User Score
8.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 565 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 39 out of 565

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  1. Jun 14, 2012
    10
    The best and the brightest paradox title: difficult, exciting and very satisfying in every part. the main goal is to help your name to survive to you, to write a story about your family. It is strange for a strategic game but every character lives...your wife, your sons, your ancestors, your enemies. This is a tale engine about a family. Your family. The blood is thicker than water, and playing this game you will discover it. Expand
  2. Feb 7, 2012
    10
    At the first glance very complex, but after 1h of tutorials you can get into the game. Amazing graphics, great sound, runs smooth, very complex political system, absolutely perfect!
  3. Feb 9, 2012
    9
    After a string of (frankly) stinkers (SotS2 being the stinkiest and saddest stinker) we finally get a game worthy of the "old" Paradox name. I loved the original CK. It is a totally different sort of strategy. It is to Medieval strategy what Football manager is to the soccer genre. While Total War does the "Fifa 012" bit "Football Manager" is all about the people, their abilities and their relationships. Well same here.
    Crusader Kings 2 is a VERY sold and attractive game, it even co0mes with a decent tutorial (saints preserve us - Paradox realising that MAYBE some gamers don't want to spend 2-3 days working out what everything does - the challenge should be in PLAYING THE GAME...not WORKING OUT HOW TO PLAY THE GAME)..Anyway CK II sorts this out. The relationships are fantastic, the character traits very believable, the bloodlines mingle in ways that seem entirely realistic (you don't always get what you want - but you always understand why you end up with what you have) Pity it's almost Spring, this game could have kept me going all Winter. An excellent game - the best I've played in 2012 so far
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  4. Feb 14, 2012
    10
    By far the easiest Paradox Grand Strategy game to get into, simply because it is more like an RPG than GS. The graphics are great, the new combat system is brilliant, and the game is wonderfully in depth. Paradox has made it so even when playing the smallest, most insignificant county in Europe that you will still be constantly entertained with intrigue and diplomacy. Top notch quality, zero bugs or crashes encountered thus far. Simply brilliant. Expand
  5. Feb 10, 2012
    10
    Paradox back on form at last after some dubious game releases, if you like this genre, this is pretty much the best there is. Loving it. Definitely worth a buy!
  6. Mar 7, 2012
    9
    No glaring bugs out of the box and heck it's even more addictive then CK1. I'm serveraly days in and not 1 CTD.
    If you liked CK1 you want this.
    You need this.
    You DESERVE this =)
  7. Feb 16, 2012
    10
    After having played the original Crusader Kings game which was quite good but nowhere near being my favourite Paradox game, i wasn't very excited about this game at first. But once i tried the demo i was completely amazed. It's one of the most exciting games i have played in years! It is also quite hard at first because there is so many things to do and keep in mind. It does get easier once you get used to it. The best part of the game is the endless replay value. You can play the same dynasty for countless times over and over again and still have new and fun things to do with it. I also like that it is different from other strategy games which tend to be very generic and rarely offer something new or different. This game concentrates on building your dynasty instead of country like in most of the strategy games. So it's not your average "whack-a-mole" strategy game where you pick a country and then go on a conquering spree in order to make the whole world part of your realm but rather a very immense strategy-rpg combination where balance and micro-managing your family, courtiers and vassal is important. You have to plan your conquests very carefully or you end up having your entire family murdered by jealous vassals or other family members who want to have their share of the pie.

    Unlike most of Paradox releases this one works flawlessly from the start. I have played it for 2 days almost without a break and i haven't encountered a single bug.
    I have played most of Paradox games and i can easily say that this is the best one yet. I can see myself playing Crusader Kings II for years to come, and usually i get bored rather soon.

    A must buy for every strategy lover.
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  8. Jul 16, 2012
    9
    This is the type of game that requires time and investment to be able to play successfully; if you expect to jump in and win right away then the game will take great pleasure in destroying you thoroughly.

    You absolutely will need to read the manual which is online as a PDF downloadable from where you purchased it, or from the Paradox forums. And you may even need to consult the online
    FAQs for assistance.

    Which seems like a lot of work for a game doesn't it?

    Honestly though if you persevere it is completely worth the effort. Wouldn't say it was perfect, but with the ability to mod out the things you don't like and mod in the things you do? It is pretty damn near it.

    Paradox's best effort yet. Defo worth a 9 out of 10.
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  9. Feb 18, 2012
    9
    The game is brilliant!
    For the 2 (and possibly more to come) complaining about no manual, it's on their website, it's the 21st century, download the PDF. (Check the Paradox Forum)
    Took me a few hours to get the hang of it, and now I am coasting! From the Duke of Orkney to King of Norway! This is NOT a wargame. This is a dynastic SIM. Build your dynasty, watch your family tree grow!

    Work your family over 4 Centuries...
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  10. Feb 11, 2012
    9
    This game was tailor-made for fans of the original. The game mechanics have been fleshed out and improved for portions of the original game-play that was fun, while the stuff that was irritating left on the chopping block. This holds true even when comparing it to other Paradox games, such as Europa Universalis. So it's easier to wade into, but still retains that great depth, and character-driven game-play that made the first Crusader Kings so captivating.

    Pros:
    The music is really great, very atmospheric and enhances the overall theme.
    Combat/unit control is tidier than previous Paradox games, a breeze to go to war now.

    Cons:
    Navigating the menu is still a challenge, but hey it's a Paradox game.
    Crashing while alt-tabbed.
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  11. Mar 11, 2012
    9
    One of the best grand strategy games out there. It's just what I always wanted. Not overcomplicated, not too flashy, quite easy to get into but with some exquisite depth. And not so scary as other Paradox games at first contact. If diplomacy, strategic marriages and intrigue are your thing then buy this game, it's worth it.
  12. Sep 28, 2012
    10
    Crusader kings 2 review
    Crusader kings 2 is a real-time grand strategy game made by paradox studio. In Crusader king 2 you can play 1 country out of over 100 and re-write history from the years 1066-1453 you can rule your kingdom make alliances with others and expand your empire. Not only has all of this but the fun not stopped there as you can play with up to 16 of your friends online,
    you compete with your friends in a bid for control over them all. There are many top features within this game such as appointing your own vassals, Training the best army through research while keeping an eye on your money. Marriages is key in this game to how long you can last by keeping a male heir and marry your daughters off to create alliance you can build a mighty empire. Although do not get to confident as other major empires may try and take you down such as the Mongols, England and the Byzantine Empire.
    This game has suited graphics for its time and can be really addicting and can have you sitting on your seat ruling for hours. Crusader kings 2 is rated as a 12 allowing most young ages to enjoy this loved game. In conclusion this game is a must buy no matter what price and get your friends to buy it too you will be enjoying it with them for days.
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  13. Feb 14, 2012
    10
    This has got to be one of the most polished releases by Paradox. They've really took what we've loved about the original Crusader Kings and their brand of grand strategy then multiplied it by uber! I really enjoy plotting against my liege for the throne and setting up my dynasty in far away lands. It is definitely one of those games where you start playing and realize what time it is when the sun comes out. I recommend this to everyone who enjoy a deep strategy game! Expand
  14. Mar 19, 2012
    10
    Don't pay attention to the dweebs and noobs that give this game a zero or 5. It's so great 10 isn't enough. I've spent weeks since it's release playing just it and no other game since Medieval Total War origional keep me playing as long. Most games get dull and boring after a few hours or maybe a day or two but this game just keeps on giving and there's something new discovered just about everytime I play. Of course it's not perfect but it does deserve a 10 compare to the cheese crap that has been coming out getting 9's and 9'5's. This should be game of the year and at least strategy game of the year. If you don't have or get this game in your library then you are just a fool. It will steal your life away and sleep too. ;) Expand
  15. Mar 1, 2012
    10
    Very, very well done. Extremely polished with very few bugs and those are fairly insignificant. The game play is solid and the game is extremely fun. Paradox has really nailed it with this game.
  16. Jun 12, 2012
    9
    Crusader Kings 2 is very, very complex, and very, very satisfying once you get the hang of it. Weasel your way into a marriage, then have your spouse assassinated to inherit their lands. Fabricate some false claims for casus belli. Alter laws to determine who inherits what. Imagine my chagrin when I started a new game only to find my spouse was inbred. This game is crazy detailed, and makes other strategy games look shallow in comparison. For some of the negative reviews floating around out there, all I can really say is I don't think you're the target audience. It's a medieval dynasty simulation game -not even the first in the series!- so complaining about graphics and such is kind of inane. Now back to figuring out what I need to do in order to have Ulster inherit the Holy Roman Empire Expand
  17. Feb 15, 2012
    9
    Just started playing but this title seems to be a better paradox title. Many game mechanics and looks are very familiar and very paradox style with a lot of reused software and graphics. However, I find CK2 so far better and bigger than e.g. Sengoku.
  18. Feb 19, 2012
    9
    This game is lots of fun. It belongs up there with EU3 as far as Paradox Games go. It's intricate, but it avoids being as tremendously complex as, for example, the Hearts of Iron series. I recommend it heartily. It doesn't get a 10 from me, but that's because I give 10s only to the sort of tremendous game that we might see only once every few years.
  19. Mar 1, 2012
    10
    I think this is the best game Paradox has created. The social intrigue aspect is really fun. It takes a bit to get used to moving through the interface and understanding the game, but after you figure it out it is addicting. It was well thought out.
  20. Mar 2, 2012
    10
    This is a tremendous game that improves on the already decent original in a ton of ways. It also is the most stable and playable release Paradox has had in a while. Cannot recommend it enough if you are at all interested in this genre.
  21. Feb 21, 2012
    10
    Great game as usually when Paradox sticks to its guns. This genre of game they almost always do a great job. Small learning curve, but once you get past it, its an awesome game.
  22. Feb 16, 2012
    9
    Most people who give this game bad reviews are those who don't know how to play it or expect something different than what it is. CKII is a slow-paced niche strategy game designed for scheming Machiavellis, not a game that will please the Red-Bull-chugging BF3 crowd. The game is a lot more polished at release than most Paradox titles. It's also one of the deepest, with a great internal politics system that makes conquering new land an option rather than a requirement for an interesting game session. It's graphics are among the best Paradox has released, and its system of unique portraits and character traits makes each character -from the highest emperor to the lowliest baron- a unique human being with his or her own personality and motives: rather than playing as an abstract country or a colour on the map, you play as a person and their dynasty. This makes the game unique (in a good way) from any other grand strategy game I know of.

    The only con is the poor buggy multiplayer.
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  23. Feb 18, 2012
    10
    Pros: - Little to no bugs. (20+ hours w/o a crash or bug) - Quick response by the dev team (Just released a balance/bug update) - Caters to the hardcore audience in love with Paradox, yet walks the new player through the ropes - From the smallest county to the largest kingdom, the player is kept busy keeping his realm intact Cons: - It is a grand strategy game, so unless you like games such as Hearts of Iron, Europa Universalis, or even a game like (and this is a stretch) Civilization this game will not appeal to you. I highly suggest the demo if you are on the fence about this type of genre
    - Most DLC's from Paradox are cosmetic, so if this goes against your religion stay away
    - If you expect to micro manage your battles you will be horribly disappointed, this is more about the macro

    Synopsis: You play as a christian ruler (though the devs have hinted at allowing muslim or pagan rulers in the future) trying to keep his/her dynasty alive through the middle ages. Your ruler will have to use everything at their disposal to maintain the peace in their realm while still holding off the masses at the gate just waiting to rule your lands.

    This game takes a drastically different approach to empire management from other games where in other games you are normally a supreme ruler, your word is law and everyone follows almost perfectly. In this game, you are simply the current ruler of your realm. Your vassals, court, and even family have their own goals, often working against your own. Expect to see your own dukes vying to knock your family off to take the crown for themselves, your court angling to assassinate the right person at the right time to get them land to rule, and even your family to plot against you to take your throne. It is not uncommon for a player sitting as the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire to be knocked down to simply holding a county. But the opposite is also entirely possible...
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  24. Feb 28, 2012
    10
    One of the best grand strategy games ever released. Great improvement from the first one, and using the experience that Paradox gained with his other series (Europa Universalis, Sengoku and Victoria), with great graphics and a really great set of possibilities, events and replay factor. Just too dificult to new players, but nothing that some hours of gameplay can't solve.
  25. Feb 29, 2012
    10
    The complexity in this game is something that drive you play more and more. One of the best strategy games i have play in quite sometime, meaty mechanics that reward you for optimal play.
  26. Mar 3, 2012
    10
    Excellent game with a lot of depth, characters and intrigue ... highly recommended to any strategy fan. This is probably the only game out there that focuses on a building a dynasty.
  27. Feb 26, 2012
    9
    Was very hard to get into my first game since I tend to skip tutorials. The interface and gameplay isn't what I'm used to, hence I was a bit clueless at first and nearly gave up on the game. Then I went back and did all of the tutorials and it completely changed my view of the game.

    Long story short, do the tutorials or you'll regret it, unless you've played similar games in the past.
    Also this isn't a Total War game, the battles are simple, the complexity is in the way you manage your duchy, kingdom etc, and dealing with all the different characters in it. It's a fun and addicting game once you get into it. Expand
  28. Feb 20, 2012
    10
    A magnificent work in the grand strategy genre, with all the depth and complexity you could want (perhaps unless you're a HoI nutter) with a charming bit of RPG added into it that makes the game truly come alive.
  29. Jun 14, 2012
    9
    A wonderfully rich and immersive historical strategy, definitely worth a look for anyone interested in medieval grand campaign games. It feels like more of an RPG than any previous Paradox title, and encourages you to feel an affiliation with the wealth of characters from your dynasty and surrounding historical figures. Play as anything from a lowly count to the Kaiser himself, ensure your family line survives amidst religious and political turmoil, and try to keep in check the myriad of plots and intrigue your subjects will throw at you. A truly addictive game that will devour your spare time. Expand
  30. Jul 18, 2012
    9
    It's like "Game of Thrones" meets "The Sims". Each playthrough is unique and offers a ton of variety. That said, this game has a MASSIVE learning curve and the tutorials aren't very helpful. Expect to struggle near the beginning. But once you muscle through it, the game is very, very rewarding.
  31. Mar 19, 2012
    10
    Bought this. Played 50++ hours in less than a week. Definitely a solid choice for a strategy gamer. Politics, religion, management aspect of this game is so deep and intriguing. You feel like rewriting medieval history with your own dynasty. Randomly changing world power structure with simplified but not boring warfare means you can make World War yourself! (England + France vs Spain + Germany vs Musilms vs Greeks .... etc) . I highly anticipating more DLC or expansion pack so that I can play Muslims too. A little bit of real history based events would be great though. Expand
  32. Mar 7, 2012
    9
    Very finely done sequel, that takes almost everything from previous and distills it into more accessible package without dumbing it down. The graphics and UI server their purpose and look good. The gameplay is fluid and complex enough. Only negative I can think about is lack of "Ambitions" (Goals for a character) and some options when interacting with other characters.
  33. Feb 20, 2012
    10
    Medieval Intrigue, army building, micromanagement and hardcore strategy. Not as difficult as the EU series, but still hardcore. Paradox back on form with a fantastic strategy game. Roll on EU4 :D
  34. Apr 29, 2012
    10
    As a student of medieval history, I find this game extremely intriguing. No other strategy game set in the middle ages have captured my imagination quite as CK2. I love TW:Medieval 2, but after playing CK2, Medieval 2 feels somewhat unsatisfying. In Medieval 2 for example, you play a nation, which is probematic in a society ruled by feudal dynastic leaders. In CK2, you play as a single person (count, duke, king or emperor) and are faced with all the challenges of society which is based on personal relationships, not on abstract notions of homogenous nations. Therefore, the focus is not so much on warfare, but on these relationships which may well shatter your whole dynasty if they turn sour. Your power is never absolute: if your vassals don't like you, they won't provide you with money or troups, or will even raise their flags in rebellion. Years and years of civil war are no rarity in this game.
    Medieval 2 let you conquer the whole of Europe with relative ease in a short span of time, and, more importantly, without good reason. In CK2, wars even against much weaker enemies are expensive and dangerous. In my last game playing as kings of France, I spent 300 years, plotting and warring, until I managed to take back all counties held by England in France. Also, you will always need a reason for declaring war on someone. Claims on certain counties, dukedoms or even kingdoms are inherited through marriage, fabricated or granted by a liege lord or the pope.
    I very much enjoy this game and I can recommend it to anyone interested in the medieval period, or strategy gaming in general. Its focus on individuals give it a fresh and personal feeling, and the plethora of small stories and tragedies unfolding in the course of centuries is captivating.
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  35. Jul 9, 2012
    9
    This game really appeals to me. The attention to detail in this game is astounding. I love how it always keeps you on your toes. I especially love how sometimes you feel like you are playing against your (future) self with your heirs. That ambitious son who's helping you win wars today will also fight your heir on your passing. What a truly great and well thought out game!
  36. Feb 15, 2012
    10
    First minutes playing it i thought: "what a difficult crap game?" But then I understood, that this game is clearly the best historical strategy game I have ever played, and trust me, I played many. You can play as an emperor or as a count under some king or duke. It's all your choice... You dont just pick a country, you choose a character to play in this country. This game weights only 800~ MB but this, honestly, far better than for example total war medieval games which are 8~ GB. Yeah, there's no battlefields, but the combat system is better than ever for Paradox games. Your vassal, courtiers and so on lead your troops in battle. It appears that a good soldier might turn in a noble man for once. That's what I call reality, and that takes only 800~ MB which expresses me the most. To those who gave this game lower than 7/10: You should play it longer to understand how complicated and interesting this game really is. As I said, first hour of gameplay I was disappointed, but I kept on playing and now I know what I will do next 2 weeks every evening. Playing Crusader Kings II. 10/10. Expand
  37. Mar 3, 2012
    10
    I could go on and on about how much I like this game. I have enjoyed(almost) every game in the Total War, Sim City, Caesar, and Civilization series' and this game is a perfect 10 in its' own way. The only con is that the graphics are semi-outdated. The gameplay, replay value, and depth are the best I have ever encountered in the genre. For me, this is the first really smooth PC title I've played in a long time; Small file size, no junk running the background, and no real bugs or crashes. Expand
  38. Feb 22, 2012
    9
    If you are a fan of Paradox strategy game, such as Victoria series or Hearts of Iron or even Crusader Kings,you will find this game a brilliant production from paradox, Not only it succeed to be it's successor of CK 1 , but it provide many countries and play styles for you to play, with a detailed background of History.At first u may found difficult to play this game (Same as me!) , but after trying few times, you always wanted to come back for more! If your looking for some challenging strategy games, this game really suits you, it's one of those game you must buy! Moreover, the game have some serious success in the game engine. Graphics are up to date, beautiful for a strategy game and it also fixed the lagging problem happened in Victoria 2, which was a pain in the ass! Even I massed 30k armies with my France, I still don't get any lag like from Victoria 2 ( Who played VC II will understand ), this is a great success, without the epic lag , I can fully enjoy Paradox's new game, Great kudos to Paradox! Though it's great, I won't give a max score cause there's place to improve. I think paradox can add a little mixture between total war series and their series. Not only we can see troops fighting on flat lands on the map, I suggest we can actually command it during an epic battle, like total war, Which will push the game to a whole new level. Just a suggestion, but hope it's useful. Anyway great game, 8 for graphics, 9 for game-play , 9.5 for non-lag situation , 9.5 for great system. Overall 9/10 for the game. Expand
  39. Apr 5, 2012
    10
    Amazing game. It is so exciting to try to win your independence as a duchy, or go on a crusade for the Middle East. If you liked past Paradox games, you will love this one!
  40. Mar 23, 2012
    9
    The game ain t that difficult but it ain t for the mentally challenged or superficial players, you have to invest some and think and plan a bit. You have namy ways to play it, be it dominance by war, intrigue, be it score for your sequence of rulers or your dinasty imponence trought the age, be your self goal erase (or expand) a culture religion or Dynasty, just trying to survive or starting with dominace achieved and try to expand further or not to collapse. You can start an ant excrement size of with an empire, start in a tiny quiet place just to learn or a king in the middle of various wars, you choose.
    Manual is weak, but its not a rocket science game and couity is helpfull and agreeable, cause this is not a game appealing for cod kids.
    Many things to learn and discover, Absolutely high replayability and once you got half the ropes absolutely addicting. Coud be better could, i have faith in paradox as everyone says DLC/patches happens to be awesomely engrossing.
    A lot of random event assure you that 2 games won t be equals even if yuu start with the exact same character, althought many things will seem alike due to a base on historical facts.
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  41. Mar 8, 2012
    9
    A very good game, not as complex as HOI3 or Vicky. While about equal or even easier than EU.
    The gameplay is very fun and smooth, there are some nice features, like the game pausing in singleplayer when you get a pop-up(CK2 have alot of pop ups, and pausing is important so you don't miss, considering you can change the game speed), there is plenty of warning icons showing up incase
    something is going on, so you have a pretty good idea of what is happening all the time. Graphically the 3D map felt a bit awkward at first, but started feeling more natural after a while.
    The soundtrack is glorious, feels like it likes to repeat the same songs a bit too much, I wouldn't mind seeing more tracks in the game. The game had a overall very smooth launch, pretty much no issues for me and I could play MP with a friend fine(only the typical Paradox net code desynchs here and there, but nothing really gamebreaking)
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  42. Feb 12, 2012
    10
    First of all, this game isn't out yet, so I am basing this on the demo, since there is a mod that allows you to play for 400 years, and a bug that allows you to play any character, the game is pretty much open. In Crusader Kings II, you play a character, not a country like other Paradox games. You are a noble in medieval times. The five tiers are emperor, king, duke, count, and baron. You marry, have kids, try to insure succession is of your dynasty. You rule the country, but with limits. You have vassals under you to control and revolt. Claims on countries are generated in many different ways. Just the demo, I have probably played 20 hours in the past 4 days. It is great spreading your dynasty, even loosing is really fun. Trying to regain my throne is one of the best times I have had. Plotting is a great aspect. All in all, the game is a must buy for anyone interested in Medieval times, or grand strategy games. Expand
  43. Mar 21, 2012
    9
    This is my first Paradox game and I am now a fan for life. At first this game was very intimidating and I was worried it would lose my interest quickly. Quite the contrary, this game actually made me start researching the basics of medieval times and governments, so that I could better understand the game. Now, having 60 hours of playtime so far, I am even more addicted now than when I started. Every time I play the game, I learn something new about the mechanics of the game, which opens a new strategy or approach. The unique ways the games play out could actually be used to write a legitimate story, with betrayals, intrigue, politics and lust for power. This game is absolutely not for everyone, but to the fortunate ones who take the time to learn it, it is one of the most engrossing games I've played in a long time. Expand
  44. Feb 27, 2012
    9
    Complex at first but as you progress the game and you start to understand the game mechanics you'll fall in love with it. This game does not have a option to fight real time, but to be honest i don't miss it. The political system is deep and that is the reason for the steep learning curve but it is also the reason why this game is so great. If you like the total war series you will, probably, like this game. This game is not for casual gamers though. Expand
  45. Feb 28, 2012
    9
    For the level of complexity, the game is relatively easy to pick up. This game is an excellent example of grand strategy and hours of fun for any strategy fan. The AI could be a bit smarter, but then again I have only progressed 150 years in over 10 hours of game play. What the game does need is a high quality video tutorial series, however there are a few on YouTube that are ok.
  46. Mar 7, 2012
    9
    A reasonably good balance of historical fact and game-play without tethering you to history, although looking through the different start dates lets you learn some interesting facts, like the Nestorian christian mongol in the Il-Khanate. All in all, a very good introduction to paradox games, hopefully this means we'll be getting an EU:Rome 2 as well!
  47. Jul 19, 2012
    10
    This game is for those who love strategy games. If you like other paradox titles you will like this game as it is best one to date. This game has made it into my all time favourites already, earning a place beside CIV4 and HOI III.
  48. Apr 3, 2012
    9
    After Total War comes an interesting change, you play as actual persons. Game is very complex and it indeed takes a while to figure out, what to do with your feudal lands. I personally enjoyed watching my children grow up with right education. Only thing that really darkened the sky above my growing empire, again family. As soon as you give them some titles, they become unbelievably annoying, but when your youngers keep killing your best heirs. Well, it can make you a little angry. And the rebelling vassals? It was a bit annoying too. I think this feature was, historically, a trouble, but those dummies defy all my enormously powerful almost invincible though benevolent and merciful rulers. It just doesn't make sense to rebel only to get utterly crushed a few weeks after. I see some space a improving the heraldry, because some of those coats of arms are just ridiculous, if you know a little about it.
    On the other hand all these cons are greatly balanced by game´s pros. Graphic is quite good. I got to like whole warfare system. Claiming lands is also a very interesting feature. Improving your holdings is also a great idea. If only could I see my castles grow... Laws of the realm were simple to set and whole system was thoroughly created. So yes, this game has it's missteps, but in the full picture works real good.
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  49. May 30, 2013
    9
    It's a Total War game without the 3D battles. To be honest, I used to skip those battles anyway so Crusader Kings 2 is a far deeper game to play. It's not easy to get into and initially I found the amount of things I had to remember daunting. But the music and game play draw you in. Hours are soon gone and lessons learned. Superb.
  50. Jun 8, 2013
    10
    For me, best video game ever with best music ever. I play it every single day at least 1 hour. thank you paradox for changing my life. At the beginning i had really a hard time. i never had played a paradox game in my life and this was my first. But when you learn the game you will have a blast. This game is for no kids or teenagers. This game is for the grown!
  51. Jun 5, 2012
    10
    This is quite possibly the best game Paradox Interactive have ever made. It's got detailed graphics, excellent gameplay mechanics that keep you enthralled, it has some RPG elements which are a nice touch to the grand-strategy style of play, and it also keeps you playing for hours on end.
  52. Apr 28, 2012
    10
    Reviewed this by mistake. I thought that I was reviewing Risen 2. SO now I am just going to leave it a neutral score and then write 150 characters in this box.
  53. Oct 26, 2012
    10
    Great game, I have 300 hours invested int it, and I learn a bit here and there everytime I play. Endless amounts of things to do the game never ends the same way. I would give this game a 9/10, I love it, and it was my first game of this type that I actually put time into. I have tried others from this company but they never struck home with me. CK2 however is great, so great, I am now looking forward to CK3, I can't wait! Expand
  54. Jul 5, 2012
    10
    Crusader Kings II is quickly becoming one of my favorite strategy games at the moment. Like the title would suggest, the game takes place circa the three major crusades for the holy land. While the game does provide you bonuses for participating in these holy wars, the game doesn't revolve around them. If you try and only focus on crusades, wars to expand your empire, or waging war out of boredom (Not like you would get THAT bored of the game), then you would find that your coffers would run dry and your domain would be ripping itself apart limb from limb. The game is more-so about survival than world domination. Probably the most challenging thing about CKII is figuring out how to start (At least if your new the the franchise, like me.) While the game does provide many interactive tutorials for beginners, I find that I lost interest quickly when it came to tutorials. The most critical thing that you should pay attention to if you are new to CK is the GUI and options given to you when it comes to unit management and diplomacy. Once you get past the tutorials and learn how to control your domain its very easy to get started. When you first boot up your very first game and encounter the ruler domain select screen, you will see one of the many game's strengths- kingdom verity. You can play as any region going as far west as the Iberian peninsula and Iceland and as far east as Persia and Mesopotamia. You can choose to play as a count, duke, king, or emperor. The latter controls all the lesser. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Counties are flexible when it comes to technological and economic growth, but lack a major military force and will have to rely on "big brother" for protection. Duchies Enjoy a better degree of autonomy than counties, but are still overshadowed by kingdoms and empires. Controlling a kingdom is the base experience of CK. You control a large group of domains and have a sizable military force, but you have to manage your vassals to prevent both minor and catastrophic civil wars. You also need to have a good relationship with the papacy or caliphate if you want a good general opinion of your ruler. Many newer players might want to control Empires since they control the most amount of land compared to other ranks of land claims and they control, for lack of better words, a massive, massive amount of military units. However, you will also have many more vassals to deal with and more civil wars to fight. I highly recommend playing as A king before an Emperor.
    I find with modern games that the more time you spend on it, the more visible the flaws are. This game totally deifies this law. The more and more time you sink your teeth into this masterpiece, the you'll find this game more deep and positively complex than the day you started this game. If you enjoy games like Civilization and Age of Empires, than you'll instantly fall in love with this game.
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  55. Oct 5, 2012
    10
    I have to say that I am rather impressed with this game. I've been going on a strategy game stint lately and out of Endless Space, Civ 5, Sins of a Solar Empire, and Warlock: Master of the Arcane, this one is certainly the best and is one of the best games I've played in general. Furthermore, I have never EVER played a game in which I've had a difficult time finding mods that I thought genuinely made the vanilla game better. That is of course until now. This game is well worth a 10! Expand
  56. Jun 2, 2013
    10
    What a rush. So much time consuming. This game is so good.
    If you enjoy medieval strategy games, with tactical gameplay, this is a must buy. If you don`t, watch some youtube gameplay videos and multiply the sensation by x1000. It is that good.

    A gaming session will swallow you for hours and hours into the night, cause it is that addictive.
    Buy it, try it, you won`t regret it. The DLC
    is nice too. Expand
  57. May 29, 2013
    10
    Based on continuous support, patching and DLC this game really earns 10/10. The game is hard, complex and intriguing. In some ways it's not that much fun, since the player rarely feels to be in control of anything, and is up against a diabolical AI where no one has any loyalty to anyone else. In a game based on loyalty the result is constant mind-numbing betrayals and civil wars. All part of the game's warped charm and brilliance. If nothing else CK2 will show you that there are MANY ways in which a fuedal family can lose its way. Enjoy the show because its gonna be CHAOS. Yet the sheer impossibility of really achieving anything with a faction finally becomes part of the game's charm. Truly impressive is the extent and the DETAIL of the historical research that informs this game. One can play CK2 as a means of studying the history culture and geography of Medieval Europe. Without a doubt the TRUE GLORY of this game would exist as a MULTIPLAYER experience with about 8 human rivals. Yet the multiplayer as it stands is totally obscure, with no open multiplayer lobbies or dedicated servers, and requiring direct connection by IP address. So impressive (and over-whelming) as it is, the game still needs work to get the best GAMEPLAY out of the engine. Well done Paradox! If we could only get a more accessible form of campaign multiplayer, this game would be EPIC. Expand
  58. Jun 25, 2013
    9
    So my review is my latest game: I started as the duke of munster with 2 territories. Territories and combat are a little bit like risk territories in that the more you control, the bigger your army is and the more you can expand. In 1066 AD, the Holy Roman Empire is gigantic with about 40 territories comprising of an emperor and dozens of barons, dukes etc. France has about 20 territories, Islam has spread deep into what is now Spain.

    As my tiny little dukedom in Ireland, I decided to scratch and claw my way to greatness with the goal of forming the Kingdom of Ireland. When you play, the character you control and their stats are key to your survival/expansion/success. The goal is to play for score through "prestige" earned by accomplishing ambitions you choose such as getting married, having a son as an heir, improving your skills, etc.

    I went along the path of getting married and having an heir. I had a plan to take 1 neighboring territory and build up my military to seize all of Ireland (about 15 territories) and making myself king. I was progressing well until my wife killed me with a night of passion with my wife at age 45. At this point I was sold. The game continues as I take over with a 20 yr old heir who's slothful, not that great and completely unprepaired. My vassels hate me, my tiny kingdom is on the brink of disaster. Im desparately trying to marry vassels off to get them to like me, or give them honorary titles or whatever i can do. Really, this is where the game is fun. Something epically bad and random happens that ruins your plans and you SCRAMBLE to survive as vassels, brothers, sisters, former allies, everybody tries to take your lands, titles and power.

    The game really isnt about combat on the map, its about developing your count/duke/king into a great leader, forming alliances, murdering opponents through treachery, ensuring your lineage, and preparing for your death and your heirs turbulent ascension to whatever throne you have.

    Having played Hearts of Iron 3 (liked it alot) and Europa Universalis (didnt like it) and having paid $20 during a recent steam sale, I can say this is worth my money and worth a look by everybody else. Once past the hard learning curve, this game is really deep.

    I'm going to only mark it off 1 pt for the way the DLC is done. 3 separate buys for the celtic nations shields, characters, artwork. Comeon! stop nickel and diming us.

    Really though, this is about the most strategic single player experience you are going to get. Running and expanding your empire is like peeling the layers of an onion as you discover what works and what doesnt. When you finially turn a 2 territory Irish petty kingdom into a sprawling 10 territory Kingdom of Ireland with the illegitimate heir of your third daughter with your second wife, you will know the meaning of the word satisfaction.
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  59. Nov 5, 2012
    9
    If you read the majority of the negative reviews here, most complain about the game being too difficult. The game is very complex, and there are many levels of game-play options available to the user. It is such a complicated and detailed strategy game, I do not know how they could really dumb it down. The decision tree of the gaming system is logical and deep. The AI is very good. Casual players will be in over their heads, but strategy enthusiasts will be very impressed. If you are looking for good graphics or voice-acting, this is not the game for you. 100% of the effort was put into the logic systems and the user interface. Expand
  60. Sep 4, 2013
    10
    This was my first game of PDS and I hugely enjoyed it. I was always curious about feudal Europe, however I never really had the motivation to read large chunks of text about it, then Crusader Kings II came along and changed that. I was thrust into my first game as the Norman King of England of the House de Normandie; William the Conqueror. That and the subsequent few games I played after were probably some of my funnest experiences honestly in gaming. The dynamics of simulating the entire nobility of Europe is pretty much endless, leaving room for virtually anything (realistically) to happen. This is probably the funnest game I've ever played. Expand
  61. Sep 17, 2013
    10
    Genius game with really innovative gameplay. It's like a court life simulator. The graphics consists of almost only menus and a world map and that GREAT! It really stimulates your imagination. If you like medieval scenarios, strategic and brainy games, don't hesitate you will love Crusader Kings 2.
  62. Sep 16, 2013
    10
    Really fun and enjoyable strategy game, and a great entry for newer players to paradox interactive titles. A Lannister always pays his debts, as such I find it appropriate to assassinate, castrate, and blind nearly all the enemies of out great house. Hear me Roar!
  63. CBZ
    May 27, 2013
    9
    Fantastic game! This game is all about personal relationships and not about empires and trade. It focuses on the people and this is what makes it so unique. The depth of the relationships and the level of detail and number of variables are on par with Paradox's standards and will not disappoint you.
    I'm very glad I gave CK a chance. This game can provide an endless amount of hours of
    gameplay due to the random nature of the events. Expand
  64. Jul 10, 2012
    9
    This game is simply amazing. There is something about good games that don't make you feel good by making everything easy. When you succeed in CK2, you've earned it. I give the game a 9 because it didn't fulfill all of my personal tastes, but it's still an amazing game all around.
  65. Mar 22, 2012
    10
    Having played EU3 I decided i'd give this a try, and im glad I did, the game refines EU3's gameplay with a very accurate representation of the medieval ages. Anybody interested in this time period or a fan of strategy games should deffinetly check this out
  66. Dec 4, 2013
    10
    An incredible game. But for the right people. If you do not have a good 10 hours just to barely learn the basics and maybe survive for 100 years then you should probably look elsewhere. Also the goal of the game is to really just survive, so if you are thinking of expanding and taking over the whole map then I would suggest going for Europa Universalis 4. In this game while you might take over half of Europe and beat back the Muslim horders, in 20 years you might be lucky if you've got like 2 provinces somewhere in Norway praying your nephew doesn't imprison you and execute you. Expand
  67. Mar 29, 2012
    9
    Fantastic game, even better than the original which surprised me. Anyone who was a fan of CK1 should love it. There are a few nitpicky things which I don't like; you get excommunicated all the time via some no-name count which is ridiculous, assassinations are too easy to do and happen way too frequently, HRE is stupidly powerful if you start from the beginning, etc. However, these issues aren't gamebreaking by any means, and the rest of the game is so fantastic that I'm not too bothered by them. Expand
  68. Apr 24, 2012
    10
    Here is what u need if u r new to Grand RTS: 1. This Game 2. Time to read the manual 3. Time to play the tutorials 3. Time to watch the very good "Lets play" vids on youtube. What u get? The best, complex strategic game ever made :)
  69. Mar 6, 2012
    9
    After playing many paradox interactive games with Crusader Kings 1 being one of them, i found myself excited for CK2 and boy did it not disappoint! i found the game out of the box with immediate patches downloaded and installed to be very stable, ive yet to encounter a bug with the game which helps add to a much smoother game to play. i found the system was pretty similar to Sengoku which i found pretty interesting, had it gone down the old Europa Universalis 3 construction method for example which was pretty much have a lot of money and build and build till everything is maxed out which helps with balance. i also enjoyed the new intrigue system within CK2, especially as your character got older they got more numerous and more violent i should add. a very solid game, cant wait to see what mods and... DLC come out. Expand
  70. Mar 30, 2012
    9
    I never played the original Crusader Kings, but Crusader Kings 2 had me hooked instantly. That said, it's DEFINITELY not one for everyone. The graphics are minimal (you just stare at a map the whole time), battles consist of little more than numbers decreasing for each side and a single game will takes hours upon hours to finish.

    But if the above hasn't put you off, CK2 is a compelling
    game. The comparisons with Football Manager et al are pretty much spot on; this is a definite case of substance over style. Building up your dynasty is great fun. You need to scour the world for suitable mates, deal with unruly vassals or ungrateful lieges, put down regular rebellions, come up with tentative justifications to go to war, cozy up to the pope, and so on. There are many different ways you can approach the game, and you'll need to vary your tactics several times over the course of the game as circumstances dictate.

    I do have a few gripes though, but nothing major. Finding a particular province or person can be tedious at times, and it would be nice to be able to define better filters for sorting through potential spouses for your children. Particular irritating is that some of the tool tips that are displayed are very unclear or misleading, which does not help you when you're starting out. You're somewhat thrown in at the deep end at the start and it takes a while to get into the swing of things. There are also a couple of minor bugs at the time of writing, such as your heir being displayed incorrectly (reloading fixes it though). I've not had any game stopping issues though, and no crashes after 100+ hours of playing.

    If the idea of building a dynasty appeals to you, you don't have an aversion to games that don't rely on fancy graphics and have the time to invest in playing the game, you really ought to check out the demo. I played it for several hours and was immediately sold.
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  71. May 2, 2012
    9
    Like most Grand Strategy games from Paradox interactive, Crusader Kings II (CKII) has a steep learning curve (especially for neophytes to the CK series like myself) that isn't helped one bit by the massive wall of text that confronts new users when they attempt to complete the tutorial. Ironically enough, fan-created content like the dearth of 'Let's Play' series available on YouTube is actually the best way to get a feel for the various fine mechanics of game-play, and is certainly more engaging than reading pages and pages of text from the tutorial, or power-gamer 'How to Play CKII' from the Paradox Forums.

    Putting aside the disappointing tutorial and sharp learning-curve, the game at its core is a fantastically engaging dynasty simulator. Unlike the Europa Universalis Series, which focuses on countries, CKII focuses on Dynasties. At it's heart CKII is one part Kingdom Simulator, and one part The Sims. Unlike other Grand Strategy games, CKII manages to make individuals one of the most important aspects of the game, and it does so intelligently. Managing your dynasty, interpersonal relationships, plotting against rivals, and managing the oftentimes chaotic succession of lands and titles sounds overwhelming, and yet CKII is designed to remain manageable nevertheless.

    All that said, this game is not for everyone. It's a thinking game. Battles are very RISK-like, pieces moving from place to place with fights being resolved off-screen. Being a fan of the Total War series, I was hoping battles would involve more tactical play, but unfortunately that's not what this game is about. It's about thinking, planning, building -- all that good strategy stuff -- and only a tiny bit of tactical game-play. So if you think you can enter a battle as the underdog and win with superior tactics, think again. In CKII the superior strategist is victorious.

    Paradox is actively improving and supporting the game with patches, constantly striving to improve game-play with community feedback. Bioware? Sit up and take notes.

    Now if you'll excuse me, my newly created Greater Kingdom of Ireland, Scotland, and England is off to help the besieged Kingdom of Castille reclaim the Iberian Peninsula from the marauding Muslim factions who've rolled in.
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  72. May 15, 2012
    9
    Very fun game and can't wait for the game of thrones mod, would be even cooler is grrm just gave them the rights To make a game of thrones game though
  73. May 16, 2012
    9
    There are some problems with a game (steep learning curve), but once you get a hang of it (i am one of those rage gamers that do not like to spend too much time on tutorials) game is really good. I enjoy very much the diplomacy, and events,but not so much about war.Maybe that is just my way of playing it.Oh yes, you can play the way you want it!
  74. May 16, 2012
    10
    This is the most interesting strategy title in recent times. Strategy fans will have hours and hours upon fun with this medieval simulation. Highly recommended.
  75. May 22, 2012
    10
    One of the best strategy titles I played in my time (and I played quite a few).

    (8/10) GRAPHICS: They get the job done well, this is not a "visual" type game. Mostr of the time you stare at the map of of the world and switch between different cities,a rmies, other options, etc...

    (10/10) GAMEPLAY: This is where the game shines. Very deep, complex and satisfying gameplay. Although it
    might be hard to learn for a casual gamer, anyone who spends the time will be greatly rewarded. Also strategy veterans will not be dissapointed as the game delivers on almost all fronts.

    (9/10) SOUND: Music is epic (especially with the DLCs), but it does get annoying rather quickly so most will mute the music. Almost like with the graphics the sounds gets the job done well, it will not be winning any awards though.

    (10/10) REPLAYABILITY: This one has a lot of potential to be replayed over and over and over again....

    CONCLUSION: Get this game now if you love strategy, consider getting this game if you think you love strategy and contemplate about getting this if you like history, middle-ages, crusades and most of all being a ruler in a virtual world!

    This game is one of a kind and I strongly recommend it to any shall I say "mature" gamers who prefer real games instead of flashy Michael Bay type gaming trendy nowadays. FINAL RATING: 9 out of 10
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  76. May 21, 2012
    9
    About the gameplay: this is certainly the best Paradox game ever and one of the best games in history. The gameplay has been extremely simplified (compared to Hearts of Iron, Crusader Kings 1 and so on) even thought the game is not easier / casualised at all. I believe Paradox learned something really valuable: how to make the most complex games easy to handle. It's just perfect. About the game itself: I won't spend time explaining the game, the fact you start as a Count, Duke or King, that you have to manage your vassals, the relations with every people, the weddings and so on. I will make it short: if you think that thinking stuff like:

    "Ok I need to kill my own children so that my principal heir gets all my belongings"
    "Mmmh the Duke of Aquitaine is married. If I kill his wife and I marry him with my daughter I could get some claims"
    "My vassals are angry, how to make them happy? I see the heir to this Duchy is a friend of me, ok I kill this one, I'll make a plot. This other one... I can help him to become Duc of Flanders, lets start a war"
    "Damn it, I absolutely have to change inheritance laws, or else I loose the crown of the Kingdom..."

    Well, if you think such stuff is pretty cool and that it could be intrigating , well, believe me, no game EVER on this planet will make you think more than CK2 about plots, intrigues, assassinations, ways of getting rid of a rival, how to get the crown, how to manage relations and so on.

    Furthermore, nothing is fixed, your vassals may love you, but if you die, and your children gets all, well, they may not like him, start complotting again against you, declare independence and so on. So the game is actually:
    - never the same throughout the game itself, you never get bored. It's not because situation "today" is stable that it will be in 20 years.
    - each time you play the game even with the same Family, the experiences and events will be different
    - without saying obviously that playing a French Count or Duke is completely different than playing a Polish or a Bizantine family

    Just to say how wonderful the game experience is: It's the kind of game you start talking about with your wife. And even though she doesn't care AT ALL about video game, it's such intrigung that even people who don't play video games, will in the end ask you, while taking a walk: "oh, did you manage the Burgundian issue about inheritence? Did you kill in the end your nephew?" or "Did you manage to be King the end? And the Duke of Norway, does he still have independence desires?"

    Believe me, it's maybe a bit hard to handle while starting, but, after a couple of hours you understand all the subtleties of the game and that moment, you'll have a WONDERFUL game that makes Total War series a pale, tasteless game.

    Why not 10 then? Because you HAVE to go by Steam, and it's such a pain...
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  77. May 25, 2012
    10
    this is a great game for someone who wants to rule over Europe with one person with difficulties such as rebelling vassals and jihads. the DLC is a bit off but it is a very good game nonetheless.
  78. Jul 10, 2012
    9
    I believe that this is one of the best games of the year. First thing I noticed is the complexity of the game. There are layers after layers of great and detailed story behind every move you make. Your king is an actual person, not just a generic name. Your family and dynasty are actual factors in the game. You can play for hours on end not even noticing that time has gone by. In a word: excellent game. Only down side is that it seems very slow from time to time, but that is just my point of view. Also, the complexity of the game can scare the beginners away, but after a while you get used to it and enjoy it completely. Expand
  79. Jun 4, 2012
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Crusader Kings II is a game for those who love history and like more detailed games. The main point of the game are not epic medieval battles. Battle system of that game is very simple and could be much better, because you just gather armies of your vassals and than send them to war, which is really simple, but not effective and quite hard to win a war if you do not posses an army of Holy Roman Empire. But this game takes you on a voyage to medieval courts and royal families. Who will inherit all provinces, will the kingdom survive kings assassination and will the vassals rebel? Maybe you won't be able to have children or will your wife fall in love with your enemy? Game is more a simulator of royal family life than a turn based strategy, but is really fun to play, specially if you are familiar with games like Europa Universalis, Victoria, etc. I must say that game is playable and realistic, but not for those who would like to be military general. Expand
  80. Jul 14, 2012
    9
    I'm a huge fan of Paradox because they do these types of games so very well. It's not just that the game play is so absorbing but also that it's historically accurate enough as to not promote excessive quibbling. It really does feel like you are following the course of history, and time after time your decisions will either come back to haunt you or reward you massively. The thrill of not knowing what might happen is what'll keep you playing for hours and hours if you pick up this game. It's not a case of 'just one more turn' but 'just one more year'. It does have it's small annoyances, such as the HRE not wanting to break up or some strange religious events, but you'll see the likes of France and England have some nightmarish situations, and that is what makes the game so unpredictable and fun. This is a gem that you can just sit and watch and it'll be as much fun as playing. Expand
  81. Sic
    Aug 14, 2012
    9
    The game takes a while to get the hang of, especially if you are not familiar with Medieval politics, and even longer to master. Once you do finally figure it out it becomes a great strategy game, it has extremely in-depth politics, combat and religious systems. But what gives this game its playability, is that even as an empire grows it larger than any other in the world is still susceptible to collapse back into its self due to revolts and uprisings. Expand
  82. Aug 20, 2012
    10
    If you like strategy games such as totat war or civilization, then this is the best game in the market. It has so much to offer and so much replay ability. I bought it 2 weeks ago and already I've but int 40 hours of gameplay and can easily put a few more thousand into it!
  83. Nov 13, 2012
    9
    Paradox is a special company, they always make strategy games that not only are fun, but they also challenge us and make us think about what we are going to do next, and one wrong decision can end the game. Crusader Kings II is no exception. This game involves not only military action like most medieval games, but also political, economic, and religious action involved with it too. First off the way they shape the character customization is great, no two characters in a game are alike. The way they look is good, but paradox also adds a lot of traits that define a character, and also have skill levels to show that your character is a good, I dunno, a good general, or a great diplomat, or a bad financer. Military action also is good. The war system is a bit elaborate, levies need to be taken into account, also diplomacy is quite hard to learn. Keeping vassals happy, along with maintains good relationships with your neighbors and your religious head, is just part of the diplomatic standpoint. My only concern with this game is that the learning curve is way too steep. I am good with learning on the fly, but someone who has never played a paradox game will not get comfortable the day, week, even month after getting it. The tutorials are also vague, and they take too long to get through. However this is blown aside once you start ruling the Byzantine Empire, uniting Ireland, or making the Russain Empire before the 16th century. The mods the community pump out are great too, but hard to get running. Also unlike most companies, the game's dlcs provide a lot for our buck. All in all if 9.5 were an option, then I would give it, but I sadly can't. Expand
  84. Dec 27, 2012
    10
    This game is just awesome. After having played the original Crusader Kings game which was quite good but nowhere near being my favourite Paradox game, i wasn't very excited about this game at first. But once i tried the demo i was completely amazed. It's one of the most exciting games i have played in years! It is also quite hard at first because there is so many things to do and keep in mind.
  85. Jun 5, 2013
    10
    A genuinely unique game that does everything it tries very well. It captures why the breeding focus of the nobility of old occurred, well within plausibility. Supreme range of action. Fantastic freedom of choice.
  86. Sep 24, 2013
    10
    Superb game that is difficult to explain to others. Like with other Paradox games, there is an insane amount of depth. Honestly, it took me a few months of starts and stops before I finally figured out how to play. Once I did though my time was quickly enveloped by the game. One of the great moments in my gaming memory is finally forming the Empire of Britannia for the first time, rising from a humble earl to emperor.

    I want to thank the developers for supporting Linux as well. Although we are the 1%, we appreciate your attention and support for this platform
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  87. Oct 27, 2013
    10
    This game is one of the best games i have ever played and honestly at first to a gamer it would seem to be crap to the average gamer. If you give the game some time and watch tutorial youtube videos, you will probably like this game a lot as it offers a interesting perceptive into gaming and even history. In all this game is great and even has amazing mods like game of thrones and elder kings to back it up. Expand
  88. Sep 14, 2013
    9
    My first "playthrough", that is, playing one dynasty from the beginning (867 with the Old Gods DLC) to the end (somewhere around 1450) took me 190 hours. This includes many false starts, and starting over, and also returning to previous saves because my noobness was making me wreck my dynasty. For therein lies what you need to know the most about this game, if you haven't played it yet: It is hard. Especially at first. There is such a steep learning curve. I also watched some videos to help me out in the beginning, and I am sure I am not halfway through being pro at this game.

    So, while there is a steep learning curve, which also means that at first you will have no idea what you are doing, or what to do and whatnot, there is a great deal of satisfaction to be had in doing the right thing. The game is pretty, although the visual element is far from the most important in this game, and it is very fun and addictive. The game is stable, rarely crashes, has few bugs, none of which impede on game play.

    My only 2 criticisms: The DLC is mostly an insult. You pay as much as the game itself (the game being $39.99 and the "full" version with all the DLC being $79.99. More to the point, purchasing all the DLC piecemeal will set you back an impressive $107.70, that is, plus the game itself) for what basically amounts to portraits, military unit models, and dynastic shields. Don't get me wrong, the Sunset Invasion, Old Gods, and The Republic are worthwhile DLC. I'll even accept the EU4 converter. But paying for portraits, unit models and shields that should be an integral part of the game? NO. No matter how good the game is, that's a big NO from me. So -1 for that. Perfect game 10, crappy money grabbing DLC scheme -1, final rating is 9/10.
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  89. Jul 26, 2013
    10
    After playing this masterpiece I'll have a hard time going back to the "Total War"-series. This game is so much immersive on all levels. Brilliant! Best strategy game I ever played. The multiplayer is also brilliant.
  90. Jan 19, 2013
    9
    Possibly at the same time the best and the worst Paradox game I`ve played. Amazing depth of diplomacy and feudal management, without being either boring or overwhelming (this is a lie I think, but It`s all in a good cause), is combined with a hair-raising lack of stability and control, especially as you expand. On my third go my Norwegian king - the grandson of the first king who conquered Britain - was hit on the head while besieging Jerusalem and got brain damaged, leading his reign into a tailspin. Then his heir was assassinated two months later forcing both thrones to go to his hunchback nephew with every negative trait in the game.
    Civil war against half of Britain ensued with all my troops stuck in Ascalon, and the loss of all the gains of the first three rulers in less than 12 months.
    If this sort of virtual self flagellation appeals to you as much as it does to me, sort of,, go buy CK2 immediately. If it doesn`t then perhaps Europa Universalis 3 might be a better option for you. Whether you leave it in anguish after a few games or stick with it for weeks or months you`re likely to get your money`s worth if you can just get to grips with it initially however, since each game takes about 40-60 hours, depending on the game speed you`re using.
    Now I`m off to reconquer Britain....
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  91. Aug 17, 2013
    10
    This game is really special. It is one of the few games with such richness that the characters develop their own stories. The game is as much about the dynamics of dynasty as about conquering land. Assassination, double-dealing, forced marriages, forced imprisonment, and that is just dealing with your family. Try it and love it. To succeed you need to manage fractured relationships, and maneuver your way into having valid claims over any land you want to conquer. One particular dynamic I really liked about the game was that sometimes it can be effective to provoke a rebellion to ruthlessly crush your disloyal scheming subjects, rather than concern yourself with keeping them on your good side. So often in games where an approval system exists you are better off keeping people happy. So much pleasure to have options, each with their advantages and disadvantages. Expand
  92. Jun 27, 2013
    9
    I love history. I love to ask "what if". What if Henry II's son survived to continue his father's dream of controlling both England and France? What if the Mongol Horde was not stopped by the Mamelukes? What if the Second Crusade was successful? The list goes on forever, and this game might have a wee bit of a, well massive learning curve, I love it.
  93. Feb 16, 2013
    10
    This is probably the best strategy game I've ever played. It lacks in some departments (like customization and depth for specific countries/areas), but it can be played in so many styles so many ways. I've logged 434 hours, and many people have logged over a thousand hours; when's the last time you heard of a mostly single-player game where that was possible?

    This game is great for
    making stories with all the different characters and possible interactions. A lot of room for modding, too. I would say this is a 'must have' title. It may seem complicated to anyone who hasn't played a Paradox game before, but its easy to learn if you have the intelligence to troubleshoot a PC. Expand
  94. Oct 26, 2012
    9
    If you're a strategy fan you owe it to yourself to try Crusader Kings II. It's the best strategy game of 2012. The learning curve is steep but you'll get through it by watching "let's play" on YouTube. TekkorGJC has made some excellent videos for this game. If you put in the time to learn the mechanics of CKII you'll be rewarded with one of the most satisfying strategy game experiences of... well... of all time! Expand
  95. Nov 4, 2012
    10
    This one is amazing Strategy. Things is - it's all about intrigues and world works the way it suppose to work. So for example your vassals will naturally plot against you and you have many ways of plotting too. One of the greatest things here is a smooth, bugless gameplay. While HOI3 can be described as ultimate failure in QA - Crusader Kings II is a total win. Buy it - it's worth every penny(just make sure you're not buying all the DLC in a pack, since some of them worthless) Expand
  96. Oct 10, 2014
    9
    Strategic depth at its pinnacle. Crusader Kings 2 is a feudalistic grand strategy game which I can play for hours upon hours before I realise that its 4 in the morning and my brother has risen up half of my kingdom in rebellion. No other game has made things such as diplomacy, finance management and even marriage so enticingly brilliant. I'd call this game a Game of Thrones plot simulator but its so much more than even that. The only negative I can think of is the steep learning curve that puts of many new players, especially those new to grand strategy. If you can force yourself to hang on and learn the game then you're in for a hell of a time. Expand
  97. Mar 29, 2014
    9
    An almost flawless piece of gaming history. Paradox have created a very unique take on the strategy genre here, and it works a treat. This isn't a game of trouncing everyone in your wake and gobbling up province after province (although you can try that if you want), it's all about making sure your dynasty (house) survives through the centuries by using everything in your power.

    The
    level of detail and depth is simply superb and the devs have at last found a way to make it accessible to the masses. It's not quite a pick up and play, but if you go through the tutorials and give it a few hours of game time you will quickly grasp the fundamentals. The hardest part I found was figuring out what all the historical terms in the game meant at first, but the tool tips do a good job for the most part here.

    If you are considering buying this and are not yet quite sure, all I can say is buy it and allow yourself the time to learn it. I guarantee you will be glad you gave this iconic strategy game a chance. Roll on CK3!
    Expand
  98. Dec 19, 2012
    10
    All the complaints about this game have so far been about no instructions and so on. This is absolute crap.

    The game has a very neat tutorial that helped me especaily. The rest is realyl just complaints because they can't handle the difficulty
  99. Mar 9, 2013
    9
    This game is so deep its unbelievable. No matter how many hours I put into this game there is some strategy I haven't explored, which brings up the reason this game is so good. It only tells you the basics of the game. This causes a very frustrating experience for the first hour or two. The plus side to this is that after hour 2 or 3 everything starts falling into place and for the next 150-200 hrs the player receives immense satisfaction. Anyone who gives this game below a 9 simple hasn't played long enough. Expand
  100. Jul 14, 2013
    10
    Crusader Kings 2 is perhaps one of the most addicted, yet difficult, strategy games I have ever played. Thrown into the world of Medieval Europe, you take the role of one of the many royal families of Christian Europe and attempt to put your name in the history books.

    CK2 is one of those games that has a learning curve that circles back onto itself, but don't let that get in the way of
    trying to play the game. The mechanics of CK2 makes every family on the map a complex and intriguing entity that can be your strongest ally or most dangerous enemy. Titles and lands are thrown around before your eyes as nearly every family vies for the power of kings. Your job is not only joining in on this game of thrones, but to drive your enemies from existence and place your heirs as the leaders of mighty holdings. Watch yourself though, you may suffer from infighting with your own family as they try to knock your avatar from the top of the feudal pyramid.

    What makes CK2 so fascinating is it's accuracy to the Medieval ways of 1066-1453 CE Europe. Every character has their unique skills and abilities, and not a single one is unimportant as you cross paths trying to gain power. Historical events like the Crusades, Mongol Invasions, and Story quests also add to the complexity and addictiveness of CK2. You will soon find yourself playing for hours trying to master the game.

    Crusader Kings 2 is hard, I will not lie, but once you become more proficient at the game you find it hard to stop playing and trying to become the most powerful family in Europe.
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Metascore
82

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Jan 24, 2013
    80
    It might look like a daunting game to dive into, but stick with it and you'll find one of the most engaging and addictive strategy experiences available.
  2. Oct 27, 2012
    80
    Crusader Kings II is quite unique. It's focus on dynasties and family leads to original and entertaining gameplay with great depth and variation. If not for a steep learning curve, it would be close to perfect.
  3. Oct 17, 2012
    80
    Crusader Kings 2 isn't a traditional RTS. The countless intrigues, relationships and family issues that you have to deal with, might make it seem more like a relationship-manager than an actual game. Still, it's quite refreshing and thanks to the countless choices it makes for a great political playground. Every play session is different and opens up a new story, but in return it requires a lot of insight and empathy.