The Crusader Campaign
“Where the dreams of the past become reality.”
The Crusader Campaign begins with a historically accurate setting. During the course of the game there is a sharp turn of events when you, playing Richard Lionheart manage to conquer Jerusalem. From that point Lionheart will redouble his efforts and sets out to conquer the entire Holy Land and beyond, ending the crusade in Baghdad.
After taking Jerusalem it is entirely up to you which way you will lead your armies, you are free to choose your own path to victory.
The Crusader army has many heavily armoured units which give a huge advantage against the lightly armored Saracen units. On the other hand, fighting under the unfriendly circumstances of the Holy land, in the barren deserts and rocklands will prove a tough challenge.
“Gold” is the main resource and it allows you to recruit and upgrade units, purchase some equipment and so on. Successfully completing missions will grant you a certain amount of Gold.
“Faith” represents the devotion of the army leader. The higher the Faith is, the more effective relics are and it also reduces the upgrade cost of units.
“Fame” is only available for the Crusader campaign and is used to gain influence with the political Factions through political events. Increasing your reputation gradually unlocks the available rewards, such as new units, new heroes and many more.
Factions – and the heavy wind of politics
During the whole campaign you will constantly deal with the four major European powers of the age: The Holy Roman Empire, The Kingdom of France, The Templars and The Papal Court. You’ll have to be a true diplomat to do that successfully, since they always have different goals and ideas. This will grant you a very dynamic political environment in the entire game.
From time to time the various Factions will suggest different strategies before main battles and grant you different kinds of support. Sneak into the enemy camp during the night, involve some fellow Saracen forces against your enemy or simply face them by daylight with many knights on an open field, it’s all up for you to decide. Assemble the best possible army to suit the strategy you choose to pursue, because the different strategies will require different battle tactics and thus very different unit types.
Dealing with the Factions is not always an easy task. Increasing your Fame with one of them will grant you different benefits (reinforcements, money or even the availability of new characters and units), but supporting one Faction’s idea can cause your standing to fall with other factions, so you should always be careful of whom you listen to.
The Saracen Campaign
“History is on our side.”
The Saracen campaign takes place after the events of the Christian conquest. You will take Saladin’s role, trying to fight back and conquer the Holy Land again, but this time against much graver odds.The most interesting part is certainly to lead your former enemies on the previously seen battlefields, although with completely different tactics and events, a very different army setup and of course with new units that you battled as enemies before.
The Saracen campaign gives a unique chance to unite the nations of the Middle East.
This time you will be able to choose the starting point of your campaign near one of the besieged capitols from the different regions of the Saracen lands. Your choice will have a strong impact on the starting setup of your army, but it is fair to say that the Saracen army will be made up mostly of light armoured units. Thus you will have to use the different tactical options like changing formations, using unit abilities, terrain or the weather to your advantage. After all this is the homeland of your soldiers, the advantage is yours.
“Gold” is the main resource as usual, and it allows you to recruit and upgrade units, purchase equipment to name a few. Successfully completing missions will grant you a certain amount of Gold.
“Faith” is just as important to the Saracens as it was to the Crusaders. As your Faith increases it will cost you less Gold to recruit and upgrade units, but it also influences the morale of the units as well – the warriors of the Prophet consider the devotion of their leader very important.
“Upgrade points”. Your successes as a conqueror will grant you the support of your empire and the people of the land, and thus you’ll get “Upgrade points” to use for the research of new tactics, new unit types and develop unique abilities.
You will have to deal with lots of management decisions and political events on the Campaign Map between the battles, just like in the Crusader Campaign. The main difference is that the Saracens don’t have different Factions and the Fame score. Though they had their fair share of disagreements, the Saracens were not nearly as divided as the European nations. The Saracens have a Technology Tree instead, that has three tiers, one for politics, one for faith and one for finance, and each tier can unlock new upgrades, units, allies and events.
Another difference is the use of the political events. During the Crusader Campaign the Crusaders experience various political events from recently conquered territories, but the Saracens experience political events from territories yet to be conquered. Political events range from recruiting your Saracen allies from enemy territory or sending spies on sabotage missions to name a few.