Well made and thoroughly enjoyable game.
There really isn't a proper story, unless you play the historic battles mode and for what they are, they're fine.
In regards to a normal mode story you create the history of Europe from 1066 and onwards, You can get much out of the game with this because you get the form Europe how you want to and are not bound by anything except the old pope giving you missions occasionally however they can ignored at a price thought.
As far this category goes there isn't a real story in the game but because of how you get to shape your nation you create your own narrative within the game and you gain history for your campaign for instance, I would usually take over France after they back stabbed me (I played as England) so I would say its very enjoyable, that is shaping your nations future, allies and land.
There are two modes of play, the first is the map mode where you can see all of Europe (well the fog of war is in place if you don't own map information or an area near the fog) in this mode you will create, build and upgrade everything from towns to soldiers as well sending people off to war by boat or on foot. The map mode is fairly self explanatory and if your a quick learner a few clicks here and there will mean you know what your doing.
The second mode is the battle mode, were you are on the battle field this is one of the 'cooler' parts of the game where you use your wit and strategic placement of soldiers to win large battles or siege towns.
The best part about the battle mode if you could have lets say fifty of your own soldiers and the enemy have one hundred, if you know what to do you can still win that battle, so statistics and skill both are taken into account in battle.
Both modes are easy to use and are both self explanatory with a little exploration but neither take long to master.
The controls are in fact very basic, so much so that I can't really review them. The only thing I will say is get used to using the arrow keys to move around in the map and battle view other then that the controls are standard and easy to use.
This game has enjoyable and addictive gameplay and is also rather easy to pick up and play with not so difficult features and simple controls, graphically it is appealing and with higher settings you can get a very epic feel to a large battle scene.
This game is definitely worth picking up if you like the genre and are looking for a game to kill a lot of time.
(Good news, this game is rather old now so you should be able to get it for at least £10 or less at most retailers or even steam!)