reviews\ May 26, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Medieval: Total War Viking Invasion - PC - Review

Sometimes the best step forward is a step backwards. In the case of Medieval: Total War, a trip backwards yields more enjoyable and infinitely more interesting aspects of the strategic warfare genre.


Activision has added the Viking Invasion expansion element to an already PC solid title, effectively creating more depth to the series as well as adding more gameplay.


First, for those who may not know, a brief explanation of the Medieval: Total War title. Medieval: Total War is a follow to Shogun: Total War and is a real-time strategic warfare game that encompasses four centuries of some of the most intensive land-based warfare in history. It was a time when the art of war pitted men and machines in close proximity to each other, and often battles were won when the winds of chance and luck locked horns with tactical advantage and a solid battle plan. The game featured 12 world powers battling on a variety of levels through four centuries (1095 to 1453) of warfare.

(read full review on Medieval:Total War here)


With its 3D engine, Medieval: Total War was capable of rendering more than 10,000 troops and 100 unique troop types on a variety of battlefields. Players were tasked with rewriting history through the use of trade, diplomacy, espionage and resource management in addition to all-out warfare.


Enter the Viking Invasion.


This expansion, which does require the original game to play, offers players a pre-battle system. Essentially, this offers greater control over your set-up to the battle. You can even set the order of reinforcements throughout the battle phase. The era is 793-1066 A.D., and a new campaign expands the mapboards of the British Isles. There are eight new Viking-era factions, and a new technology tree allows for era-specific buildings and units.


In addition to the Vikings there are three new playable factions, which include the Aragonese, Hungarians and Sicilians. There are new unit types for existing factions, buildings can be upgraded to produce stronger units, and there are new artillery features.


The gameplay itself has not changed very much at all, and the graphics are still strong, with the environments and animations looking very good. While more technology has been added, the actual civilization elements of the game are still not the primary focus. Everything still leads up to the combat phase. The pre-battle system does, indeed, give much more control over the build-up to war and places the onus directly on the player. Random chance has been removed to some extent.


This is a solid expansion which broadens the base of play. The Viking era is well done and the addition of the three other new races, as well as the pre-battle setup is well delivered.


If you were a fan of Medieval: Total War, this is an expansion that is worth having.



Gameplay: 8.5

The pre-battle sequence helps you take solid control over your units in anticipation of the pending battle. The game still has some load times, and is turn-based.


Graphics: 7.8

The environments and animation is still solid and the game does have a nice look to it.


Sound: 7

Seemingly little has changed here and the game remains merely average in this regard.

Difficulty: Medium
The game still presents a solid turn-based strategy game, on the lines of Risk and chess. There is something here that can challenge most players.

Concept: 8
The combat phase has been tweaked to allow more control of the pre-battle staging, and the addition of the new units, and technology trees, is a nice touch.

Multiplayer: 8.4
While the single-player game has certainly received more depth, this remains a game that is best played with others online.

Overall: 8.6
No need to change or alter this score from the original. The game is a solid addition to Medieval: Total War but certainly does not exceed it. The expansion adds more depth to the gameplay, and should be well received by those who have played and enjoyed the original game.



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