Medieval: Total War - Viking Invasion
Don't Fight it-its natural to get excited over an expansion pack for one of the greatest strategy games the world has seen. Another chance to conquer vast swathes of territory and fashion a medieval empire, to lead armies onto the field of battle and crush fleeing peasants under the iron-shod hooves of your knights' war horses. You've gotta love it.
The Viking Invasion offers owners of Total War two things -a re-fresh of the existing Europewide campaign in the form of new units and playable nations, and an all-new campaign set in the British Isles. Re-winding to the Dark Ages, circa AD790, the new campaign sees a Britain torn between native Celtic tribes and various invaders. So among the eight rivals, in the north we see the Scots and Picts vying for position, in the South we have the Saxons and Mercians squabbling over the division of the spoils, and in the west the Irish and Welsh cling to their toeholds on their native lands. Add to this melting pot a stream of Norse invaders from Scandinavia, and apart from proof of what mongrels we Brits are, you have a recipe for wanton blood-letting.
The new campaign features more primitive units and buildings. Though many units are generic from the main game, such as spearmen and archers, the different factions bring plenty of unique units to the slaughter. Welsh bandits are the masters of camouflage and the ambush. Saxon Huscarls are metal-clad swordsmen that cleave through spearmen and peasants with ease. The fierce Viking Berserkers are small bands of psychos and charge at anything they see.
The novelty of having the familiar territories of the UK to wage war over counts for a lot. Frustrated Welshmen can rewrite history by leading their warriors to the gates of London. Proud Irishmen can expel the foreign invaders from their lands, and irate Scots can do what their football team could not and defeat the Faroe Islanders on their home turf.
Within the tight borders of the UK, the campaigning feels all the more savage. Territories change hands repeatedly, civil wars spread like wildfire, and just when you think you've pacified your borders, a fleet of longboats full of savage Vikings beaches on your coastline.
For those interested in returning to the Europe-wide campaign of Medieval, the Hungarians, Sicilians and Aragonese are now all playable factions, and there is a sprinkling of new units such as the elite Russian Druhzina cavalry and the devilish organ gun. It's not enough to make us want to play it all through again in single-player, but it adds nice variations for multiplayer battles. As far as the actual game system, other than an improved reinforcement management system and the introduction of boiling oil and flaming arrows to sieges, there's not much here other than invisible tweaks you'd get from a patch off the net.
So, while the game remains much the same, the Viking campaign is just what the doctor ordered - a new map, buildings and units, all tied up with a dose of local rivalry. All of which should go a long way to tiding us over until Rome: Total War arrives.
Download Medieval: Total War - Viking Invasion
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP