for Windows Mobile 2003 Pocket PC (QVGA)
Medieval Heroes II is a game of empire building and turn-based battles set in the Middle Ages.
As one of the medieval lords, you will engage in combat with surrounding provinces in an attempt to unite Medieval Europe under your leadership.
mhII.jpg 20.7KB 309 downloadsIntroduction
Released about a month ago (as announced on MoDaCo here) and available from Clickgamer, Medieval Heroes II aims to deliver a Risk style game with a difference. The features list is certainly impressive, the highlights of which include turn-based battles with field and siege combat (in a Heroes of Might & Magic style), RPG-style skills and experience points, secret operations (assasination, robbery, scouting, etc), and the ability to build castles and structures like banks or markets.
As for scope, the game features multiple missions of varying map sizes (including "Medieval Europe" with more than 90 provinces), 4 difficulty levels, 10 types of combat unit, and upto 6 players to take part in the game. So, it's fair to say this game is feature rich. But does it translate into an addictive game? How well does it all hold together? And could it be accused of being TOO feature packed. Read on to find out...
Initial impressions? Very good, jolly music with the appropriate medieval flavour and good graphics using bright colours. This is accompanied by straightforward presentation ensuring you'll find your way around the menus easily enough.
options.jpg 20.49KB 249 downloadsReview
Ok, so for some reason I usually start my reviews by taking at look at game options, strange but true! What struck me about the options for Medieval Heroes II (MHII for short) was that it scored highly for tweakability in offering brightness and contrast controls along with great control of the screen orientation (choose from landscape or portraight with orientation from 0 degrees to 270 degrees). Unfortunately however it lacked the ability to turn off the music while keeping in game sounds on. Not often an issue but if, like me, you enjoy a little Evanesence while fighting for control of Medieval Europe you'll have to turn in game volume completely off to do it as the only way to turn off in game music.
northern.jpg 21.66KB 256 downloadsOn beginning a game you will have a set number of forces (usually swordmen) in your campaign army (the forces you use offensively each turn), along with a number of forces guarding each of the territories (if any) that you begin with. It's then upto you to expand into unoccupied territories or even, heaven forbid, to attack territories occupied by your neighbours. Each territory on the map generates a certain number of resources (gold, iron and stone) so the more you expand the more income you get, the more income you get the more you can expand. Occasionally you will encounter opponent forces or your guardian forces will come under attack themselves at which point you have the choice of a quick battle (where the result is calculated according to forces) or actually directing your units in battle. While the ability to direct and control your forces in battle is a nice touch, many people will prefer going with probability and choose quick battle.
battlefield.jpg 24.86KB 257 downloadsOnce you've occupied a few territories you'll be wanting to garrison these territories to ensure firstly that they are protected from your neighbours and secondly that the population don't revolt (so removing the territory from your control). At the beginning of the game it's very difficult balancing keeping your campaign army up to strength while also trying to keep enough forces in your territories. This is where the trade feature in the game comes in. The key is ensuring that, if you are using too much of one resource (for example gold) but have another resource (lets say stone) in stock, you can trade one resource for another. A nice touch is that the trade prices do vary slightly as they would in the real world, so that one day you're getting 10 gold for 10 stone while another day you're only getting 6.
Right, so you've established a small presence on the map, you've built your campaign army up and you want to take an enemy province that has a castle. You need a seige engine! Good news is the game prompts you to build one, if you can afford, when you try and attack a province with a castle. It is battles like this where it's fun to turn off quick battle and actually direct your forces in their attempt to storm the castle. Fire the catapault, break down the wall or force their forces to lower the drawbridge (if you've taken out their archers). Then overcome all remaining forces to capture the castle (and, if it was a capital, all territories belonging to that enemy). All good medieval fun!
The aim of each scenario is to defeat all opponents leaving yourself ruler. There are a number of ways to go about it and part of the fun is developing your own tactics and style of play. Do you directly attack a large army when you know it is there, or do you deliberately avoid it and plunder the lesser protected territories? Either way can work but it'll take time (and very enjoyable time spent it is too)! Once you've succesfully defeated your last opponent you will be presented with a breakdown of how well you did, forces defeated, forces lost, resources gathered, etc. And if you've scored highly enough you can enter the highscore table.
pc_capture3.jpg 12.54KB 255 downloadsI've been playing Medieval Heroes II for weeks now, indeed one of its main strengths would have to be just how easy it is to pick it up and get engrossed. Not that this is a problem should you only have a short amount of time. Its so easy to quickly quit a game and come back to it given it autosaves on exiting the program. It's even possible to have several savegames in process although most will choose to complete a game before starting another.
The ability to play upto 5 other people in multiplayer is a nice bonus even if the turn-based nature of the game would make hotseat play disjointed (taking turns to use the PDA).
This is a quality release that most people will enjoy. The strategy is involving and addictive while the many extra features manage to add to the experience without over complicating matters. Indeed, if you so decide, you can progress through a satisfying and involving game without using many of the trade, espionage, or building options available to you. To me this variety of gameplay is the sign of a well designed game which scores most highly for its longevity. It'll keep you coming back and at the end of the day that usually means money well spent.
Available from www.clickgamer.com
Cost is $17.95 | £10.28 | €15.24