Grogheads Preview – Field of Glory II: Medieval!

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Field of Glory and it’s expansions have a permanent place on my hard drive. From the ancient world of Rome, Persia and Greece through to Rome’s fall, through the Dark Ages and the subsequent struggles in Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, Field of Glory 2 carried on its tradition of making history fans of all stripes squeal at delight at the appearance of their favorite troop types, armies and nations in one-off historical battles, linked campaigns and tons of of user made content. I will need another lifetime to get through each user made battle and campaign that I have downloaded over time.

So, it is with a proper level of giddy delight that I have been afforded a sneak peek of the next game in the series: Field of Glory II: Medieval (FogII: M), due out February 4 for the masses from Byzantine Games and Slitherine Ltd., and set (initially) between 1040AD and 1270AD…you just know those expansions will be coming fast and furious.

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By: Lloyd Sabin

Upon firing up the game for the first time it was quite clear to me that there has been a serious effort to smooth out different aspects of the games presentation, from the title screen to the fonts used in the UI to little artistic details and flourishes. I also have to mention the music – it is absolutely epic.

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FoGII: M just appears slicker and more cohesive, another step in the right direction for the hollowed series. It feels like FoGII: M has received a level of attention to really make it shine. Fans of the previous games will be delighted…I know I am.

As far as the historical content, delight will most likely be an understatement for most players. Wars between England and France, wars between the Welsh, the Scots, and the Irish, the Mongol Invasions of Eastern Europe and even the Baltic Crusades have all been portrayed here in the initial release. Nations represented include the Anglo-Saxons, the Normans, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Bohemia, Poland, the Teutonic Knights, the Old Prussians (pagan), Lithuanians (also pagan), Russia, Hungary, the Cumans, the Volga Bulgars and the Mongols. Total number of units represented will be more than 100!

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The gameplay which I had become so addicted to remains turn-based, and unit movement is also similar but with the help of a newly re-organized UI, with a tool-tip bar available on the right hand side if the player so chooses. I found it handy, especially for the ‘next available unit’ button, because it can get quite hectic trying to keep track of dozens of units as they wheel around the map. Roughly ten options are available on that command bar for infantry, archers, etc.

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The colors of the units, the fluidity of the map, and other graphical flourishes all appear to be a step up from the previous game and really popped. Sound effects appeared unchanged for the most part from the previous game with soldiers hooting and hollering, the clang of swords and the whoosh of arrows all still there. Visual representation of field features seems to have been improved as well, with clumps of trees, water features and villages all appearing to have received a sprucing up.

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Unit movement and orders are similar, but with newly improved visual indicators for moving from square to square, to unit turns in the saddle, to letting loose arrows to charging. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say the game is more visually exciting.

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It is also still fun as hell, and I still get that little burst of pride when I take down an enemy unit, knocking it from holding on to disrupted to broken (eventually). This classic Field of Glory system of morale and cohesion is just excellent at creating battlefield tension. Between the new army and unit choices, the settings, and the battles and campaigns available, FoGII: M really does a great job of continuing that chess-like feel of previous games, just with more and better looking options. The gameplay remains very solid, and the game runs flawlessly. Everything just looks better on screen!

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For this preview I set up a quick battle between the Mongols (me) and the Hungarians. As you can see from the screen shots, the visuals just pop and really draw the player in, as well as the tons of era-specific options players can select in the pre-game options. And this does not even begin to scratch the surface of the Multi-Battle Campaigns or the Epic Historical Battles!

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I don’t think it’s much of an exaggeration to say that Byzantine Games and Slitherine are bringing us 100s if not 1000s of hours of fresh gameplay with Field of Glory II: Medieval – it retains everything that players love about the game system while improving and modernizing it in almost all key areas.

Luckily, February 4 is only a couple of weeks away.

Stay tuned to Grogheads for our full review after release!

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