By Joseph Luster

If your particular flavor of strategy falls on the grand side of the spectrum, you might want to dive into the recently-released Knights of Honor II: Sovereign, which arrives courtesy of developer Black Sea Games and publisher THQ Nordic. This doesn’t just apply to those who have spent decades immersed in the genre, because even though there’s a lot of complexity and depth to the proceedings here, Knights of Honor II is also clearly hoping to be somewhat of a gateway for those who are just now starting to dip their toes.

If you are among those unfamiliar with this type of game, consider the world your oyster at a miniature scale as you attempt to become King and take full control of Europe. Over 200 kingdoms across Europe, North Africa and parts of Asia are available to select, and defending your land or taking the battle straight to the opposition plays out in the form of real-time strategy combat.

Just as important as leading your armies is the act of carefully choosing your royal court. You can appoint everyone from Marshalls and Clerics to Diplomats, Merchants and Spies to assist in spreading your influence, and the path you choose will ultimately reflect the path your greater kingdom takes over the course of your reign. All of this can be done on your own or against friends via multiplayer, so there are plenty of different ways to approach your stint on the throne.

The key to making all of those moving parts manageable is minimizing confusion. Knights of Honor II: Sovereign is in some ways smaller, faster and more direct than competition like Crusader Kings and Total War. In addition to offering more immediate replayability, this means that newcomers can experience full battles, and even get used to some of those inevitable bitter defeats, without investing a huge chunk of time in the process. Rewards come fast and often, so you’re likely to get more out of the experience if you go in with the proper expectations. If you’re new to grand strategy, this might just end up being your entry point!

Genre: Strategy
Platform: PC
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Available: Now

Back to the issue this appears in