PC game / This historical war game features both long-term empire building and real-time combat. The game is set in the heart of the Dark Ages, between the 11th and 15th centuries, and features hundreds of historical battlefields from western reaches of Europe to the northern tip of Africa. Players can choose to lead the English, the French, the Byzantines, the Turks, or one of eight other rising nations. Special campaigns allow players to take the roles of famous figures, such as Richard the Lionheart or Joan of Arc, and follow historical movements like the Crusades, the Mongol Invasions, and the Hundred Years War. The game’s 12 playable factions feature over 100 unit types each and battles can involve as many as 10,000 troops.
Medieval: Total War is based upon the building of an empire across medieval Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. It focuses on the warfare, religion and politics of the time to ultimately lead the player in conquest of the known world. As with the preceding Total War game, Shogun: Total War, the game consists of two broad areas of gameplay: a turn-based campaign map that allows the user to move armies across provinces, control agents, diplomacy, religion, and other tasks needed to run their faction, and a real-time battlefield, where the player directs the land battles and sieges that occur.
The strategic portion of the game divides the campaign map among twenty factions from the period, with a total of twelve being playable. The initial extent of each major faction’s territory, and the factions available, depends on the starting period of the game, Early (1087), High (1205) or Late (1321), reflecting the historical state of these factions over time. The factions themselves represent many of the major nations at the time, including the Byzantine Empire, France, England, the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Several factions, such as the Golden Horde, emerge during the course of play at their historical time. These factions, together with several other factions appearing at the start of the campaign, are unavailable to the player in the main campaign. Each faction varies in territory, religion and units; however, factions of the same culture share many of their core units.
In addition to the main campaign, Medieval: Total War also features a game mode where the player can undertake various historical campaigns and battles. Historical campaigns allow the player to control a series of famous battles from a war of the medieval period, such as the Hundred Years War and the Crusades, playing as historic commanders like Richard the Lionheart. Individual historic battles have the player controlling a historical figure in an isolated battle that occurred in the era, such as controlling William Wallace through the Battle of Stirling Bridge.