Crusader Kings II
|Crusader Kings II|
|Developer(s)||Paradox Development Studio|
|Engine||Paradox Development Studio|
|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows
February 14, 2012
May 24, 2012
January 14, 2013
Crusader Kings II is a grand strategy game set in the Middle Ages, developed by Paradox Development Studio and published by Paradox Interactive as a sequel to Crusader Kings. It was released for Microsoft Windows on February 14, 2012. An OS X version, Paradox Interactive's first in-house development for the operating system, was released on May 24, 2012. A Linux version was also released on January 14, 2013.
The game is a dynasty simulator where the player controls a Medieval dynasty from 1066 to 1453, though the DLC The Old Gods and Charlemagne allow for a start date of 867 and 769, respectively. Through the strategic use of war, marriages and assassinations among many other things, the player works to achieve success for his or her dynasty. The game contains numerous historical figures such as William the Conqueror, Charlemagne, Harold Godwinson, Robert Guiscard, Harald Hardrada, El Cid, Constantine X Doukas, Harun al-Rashid, Alexios I Komnenos, Alfred the Great, and Saladin, but allows for the player to choose less significant figures such as minor dukes and counts, and creation of entirely new characters with the use of the "Ruler Designer" DLC.
The simulation is open-ended, so the definition of success is completely defined by the player. The only in-game objective is to obtain as many prestige and piety points as possible in order to surpass the various historically relevant European dynasties in a fictional prestige ranking (the three most prestigious ones being the Capetian, the Rurikovich and the Habsburg dynasties). The game ends when the player's current character dies without an heir of the same dynasty to succeed him/her, when all landed titles are stripped from all members of the player's dynasty, or simply when the in-game year changes to 1453.
The game employs a genetics and education system where children will inherit many traits, culture, religion and skills from their parents and guardian. This adds an additional layer of strategy to marriages, such that a player will attempt not only to form beneficial alliances, but also to select marriage partners with strong heritable traits to maximise the quality of offspring and thus strengthen the dynasty. This requires balancing sometimes conflicting interests. For example, while one possible marriage might allow some desirable alliance to be formed with another ruler, it may also require marrying a spouse with some undesirable traits. Such a trade-off can occur in the reverse as well: one possible spouse could possess highly desirable traits but yield no new alliances for the player's dynasty.
While a player can choose almost any landed noble to play, there are some which are unplayable without the use of mods, notably: Theocracies (most notably The Papacy) and landed Holy Orders/Mercenaries (for example, the Templars or the Catalan Company). Muslims, Pagans, Jews, Indians, and Republics are playable with the Sword of Islam, The Old Gods, "Sons of Abraham", "Rajas of India" and The Republic DLC respectively.
Expansions and DLC
|Title||Release Date||Patch Version||Notable features|
|Sword of Islam||June 26, 2012||1.06||
|Legacy of Rome||October 16, 2012||1.07||
|The Republic||January 12, 2013||1.09||
|The Old Gods||May 28, 2013||1.10||
|Sons of Abraham||November 18, 2013||2.0||
|Rajas of India||March 25, 2014||2.1||
|Charlemagne||October 14, 2014||2.2||
|Way of Life||December 16, 2014||2.3||
|Horse Lords||July 14, 2015||2.4.1||
|Conclave||February 2, 2016||2.5.1||
|The Reaper's Due||August 25, 2016||2.6.1||
|Monks and Mystics ||TBA||TBA|
|Title||Release Date||Notable features|
|Sunset Invasion||November 15, 2012||
|Ruler Designer||April 18, 2012||
|Europa Universalis 4 Save Converter||August 13, 2013||
A total conversion mod based on George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels was released in May 2012. On 17 December 2013, a massive expansion adding the eastern continent of Essos was released.
A total conversion mod based on Bethesda Softworks's The Elder Scrolls video game series was attempted in early July 2012 and received its first release on April 1, 2013. Entitled "Elder Kings", the mod recreated the majority of known landmasses of Nirn. Tamriel included all 9 provinces (Including the Orcs homeland Orsinium, though not as its own province.) Akavir, Atmora, Cathnoquey, Esroniet, Pyrandonea and Yokuda were also included in the modification. All major races from the Elder Scrolls games were playable.
Another team has been working on a post-apocalyptic total conversion mod for Crusader Kings 2, christened After the End. Set in the New World in the year 2666, it allows the player to take control of realms from Venezuela to Alaska, with new religions that reference local culture, such as Rust Cultists who worship old factories and machinery, Norse revivals in Minnesota, Native American resurgence, and 'Gaian' hippy anologues.
Release and reception
||This section contains too many or too-lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. (June 2016)|
A demo was released on February 4, 2012, which featured four playable characters over a 20-year span. A marketing campaign for the game featured light comedy videos on the concept of the Seven Deadly Sins.
The game was met with generally positive reviews and has attained a metascore of 82 at Metacritic. GameSpot reviewer Shaun McInnis stated "Through a complex system of diplomacy and backstabbing, Crusader Kings II makes every power struggle an engrossing one" and he lauded the gameplay while noting the "lackluster tutorials". IGN summed up their review by saying "An intense learning curve, but a unique strategy experience". IGN rated the gameplay and "lasting appeal" a 9/10. A reviewer for Rock, Paper, Shotgun stated that Crusader Kings II was "probably the most human strategy game" he ever played. Rob Zacny of PC PowerPlay, who gave the game a 7/10 score, called it a "brilliant treatment of feudalism in terms of strategy and story" but also stated it "requires major investment to overcome information overload". Kotaku named the game as one of their game of the year nominees.
By February 13, 2015, the game sold over 1.1 million copies, with the expansion packs sales totaling over 2.5 million units sold and the cosmetic DLCs 5.5 million. According to Paradox Interactive, the game is played by an average of 12,500 players every day, 104,000 per month, with an average playtime of 99 hours per player.
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When the consequences are so human they mean all the much more and this is probably the most human strategy game I’ve ever played. If it doesn’t wind up being among my very favourite games of the year, spectacular things will occur in the next ten months.
- Plunkett, Luke (4 January 2013). "Why Crusader Kings II Should Be Game Of The Year". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
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