When it comes to gaming, there are those of us that are easily entertained with flashing lights and big explosions . Then there are those of us that enjoy the deep gameplay, extended strategy and storyline that games like Crusader Kings 2 offers. Fadi is one of those special people that enjoys both, so when we were picking from the team as to who would be reviewing the “Sword of Islam DLC for Crusader Kings 2, Fadi was the clear choice.
- Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)
- Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core
- Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1600
- Asus P8P67 LE (REV 3.0) ATX LGA1155
- MSI “Twin Frozr II” GeForce GTX 560-Ti 2GB
- Running at native 1920×1080
Crusader Kings II is a grand strategy title developed and published by Paradox Interactive. Released in February 2011, it allowed players to choose a Christian monarch and lead their family and nation to glory through marriage, diplomacy, assassination and war. In doing so you have to keep your economy stable, manage the relations internally with your heirs/council/vassals and make the correct decisions in order to keep the realms stability.
Sword of Islam, the first major DLC for Crusader Kings II, expands the playable world to include the various Muslim empires that existed during the games start in 1066. Various factors of the game have been modified to fit the Islamic theme of the DLC, from the UI to events.
For this review I chose Ma’ad al-Mustansir Billah of the Fatimid Islamic Caliphate.
While this is a strategy game, it is not Starcraft II… there is a learning curve. With base CKII however a lengthy series of tutorial were included that last approximately 3 hours and should familiarize anyone with the basics. There are several key mechanics that separate it from other games.
One feature that makes CKII stand out is the heavy emphasis on individual characters. Characters may marry others in order to forge alliances between nations or to secure a claim to certain territories. These characters can marry others and will have sons and daughters and receive traits from both parents. These children in turn, starting at the age of 5, may be educated by characters within your realm in order to determine that characters stats in areas such as diplomacy, martial, stewardship, intrigue and learning.
Many aspects of micromanagement are passed over in favor of macromanagement. In order to focus on dynasty building, you can assign councilors from among your vassals to carry out specific duties such as spreading religion or forging claims against other territories.
Alhamdulillah, indeed. Periodically there will be events that take place that follow a risk/reward and chance system that can effect your player in small ways such as the addition of 10 prestige to have your leader murder by a group of bandits. In this case, I sent my leader on an ‘Umrah and along the way I encountered an old man who offered to recite hadith for a single gold coin.
I (the reviewer) am by no means a scholar so I can’t guarantee the hadith mentioned aboves authenticity, however I have been told by someone who fact checked it that it’s saheeh. It’s featured here
Before a nation can declare war, they have to decide on their motivations…. their casus belli. This can range from de jure (“legal”) claims to religious differences. Combat itself takes place via stacks of units that engage each other or enemy territory on tiles. In this case I raise my personal levies and procede to stack them on Aswan, where they’ll split into two groups to take Makuria as well as assist my son in taking Nuia.
Graphics and performance
The graphics are a step up from past Paradox Interactive games such as Europa Universalis III however they aren’t a match for high budget games such as Battlefield 3. At least to me I don’t see that as important though… they are an appropriate mix of appearance without affecting performance.
I did not encounter any performance or compatibility related issues on the test system, however I should note to people who use a Mac that the game does not currently support Intel HD3000 cards.
I was not able to properly have a full length multiplayer session however during my short test (approximately 20 minutes) there were no issues.
I would like to say that someone playing shouldn’t run into any questionable scenarios, however I should emphasize the open ended nature of the gameplay once more. You can play a game expanding through marriage and diplomacy or you can expand through assassinating your own children and invading other nations without a casus belli.
If you’re looking for a game with deep and rewarding mechanics and are willing to take the time to get around the learning curve, this game might interest you. If you like alternative history and would like to see what the would world have looked like if the Seljuq dynasty pushed into Europe or if Lithuania became a vast empire stretching from the edges of each continent, this game might interest you.
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