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Crusader Kings II:
The Dark Ages might be drawing to a close, but Europe is still in turmoil. Petty lords vie against beleaguered kings who struggle to assert control over their fragmented realms. The Pope calls for a Crusade to protect the Christians in the Holy Land even as he refuses to relinquish control over the investiture of bishops - and their riches. Now is the time for greatness. Expand your demesne and secure the future of your dynasty. Fill your coffers, appoint vassals, root out traitors and heretics, introduce laws and interact with hundreds of nobles, each with their own agenda.
Crusader Kings II: The Republic
The Republic is the third expansion for the critically praised strategy / RPG Crusader Kings II. In The Republic you play as a Patrician in one of the great medieval Merchant Republics. Expand your trade empire as you compete with the other four Patrician families for the coveted position of Doge and the leadership of the Republic.
I started off as a humble independent count in Ireland whose dream was to unite the duchy. A few generations later and names Scotland and Spain are all but legends, they are Ireland now. North Africa and Jerusalem have never seen a whiter people ruler their lands. All the great houses of the Holy Roman, Byzantine, and French empires had the blood of Eire. Even the horselords conquering the east desired alliances(wives) with Ireland. The only thing next for my dynasty was to become the overlords of all Europe. However this is not your typical strategy game where you just snowball, no, this is Crusader Kings. The Muslim peasants from three different sects would continually rebel until Irish priests finally converted Africa. Massive infighting between my vassals constantly changed the sphere of power and left little room for their settlements to grow. I held the strategic and best land under my own domain however one noble or another would always grow jealous of one of my many crowns and poison their peers into civil war. Then the Caliphates would stop fighting among themselves and try and press their advantage against my southern borders. However, these forces were no match for my Gallowglass warriors and all my enemies were forced to bend the knee. With virtually no periods of peace, my coffers were constantly drained and funding for a great European campaign was hopeless. Eventually, with 200 hours gone by, the year reached the end-date of 1453 with my dynasty achieving a score of just above 100k.
In Crusader Kings II you select a character ranging from Count to Emperor, Iceland to India, and guide his or her dynasty to glory from the days of Charlemagne all the way to the Hundred Years' War (769 - 1453). Along the journey you will encounter friends to help you gain power and prestige; rivals to scheme against; allies and enemies to defend and dominate... all while ensuring your family lives on in power, though under your watchful eye. CKII is a masterpiece of intrigue. A true test of patience and character; or brute force and recklessness; and either can work if you play it right.
I was slightly unsure of how I should rate this bundle. If I was to simply rate CK2 (with or without it's "expansions") I would probably rate this game at 95-100. Apart from the Sunset Invasion expansion (and maybe 1 or 2 music packs) I own every piece of DLC for this game, and with more than 1100 hours clocked in I'm definitely quite the fan. However I decided to rate this bundle at 75, because by including the base game this is clearly meant for new players, who are possibly going to try the game for the first time. Although the bundle includes more than 20 items, only 6 of these have any gameplay impact. My recommendation for new players would be to only ever buy this bundle if it was heavily discounted, but even better than that would be to find a different starter bundle, including more of the actual expansions, and/or less music, portrait and unit packs.
Crusader Kings II is a fantastic game. It may have a learning curve like a brick wall, but once you get over that, it is pure Paradox Interactive strategy goodness.If you thought Civilization V is too casual for you, Crusader Kings II has you covered. The music is fantastic, and the graphics are passable. The real meat is in the gameplay, where you are given an abundance of freedom to make your own choices on how you want to play. Although Crusader Kings II is a fantastic game, I cannot recommend buying the collection unless you are a diehard fan. The reason for this is that the majority of DLC is unnecessary for a lot of people. While a few pieces of DLC are actually gamechanging, the portrait packs and songs of faith are really not worth it unless you really care about immersion. Unless you're one of those people, just buy Crusader Kings II, and the DLCs that actually give you content, like Sword of Islam. (separately) Unless immersion is the most important thing for you in CK2, odds are you won't need the portrait packs and music.
At first glance, Crusader Kings II comes off as a military based strategy game, but seconds in, it is anything but the case. From the second you begin, you will be lost without a guide or a proper tutorial. That much is a promise. Crusader Kings II offers you many scenarios, time periods, and great kings and lords of the past. In this game, you learn to delegate your power as a lord, whom to trust, and most importantly, whom not to trust. Those you care for, you hold dear and spoil. Anyone not to be trusted, you plot against them. This is not a game for everyone. There are enough mechanics and features to keep anyone entertained for hundreds of hours, and still not know everything. This is a slow game and primarily for those who enjoy politics and management, especially over the many generations you will have to oversee. From selecting your key advisers, to spying, plotting intrigues, assassinations, alliances, or betrayals, you will be put to the test against multiple nations and lords, all for the sake of having the greatest achievements. Within a specific time frame, have the greatest score to achieve true victory.
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