Video Games

Crusader Kings II Review



Antiquity has never felt so alive

Crusader Kings II realised in 2012 is a strategy RPG game developed by Paradox studios. The game allows you to take the role of a ruler of any region within Europe, parts of Africa and Western Asia along with any other regions that you unlock through the use of DLC or mods at various points in time. With the time period spanning four years starting in 1066. However it is worth noting that if you purchase the basic game with no DLC then you will only be able to play as Catholic leaders restricting you to Western Europe in the earlier parts of the game expanding to most of Europe at later dates, as parts of Spain start with Sunni rulers. I would recommend getting the Sword of Islam expansion pack to allow you to play as a Muslim ruler if you really want to experience the game fully.

Unlike in other simulation games where you are an immortal ruler who doesn’t have to worry about the little things like death and being maimed in combat. Crusader Kings requires you to find your chosen ruler a wife or husband and produce an heir who you will play as when your ruler eventually dies. Although finding a wife or husband can also be difficult since you are forced to think carefully about every marriage you make. Do I marry the third born daughter of the King of France to gain a powerful ally that I can call upon during times of war? Or do I marry the first born daughter of the King of Ireland who might be a weaker ally if I get involved in a war? If certain heirs die and I push my son or in rarer circumstances daughter’s claim to be King of Ireland through my wife’s claim then when my current ruler dies my dynasty will be strengthened by claiming new lands and kingdoms.

There are some key areas when playing Crusader Kings II that you will need to keep an eye on and develop over time to prevent falling behind and risk being wiped out. If you want to play as a peaceful ruler who gains power through his wealth and marrying into the royal families of Europe then you will want to invest in economic technologies as opposed to say your cavalry which is a military technology.

CK II MapWhen you start the game you may feel the need to play as the ruler of a powerful nation and have your eyes set on world domination. To be fair the game does feel like it pushed you in that direction by suggesting that the strongest rulers are those in the best position to gain more power. Most of the fun I had was starting as a single territory under a powerful king and trying to work my way into positions of power and eventually overthrow my liege and take his lands for myself.

Traits play a huge role in your experience. You could have an heir who and gift them many titles and lands to keep the dynasty strong failing to notice that he had the ambitious trait and then trying to overthrow you. Leaving you with the decision to leave your heir in jail or just execute him and educate my grandson to be a great ruler and try to make the same mistakes again. Further down the generations you may be cursed with a wife who had low fertility rates forcing you to legitimise one of your bastards to allow the family line to continue. It is these small attentions to detail that make Crusader Kings II a far more enjoyable game than originally thought.

A huge game that can be made even bigger through various mods and expansions that were still be made very recently. Although if you download a vast number of these DLCs make sure that your computer can run them smoothly as lag can be a serious problem.