Golden age of strategy
Set in a well-realised medieval world, Lords of the Realm 2 is a bold take on the strategy genre, combining satisfyingly robust management aspects with suitably exciting real-time combat to create a superbly crafted gaming experience. The game places players in the shoes of one of five nobles vying for the throne following the previous King's death. As is usual with such games, resources must be managed, castles and weapons constructed, and armies gathered. Combat is usually conducted in real-time, although there is the option to have the computer handle things, and sees archers, swordsmen, knights and other assorted troops clashing in an engrossing and thrilling manner. Sieges too are possible, with a great variety of siege engines to choose from and which provide another interesting tactical dilemma, as you must choose the optimum location for their deployment. While nothing here is particularly original, the game is a fine example of the genre, as it pretty much does everything in just the right way. Visuals are generally great, with pleasingly detailed in-game graphics and fine cutscenes which evoke a real sense of the period. Although there is a lack of variation in mission types, this is a minor niggle, and the challenge and depth offered by the game is more than enough to counter this. If you have exhausted the possibilities of Total War, then this is worth a look.