Welcome to the third installation of medieval exploration, in which we continue to examine the new small-scale campaigns in Medieval 2 Total War: Kingdoms, exclusively revealed in this month's PC Gamer magazine.
The new content in this latest Total War expansion is aimed at jolting us out of our familiar Medieval routines and throwing us into difficult and unexpected situations. It does this by placing us in smaller-scale actions that are poacked with details specific to actual historical conflicts that took place over just a few decades. New units, heroic generals, religious conflicts, and more detailed regional maps combine to make Kingdoms into a game that will revitalise any Medieval general's game. We've already looked at the British campaign, where figures like William Wallace will emerge from the mists to make things more interesting in the Anglo-Scots war, and we've cast a beady monocle in the direction of the Americas campaign, where the Spaniards will struggle with native kingdoms for control of the New World. Now we'll examine the third campaign (and the one we're secretly most excited about) which is the Teutonic Wars of Central Europe and the Balts.
That era of history was filled by an archetypal feudal chaos. The Teutonic knights, backed up by Christian forces in Poland, had returned from the crusades to attempt to force their religion on the tribal armies across Eastern Europe. The Teutonic order set up a monastic state in the Balts and used the region as a kind of training ground for European knights wanting a taste of brutal warfare. Central Germany too was crawling with aggressive Christian principalities that wanted to extend their reach East into Poland and the Baltic states, and this only adds to the grim possibilities for this campaign.
Kingdoms players will be able to take up the mantle of the crusading Teutonic Knights, or fight off the hordes that wanted to tear the heart out of Poland, or even take up the pagan throne of Lithuania, the last of the non-Christian nations in Europe. The war between Lithuania and the Order Of Teutonic Knights was a particularly ugly affair, with the Christians and pagans treating each other with astounding malevolence and regarding prisoners as subhuman slaves. The religious motivations for political decisions made in the Teutonic campaign in Kingdoms will reflect the ferocity of this lengthy religious war. Of the three campaigns this is the one that has most 'Dark Ages' feel to it, and we expect it to be a superb challenge.
Check in tomorrow for a look at the fourth and final campaign.