The mid 90’s computer game landscape was dominated by strategy and simulation games. This craze died off for the most part with the advent of the console, but one company has kept the flame burning. Paradox Interactive, a Swedish company, are now one of the top publishers of strategy games on the PC platform. Their innovative style and attention to detail make the titles stand-outs in the genre.
For people who do not know much about the strategy genre, many of the titles can be seen as dense, yet this is what fans are looking for. A game that gives players options in how they battle or plan their next move is desirable. Despite what people may claim, the landscape of gaming on the home computer if far from dead. These are some titles that all gamers should look for on Steam upon release.
King Arthur 2
After spending hours with the original title, I was excited to hear a sequel is in the works. RPG and strategy are a mix made for each other, and though the difficulty curve was high, once it was passed the game became extremely fun. The sequel seems to have addressed all the concerns I personally had about the first game. Not only has the difficulty been balanced so new players will be able to jump right in, but it gives players a whole new story that pushes the unique fantasy medieval style.
King Arthur 2 has a new engine that makes it possible for everything to look more detailed and allow for more units on the battlefield. The addition of flying units and a much larger campaign map mean players will have not only have more playtime in the game but more opportunities with units and tactics.
In the game, King Arthur is ill, and the land of Britannia is changing as a result. As the king suffers so does the land around him; dark creatures come through the gates of other worlds, destroying everything that comes their way. The south of Britannia is now a wasteland with bare fields and grey clouds. This is the world the player is thrust into, and he/she must try and regain order from the chaos. From what was shown it seems to be a much darker story then the first title, but will fit right in if you were a fan of the first.
Much like the first game, there will be a full range of spells and magic to take advantage of. Beyond that, there are options in how you play and what quests you take on. Morality and religion play a major role as well. You can choose to follow the Christian faith or the old religion. All these aspects will effect the options open to you as a player.
The title looks to be a worthy successor to a unique strategy title, and is more accessible than the previous title. With stunning visuals and art style, and the difficulty toned down, this could be a game to look out for and may be a must own for any armchair knight looking to get his hands dirty.
Crusader Kings II
Developed in-house at Paradox, Crusader Kings places players in control of a Christian noble family that rises though the ranks though succession and underhanded tricks. For anyone that has been following the Game of Thrones, Crusader Kings will be right up your ally - minus the fantasy aspect. Marriage, assassination, and family favours are what lie at the heart of the game.
The game play will feel familiar to anyone who has played a strategy game in the past. The world map will show all the nations of Europe, your land, people that are loyal to you etc. It may appear daunting at first, but from what was shown at E3, it all felt familiar. Click on a selection from the map and a side menu will come up with all the options you have at your disposal. If you want a wealthy nobleman to be more loyal to you, the option is there to bestow more land upon him. If there is a nation you want an alliance with, you can click on them and propose a marriage, or if you just want to eliminate a rival, the option to assassinate him is always present. The most interesting thing about all this is the consequence and the concept of getting caught or doing it all without being noticed.
The depth of the game and the options at your disposal make this one game I am personally excited for. The idea that all aspects of the time period can be used to gain the power is exciting. The fact that all other kings will be trying to archive the same goal makes it interesting. Everyone is trying to betray everyone else and it is the ingenuity and planning that will allow you to win in the end. For everyone that ever wanted to be underhanded in a game, but were stopped by the lack of options, this is your game.