Crusader Kings 2 Review


If you’re new to the series, and Paradox strategy games in general, your first couple attempts at CKII will be disastrous. On the other hand, it’s hard to remember another game in which losing feels like so much fun. The A.I. is cunning and ruthless, and you can’t help but chuckle ruefully at dramatic, procedurally generated plot twists, like when the Pope suddenly excommunicates you in the middle of a crucial battle. That said, CKII is not for everyone. If you don’t care for Medieval history at all, you’ll find it downright soporific. Its mechanics are byzantine (sometimes literally!), and at its worst it feels more like a simulator than a game, all numbers and dice rolls and not a lot to look at.

And yet, as your dynasty grows, events that appear as simple lines of text can begin to feel very real. Each sudden setback and hard-won success deepens the bond between you and your Medieval charges: a handful of portraits and statistics trying to survive in a cold, violent world. If you can survive an awkward introduction and free your imagination, Crusader Kings II will make you part of the family.


  • Complex, detailed mechanics model every aspect of Medieval life
  • Best-in-class A.I. provides a challenge that is both consistent and also full of surprises
  • Infinite replay value, including cooperative multiplayer
  • PC-centric, mod-friendly design


  • Steep learning curve
  • Combat mechanics are too basic
  • Some bugs mar an otherwise polished product, though patch support is continuing


Final Score: 85


System Requirements

Windows XP or Vista or 7
Intel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz or AMD 3500+
2 GB available HDD space
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 or ATI Radeon X1900 video card

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2 Comments on Crusader Kings 2 Review


On July 12, 2012 at 8:10 pm

“…self-destructing only in 1453, when the conclusion of the Hundred Years’ War coincided with the invention of the printing press.”

Eeh…no offense, but 1453 is remembered for a far more significant event: the fall of Constantinople to the Turk. and thereby the final extinguishing of the last ember of mighty Rome.

Ben Richardson

On July 13, 2012 at 12:05 am

All three are undoubtedly historical milestones — I would argue that movable type is most important in the grand scheme of things, followed by the Turkish victory, followed by the French capture of Bordeaux. I simply picked two that were a) recognizable and b) easy to fit into a sentence.