In Honor of the Renaissance Festival: The Greatest Medieval Games of All Time
1. Age of Empires II: Age of Kings
The ultimate medieval strategy game, Age of Empires II: Age of Kings offered numerous improvements over its previous title and remains one of the best real-time strategy games of all time. With a plethora of multiplayer game modes and an engrossing campaign, it's hard to lose interest in this title, even after so many years. Multiple campaigns allow players to take control of history's greatest armies and control the fate of whole civilizations, while multiplayer forces gamers to fight over scarce resources and build armies based on their civilization's unique strengths.
There are 13 playable civilizations and each game spans four ages--the Dark Age, Feudal Age, Castle Age and Imperial Age. Researching new technologies means more advanced cultures can blow away their enemies with gunpowder, but only if they survive the onslaught of horsemen and knights. Each civilization has its strengths and weaknesses, with some specializing in walls and castles and others focusing on archery and siege weaponry. With each unit countering another, each game requires strategic army-building in order to defeat opponents, and no two games are alike.
While it's one of the most influential RTS's of all time, some players might find the game outdated when compared to recent titles like Starcraft II. It plays at a slower pace than modern titles and its graphics show their age. Overall, however, the game retains its appeal: an active community of gamers maintains a ranking system for the game and holds tournaments with cash prizes. For gamers looking for a complete medieval experience, it's impossible to go wrong with Age of Empires II.