Crusader Kings II – Sons of Abraham ReviewPC
key review info
- Game: Crusader Kings II - Sons of Abraham
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: No
- Reviewed on:
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I have traveled to Jerusalem, made my way to Rome to support a cardinal, fought in a Crusade and lost some of my best heirs to the monastic life, the sort of events that can only happen in the new Sons of Abraham expansion for Crusader Kings II.
The new content is created by the Paradox Development Studios and it’s an ambitious attempt to make spirituality and organized religion a bigger influence on the events of the game.
The core mechanics of the grand strategy experience are unchanged: the player chooses a character and then tries to lead his family towards a glorious future, using the power of weapons, diplomacy or subterfuge to advance his interests in a variety of scenarios centered around the Middle Ages in Europe.
Those who play a Christian ruler will now have to deal with a Pope that has more powerful force and with the College of Cardinals and the power structure built around it.
Trying to control the Papacy involves quite a bit of a long-term investment or just a lot of luck, but the results can be very useful for those gamers who are looking to launch expansion wars and do not have the ability to create other Casus Belli.
The various militant orders also have an increased role, with major event chains and with an ability to become important powers around the Mediterranean.
Dukes and kings can also choose to go on pilgrimage to the holiest sites of their religion in order to gain benefits, but risks are also present for weaker leaders.
They represent solid ways to enhance attributes and maybe gain piety in order to get into the good graces of the Pope, but I find the costs associated with cardinal politics a little too high.
Muslim rulers also have to choose a religious philosophy to follow and it seems that there’s more infighting between factions, which in the long term should make Islam a less powerful enemy.
Without going too far into spoiler territory, Sons of Abraham also introduces event chains dealing with Europe’s most famous warrior virgin and with the way people of the Middle Ages viewed the Devil as a force that could directly intervene in their lives.
The developers have managed to expand the game world and the scope of Crusader Kings II without making religion something that players actively need to worry about.
It’s there for those who want to explore and exploit it, but most of the time, gamers can focus on the basics: creating heirs, educating them, fending off plots, developing castles, seizing opportunities to expand one’s realm.
The first thing that most players will do after getting Sons of Abraham is choose the Old Gods starting date, in 867, and then select the Khanate of the Khazars in order to try and lead the Jewish kingdom, the only one in the world of the game, towards greatness.
I tried that myself about 10 times but it seems that, while long-term survival can be achieved with a bit of effort, it’s pretty much impossible to expand the faction in the face of tough resistance from the various nomadic neighbors.
Paradox has not delivered any upgrades to the sound of the graphics of Crusader Kings II, but has managed to do a good job of integrating the new mechanics into the already crowded user interface, which is quickly running out of space to display more info and events.
In many ways, Sons of Abraham does not feel as crucial to the Crusader Kings II experience as The Old Gods or Sword of Islam felt when they were first launched, mainly because religion seems to be just a sideshow for the big events taking place in the game.
The addition of hundreds of events and the expansion made to character interactions are the biggest changes that most players will notice, probably alongside the moneylending they have access to for emergency situations.
I like the expansion a lot and I can hardly wait to see how the modding community uses it, especially the team behind the Game of Thrones modification.