I LUV this game! If you are a History buff/Strategy buff... fan of Medieval crap... you will love this game. The companion game: Crusaders, Thy Kingdom Come (Longass, Superfluous Title), was released before this game and is concerned with the 1st Crusades... this game involves the 3rd Crusades. (2nd Crusades barely happened, embarrassing and not game-worthy; youd lose in the second level, per historical accuracy). But this game is an awesome and unique strategy. In the older, first installment, you get to choose 1 of 5 heroes to play as with unique traits and abilities to apply; depending on the faction you support most in-game you will get between 1 or even 2 sub-heroes with the same principles. (There are fun, interactive Political elements to these games). Everything levels, get abilities and skill points to apply, everything; men and heroes.
This game contains the same principle, although you are stuck playing Richard The Lionhearted (or Saladin if you play Saracen campaign). But regardless, you still can earn sub-heroes through political achievements or even through different sub-missions or choice-options after defeating a province. This game also adds MORE and new RPG elements to the game... in the form of permanent buff-giving Elixirs or useable Potions, Weapons and Armor that you find (for units). For heroes you use Holy items that grant military buffs.
Theres endless combinations of how you can conquer the map through chosen territories/rewards, unit purchasing/upgrading/building... if you ARE a strategy **** like myself you will love this game. Especially a meticulous one. There are MULTIPLE ways to win, as I said, especially through tactics and the men you decide to incorporate and use... especially depends on which battle-plan for which kingdom you decide to go with.
The Saracens were also super-fun (although way HARDER). They ARE different. Base units... relatively the same... mid-late game units, completely different. Saracens use more tricks and speed generally and rely on attack power or hit and run while Crusaders rely on a few more formations (such as Shield Wall which is exclusive to Westerners) and generally heavier units. So there is a fun trade-off and a DISTINCTION between sides. (Which in most strategies THERE IS NOT... just different colors or skins or 1 trait/unit). You can use HEAVY Cavalry to also trample by holding the mouse button down and clicking a direction BEHIND the enemy ground-unit. You can make them engage after or even do it again after they overshoot. But Heavy Cav can also take damage if they do this... depending on Heavy Infantry (and their possible abilities) or SPEARMEN in formation (the result being the trample working... yet you are going to lose a lot of Cav, depending on circumstances). THIS IS WHY THE GAME IS GOOD. It is not a Micro-manage hack-and-slash... its not going to bore the **** out of you in the typical Strategy Game manner. (Which is how most Strategies have become..). There are just meticulous details about units or gear or formations or TERRAIN USEAGE... everything. You can make units move in typical march speed or you can make them double-time/charge (which will use their stamina faster). Lighter units move easier/quicker, drain less, fight better on rough terrain or in woodland... Heavies... the opposite. So yet again more cool strategic elements to consider. If Unit A send 2 groups of infantry against Unit Bs, 1 in the same direction, (colliding), Unit A will attack better obviously being greater in strength... BUT, the 2 groups will cram 1 behind the other... fighting far less efficiently as every single man in a group of 26/48 total will fight 1 on 1(or in formation as 1, such as a Wedge); but if A meets B with each, 1 group... then A sends his 2nd group around and BEHIND Bs 1 infantry... creating a sandwich, you will take Bs group out twice as fast as each man in Bs company is surrounded entirely. This was an EXAMPLE of how the games fighting works between men. Pretty realistic! Not just, A and B collide face to face... guy with more men wins. Unit types will also have a great effect depending on what versus what. If you took Light Infantry on open field and sandwiched Heavy Infantry (their direct counter) then you might slay MORE Heavies then you would otherwise... but you might also lose both groups entirely anyway. So this is essentially how it works.
There is a little bit of trading on the Crusader side in mini-choices/missions as far as Gear is concerned for men... but most of the junk you find (weapons/armors/potions) are found in missions on other groups with colored/glowing banners (you have to eliminate that company to earn the item off them theyre carrying). There is also a wide variety of items too. The game has an economical system as well. Loans, selling, buying... just about anything. Men to items. I highly recommend this game!
Despite its faults and technical difficulties, Kings' Crusade is a well made game that is a blast to play. There are other games on the market with better graphics, although KC's graphics are still good. With settings on max, I can zoom all the way in to view my soldiers trudging through fields of grass and weeds, or the dust they kick up in the desert. Each soldier is well detailed and if you watch them fight close up it's fairly entertaining on its own. The soundtrack does its job well, being in the background and providing an overtone for the game as you play through. The music doesn't awe or inspire me but is still solid and well written in its own right.
As far as combat goes, archers own the field, but they can be gimped with a click in the menus to balance the game much better. Tactics are still required to win and although the AI isn't perfect it's certainly on par with Total War (Some people may argue this point, but lets get serious, any AI can be manipulated).
The game's unit upgrade and equipment allocation is surprisingly addictive, especially at later levels. I found myself excited about upgrading light cavalry to crusader knights among other unit upgrades, and equipping your favored units with better armor and arms gives you more attachment to a unit than you get in any Total War game. Units also level up, which lets you personalize units to your play style. Some skills are passive and thus hands off while others are active and hands on if you care to micromanage. Quests and factions can add a new layer to the game. Most quests involve picking a certain faction to help, which in turn causes other factions to disapprove of you. The happier you can make the factions, the more things you will unlock for each faction (additional skill points, heroes, new units, minor bonuses).
Unlike Neocore's King Arthur, KC has no kingdom to manage, just side quests and army growth which I prefer. If I wanted to have to occupy a town with my whole army for 12 turns until the local populace calmed down enough to not want to rise against me, I'd play Total War. This game is addictive and fun even though battles can sometimes get repetitive.
Some people on various forums have experienced technical difficulties, but since the only thing I've had trouble with is an occasional crash (which happens with most of my games from time to time) I won't really go into it.
Good graphics, or at least very passable.
Good sound, or at least very passable.
Addicting game play and army/hero management and upgrading, though battles can sometimes be repetitious.
Quests and factions add a fun layer to the game.
Some people have technical trouble.
All in all, I would say this game is a 7-8. I am rating it a 10 to counteract the ignorant review from rwh1, who states the game is fun and the gives it a zero. This game is worth picking up if you have the money or it pops up on sale (which it does frequently on steam).
Lionheart remains appealing throughout because of how well it captures the period. It's not a perfect historical representation, of course, but it puts you in the seat of two all-conquering medieval heroes.
I really like playing strategy games, especially the historical ones. Among these, the king's crusade offers you a historical campaign mixed with deep strategical elements, awesome visuals and so much fun. I really enjoyed playing it while having fun of tactical deepness and experiencing historical atmosphere.
I sumitted a review back on August 30th, but didn't set my score correctly. I meant to give it a 7. Overall I liked the game play but felt it deserved to lose some points because at higher graphics settings(med - high) the game frequently crashes at the end of battles before the user is given a chance to save their progress. Still, on the lower graphics settings, the battles and game play are fun and the game is mostly stable.
I looked over at the Critics Review and I honestly had to question if they and I were playing the same game. My consensus is that flashy graphics automatically give you a 7 on most of these sites and the rest is just jelly on the burnt toast. The game is real time strategy with tactical unit based combat...basically Total War. Unfortunately it doesn't rip enough off Total War to be a good game, however because it fits so closely in their genre it will ceaselessly be compared to a vastly better game, even though Medieval 2 was their weakest title in the series. It adds RPG elements which allow you to customize your units King Arthur style but these don't really add anything to the game as you will only choose the attack or armour bonuses. Your units are unbalanced and cumbersome, their strength ranges from almost indestructible to absolutely worthless. The campaign missions become repetitive and disconnected, they are historically accurate...relatively, but the units seem to be more varied in fantasy. And some of these fantasy units are so overpowered that they throw any sense of balance out the portcullis. A lesson learned for Neocore games, people will tolerate unbalanced gameplay as long as it is based in realism, but when it's complete fantasy it ruins gameplay. The economy is non-existent, inventory is restrictive, and factions are uninteresting and offer token rewards. As a matter of fact factions are absent on the game map aside from the Saracens, so think of what little political intrigue there was in Medieval 2 and multiply it by 0.
The selling point of this game is the graphics, which on medium to lower systems will look terrible anyways, besides a game should never try to sell itself based on graphics alone, that's why we have movies. If you're looking for more Total War experience in new and different settings there are literally hundreds of user made Mods out there. Instead of playing this game I would recommend you support the modding community and in the process enjoy a superior gaming experience.
The controls are easy and the game is a good Total War-like clone where you manage your army in combat. You basically take over territories without retribution. I somewhat expected the Saracens to attempt to reconquer lost territory, but they never did. Also, your inventory is limited in size, so you have to distribute your items or sell them to see them all. There is no inventory scrolling if you have too many items.
Overall, I found the game as fun and like a quick map diversion ---- until I got to the very last campaign.
As rwh1 states, it crashes. The game played almost perfectly, until the end. I would very much like to play the final fight in Baghdad, but it will not let me finish. I bust through the first walls, the game loads the second part (where you must bust the second layer of walls) and within a few minutes, you get the generic crash message. The game was fun up to that point. I wanted to see the ending, but now I am frustrated. I tried updated video and bios, but get the same result. It's been 2 years since the last patch update and I will not buy DLC as this bug made the game un-enjoyable for finishing. I will also mention that I purchased the game on Steam. I do not think that matters as they patch with the latest updates, too. But it isn't pleasant to get to the end **** - only to be plagued with a crash and no support.
If you want, try it out from bargain bin - avoid DLC unless you get them as part of bargain. If the game will play to finish for you, you are more fortunate than my experience. I seem many complaints on the Steam forums - but I was fortunate, until the end. I may try the 5th time to finish this game, but maybe I'll go try King Arthur or XIII Century. It is good when it is working. The path (French, Holy Roman, Templar or Papal) you choose is interesting and so is the side-quests. Also, upgrading units with relics or weapon/armor/potions is a good touch. If you enjoy the combat phase of Total War, you might enjoy this ---- provided it won't crash.
Crashing - 0 points
Fun when it works - 10 points
SummaryLionheart: Kings' Crusade invites players to rewrite history through controlling and upgrading leaders and their armies, guiding various historical factions through political events, collecting relics, and unlocking new content in a feature-rich campaign set to take on the strategy genre by force.