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Pondrew Reviews... Medieval Heroes II

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#1
Pondrew

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Medieval Heroes II
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.

Attached File  mhII.jpg   20.7KB   309 downloads

Introduction
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.

Attached File  options.jpg   20.49KB   249 downloads

Review
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.

Attached File  missions.jpg   20.72KB   253 downloads Attached File  player.jpg   17.19KB   248 downloads

On choosing which of the multiple missions, difficulty level and number of players you want (the five included missions as standard are Fight for the throne; Medieval France; Medieval Europe; Northern Lands and Muscovy) you will be asked to choose your Player and territory along with being given the option of customising your heroes skills. By splitting skill points between Battle, Building and Stealth you influence how well you will perform said actions in the game. This RPG type feature continues into the game as experience allows you to further add skill points later. Your choice of Player dictates not just the base skills but also the kind of military units you will have at your disposal (out of swordsmen, pikemen, axemen, archers, riders, knights, etc).

Attached File  northern.jpg   21.66KB   256 downloads

On 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.

Attached File  battlefield.jpg   24.86KB   257 downloads

Once 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!

Attached File  battle.jpg   126.23KB   254 downloads Attached File  pc_capture1.jpg   26.16KB   256 downloads Attached File  pc_capture2.jpg   20.73KB   246 downloads

Another feature in the game itself is the ability to invest resources in order to produce even more in the future. These are improvements in the form of markets, banks and mines. Building of which will serve to add to the resources being generated by your territories. Should you decide a territory is strategically significant you can even elect to build a castle there to strengthen your chances should an enemy force attack.

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.

Attached File  pc_capture3.jpg   12.54KB   255 downloads

I'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).

Conclusion
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

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#2
shadamehr

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Looks great - damn shame its not for SmartPhone - in my opinion the SmartPhone platform is just crying out for this kind of game...

Incidentally, not wanting this to go too O.T. but does anyone know of Risk or similar game for SmartPhone - preferably QVGA?

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#3
Animefan

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I can only agree ;)

Id even BUY that game if it came for smartphone

I just dont understand why ppl continue to make these dumb PocketPCs?

isnt it like, first came PC, then someone thought, lets make Pocket PC and made the biiig ugly squarelike PocketPC.

But then the nice person, dunno who he is though "lets make a computer in a mobile :D" and made the Smartphone?

So the Smartphone should be the future, not the ugly squarelike PPC :S

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#4
brykins

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I just dont understand why ppl continue to make these dumb PocketPCs?


Horses for courses....I have Medieval Heroes II on my Jam (PocketPC) and I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to play this WITHOUT a stylus.

Excellent game, but really needs some more maps made. There is a map editor and there are a few maps out there, but it needs more, bigger maps. The smaller ones are over before you get a chance to make best use of trading, castle building, etc.

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#5
Pondrew

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Horses for courses....I have Medieval Heroes II on my Jam (PocketPC) and I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to play this WITHOUT a stylus.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Funnily enough I ended up playing stylus free all the way home on the bus the other day. We were in traffic and I couldn't be bothered to get the stylus out. Apart from (should that be DESPITE) the fact I was having to hold on with one hand, as I was standing, I found it surprisingly do-able (but that could be because of the larger screen on an MDA III as opposed to the small form factor Jam).

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#6
brykins

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Funnily enough I ended up playing stylus free all the way home on the bus the other day. We were in traffic and I couldn't be bothered to get the stylus out. Apart from (should that be DESPITE) the fact I was having to hold on with one hand, as I was standing, I found it surprisingly do-able (but that could be because of the larger screen on an MDA III as opposed to the small form factor Jam).


Stylus free, maybe. But you still used the touch screen. I was just thinking how hard a game like this would be is you had to use the keypad and had no touchscreen.

Exactly why the Blizzard (is that the right one?) with the keypad AND touchscreen would be ideal for me.....love the keypad for texting, etc. Love the touchscreen for games, etc.

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#7
bleugh

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I have to agree, this game is fantastic!
I bought it a week ago, and have spent a good few hours on it every night since,

takes a little time to get into fully (well, about an hour anyway)

it's a nice RISK type game, with some logistics management built in too

you can mine stone and metal and collect rent on what provences you own.
you can trade one mineral for another

it's really VERY addictive.

i'm currently playing on expert mode now after completing all the easy modes :-)

buy this game guys!

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#8
bleugh

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Don't forget the website for the game also guys, you can download new maps to play,
AND there's a map editor!!!!

top marks



Here

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