App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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Strategy and progressive unit upgrades. It's a fun combination that almost never fails to entertain. Great Battles Medieval puts the system to good use with several playable campaigns and replayable missions, too. Even the major pathfinding flaws aren't enough to drag it down completely.
Great Battles Medieval offers up a fairly sizable campaign for the English during the Hundred Years War, with a skirmish mode option for anyone more interested in jumping right into the action. Each mission plays out over a rather large map, and each one forces players to take terrain and soldier types into account before they start crossing blades. Thankfully the action can be paused at any point in order to examine the field and issue orders before popping back into real time. They can also activate "battle cards" they earn through play to turn the tide of a given encounter. Once the victory conditions have been met, they're rewarded with some gold and sometimes a new equipment unlock, then it's on to their camp to teach their soldiers new skills or load them up with more powerful weaponry.
I can't really say that the visuals in Great Battles Medieval are all that remarkable, but they do scale quite well and give players the option to really zoom in so as to watch the fighting up close. There's a lot going on under the hood as well. Various soldier types tend to trump others, forests offer better cover from arrows and artillery but impede movement, and attacking from the rear while the enemy is busy fighting can actually lower morale to the point that they straight up flee from battle. And this is all in addition to the numerous weapons, shields, and skills that can be earned, bought, and equipped. So while it may not look like much at first glance, it can actually a surprisingly deep and complex game.
While I'm a fan of all of Great Battles Medieval's complexities, I'm not really a fan of the process of moving troops. Unit pathfinding is fairly awful, with attempts at flanking often failing unless movement is monitored tile-by-tile. It's seriously like they prefer taking the long way around sometimes. I'm also not entirely sure why they feel the need to walk around each other, especially when the unit that's "blocking" a tile in their path is also on the move. It makes shuffling soldiers around into much more of an ordeal than it really has to be.
Great Battles Medieval is a a rough-looking (and somewhat rough-playing) strategy game that still manages to entertain. It's a lot more complex than it first appears and offers up a pretty extensive amount of content. Even more if players are willing to drop a little more cash on some in-app purchases.