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Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam Review (PC)

Cut down the infidels in the expansion to Crusader Kings II.

Players will now take on the opposite role and oppose the coming crusades. Once again, battles will be waged but it’s your relationships that will make or break you.

The combat system did get a much needed improvement as each leader has specific strengths and weaknesses and can be used in a way failure to the RTS genre. Sword of Islam carries with it the helpful hover tips so you can also see what effect each leaders stats will have on your armies. These two improvements go a long way and help to make the combat more enjoyable.

However, the combat system received the least of the changes.

The new setting brings with it new relationship, reputation, and political dynamics. Family dynamics are the most notable right off the bat. Multiple wives, for example, are encouraged. Players will soon realize though that mo’ women, mo’ problems is an apt description. The more wives you have, the more children you have, and therefore the more complicated your job becomes. Because the family dynasty is the main goal, more children will also present you with more options for success. While the new dynamics take a while to get used to, they also give a reason for players to look at things a bit differently.

Along with the new family dynamics, Muslim rulers will also need to deal with problems specific to the middle east. Thing such as peace between two faction of Islam and troubles with the Harem come up quite often.

Probably the biggest wrench in the machinery is the introduction of a system called decadence. Decadence serves as a balancing mechanism. Players acquire it in various ways but it’s always something you want to steer away from. Having too much property or being too spoiled can gain you decadence as can gaining too much wealth. Your children can also be decadent and cause you to gain decadence. The more decadent you are, the less income you get. Presumably, some of the income would need to be spent to keep up your decadent lifestyle. It’s never far from your mind and does make for yet another thing to take into consideration when making decisions. The ultimate negative comes in when you reach a certain level of decadence, assassins ( or Hashashin) will begin to take notice. Trust me, you don’t want that.

Final Thoughts:

Sword of Islam is a nice expansion that does its job to keep player interested. The nice improvements on combat, the differences in the relationship dynamics, and the balancing act that is the decadence system provides a nice challenge and a good excuse to keep playing.

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