Arabic influenced music to the European portraits and traditional art that is presented as part of the game, Medieval goes a long way to give the gamer a realistic approach to the game, with epic battles, strategic thinking and a great over-all experience, making it the best turn-based / Real-time-war game you can get your hands on.
Medieval is a mixture of turn-based strategy with real-time strategy elements, most of the game is handled from a Civilization-like interface, you'll spend most of your time looking at the main world map deciding what to do and what to build next, combat can be automated, mostly based on various factors the computer takes into account and decides who won or you can take things into your own hands, where Real-time strategy comes in (more coming up).
The map is divided into provinces, much like a Risk board, with the non-combat gameplay being similar to the Civilization series; each province can construct the civilization-unique buildings at its disposal and with the right facilities available, armies. What's unique about Medieval is its ease of use, the interface is extremely simple to navigate through and easily mastered, most of the information you need is one or two mouse-clicks away from the world map, and a matter of a right click back to controlling the world.
Gameplay is much like a simplified version of Civilization, your top
priority is to keep your nation happy, provinces with some form of security to prevent revolutions or various small factions from taking over, armies to prevent other nations from overthrowing your rule in the province, pretty standard, where it stands out is the combat portion of the game. For those who do not wish to get their hands dirty, they can proceed and automate the battle, simply seeing the result, but for a really mesmerizing and absolutely unique experience, all you have to do is get down to the battlefield.
Definitely two-thumbs up, make sure you buy this one.