Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms Hands-On - The Four Campaigns

Kingdoms adds four new campaigns to Medieval II: Total War. We check out one of the biggest expansion packs in years.

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Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms may very well be one of the largest expansion packs ever made. Keep in mind that last year's Medieval II: Total War was already an epic-sized game that gave you strategic and tactical command over one of a dozen medieval kingdoms. There are cities and castles to manage, armies to raise, agents to dispatch on missions, and more. We knew that Kingdoms would add quite a bit of content, but when we loaded up a work-in-progress version of the expansion, we were surprised at just how much new stuff is in it.

Basically, Kingdoms feels like the equivalent of four expansion packs. That's because it features four all-new campaigns. The Britannia campaign lets you battle for control of the British Isles as England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, or Norway. The Crusades campaign features the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Principality of Antioch, the Byzantine Empire, Egypt, and the Turks, all battling for possession of the Holy Lands. The Teutonic campaign is based on the conflict between Lithuania and the Teutonic Order, a crusading army of knights, but you can also play as Denmark and Novgorod in this campaign. Finally, there's the Americas campaign, which is about the Spanish conquest of the New World; you can play as Spain, the Aztec, the Mayans, or the Apachean Tribes.

The focus in Kingdoms seems to be entirely on these four new campaigns. There don't seem to be any major or even minor additions to Medieval II's original campaign, and because the new factions introduced in the expansion are specific to their settings and eras, they don't appear in the original campaign. Each Kingdoms campaign has its own shortcut and executable, so each is in essence a separate program. They make extensive modifications to the maps and units, so each is unique, from the custom music and movies to the historical quotes on loading screens.

Forget about Europe, there's the Middle East and the Americas to conquer in Kingdoms.

If you're a fan of medieval history, there's a lot to dig into here. The Britannia campaign is sure to be popular thanks to its setting. The map of the British Isles consists of dozens of provinces that cover England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and the surrounding islands. England starts out with by far the most territory of any faction, but strategically that causes problems because its forces are spread out thinly. Many of its provinces require the most basic developments, such as dirt roads. If you play as England, you'll be attacked on numerous fronts almost immediately, and to make things worse, your holdings in Ireland are on the verge of revolt. However, the other factions have their issues, too, given that they have relatively few resources to start with, and each must be wary of the others.

The Crusades campaign is set during the era that was also seen in the 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven. The crusaders have already carved out the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Principality of Antioch, but they start out at war with the Turks and Egyptians. The crusaders have excellent heavy cavalry and knights, while the Egyptians have excellent cavalry, and the Turks have outstanding mounted archers and infantry. Lurking to the north, though, is the Byzantine Empire, which has heavy and missile cavalry, along with the fearsome Greek firethrower units. This campaign is set on a map that pretty much covers the Eastern Mediterranean area, from Anatolia down to Egypt.

While the crusades and English history are fairly well known, the Teutonic campaign covers a period that's less familiar. In the 14th century, Lithuania was the last pagan kingdom in Europe, and the Teutonic knights launched a crusade to convert the kingdom to Christianity. You can play as either faction; the Teutonic Order obviously has excellent knights and soldiers, but the Lithuanians excel at light cavalry. You can also play as two other major factions in the region: Denmark and Novgorod. This campaign is set around the Baltic Sea and the surrounding areas.

Medieval II's epic battles still look amazing in Kingdoms.

Finally, the most nontraditional campaign has to be that of the Americas, which pits the Spanish against several native factions. This campaign, which covers Cuba, Central America, and parts of North America, has a number of interesting features to it. The Spanish have by far the best technology and units, but they're severely limited in numbers. For instance, they can only requisition certain units once every handful of turns. This means that they must rely on mercenaries and alliances to shore up their forces. The Aztec and Mayans have large numbers of brave troops, but they lack armor and technology. The Apachean Tribes to the north have skilled archers and can use enemy technology, but otherwise they have archaic weapons and little armor. Additionally, the Native American tribes can use warpaths in place of crusades.

It's hard not to be impressed with the amount and quality of content that's in Kingdoms. The numbers are pretty staggering. There are over 100 new units, 13 new factions, nine new agent types, 50 new buildings, and more. Multiplayer will also have 15 new maps and scenarios, though we didn't get a chance to check any of those out. Finally, the expansion also offers support for hotseat multiplayer, which was something that was introduced to the original game in a patch. Kingdoms should keep Medieval II fans happy for a while, and it's scheduled to ship later this month.

Discussion

31 comments
Kajerlius
Kajerlius

my favorite faction is Norway, this faction is a good two axes faction, if playing a other faction as Turks, this faction is with units including mounted crossbowmen, crossbowmen, peasent crossbowmen, viking raiders, dismounted huscarls, huscarls, chivalric knights, dismounted chivalric knights, dismounted feudal knights, feudal knights..

Scisor50
Scisor50

yeah, well if it doesnt run the assassination scenes and all that its kinda crude, but hell, we played ROME: TW and liked it. Thats not dissapointing just sad, but even like that, its like 4 games in a XP pack! It's really worth the money. 9.9!!! If it weren't for the assassin scenes. Cool.

burn6
burn6

I'm just starting to play but the Kingdoms doesn't have cinematics or at least run the assassination or infiltration cinematics from the medieval 2 data. I was looking forward to that but it looks like its been nerf. Its very disappointing.

mr_mega_drive
mr_mega_drive

Does anyone elses copy of Kingdom crash before battles load up?

pparache
pparache

Great work and a 10 plus for the creators of this game, I wish they could keep this good work, I'm amazed of how good this expansion is. This is an almost perfect game. If one of the creators its reading this the only thing I would add for next games are new fighting features.

SimuLord
SimuLord

I've got this game---it is unreal just how much content they jam-packed into it. An absolute must-buy for owners of Medieval II. It's worth the price of admission for the Britannia Campaign alone, which is effectively Viking Invasion from Medieval I reborn. There's a lot of truth to the "four expansions in one" statement in the preview.

sabonism
sabonism

the best game I ever played!!! mediaval II rulles!!! campaign with Teutonic and Lithuania is awsome

Scotty678923
Scotty678923

It will be nice to play as willome wallis from the moive bravehart. Kindome of hevans salidan. But the other two are unfamliear

Kanaric
Kanaric

No additions to campaign me = me no buy. I hate this vast rebel territory they have in these games. TW is one of the most overhyped series ever I would say why but whats the point? There is a reason why people who played these games for over a week only play mods for it. There are better mods than these at any tw fansite.

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

Could it be... I mean really... Could it be (gasp!) that publisher are beginning to realise that GAMEPLAY is what gamers want more than anything. Story is gameplay, characters are gameplay, content and AI is gameplay, graphics and sound are not gameplay, they are extras. With this expansion Creative Assembly are trying to show us the know the above, and we must support them to show the rest of the industry that give us 10 hour games, let alone 50+ hour expansions! So buy this expansion guys - the PC games hobby will be better for it! :)

rockatanski
rockatanski

Where is Sweden and where is Serbia in this? They were MASSIVE at these times! I think this expansion could have put in just a little more..

Unkillable
Unkillable

I can't wait to kick the Spanish out of North America as the Aztecs! Cortes or bust!

UniQ
UniQ

Why wouldnt you be able to pitch the old factions against the new one in skirmish? If you can give me one good reason why then tell me. IF it is a stand alone expansion then you probably need the old game to do it but thats kinda obvious. I can assure you there arent any real sea battles, that would be such a major thing that they would have told us. I doubt that they will do it anythiime soon as they must develope an whole new engine and more Basiclly that would require a whole new game because sea battles isnt a small thing that you may think it is and I rather not have an AoE type of sea battle. Sweden is in a thing called the kalmar Union at that time lead by the danish queen and therefore sweden probably isnt in it. But then again Gustav Vasa broke away from denmark and maybe sweden should emerge later as an faction

Taruhan
Taruhan

yesssssssssssssssssssssssss

klinsi
klinsi

Hm... I think the largest term is more matching to the largest HD capacity will be needed to this exp game ever made, more over than AoW exp Unfortunately too that the new factions doesn't be added to the original campaign too so the 4 new campaign are practically stand alone Maybe in the skirmish battle, we can battle the old factions against the new factions ? I don't think so too I believe that there aren't sea battle that can be controlled by us too Just random sea battle again ? Hm... I hope this better be good

sloakz
sloakz

I loved the main game to this expansion....so i shall def be getting this corker, Oh yes! dust off the siege equipment!

SeanHaley
SeanHaley

It sounds great just a little worried about Greek fire it's probably is going to have some major weaknesses.

Aashammer
Aashammer

You can be the Norwegians! Sweet! Prepare to be invaded Britain!

lv46
lv46

This looks REALLY good!

lionel_k
lionel_k

This expansion is awesome!!!

RedneckGamer87
RedneckGamer87

wow thats pretty cool. I must obtain and play this game.

dziunglius
dziunglius

i'll first try the lithuania, then i'll play for lithuania, and again for lithuania.

Wayward_Son_88
Wayward_Son_88

I'm so excited. I've got it all planned out, First as the Scots, then Teutonic Knights, then the Apaches, and Finally the Byzantine Empire.

playstation_wii
playstation_wii

Wow! 4 brand new campaigns in one expansion! That's incredible! :D

Dills334
Dills334

Oh yeah i just get chills when thinking about. I just Can't wait.