Real Warfare II: The Northern Crusades
The Crusades, didn’t all take place in the Holy Land you know, this game is set in in Eastern Europe and you play as a fallen knight of the Teutonic Order, fighting against the the Barbaric Prussians. The game sets off with you on your own recruiting soldiers, levelling-up yourself and your army and fighting against bandits and soldiers to redeem the Knight from what has happened in the past.
When you first look at this game it will probably remind you off Mount and Blade. It plays very similar on the strategy screen, the layout of the cities and villages, all the individual units as well running around and even how you shop and the inventory screen is close to identical. Even the fact that it is set in Eastern Europe shows that the game has copied off Mount and Blade.
Now in the tactical battles the game changes so the player can control the individual units to fight the enemy, this is a bit more fun to do. But there is a downside, the AI isn’t that smart. The player’s units don’t really attack until harassed by attacking the left mouse button to click to attack even when both units are standing right next to each other not doing anything. Even trying to move units into position is a nightmare. Also at times the enemy units seem to be just standing there while ranged units are constantly attacking them, or as they are about to get flanked while there is no other units next to them, they don’t even care that there friends are dying.
Unfortunately the game doesn’t really tell you how to play the game. The tutorial offered is just a tactical battle which is a little bit helpful, but it doesn’t explain how to move, level up, check your inventory, quest log, character sheet or any of the basic stuff of the game. The player is left to figure this out by themselves, there isn’t even a manual with the game. After about an hour of play you are asked to go after this Bandit leader only to realise that your army is going to be wiped out by the. There is no explanation or even advice giving to the player that they have to build up there own army or even that this bandit leader even has a big enough army compared to yourselves. You find this out the hard way while dodging Prussian armies as the chase after you with an army size that will outright kill you.
With the choices of units you get to choose between three types of units, Swords, Missile, Calvary and Pikes. There’s also several “tiers” of troops, and as you get more experienced you can upgrade troops and then replace the lower ranks for large and diverse armies. You can also upgrade individual traits such as unit size, strength, morale
Frankly you shouldn’t bother with The Northern Crusaded unless you are already a committed fan of the Real Warfare series. I would even have a better opinion of the game if it had a pause button on the Strategy screen. It isn’t that great an experience but it does have some fun game play moments. The main story thread does trundle through quite nicely and keeps you interested, and the tactical battles certainly provide a challenge, even in the early parts of the game. But I could not recommend it, there are much better games out there than this one.