So I got through the tutorials last night and today resumed control on the Kingdom of England after many months away or playing the Welsh in the Viking Invasion.
My first impressions were made up of two elements. Firstly there is the usually shoddy Creative Assembly QA. Trying to set the game’s resolution to my LCD screen’s resolution crashed the game. Not mind you before a pop-up appears warning me that a graphics problem has occurred. The second is that soldiers seem a lot faster than before. Total War Rome felt a lot faster than the original Medieval but this is faster again. I’m not sure if this is simply to do with the feeling of gameplay. There was a lot of marching and counter-marching before.
The AI also feels a lot smarter. In my first battle a group of spearmen pounced on a group of my knights that I had carelessly parked on the outskirts of a village in the assumption that the spearmen would not want to be drawn away from the main body of their troops. That said though pathing through gateways is still bloody awful and sieges still end with an ungodly scrum in the centre of town. That made more sense in Total War Rome but it is a bit of a joke during the Medieval period and seems to reduce sieges to some strange parody of Saturday night drinking and fighting in the town centre.
One definite improvement is the graphic feedback and individualisation of the warriors within the units. Battles are a lot more fun to watch and the introduction of injuries gives the whole thing a bit more drama.
Overall though this is feeling like a incremental improvement at a cost of a lot of machine resources.