Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 06.08.2015

Review for Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords on PC

Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords is the latest in a increasingly long line of expansions for the 2012 PC strategy game, introducing a sizeable number of new features such as hordes, tributaries, clan politics, a new map area, and - most crucially - Nomadic rule. As this is an expansion, prior knowledge of the original game is expected, but this remains an enjoyable - if slightly imbalanced - release.

Of course, something must be said about the biggest problem with this expansion: it's not the quality, but that it is the tenth expansion to the Crusader Kings II title. While it is great to see such a solid game - which was enjoyed in Cubed3's review of Crusader Kings II Collection earlier this year - continually grow to become an ever richer experience, the sheer bulk of add-ons (not including the various skins and soundtracks that are also purchasable) may prove worrisome for some consumers. With some luck, there may only be one or two expansions left, at the risk of the game becoming oversaturated.

With that said, the latest release is a decent addition to the franchise that does provide a fair few enhancements. The key inclusion is Nomadic rule: previously in Crusader Kings II, playing as one of the Nomadic tribes was fairly uninteresting in comparison to the other civilisations. While they began with an uphill struggle, after a certain amount of time they began to play largely the same as the various other nations. Horse Lords completely changes this.

Screenshot for Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords on PC

Instead of operating as standard, the Nomads' gameplay is focused on population growth, thus encouraging land expansion simply to prevent overcrowding. This is combined with the need to focus on unoccupied land for agriculture, meaning that trying to build everywhere is now a very bad idea. This provides a refreshing style of play, albeit one that some may consider as coming at the cost of the Nomads becoming slightly overpowered.

There are, of course, several additional new features, such as the ability to make tributary nations, along with the inclusion of the Silk Road in order to bolster a focus on trading. However, these aren't such major changes as other expansions have provided in the past, leading to Horse Lords' greatest shortcoming. Although it does improve gameplay for the Nomads, it doesn't do much for the other civilisations.

Of course, it can be argued that the balance shift means that other nations must change their tactics when at war with these tribes, but ultimately there simply isn't much in the way of new lands or options, meaning that a player not directly engaged with the Nomads themselves is unlikely to get much out of Paradox's latest.

Screenshot for Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Paradox Interactive set out to bring something fresh to the table to keep its long-running game going for that little bit longer, and Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords is indeed successful in its mission. It proves to be an enjoyable expansion that adds content and revamps existing features, and certainly has a lot going for it. However, ultimately, it should be remembered that this is merely an expansion and doesn't bring anything particularly thrilling to the table, appealing mainly to long-term fans.


Paradox Development







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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