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Red Dragon

Crusader Kings II

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I first heard about this game from reading that saved games from Crusader Kings II can be exported to one of my favorites, Europa Universalis IV. CKII is from the same company. It's in some ways a "prequel" to EUIV, but it's a different game with similar mechanics. I reviewed EUIV which is one of my all time favorite strategy games. That game runs from 1400's through 1800's. This game runs from 1000's to the 1400's covering the middle ages (or early middle ages with special DLC). I played the demo and later bought the full version when I was hooked after a generation.

 

Unlike EUIV where you are in control of a country, this game puts you in control of a "Royal House" (A count/earl, Dutchy, Kingdom, Empire, etc). The goal, like in EUIV is to get the highest score possible. The game ends in the 1400's, or if your dynasty ends with no heirs. When your character dies, you then play the heir. Sometimes that's the son, but there's different rules of succession depending on where you are and what rules are in place (which you may or may not be able to set).  As I'm a McCarthy (or Mac Cárthaigh), I started as a "Petty King" in Ireland and took over Ireland forming the "Kingdom of Eire." With some DLC, you can name your house and shield, edit the ruler, and get special units (Celtic for example). There's more than just combat in this game however.

 

Depending on where you operate, you could be dealing with the Mongols. I believe DLC added where you could plays as either a Christian, Muslim, (and their variants) or Pagan house, or deal with Aztecs crossing the Atlantic.

 

Graphics - B - Not bad. It's your typical historical game graphics. I'd put them on par with Heroes of Might and Magic or the Civilization series.

 

Story and atmosphere - A - Paradox hits it out of the park. A lot of the names used are historical. They aren't perfect, but really make an effort to get their history as close to real as possible. There's RPG elements involved. The game's not about combat and war. There's diplomacy, intrigues, alliances, family ties, etc. Your characters can be complete bastards in this game, sometimes in the literal sense. There's good traits and bad traits, much of them inherited. There's rankings in Diplomacy, Martial, Stewards, Intrigue, Learning. Besides the stats, keeping the peace within your realm is important. Civil war is common (like it was in real life then). In many ways, you get to be a "villain" as most pragmatic rulers were then (and still are today).

Combat and Play Control - B. Much the same as EUIV.

 

Price - C+ - My only complaint. Paradox has a lot of extra DLC that isn't cheap and adds up. They do have a lot of free updates as well so there's the "+" to go with the C.

Length - A - The game covers almost 400 years. William of Normandy to the Columbus era.
 

Overall - A - I lost a lot of productivity already, in just one playthrough, much like I did with EUIV. I plan on exporting this game to EUIV and then either getting Victoria II or Hearts of Iron which comes after EUIV.

 

If you like history and grand strategy games, this is a great buy.

 

 

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