Grand Ages: Medieval is a grand-strategy game from Kalypso, responsible for the Tropico series of games and developed by Gaming Minds. The game is set during 1050 AD during medieval era (who would’ve guessed?) you as the player take control of one of many nations and have the opportunity to explore and rule all of Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East, Scandinavia and Eastern Russia. The player heads a small settlement within this massive scale world where they can grow their settlements through vast trade routes, gathering resources or through a mass of military power. You can found new cities, invent new technologies or just turn your nation into a tide of weapons to sweep over the whole of Europe.
The game features a campaign filled with well done cut-scenes that help explain the story to the player in the ancient world. The player takes control of a small town within the Byzantine empire near to ancient Constantinople and is given the power through quests to expand and grow their town . The player takes the role of Leon Vasselios, whose Father leaves him in control as he goes off to the Imperial Court, before leaving he gives Leon a book which serves as the player’s advisor for the length of the campaign. You must manipulate Leon into achieving his true greater destiny within the ancient world.
The game also features Skirmish and Multiplayer game modes, in skirmish you may choose one of many nations to start with your first city, such as England, France, The Balkans or The Caucasus. Each region having it’s own benefits and disadvantages. For example if you spawn in England to be able to get to the mainland of Europe you must first research ships, however this means your enemies must do to invade you. As with other grand-strategy games, the geography of the real world reflects in the game for example, the river Rhine which cuts through France and Germany, separating them both, or the Swiss Alps which can block roads and make trading difficult.
The game strong-arms the player with an in-depth trading system featuring 20 different goods to trade to meet the demands of citizens such as: coal, fruit or pottery. With traders and carts you must establish how you’re going to get resources between your towns and to all of your civilians. Additionally you must be prepared in case of natural disaster’s, the game features multiple disaster’s such as the Black Death a plague which killed hundreds of thousands, or erupting volcanoes capable of obliterating settlements in their godly fury. However military features seem a bit left out, it seems a bit of a rock paper scissors system, for example a spear will beat a horse, a horse will beat a bow and a bow will beat a sword and a sword will beat a spear. Additionally having multiple units vs a single unit doesn’t seem to matter only on unit may engage at a time if your units dies then another can attack but that seems to be all.
Next up some of the settings features of Grand Ages:Medieval. The game in my opinion actually looks quite nice for how big a scale it takes in. Even whilst ruling all of Europe I can zoom in and look at my knights patrolling my castle or even the cobbled streets surrounding my settlements. I could even zoom in and look at bears (as they killed 80 mercenaries because bears OP apparently). The game sounded just as I would’ve expected a medieval era setting to sounds with ambient sounds around such as birds or wind rustling through vast forests, but when I zoom into a settlement to hear a constant murmur of chatter or shouting.
The game does have some aspects of re-playability, especially if you’re playing multiplayer as every game could go differently depending on whom you’re playing with. Whether you decide to be warmongering barbarian or a juggernaut of trade. However for the campaign as with a lot of other story based or quest games it lacks a sense of re-playability, as it shows the same cut scenes again and functions with the same advisor telling you to do the same things.
In conclusion the game is quite pretty for it’s scale of things featuring a world that scales over 20 million square kilometres. This game allows you to explore Europe in a totally different way, however it suffers from the classic flaw of many grand-strategies, time. Even with a fast forward button games of Grand Ages: Medieval will take a large chunk of time, furthermore the game forces you to take part in heavy trade to be able to keep your money out of negative and if you decide to go towards a more militaristic route then you will need to be able to fund your army.
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