Why such a high grade, one would ask... keep on reading and find out!

User Rating: 9 | Knights of Honor PC
I remember when I first tried this game... It was when my friend came one day to me and gave it while saying "Whoah you must try this man, this game is a blast!" At first I was not that much impressed, the game bearing alot of similarity to, say, Europa Universalis series, but then when I saw my country on the "pick-your-kingdom" list, I was very thrilled to lead my armies and try to conquer the Europe, even though it was pretty weak (I'm from Serbia :)) But let's leave the patriotic feelings aside and review the game from objective aspect...

Story: There is no story in the game, let you create one by roleplaying. The setting is loosely based on history and it's up to you (or your adversaries >:), more on this later) who will be the pretender for the crown. You can start the game in one of three history periods: early medieval, high medieval and late medieval. In each of these you can see that there were countries that didn't exist but later came to be (this is evident when you start in early medieval, and establishing the state of high when you conquer the territories that were consisting it in those times). The game finishes when either you conquer the whole Europe and northern part of Africa; become elected as the Emperor of Europe or are offered an "minor" victory by collecting all Kingdom Advantages. So you see, in the absence of script-written story you get an open-ended, non-linear one that you create, so I'll give it 9.

Gameplay: This segment is outstanding, I don't know where to start from. You begin with your territories in the age selected, have one marshal and a trader, and if you aren't already at war expect to be called upon one by your neighbouring countries (not all of course...) You have your king who is married, has children or a child (baby or grown up prince or princess), he ages and, if his life isn't ended prematurely by dying in battle or being slain by a spy, he dies after reaching "venerable" years of his life. Upon his death his son will claim the throne, or if he was childless or never married, the oldest duke will inherit the crown. Note that kings death or death of anyone in the family will lower populations' happiness, while royal marriages and birth of children will help it rise. Your crucial factor is the kingdom power, which you spend by torturing prisoners or claiming wars on your allies or without casus belli. You can make your king and his sons work in one of 6 professions: marshal, cleric, builder, spy, landlord and trader; or you can hire duke for 1000 gold pieces on some of these positions. Your royal court has 9 slots so choose wisely which professions to pick out (marshals are a MUST and you should have minimum 3). Also, your king has star rating for each of these professions (how skilled he is in practicing them) ranging from one star to three. In addition to provoking wars, you can sign trade agreements with countries you like, sign pacts of non-aggression or alliances, and even propose royal marriages between your successor or daughter and the opposite side of these two belonging to the desired country. All this is splendid, if you can look down on real-time battles, which are not that good, but then you can always make them automatic, being you only have to make an order on strategic map for your army to attack and then watch how the battle progresses in bar below. Grade 9

Graphics: Knights of Honor features excellent 2D graphics, very appealing to the eye. You could see people traversing through your country carrying food to your castle on the strategic map, and working on the fields and doing their jobs on real-time map. Nothing much can I say about it than it is pretty nice, so for a 2D graphics I will give it 8 (hey, I got a bit spoiled with all these new games XD... joking ;))

Music and sounds: Wow oh wow, I cannot tell you how much the music in this game ROCKS. Borislav Slavov (a.k.a Glorian) did an outstanding music score for this one, believe me. The music is soothing and pleasant for the ear at strategic map, but vigorous and full of adrenaline in real-time map. Sound effects are also pretty neat imo and add to the epic feeling of two armies clashing on the battlefield. Sometimes, when I know I can win a battle without leading my army personally, I just click on "lead it" and then get back and let AI resolve it instead of me, just so I can make that epic battle music play in the background on the strategic map. Music: perfect 10!

Summary: It's a shame that this game is not so widely know as the other games of the same genre. It was really ambitious, and the fans are still awaiting the sequel to it. in spite of having a decent multiplayer similar to the single player portion of the game (you can only play sieges: attack or defend and open-field battles in multiplayer), this game shows us that we should look for quality not by trusting the name of some company (as many famous ones had let-down their customers by being over-confident 'cause of their former success *cough*FireflyFuncomUbisoft*cough*) but by trying out every single game of your favorite genre, even if its for 5 mins, and make a judgement about it yourself (or you could just ask us, the quality reviewers *ahem* :)).

Cheers 'till the next review chaps, and have fun with this one, it truly is an "instant classic" :)