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Grand strategy

Total War: Rome II Review | Alea Iacta Est

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Grand strategy, PC games, Sega, Strategy games, The Creative Assembly, Total War, Total War: Rome II

Total War: Rome II Review | Alea Iacta Est

Platforms: PC

Developers: The Creative Assembly

Publishers: SEGA

I've always loved the more ambitious entries in the Total War series a good deal more than the more battle-focused titles to bear the name. Medieval is still my favourite entry in the series -- and that includes this game, I have to say, but only just -- precisely because it managed to combine fantastic grand strategy with political intrigue and a fairly robust diplomatic system, and real-time battles set in a time period that could legitimately yield up veteran Templar Knights to lead your lines.

But we've come a long way since then. One look at Rome II on its maximum settings is almost enough to make your eyes weep with joy. We often lament this industry's obsession with beautiful shiny things to the detriment of good things, but in doing so we sometimes forget that aesthetics really do matter. The devil is in the details for so many games, and Rome II excels at showing off the extreme lengths to which The Creative Assembly has gone to make Ancient Europe feel alive.

Given that you're staring at a glorified map for much of your time, that's pretty good going.

Returning fans will be instantly at home with the machinations of tens of would-be empires unfolding across Europe and North Africa. The main allure of Rome II -- the expansive campaign, where you choose you faction and are then left to get on with conquering the known world -- is a languid, patient affair, as it has always been. You cannot simply hope to build an enormous army straight off of the bat, and march off into the sunset to fill the next few decades with rampant aggression. There are cities to be managed, carefully struck trade arrangements to be protected, rebellions to be crushed, and a delicate social ecosystem to be maintained.

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Europa Universalis IV Trailer Celebrates Today's Launch

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Europa Universalis IV, Grand strategy, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Interactive, PC games, trailer

Europa Universalis IV Trailer Celebrates Today's Launch

Europa Universalis IV is out today on PC, offering another meaty slab of Paradox-designed grand strategy on a global scale. To celebrate, we've got a new trailer showing off the might of the Swedish empire. Moose is a dish best served cold.

Check it out after the break along with a feature list.

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New Creative Assembly Vid Shows Macedon Taking On The The Might of Rome

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Dev diaries, Grand strategy, PC games, The Creative Assembly, Total War: Rome II

New Creative Assembly Vid Shows Macedon Taking On The The Might of Rome

The Creative Assembly have just released a video showing off the AI capabilities in the upcoming Total War: Rome II. The "Let's Play" video shows Studio Communications Manager Al Bickham's Macedonian forces taking on the might of Rome (with the AI set to Very Hard) in an open terrain skirmish match.

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Europa Universalis IV Pre-Orders Include Crusader Kings II & Save File Transfer Tool

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Crusader Kings II, Europa Universalis IV, Grand strategy, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Interactive, PC games, Pre-order bonus

Europa Universalis IV Pre-Orders Include Crusader Kings II & Save File Transfer Tool

Pre-ordering blind is a mug's game, but Paradox Interactive are trying to sweeten the pot for upcoming grand strategy game Europa Universalis IV with another grand strategy game. Pre-order customers will receive the magnificent Crusader Kings II for free, along with a save file transfer tool that lets them move their save file into Europa Unviersalis IV.

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Europa Universalis IV Dev Diary Presents 'A Guide to Crushing Freedom'

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Dev Diary, Grand strategy, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Interactive, PC games

Europa Universalis IV Dev Diary Presents 'A Guide to Crushing Freedom'

Exploration and colonisation will play a key role in Europa Universalis IV as your burgeoning Empire seeks dominion beyond the waves. However, exploration comes with inherent risks, such as mass migration, mutinies, dissidents and bizarre notions of "independence." Will you be a fair ruler or iron-fisted despot?

Europa Universalis IV arrives on August 13th, presenting us with another astonishingly deep historical tableau for us to create our own history within.

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Europa Universalis IV Dev Diary Gets Religious

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Dev Diary, Grand strategy, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Interactive, PC games

Europa Universalis IV Dev Diary Gets Religious

It always helps to have God on your side (or at least claim to), and the latest developer diary for Europa Universalis IV goes into detail about how different factional faiths affect the grand strategy experience. "Will you allow reformation when it rears its head in Europe or stand your ground for Catholicism? Will you forego Christianity entirely and become a champion of the Muslim or Buddhist faiths?" asks the blurb.

Europa Universalis IV releases in August, whereupon we will plunge into yet another infinitely deep grand strategy game in search of a final verdict.

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The Pagans Are Coming! Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods Gets First Dev Diary

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Crusader Kings II, Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods, Dev diaries, Grand strategy, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Interactive, Strategy games
Discuss:
Crusader Kings II | PC

Crusader Kings 2: The Old Gods will be the fourth expansion in the series for Paradox's critically acclaimed dynasty-builder, and today the legends of beardy strategy unveiled the first dev diary (there'll be three in total) for the new add-on.

Check out the video above as project lead Henrik Fåhraeus explains how pulling the start date back two centuries has affected the game's dynamics. Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods will feature all of the key pagan nations and religions of the period including the Norse, Baltic and Slavic pagans as well as the Mongols.

It releases on May 28th.

Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods DLC Threatens Odin's Wrath

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods, DLC, Grand strategy, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Interactive, PC games, trailer

Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods DLC Threatens Odin's Wrath

Old Gods, the newly-announced DLC pack for Crusader Kings II, allows players to wield the might of the great Norse civilizations in their prime. Expect longships, pagan sacrifice and pine forests aplenty, as evidenced by a new trailer.

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March Of The Eagles | £6.85 | ShopTo | PC

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Grand strategy, Paradox Interactive, PC games, Strategy games
March Of The Eagles | £6.85 | ShopTo | PC

This relatively accessible Napoleonic grand strategy game is a little sterile in singleplayer, but becomes a superbly devious game of backstabbing and dirty dealing in when played online. Think Risk, only you can't throw the board off the table in disgust. ShopTo have the cheapest price around for this recently-released title, but are selling out fast by the looks of things (a £7 saving on RRP).

March Of The Eagles Review | Sharpe's Risk

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Grand strategy, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Interactive, PC games, Strategy games

March Of The Eagles Review | Sharpe's Risk

Platform: PC

Developer: Paradox Development Studio

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

I must admit to feeling slightly conflicted when I first enlisted into March Of The Eagles. As a rabid Sharpe fanatic, I'm a sucker for anything Napoleonic, and gleefully accept any excuse to take my forty shillings. But Paradox have given us so many grand strategy games over the years, based around the the same 2D map and fundamental framework, that it now takes something truly special to catch our attention. Last year that special something was Crusader Kings II, which pushed the boundaries of what a turn-based strategy game could offer.

March Of The Eagles is a much more focused affair. Instead of hundreds of years of intrigue and backstabbing, players are presented with a notably streamlined take on everything but warfare, with clear objectives and relatively tight time limits replacing the sprawling political playgrounds of fellow Grand Strategy titles. It's clearly designed to let new players get down to the business of shipping troops o'er the hills and o'er the main - through Flanders, Portugal and Spain - but can March Of The Eagles do enough to stand out from the pack?

The answer depends on whether you're willing to stab your mates in the back.

March Of The Eagles Review | Sharpe's Risk

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Europa Universalis IV 'Technology' Dev Diary Released

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Dev diaries, Europa Universalis IV, Grand strategy, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Interactive, Videos

Paradox Development Studio, the makers of the frankly stunning Crusader Kings II, are hard at work on grand strategy sequel Europa Universalis IV, and have a released a new dev diary in which project lead Thomas Johansson explains how the game will shake up the way we've gone about researching new technologies in previous instalments.

The Macedonians Are Coming! Rome II Gets Its Third Announced Faction

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Grand strategy, PC games, Sega, Strategy games, The Creative Assembly, Total War: Rome II

The Macedonians Are Coming! Rome II Gets Its Third Announced Faction

Following in the footsteps of the Carthaginians and...well...the Romans, Macedonia becomes the third faction to be unveiled for upcoming grand strategy title - Total War: Rome II.

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Supreme Ruler: Cold War | £3.74 | GamersGate | PC

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Battlegoat Studios, Grand strategy, Paradox Interactive, RTS games, Wargaming

Supreme Ruler: Cold War | £3.74 | GamersGate | PC

If you're looking for a hardcore Cold War strategy game that's all about depth rather than flashy visuals, GamersGate are willing to part with Supreme Ruler: Cold War for a £5 saving. It's a bit of a rough gem, featuring plenty of socio-economic finagling, but presenting its content in the most dense and impenetrable way possible. We've got more details in our 7/10 Supreme Ruler: Cold War review.

 

Total War: Rome II Interview | James Russell Talks Up The Return To Rome

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Creative Assembly, Games previews, Grand strategy, Interviews, PC games, Strategy games, The Creative Assembly, Total War: Rome II

Total War: Rome II Interview | James Russell Talks Up The Return To Rome

The Creative Assembly's Total War: Rome remains to this day one of the finest strategy games of all time. Now, nearly a decade after the original graced our PCs, we ask some questions of lead designer James Russell on why CA are returning to the Ancient World, how they're looking to expand and improve on their critically acclaimed formula, and what they're doing to appeal to a wider audience. Oh, and modding!

Matt Gardner (Dealspwn): You mentioned wanting to present “the human face of Total War” with this game when we spoke at EGX. Could you elaborate on that a little?

James Russell: On the battlefield, it’s all about making each of the thousands of men fighting for you feel more convincingly human. We want the officers barking orders and men reacting to what’s going on around them.

Total War: Rome II Interview | James Russell Talks Up The Return To Rome

We want the combat to look and sound more brutal, more visceral – with a real sense of weight & impact. Combine that with new soldier-level camera options and I think you can see it’s about showing a darker, close-up vision of war.

Dealspwn: Why return to Rome? What makes that period in history so alluring for the developers of grand strategy?

James Russell: Well it’s been nearly a decade since the original, and doing Rome II has been the number 1 request we get from out player base for quite some time – it’s definitely the game they want us to make!

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Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome DLC Trailered, Out Today

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Crusader Kings II, Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome, Grand strategy, Paradox Interactive, Strategy games

Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome DLC Trailered, Out Today

Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome, the Byzantine-oriented new expansion for the fiendishly addictive and critically acclaimed Crusader Kings II goes live today.

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Crusader Kings II Review | Your Majesty!

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Grand strategy, Paradox Interactive, PC games, Strategy games

Crusader Kings II Review | Your Majesty!

Platform: PC

Developer: Paradox Development Studio

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

Forgive me if I haven't been myself recently.

Instead, I've been William The Conqueror. An obscure Polish Prince-Bishop. A Hungarian Duke. A widow queen. I've sired bloodlines that lasted a hundred years, waged brutal crusades, schemed my way to power, challenged the Pope and died, heirless, in ignominy.

And all that without suffering from multiple personality disorder. Crusader Kings II is a historical sandbox: over 400 years of real medieval history is our playground and its myriad families are our playthings. Paradox Interactive's latest grand strategy epic is easily their most ambitious project thus far, and though it's not going to recruit any new followers to the cause, it's easily their best.

Crusader Kings II Review | Your Majesty!

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Sengoku Review | Dynasty Managers

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Grand strategy, Paradox Interactive, PC games, Strategy games

Sengoku Review | Dynasty Managers

Platform: PC (reviewed)

Developer: Paradox Interactive

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

Feudal Japan is an exciting and colourful era in which to set a strategy game, and one that the Total War series has an action-packed stranglehold on. Enter Sengoku: an in-depth historical grand strategy sim that balances the equation by being all about management, bloodlines, diplomacy and the occasional deployment of ninja assassins. Paradox Interactive are no slouches when it comes to historical accuracy and immersive, impenetrable strategy, though you might be surprised to learn that Sengoku is one of their most accessible offerings yet.

After choosing which of the hundreds of historically accurate characters you'll control, the objective is to secure your clan and bloodline as a dominant force in Feudal Japan. You'll do this by making alliances with other clans, creating vassals to do your bidding, tactically arranging marriages to create an heir (who will continue your legacy if your first character dies) and occasionally declaring open war against rivals. Diplomacy is by far the most important part of the proceedings, with an intricate interplay of alliegances, vassals and your all-important reputation in the eyes of your peers. You'll need to dominate and hold over fifty percent of the country for three years in order to win a match, with enemies redoubling their efforts once you've attained enough territory. Slow, methodical play leads up to a tense end-game struggle, providing a refreshing change of pace in each game.

Sengoku Review | Dynasty Managers

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Supreme Ruler Cold War Review | Let Loose The Dots Of War!

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Battlegoat Studios, Grand strategy, Paradox Interactive, RTS games, Wargaming
Discuss:
PC


Developer: BattleGoat Studios

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

Platform: PC

The Cold War was something of an enormous mess, let's face it, and there's an argument to be made that might suggest that so many things were happening that nobody really knew what the hell was going on at any precise moment. In that respect, wargaming newcomers are likely to feel the exact same way when confronted by Supreme Ruler Cold War. At least Civilization II had a logistics bible that you could finger through painstakingly. This game is about as welcoming as a Siberian snowstorm and with the complete lack of in-game tutorials (a feature that games such as this would do well to implement as standard) it means you're dropped straight in at the deep end from the very start.

It's sink or swim really and, although you'll be temped, I strongly advise against hitting the Big Red Button (yes there is one) until you know for absolute certain what it will do. On my first pass I thought I'd be annihilating America's Eastern Seaboard...but instead I managed to lose the vast majority of my bases in Indo-China. Nothing makes sense at first, it is a baptism of fire for all but the most hardened of wargamers.

Supreme Ruler Cold War is a diamond in the rough. Find out why after the jump...

Pride Of Nations Review | Victorian And Proud

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
AGEOD, Grand strategy, Paradox Interactive, PC games, Pride Of Nations, Strategy games
Discuss:
PC

pride of nations 1

Platform: PC

Developer: AGEOD

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

AGEOD are famed for their technical turn-based grand strategy games that take an uncompromising look at a tight geographical region and time period. In an age where 'dumbing down' and 'accessibility' are fast becoming review buzzwords, their wares are typically intimidating for newcomers yet deeply enriching when when every subtle nuance finally clicks into place. Pride Of Nations is their biggest and most ambitious title to date; using the Victorian era of aggressive imperialism and colonial expansion as a colourful backdrop for the action.

Players start out as the omniscient mysterious driving force behind one of the great empires of the age. Your goal is to forge a mighty global dominion (that's right, the entire world is open to you); which basically means taking advantage of fickle native tribesmen and developing nations by attracting/tricking/bullying them into becoming  a colony or protectorate. As well as managing your own infrastrucure, settling on economic policy and keeping your citizens happy, you'll need to embark on a campaign of diplomacy and war against the other superpowers as they attempt do do the same. Since you'll effectively be trampling all over developing countries to fulfil your objectives, I'm afraid you'll need to leave any sense of moral fibre at the threshold... and it's worth noting that correct politics play a much more important role than political correctness. If you're easily offended by such things, do remember that this is a realistic simulation of a very different time.

Click here to continue reading our Pride Of Nations review >>