Hey folks, this is Lusted from www.twcenter.net with my exclusive Gold Code Day Report for the Total War Community Blog.
First off I’d like to say I think I came across a bit manic at the event as I was talking lots and behaving like a kid in a candy shop.
After an uneventful journey up to Kew Bridge station, I met up with Tom Laverick, the winner of the TWC competition and we headed to SEGA HQ Europe. Luckily the directions I had been given were accurate so we got there in about 10 minutes. After waiting around for a bit we were joined by the rest of the people for the morning session: Ben, the competition winner from Heaven Games, and an admin from the site whose name escapes me.
Then we were joined by Richie (aka The Shogun), Mark (the TW.com webmaster) another CA Dev, and Alex the SEGA rep. We were shown to the room where we would be getting to play the game. Unfortunately as the original date for the event had been changed, we were not in a big conference room, but in a smaller office which was baking. But all thoughts of the heat were lost once I started playing the game.
The game is just immense. We all know by now that it is hugely beautiful, but I am still surprised by how much better than RTW it looks.
But of course you guys do not care about the graphics, you care about 1 thing: the AI.
The first thing I did when playing the game at the Event was start a custom battle to test Palamedes claims about the AI on very hard. He said that even TW vets would lose on this difficulty.
I am a TW vet.
The AI took me completely by surprise and rushed me, exploiting gaps in my line to surround parts of it and rout them, before overwhelming my last resistance.
And contrary to what some people were saying after the dev blog on morale and fatigue, their effect does increase with difficulty level, and it affects both the player and AI equally. I have also seen no evidence to suggest the AI gets bonuses on vh as I managed to rout some of its unitslike how it routed some of mine.
Shocked after this I decided to start a campaign as the English to see what the campaign AI was like. Played for a few turns, conquered York, I was preparing an army near Caen for a crusade I was going to launch when the Scots attacked York. Before you al scream in despair, the AI attacked me because I had moved most of the troops out of the city to join the army near Caen, so it was vulnerable to attack.
Later on at the event as Sicily, I annoyed the Byzantines in diplomatic negotiations with them. 2 turns later they attacked me and took Durazzo from me.
I also noticed that your alliances with other factions affect your power rating that other factions will use in diplomatic negotiations.
I also saw the campaign AI merging armies much more than in RTW so there were bigger armies going around instead of lots of little ones. It also has varied troops in its armies due to the new recruitment system.
During my time playing the campaign I got to see how many of the new features in M2TW I was interested in worked.
The first of these features and perhaps the most interesting one is the city/castle system. The differences between the two are much greater than I thought, and make for some interesting strategic decisions. You need to maintain a balance between the two types to keep the money coming in, and troops rolling out. Cities get some free upkeep militia units, but are more prone to unrest and corrupting governors. Castles produce your best troops, multiple units per turn, but you cannot change the tax rate of them.
Next feature I saw was Papal elections, as 3 turns into my English campaign the Pope died. 3 candidates from the College of Cardinals are put up for election based on their piety, then you can vote for who you want, and (I believe from reading the manual, but Iâm not sure as I have not had another chance to test this yet) you can negotiate with other factions to get them to vote for you.
Crusades in M2Tw I feel are also much better than those in MTW. The system for them is better, and your Papal standing affects your ability to call one. Once one has been called you then assign one of your armies to become a crusading army, you get Crusader units to recruit like you would mercs, and increased movement points to get you to your destination faster.
Next Iâll talk about the funnest part of the event, a LAN match me, Tom and Ben did.I chose the Russians, Tome the Scots, and Ben the French. We fought on a very interesting map called Redoubt, which has some lovely high passes one one side, and forests on the other with a building in the sort of middle. The battle started out with my Kazak horse archers attacking Tomâs rear before withdrawing. Tom and Ben were position basically opposite each other,while I had deployed on a very defensive position further away.
Ben began to move his main force up to attack Tom, but sent 4 units of cavalry to fight my Boyar horse archers. These guys got caught by Ben so I committed them to melee whilst I sent in my general, heavier mounted troops, and my Kazaks. My Boyars were routed but I destroyed his cavalry. Ben now began his main assault on Toms Scots, with his infantry going up the middle whilst his Gendarmes went up the side. I then sent my cavalry to a position behind Benâs infantry, where I dealt with his artillery, and my infantry came through a high pass into position behind Tomâs rear. When Ben began to get the upper hand over Tom, I charged in my units, and beat them both.
The amazing thing about these battles was the performance. The pc’s we were playing on had the following specs:Intel P4 3.0 GHz2GB RAMGeforce 7600Gt.My computer at home which Iâm typing this on is better than that. There were about 6000 soldiers in this battle, and there was minimal lag when all units were engaged. This game performs like a dream.
What was really nice about the event was how friendly the CA and SEGA guys were, one of them even playing the game on the 5th computer as he wanted to play it some more after watching us playing it and enjoying it.
After my rejoicing at my victory in the LAN battle they suggested bringing in some of the testers for us to fight against. These are testers who have been playing the game for 6 months. We declined their offer.All in all it was a great day for a great game. Medieval II: Total War is the best TW game to date. It has the best graphics, best AI, best diplomacy and the best strategic depth of any game in the series.
Thank you to CA and SEGA for organising the event.
Oh, and thanks fro the free game as well.