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PC Game Review

Blood of Europe


Format: PC
Excalibur Publishing
RRP: £24.99
6 060020 474088
Age Restrictions: 16+
Available 26 February 2010

The thirteenth century was one of bloody conflict and on the Russian borders Dovmont, Prince of Pskov, knights find themselves fighting against insurmountable odds. Only a cool head and a good feel for strategy is likely to save his men...

Blood of Europe: Medieval Battles of the XIII Century is a new real time strategy game from Excalibur Publishing. Unlike many of its predecessors the game concentrates very much on the strategy side of things, so there are no resources to manage, other than the number of arrows possessed by your archers, there are no buildings to construct or castles to lay siege to. Looking at the game's restrictions, and the fact that the single player mode has only eight battles, you would be excused to wonder what was so good about the game.

Strategy is at the heart of this game, often you are faced with ten times the enemy, an enemy with a pretty decent AI, so gathering your strength into one mad rush is likely to see you flattened pretty quickly. In order to get past even this small number of battles the player has to study the layout of the land, choose a good defensive position and order his men in such a way that the likelihood of survival is increased; even then you are not guaranteed a win.

Your men will react in relatively realistic ways. If they are killed you lose them, should they survive they will go on to be battle hardened veterans. Each battle that you survive increases the amount of cash you can spend on your army and the amount of experience they will demonstrate. Although in a melee the men will fight hand to hand their central starting position is that of the formation, a sizable number are provided with the game, this and the detailed stats on each of your units should give you half a chance of winning. Preparation is the key concept here, as it is sometimes difficult to recall formations once they are engaged with the enemy.

It would be foolish to pretend that there isn’t a fairly steep learning curve with the game, whose many options are linked to many and varied key combinations, so it is well worth the new player trying out the tutorial first time round. This will at least give you the minimum key strokes needed to join in battle.

The game is graphically impressive, from a distance, though close up it starts to get difficult to distinguish troops, though I feel that this is a minor point as most gamers will prefer the god’s eye view of the battle. If you make it past the eight single player battles then you can log on and go head to head with other online players.

Whilst the game is extremely challenging, and let’s face it this is a good thing in a game, I would have some reservations in recommending it to relative novices. The game is not the kind you just pick up and play, it requires some thought and study from the player. But if you feel that you’re up for a real challenge you could do worse than Blood of Europe.


Charles Packer

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